Why we should spay and neuter animals
Why we should spay and neuter animals
The surgical alteration of an animal’s reproductive system has been assigned many names. The most common are spaying and neutering. Spaying involves the removal of the uterus and ovaries from the female animal; this is achieved by performing surgical operations like the popular laparoscopic surgery. Neutering involves the removal of both testicles from the male animal. The exact word for this procedure is castration. Male animals however enjoy a more lenient option for this procedure as an injection option is available. Chemical castration involves injecting the testes with calcium chloride dehydrate as a non surgical form of castration that yields results within a month. These two procedures are commonly done on pets. The existing phenomenon of pet keeping has generated the essence of formulating mechanisms of co-existence between humans and animals kept as pets. Cats and dogs form the majority of the desired and kept pets although other animals like birds have also become popular pets. While these procedures maybe performed on other livestock like horses they are predominantly done on animals that are considered close to humans as companions (Perrin, 2009). Due to the closely knit attachments formed between pets and their owners, heavy debate has been engaged on the issue of spaying and neutering with some arguing for and others against the practice. An objective look at the practice reveals legitimate advantages and disadvantages to encourage and discourage the practice in un-proportionate measures.
Research on pets reveal that while some people keep pets to teach their children the lesson of responsibility by taking care of a pet the main reasons for keeping pets are because they are cute and for companionship. However, a worrying fact on pet keeping has emerged; overpopulation of pets. In the United States for example the population of pets is very high such that for humane and well being of these pets every person even the children have to adopt seven pets. This situation has compelled most pro-animal rights foundations in the United States to advocate for spaying and Neutering of pets to stagnate further procreation of these pets especially for dogs and cats (Lord et al, 2006). This is informed by the impossibility that arises in handling these abandoned pets in rescue centers’ as not every person adopts a pet with those that adopt having a preference of one or two pets per household. The rest of the animals end up abandoned and die due to starvation, injuries road crashes or in illegitimate animal control facilities. The point of overpopulation however does not resonate well with pet owners to encourage them to perform spaying and neutering. Other health and behavioral advantages may encourage the practice.
Research has proven health benefits that are realized by pets after spaying and neutering. Male animals are encouraged to be neutered after one year and female animals are recommended to be spayed before their first heat cycle. If the operations are done at the opportune time the animals are granted the opportunity to live longer. Male animals that have been neutered have a reduced prostrate gland which has a proven ability to reduce bacterial infections in females and especially in female dogs the process of spaying before the first heat cycle eliminates the possibility of ovarian cancer and most of all complications associated with giving birth. In male animals testicular cancer possibilities are also eliminated. Given the fact that most pet keepers have a preference of keeping a maximum of two pets, spaying and neutering eliminates the possibility of contracting unwanted pet pregnancies (Looney et al, 2008).
Furthermore, spaying and neutering eliminates the contraction of bacterial uterine infections in animals. An animal’s possibility of attracting bacterial infection in increased with great proportion by mating. Given the fact that bacterial infections have a higher percentage of causing death in pets, these procedures drastically reduces that possibility thus contributing to longevity of the life of the pet. The heat cycles in animals and the constant urges to mate create hormonal imbalances in the animals more often than not cause kidney failure in animals. Spaying and neutering eliminates this possibility making it a health plus for a pet. Despite ensuring a reduction in the population of pet animals, these practices ensure the general healthier wellbeing of a pet as a matter of fact survey done on animals that undergo these procedures in comparison to those that have not undergone the procedure reveal that the spayed and neutered animals enjoy a longer and healthier life than their counterparts that haven’t undergone the procedures. A common misconception attributed to these practices is that animals tend to develop obesity after being taken through the procedure. Research has proven a lack of correlation between spaying and neutering and obesity. The basic fact on pet obesity is overfeeding and under exercising of pets (Morris, Wolf & Gies, 2011). Despite the fact that spaying and neutering allows for better metabolism in animals, it does not in any way contribute to the obesity of a pet other than increasing the health of a pet by providing a better metabolism rate. All in all factual health benefits accrued to spaying and neutering do exist.
