Debunking myths about spaying and neutering
Companion animal overpopulation poses a considerable problem. The Humane Society of the United States says about 2.4 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs are euthanized in American animal shelters each year- about one every 13 seconds. Many of these animals are the offspring of beloved pets or stray cats and dogs who reproduce unchecked.
One of the easiest solutions to the pet overpopulation problem is to have pets spayed or neutered. Another solution is for prospective pet owners to adopt pets from a nearby animal shelter — one that handles spaying and neutering for their adoptable animals.
Many pet owners are hesitant to have their animals spayed or neutered. That hesitation may stem from some prevailing myths surrounding spaying or neutering.
Myth: You can use neutering or spaying interchangeably to describe the sterilization process.
Fact: Neutering is associated with male pets and the removal of the testicles. Spaying is for female pets and involves the removal of both the ovaries and uterus.
Myth: Recovery from spaying and neutering takes a long time.
Fact: Many veterinarians and animal clinics allow pet owners to bring their pets home on the same day the animal is spayed or neutered. Pets are usually fully recovered within a week of having the surgery.
Myth: Removing reproductive organs will make my pet get fat and lazy.
Fact: Weight gain is not a byproduct of spaying and neutering. Pet weight gain is typically linked to an unhealthy diet and inadequate exercise.
Myth: My pet's personality will change for the worse.
Fact: Pet behavior may improve after the animal is spayed or neutered. Males tend to be less aggressive, and females won't howl, cry or pace when they're in heat. Also, your pet actually may stick closer to home because the desire to find a mate has been reduced.
Myth: It's adviseable to spay a female pet after she has at least one litter.
Fact: Many veterinarians stand by medical evidence that suggests females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier than those who aren't.
Myth: It is expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered.
Fact: Subsidized voucher programs as well as low-cost spay/neuter clinics can help make the procedure affordable.
Myth: The sterilization procedure is painful for my pet.
Fact: The surgery is done under general anesthesia, and the pet will not feel anything. Discomfort after the surgery is usually mild, and a vet can prescribe a post-operative pain medication if your pet seems to have any lingering discomfort.
Myth: If I keep my pet intact, I can have a puppy or a kitten just like him or her one day.
Fact: The offspring of a pet is not guaranteed to be a duplicate in looks or personality to your existing pet. In addition, at a later point in life, you may find your schedule or ability to care for a young pet has changed.
Pet overpopulation is a considerable problem with wide-ranging consequences. Pet owners should speak with their pets' veterinarians about spaying and neutering.