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Spaying and Neutering

This is a subject I'd rather not talk about.  Mom just carried me to the vet to have me neutered.  I'm glad she didn't tell me about it before we went.  It sounds worse that it actually was.  She said it was necessary but I don't see why.  She took me early one morning and brought me home that night.  I understand that most dogs stay overnight but Mom wanted me home with her.  After I show you a picture of my vet I'll let her tell you why she thinks it was necessary.  Myself - I'm not sure about that but maybe what she has to say can explain it.

Many people ask why they should spay or neuter their pet - particularly if it is purebred.  Our local Humane Society's newsletter listed 7 good reasons:

  1. PET OVERPOPULATION ENDS IN EUTHANASIA.  Even if you find homes for your litter, you've taken away potential homes from other pets that need them.  Pet overpopulation happens one litter at a time.

  2. PUREBREDS ARE HOMELESS, TOO.  Many people think they have to go to a breeder or pet store, or breed their own purebred animal, to get a purebred pet.  Not true!  One out of every four shelter dogs is a purebred.

  3. YOU CAN'T CLONE YOUR PET.  It is completely impossible to breed a carbon copy of that special dog or cat that you love so much.  Coloration and markings are easier to obtain than personality.  Each pet is unique.

  4. GOOD BREEDING IS HARD and a complicated process involving bloodlines, genetic defects, and health risks. A pedigree does not guarantee good health or temperament.

  5. A LITTER IS A HANDFUL.  Puppies and kittens are cute, lovable, and require a great deal of time and energy for a full two-three months before they are old enough to be separated from the mother.

  6. A LITTER IS EXPENSIVE.  Even professional breeders are lucky if they break even financially.  Done "right," a litter requires not only special food, but vet exams and vaccinations.

  7. A LITTER NEEDS GOOD HOMES.  "Free to Good Home" in the newspaper or yard sign usually means "free to anybody who'll take it."  Without proper screening, your young pup could end up with a dogfighter, a collector, used for sacrifice, or sold for research.  

As a responsible pet parent, one of your most important tasks if making sure your pet doesn't itself become a parent.  The reason is simple.  There are already millions more dogs and cats than there are good homes for pets.   Each year as many as eight million healthy cats and dogs are put to death - or euthanized because shelters can't find homes for them.  Millions more are abandoned and left to fend for themselves.  

It is imperative that as a responsible pet owner you prevent the birth of more puppies and kittens.  That's where spaying and neutering enter the picture.  Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) are simple, low-risk surgeries that prevent a pet from reproducing.  Often a fee reduction is available if you contact your vet or local animal shelter or humane society and inquire about it.  

However, if you're not worried about the world's pet overpopulation.... let's look at some personal benefits of spaying and neutering.

A quick word about when to spay or neuter.  Years ago, vets recommended that cats and dogs have a litter before being altered.  Now with better technology and a greater understanding of animal biology, veterinary experts endorse "early spay/neuter" at an age as young as eight weeks.

If you need help in finding an affordable spay/neuter program or clinic in your area call SPAY/USA, a program offered by  Pet Savers Foundation, at 1-800-248-SPAY. They'll help you do your part to control pet overpopulation.

------Excerpts from an article by Esther R. Mechler, director of the SPAY/USA program.


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Updated Dec. 6, 2001