Sterilisation – Dispelling the myths

Sterilisation  – Dispelling the myths

Neutering and spaying are two fairly minor surgical procedures. There are many myths about the effects of these operations. What you need to remember is that pets are not four footed humans, they do not suffer the emotional effects of “losing their manhood” or the devastation of never being able to give birth.

Weight gain

This is not true if the dog or cat is fed the correct amount of a balanced diet, without too many treats or titbits and continues to exercise throughout their life.

Cannot be guard dogs

Removal of the reproductive organs does not in any way detract from the dog’s intelligence and ability to guard. Neutering will reduce the level of testosterone, therefore the hormone driven aggression but still does not detract from the ability to guard. 

Their personality will change

The only way they will change is to become more focused on you rather than trying to find a mate.

Females must have one litter to feel maternal

My pet needs to experience motherhood, all females should. This is anthropomorphism, assuming a pet has the same emotional needs that us humans may have.

My dog/cat is so special I want another just the same

A dog or cat may be a great pet, but that doesn’t mean her offspring will be a carbon copy. Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines can’t guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. A pet owner’s chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might receive all of a pet’s (and her mate’s) worst characteristics!

My Children should experience the miracle of birth

Even if children are able to see a pet give birth – which is unlikely as it usually happens at night and often in a secluded spot, what will they learn from this? Especially if at 10 weeks there are still babies that cannot find homes.

It is easy to make money from breeding

This may be the case for one or two people but often it can be quite the reverse. Think; purchase good quality breeding animals, tests/x-rays pre breeding, possible complications with birth maybe a caesarian, small litter – only 2 babies to sell or un-homed babies. The additional costs of feeding during pregnancy, lactation and the babies. Costs of deworming and vaccinating. What about your time off work if the babies need hand rearing for any reason. Not something to be entered into lightly!

And now the Facts

There is no medical reason not to neuter your pet and many very good ones to recommend it.

  • Prevent unwanted pregnancies
  • Can reduce hormone related aggression and dominance
  • Prevents testicular tumours
  • Reduce the likely hood of prostate problems in later life
  • Prevent infections of the uterus – Pyometra
    • This can be life threatening
  • Avoids the problems that come with your pet being on heat
    • Female dogs spot blood
    • A cat on heat is a sight to be seen and heard, they roll and yowl and cry – not much fun at 3am!!!!
    • Both will be attractive to males, who will come from far and wide. And both will do their upmost to get out to those males! Straying like this can lead to road accidents or lost pets.
  • Reduces the smell of male cat urine
  • Reduces the contact between cats and therefore the spread of diseases such as FIV and FELV
  • Reduces territorial fighting in cats and the spread of diseases such as FIV and FELV
  • Reduces the chance of mammary tumours later in life
    • If spayed before the first season, the risk is minimal
  • Prevents false / phantom pregnancies
    • These can be quite prolonged and sever, upsetting for both pet and owner

The Spay operation

Spaying is the term used for sterilising a female cat or dog. The actual operation performed is an ovariohysterectomy, removal of the uterus and the ovaries.

Under general anaesthetic an incision is made through the skin and the muscle layers into the abdomen just behind the belly button in the mid line. The uterus and ovaries are found. The surgeon ligates (ties off) all the blood vessels etc so that the ovaries and uterus can be safely removed. When everything is removed three layers of sutures are used to close the muscle and skin layers.

The neutering operation

A castration operation involves removal of both testicles.

This varies for dogs and cats.

Dogs : An incision is made just in front of the scrotum and the blood vessels etc are tied off so that the testicles can be removed. The wound is then closed with two layers of sutures.

Cats : An incision is made each side of the scrotum so that each testicle is removed separately. The blood vessel and the sperm duct are tied together making it safe to remove the testicle. The skin incision is not stitched as it heals very quickly on its own. It is often very difficult to see that any operation has been performed a few days later. 

As a responsible pet owner you should have your pet sterilised. Cats and dogs can be operated on from six months of age.    

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