By William Given
The drive to reproduce in dogs and cats that have not been altered is strong and results in unplanned and unwanted litters. It may not be proper for us to look at pet overpopulation as a disease, but it is the cause of death for millions of dogs and cats each year.
And, although spaying and neutering cannot be considered a cure for the disease, we do have to acknowledge it does go a long way to minimize the problem. It used to be believed that we should wait until our female pets had their first heat or allow them to have a litter before spaying.
We now know that most puppies and kittens as young as eight weeks of age can safely be spayed. Spaying and neutering also serves to provide health and behavioral benefits for dogs and cats.
If your female is spayed early, it can prevent breast cancer. Spaying at any age eliminates the risk of uterine infections. Pyometra is an extremely life-threatening condition. It is fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Spaying can also prevent uterine or ovarian cancer, and even some skin disorders.
Neutering your male dog or cat can prevent testicular disease and significantly reduce the possibility of prostate enlargement and disease. Neutering also reduces the possible development of perianal fistulas. Research is now being conducted to determine if neutering also reduces the risk diabetes.
The idea that spayed or neutered pets automatically become fat and lazy is false. We can keep our pets fit and trim by providing them with a proper diet and regular exercise.
Our spayed and neutered pets are less likely to roam, spray or mark their territory. Neutering will not adversely affect a dog’s instinct to protect their human family but it can dramatically reduce the likelihood of aggression with our dogs. Pets which are spayed or neutered are generally regarded as better and more affectionate companions.