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Why Spay or Neuter your pets?

According to the data from American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), animal shelter overpopulation has already resulted in approximately 1.5 million shelter animals that are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) each year. This is something that can be prevented through responsible pet ownership and population control of stray and feral cats and dogs.

AAWA is committed to partnering with the community to help control the population of strays and prevent animals from ending up in the shelter. Spay and neuter is the permanent,100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats. For this reason we have created the Vet Voucher Program and AASNIP. 

However, some confusion on the concept of spay and neuter might be preventing pet owners from taking advantage of these programs. On this page, we will answer some of the questions you might have to help you understand the benefits of getting your pets altered.

1. When should I get my cat/dog altered?​

There is much confusion on when to get pets spayed/neutered. Dr. Kenneth O’Hanlon, the veterinarian at All Pets Medical Center, with over 36 years of experience recommends, “smaller dogs and all cats be spayed or neutered right around 6 months of age.  Females do not need to go through a heat cycle before being spayed.” He added that “Large and giant breed dogs should be spayed/neutered closer to 10 months of age unless there is a high risk of an accidental, unwanted litter.”

This is a practice that is widely supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, ASPCA and many other animal advocates and rescue groups. If for any reason you are still unsure about the best age for your dog/cat breed to get surgery you can always ask a local veterinarian.

3. Is it true that pets that are altered become overweight?

Not directly. Some studies have shown that there are some changes in the amount of food consumed that is likely due to the hormone change, but the weight gain is more likely attributed to the fact that the pet is calmer and has less inclination to leave and find a mate. The change in weight can be controlled by watching your pets diet and keeping them active.

4. Spay and Neuter Surgery is not in my budget. What can I do?

Taking care of an animal is a serious financial responsibility and many considerations should be made before getting a pet. The average cost of the procedure is between $50-$200 depending on the clinic used and size of the pet. There are many non-profit organizations that have low-cost spay and neuter program like AASNIP and The Vet Voucher Program for pet parents in need of assistance. 

In addition, keeping a pet intact can expose them to serious medical conditions like cancer and pyometra, an infection of the uterus that can cost thousands of dollars to treat. So, the initial cost of getting your pets fixed can actually save you money in the long run.

2. Will the procedure affect my pet's behavior?

YES! Behavioral problems, such as roaming, urine marking, fighting, inappropriate urination, and aggression are observed with unaltered cats and also are among the most common reasons that cats are abandoned, surrendered and euthanized. All this undesirable behavior may be prevented by spaying/neutering pets early. 

 

Dogs that are altered are less likely to run away from home in search of a mate if they are neutered early. However, neutering will not reduce behaviors that your pet has earned or that have become habitual.  The overall character of a neutered animal is predominantly described as "devoted, friendly and kind.”

5. My pets are perfectly healthy. Why do I have to subject them to “unnecessary” procedures like spaying or neutering?

We all know the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Well, in this case, getting cats and dogs “fixed” can actually help your pet live a longer and happier life.  Female dogs sterilized before sexual maturity are unlikely to develop breast cancer.  Male dogs tend to be more well behaved. An intact male dog will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding clever ways to escape from the house. This will then make them more likely to get injured in a traffic accident or get into fights with other animals. The same scenario is also true for male and female cats. 

Please be part of the solution and spay/neuter your pets. If you are interested in participating in our free spay-neuter program please contact us 580-471-0392  If you have further questions about the overall procedure, please contact your local veterinary clinic.

Sources:

  1. Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ Veterinary Task Force to Advance Spay-Neuter. Special report: The Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ 2016 veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. JAVMA. 2016;249(2):165-188.

  2. American Association of Feline Practitioners. AAFP Position statement: Early spay and castration. AAFP website. http://www.catvets.com/public/PDFs/PositionStatements/EarlySpay&Neuter.pdf. Accessed April 28, 2017.

  3. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/spayneuter-your-pet

  4. Hoffman JM, Creevy KE, Promislow DEL. Reproductive capability is associated with lifespan and cause of death in companion dogs. PLOS One. 2013;8(4):e61082.