Spay/Neuter Myths and Truths
Myth: My pregnant animal can not be safely spayed.
Truth: Many dogs and cats are spayed while pregnant to prevent the birth of puppies or kittens. A veterinarian, however, must consider the pregnant dog or cat, as well as the stage of her pregnancy, before deciding whether she can be safely spayed.
Myth: Spay or neuter surgery is painful and can harm my dog or cat.
Truth: During a spay or neuter surgery, dogs and cats are fully anesthetized, so they feel no pain. Afterwards, most animals seem to experience some discomfort, but signs of discomfort disappear within a few days, and with pain management medication, pain may not be experienced at all. Serious harm as a result of spay or neuter surgery is extremely rare.
Myth: Neutering my dog will keep him from being protective.
Truth: Spaying or neutering doesn’t affect a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s personality is formed more by genetics and environment than hormones.
Myth: Neutering my male dog or cat will make him feel less like a male.
Truth: Neutering will not change a pet’s basic personality and he won’t suffer any kind of emotional reaction or identity crisis when neutered.
Myth: It’s better to let my pet have one litter first.
Truth: Medical evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat tend to be healthier. Females that are not spayed before their first heat have a much higher risk of mammary or breast cancer and infections of the uterus. Males neutered early in life have a less of a risk of prostate infections. We can safely sterilize dogs and cats as young as eight weeks of age.
Myth: Everyone wants a cuddly kitten or puppy. I’ll find good homes for them all.
Truth: You may find homes for all of your pet’s litter but this will mean one less home for all the dogs and cats in shelters who need homes. Overpopulation is a problem perpetuated by each new litter of puppies and kittens. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that one un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce 11,167 puppies per year. One un-spayed female cat and her offspring can produce 60,000+ in their lifetime. Do you know 60,000 people that would want a kitten?
Myth: I should let my children experience the miracle of birth.
Truth: The real miracle is that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that 6 to 8 million companion animals end up in shelters nationwide. Of that number, 3 to 4 million will be euthanized, simply because they do not have a home. Cats and dogs should not be allowed to breed with little regard for the availability of homes for their litters.
Myth: Spayed or neutered dogs and cats become overweight.
Truth: In some dogs and cats, metabolism does decrease following spaying or neutering. Nevertheless, if fed only the appropriate amount of food and if adequately exercised, spayed or neutered dogs and cats are unlikely to become overweight.
Myth: My dog or cat is too old to be spayed or neutered.
Truth: Because early spaying or neutering is optimal, and with advanced techniques and safer anesthetic drugs, your pet can be safely spayed or neutered at 8 weeks of age and a weight of 2 pounds. Even dogs and cats who are years older will benefit from being spayed or neutered. Dogs and cats over 7 years of age are required to have pre-surgical blood work performed in order to check liver and kidney function prior to administering anesthesia. This blood work can be done at our clinic for an additional $55.
Myth: Spaying or neutering will make dogs and cats less affectionate.
Truth: Freed from the urge to mate, dogs and cats tend to be calmer and more content after spaying or neutering. Spayed or neutered dogs and cats are more, not less, likely to show affection toward their human companions.