Although pet animals are adopted on the basis of their likeability, their behavioral characteristics enhance the bond between the pet animal and its care giver. One of the desired characteristics in a pet animal is the ability to train and retrain the pet animal. Studies have established that pet animals have undergone spaying and neutering are easy to train and instill discipline in comparison with their counterparts who have not undergone the process. Further to this pets behave calmer and less aggressive. A clear example to this is the fact that 95 percent of dog maulings are committed by intact dogs as spayed and neutered dogs have less perpetual states of frustration caused by heat or hormonal imbalances. Key to these behavioral changes is the elimination of embarrassing sexual behaviors. Most pet animals like dogs and cats have the behavior of marking sexual territories by urinating. Most pet owners reveal that one of the biggest challenge is containing messy heats and with specificity the constant urinating in the house (Bushby & Griffin, 2011). With spayed and neutered pet animals, these uncouth behaviors are eliminated. Other characteristics that pet owners find intolerable are the crying and yowling especially in cats while on heat and messy destructive tendencies. All these characteristics are eliminated by these procedures. It has also been established most pets get lost while on heat. Pet animals especially cats and dogs tend to move a lot thus get lost while looking for mates. With the elimination of sexual urges through spaying and neutering pets are less likely to get lost while looking for mates.
In the United States, the cost of collecting one stray animal is 100 dollars spaying and neutering only costs 40 dollars thus a reduction in population of the pet animals can actually reduce tax payers expenses as an added benefit. In a reduction to animal human conflict the control of animal reproduction is required for better cohabitation as more animals would be put in better habitats and good care givers. These are just but some of the other benefits that may accrue from spaying and neutering (Bushby & Griffin, 2011).
Established deterrents to spaying and neutering begin with the surgical process that is applied to ensure the success of the procedure. For most female animals, the ovaries have to be surgically removed. The risks associated with the procedure include death through bleeding and attraction of infections. The attachment held by the pet owners towards their pets makes them fear the risk of loosing them thus prefer not to risk going through the procedure. Although spaying and neutering appropriate periods have been established to be before the heat cycle and after one year respectively due to the emergence of new breeds has led for the alteration of these opportune times for this procedure. Other factors like laws have led to the practice of these procedures before at tender ages of these animals with varied results. In the United States for example the vet nary association left the decision of the opportune time for spaying and neutering to the discretion and best knowledge to the vet nary practitioner (Looney et al, 2008). This phenomenon leads to various complications during and after the procedures acting as a further deterrent to the practice (Lord et al, 2006).
Recent extensive studies have revealed various effects of spaying and neutering. Taking the example of the United States that has established significant benchmarks in Spaying and neutering with most of it vet nary officers performing the procedure to animals below the age of one year various adverse effects have been established. Looking at the healthy well being of pet animals, male pet animals with specific relation to dogs neutering has been strongly associated with oestesarcoma. Oestesarcoma is bone cancer and is common to various dog breeds and has a harder if not poor prognosis thus a death causing disease. Furthermore it increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosrcoma with an established 1.6 factor point, other studies also establish that it also triples the risk of hypothyroidism, quadruples the factor 0.6 percent that exists to the predisposal to prostrate cancer, increases the risk of orthopedic disorders and increases the adverse reactions to vaccinations (Perrin, 2009).
On the other hand, spaying also has established various adverse effects with specific reference to dogs studies have shown to cause; bone cancer increases with the same proportion as in neutering also triples the treat of hypothyroidism and increases the risk reaction to vaccines, increases the risk of virginal dermatitis and also doubles the one percent predisposal factor to urinary tract infections. These are just but few proven negative effects of spaying and neutering but form heavy and legitimate basis to discourage the practice (Perrin, 2009).
The recent research developments that are focused on health have established adverse effects of spaying and neutering (White et al, 2011). This progress has been made by the extensive interest by of pet owners to take more care of their pets in an effort to ensure a better and longer companionship. However, overpopulation of these pet animals also provide the dilemma of whether or not to spay or neuter with a new dynamic approach to the practice as some states have made the practice mandatory to curb overpopulation. Given that the strongest deterrent to the practice is health concern and that the practice is vital to maintain the long term manageable population of animals, a common ground exists on further research on how to reduce the negative effects but in the short term the established advantages triumph the disadvantages of spaying and neutering.
Bushby, P. A., & Griffin, B. (2011). An overview of pediatric spay and neuter benefits and techniques.
Looney, A. L. et al (2008). The Association of Shelter Veterinarians veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 233(1), 74-86.
Lord, L. K. et al (2006). Demographic trends for animal care and control agencies in Ohio from 1996 to 2004. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 229(1), 48-54.
Morris, K. N., Wolf, J. L., & Gies, D. L. (2011). Trends in intake and outcome data for animal shelters in Colorado, 2000 to 2007. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 238(3), 329-336.
Perrin, T. (2009). The Business of Urban Animals Survey: The facts and statistics on companion animals in Canada. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 50(1), 48.
White, C. R. et al (2011). Cutaneous MCTs: Associations with spay/neuter status, breed, body size, and phylogenetic cluster. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, 47(3), 210-216.