Myth Buster: Neutering
Sep 17, 2016
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying or neutering your pets is one of the most important things you can do to help reduce the number of homeless pets that come into shelters. However there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding neutering. We’re going to bust some of those myths.
- It’s best for females to have one litter before they are spayed. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that the mother animal will benefit physically or emotionally from having a litter. Animals don’t experience broodiness and so won’t “feel empty” if they don’t have a litter. Furthermore, spaying can prevent potentially fatal illnesses such as pyometra (a womb infection) and certain cancers. Pregnancies and giving birth, although they are natural, can have serious complications and even death of the mother and babies.
- Neutering will emasculate my pet. Animals don’t have an emotional attachment to their organs and so removing their testicles will not have a negative effect on them psychologically. In fact neutering can be beneficial for them as it reduces the chance of getting certain types of cancer, can reduce their desire to roam (so they are less likely to go missing or getting injured in the process) and can reduce some aggressive behaviours. The reduction of aggressive behaviour can also reduce the chance of cats getting FIV (similar to human HIV, although FIV cannot be caught be humans) which is spread mainly through bites.
- Spaying or neutering will drastically change the behaviour of my pet. Whilst spaying and neutering can reduce some undesirable behaviours (such as aggression and roaming) sex hormones have very little effect on the fundamental parts of your pets personality. For example, having a kitten or puppy neutered is not getting to instantly make them lose all of their energy and kittenish/puppyish behaviour.
- They won’t breed, they’re brother and sister. Animals don’t have the same sense of taboos as humans and so male and female siblings will breed with each other. In fact, it is not uncommon for breeders to allow related animals to have babies. Unfortunately this can lead to serious genetic problems with the babies. They can also have babies from a very young age so it’s important that they are spayed and neutered as soon as the vet says it’s appropriate.
- I don’t need to have my pet spayed or neutered because they’re always with me or inside the house. Unfortunately as hard as you try it is very difficult to keep your cat inside at all times and to keep your dog with you and on a lead at all times. Sex hormones in unsprayed/unneutered animals make them want to roam and find a mate so they are more likely to try and escape. This can lead to pets going missing or getting injured in the pursuit of a mate. Furthermore the spaying and neutering can reduce the risk of contracting numerous illnesses such as various cancers, womb infections and FIV (in cats).
- If I get my pet spayed or neutered will make my pet fat. There is a problem in Britain with pet obesity, however this is mostly due to people overfeeding their pets and giving them inappropriate treats. Most adult pet food is aimed at neutered animals and will state how much a neutered pet needs on a daily basis. However, just like with humans individual requirements vary and should be adjusted according to each animal’s requirements. Sudden weight gain or weight loss can be linked to certain illnesses so it is important to talk to your vet if you have any concerns.
- It doesn’t matter if my pet has babies because I will be able to find good homes for all of them. You may be able to successfully find loving home for the litter your pet has, but unfortunately there is already an overpopulation crisis and taking in an animal that has been deliberately bred means one less home for an adopted animal.
- It’s too expensive to get my animal spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering is one of the cheapest procedures available for animals, there are also vouchers available for pet owners on limited incomes from a variety of organisations (including the RSPCA). In contrast to the cost of keeping your animal healthy during pregnancy, whilst giving birth and once the babies are born, neutering is definitely cheaper. Even if you manage to avoid your animal getting pregnant, you run the risk of them contracting numerous health issues which are both costly, painful and potentially life threatening.
If you need more information regarding spaying and neutering please look at the RSPCA website http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/general/neutering or speak to your vet. Neutering vouchers are also available for those on low incomes in the Derby & District area from the Abbey Street Rehoming centre.
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