MAKING THE DECISION TO HAVE YOUR PET SPAYED OR NEUTERED
- Of course, all types of accidents can and do happen but there are no excuses for any unplanned litters.
- The most obvious reasons when choosing to have a pet altered is for birth control, hoping to avoid the work involved with raising a litter or for not wanting to contribute to the pet overpopulation problem.
- We strongly urge everyone to at least consider having their pet “fixed” but to thoroughly research all the pros and cons first. Everyone needs to do a lot of research and to educate our self, before making the decision to spay or neuter. Then, after we are familiar with many of the pros and cons of spaying and neutering, we will be in a better position tor decide what is best for ourselves and our pet - it is a very personal choice.
- It is not just for cats and dogs anymore! Nowadays almost any species of animal can be spayed/neutered, therefore if pets are cared for properly, there is no reason for an unplanned litter.
Spaying and neutering are a very personal choice but
unwanted litters do not make much sense.
Of course, we all need to be diligent by not allowing a pet to reproduce indiscriminately. Whenever there is even a slight chance that 2 fertile animals of opposite sexes, encounter each other, there is always a high likelihood / chance that they will mate, resulting in an accidental and unplanned pregnancy. While in nature, reproduction may be totally natural, but in captivity, whenever our pets have unplanned litters, these litters are almost always a result of the lack of responsibility on behalf of the pet owner. We pet owners, need to hold ourselves accountable for our pets and we need to accept all responsibility for them. Therefore, if we feel that we can't control or avoid early breeding or prevent our animals from escaping and having chance encounters that could result in pregnancy or we cannot make sure that all pets are under control at all times and never allow two animals that are not sterilized be together,
then perhaps choosing to spay and neuter before this can happen, is the wisest choice.
Choosing to have our pets spayed or neutered is a choice the we humans usually decide to have performed on our pets, to make our life with our pet just a little easier and while it does leave some of us feeling good about our self because we helped a little, by not contributing to the pet overpopulation problem, often we fail to consider what the pet needs to go through during the surgery and the long-term side-effects that the pet may need to endure, later in life.
Surgical sterilization (spaying and neutering) is certainly the most well-know and the most popular choice for people who are looking for the quickest fix that will prevent their pets from reproducing, but there are also several other alternatives available that can prevent fertilization (pregnancy). While spaying and neutering may be considered as a common surgery, it is important to also realize that this is a major surgery and therefore there are risks involved when we decide to have any type of major surgery performed on any animal. Some surgeries such as spaying and neutering are considered routine, but routine should never be confused to mean safe. Routine only means that they are done more often but it does not mean that they are not risky.
(Although it is also a major surgery, Spaying and Neutering dogs and cats is routine, surgery done on small exotics pets is still not quite as routine for most vets. It is becoming more available but for now, we suggest that unless there is a truly specific health emergency then it is probably best to avoid requesting to have an type of elective surgeries, such as spaying and neutering done on a small pet, especially one you have a strong bond with).
Modern science has evidence showing that spaying and neutering is not without it's drawbacks. While most Veterinarians agree that the issue of pet overpopulation needs to be addressed, they are also noticing an increase of other health problems, including mental health/behavior issues and cancers that often develop later in life and that some of these problems can be directly linked to spaying and neutering. While surgical sterilization will certainly stop reproduction, more and more veterinarians are now starting to suggest alternative ways that can also help to control breeding.
The science behind the sterilization options, is making huge advancements, thus the standard "one size fits all" philosophy pertaining to surgical sterilization, is no longer the only solution to prevent unwanted litters.
Questioning whether Sterilization Decreases some Cancers
Some people including veterinarians randomly suggest and promote neutering/spaying as one of the many ways that might prevent reproductive cancers?
I am not sure what motivates people to even suggest that surgery be done to remove body parts when there is no health issue. I feel that unless there is evidence of an pre-existing health problem then I am not on board with this philosophy... (example: I don't have dental issues so, if a dentist suggested that if I were to consider getting all my teeth pulled, so that I might not have to worry about tooth decay; which is one thing known to lead to serious heart problems…possibly even a heart attack. What would you do? ... I know I would certainly be looking for another dentist!)!
To me preventative care includes good healthy nutrition, proper husbandry, lots of rest, regular exercise, ongoing socialization and companionship. Therefore, without strong evidence that surgery is the only option to fix a problem then preventative care certainly should not include the removal of body parts!
Obviously, surgical removable of the reproductive parts certainly decreases (may in some cases eliminate) the likelihood of some of the many types of reproductive cancers that could happen, later in life, there is no guarantee that the animal will still not l get some of these cancers and other types of cancer. In some cases, sterilization may even increase the chances and the likelihood of a pet developing other different specific types cancers.
All cancers are a very complex form of disease and besides healthy lifestyle choices which may help, to date there are no known, guarantees, or quick fixes that can prevent them.
Changes in hormone levels also increase the risk of developing other types of cancers. (osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, etc.)
Immediately following the extraction of the reproductive organs, the natural balance of hormones (estrogen or testosterone) will be out of sync and may require replacement therapy. Without a lifetime commitment to hormone therapy the balance will never return to normal. The variations in hormone levels can cause changes within the body which can increase the likelihood of other diseases such as inflammatory disease, Cushing’s disease, auto immune diseases, acromegaly (grow too large), thyroid diseases, etc. and hormone imbalance can cause behavioral changes such as laziness (which may lead to obesity), dominance and territorial marking or aggressive tendencies.
Of course we can not blame spay or neuter for all disease but after learning that some preventative therapies are not always what they are made out to be, I would certainly ask myself before putting my pet through any procedure that removes body parts because I am only hoping to prevent one type of reproductive cancer or disease is worth the risks? or May I be unintentionally be trading the likelihood of one disease in exchange for another?
While it is likely and perhaps, even highly probable that like everything, as animals age they may get at least one type of cancer or another serious disease, but the good news is that now many of these illnesses can be treated.