What is Spaying/Neutering?
Spaying or neutering is often refered to as "fixing" or "desexing" an animal. "Spaying" is the term for the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus in a female animal. "Neutering" can also refer to a female but is usually interpreted as referencing a male. Neutering is the term for the surgical removal of the testicles in a male animal. Spaying or neutering your pet is a very safe procedure.
Why Spay or Neuter my Pet?
Spaying and neutering can be beneficial to your pet, you and the community:
Pet: Animals that are spayed or neutered at the correct age are at an 85% lower risk for many diseases, certain types of cancers and other serious health complications. Many studies have also shown that spayed or neutered pets live longer.
You: Fixed pets are less likely to mark or spray urine and are also less likely to bite, roam or get into fights; saving your floors, furniture and wallet. Additionally, females in heat can attract males from all around, cry incessantly, and occasionally smell. Having your pet spayed eliminates the heat cycle.
Community: Spaying and neutering at the correct age is one part of an entire program that can help solve Guam’s “Boonie” dog problem. Education, preferably starting in elementary school, is the single most effective part of this program. Enforcing leash laws is the second part of the program and must be combined with education. Without education and the enforcement of leash laws, spaying and neutering as a method of dog/cat overpopulation cannot succeed.
The scientifically proven Epidemiological principle states that unless 75% - 80% of a biological problem is effectivly dealt with, almost nothing will be accomplished. Not all dogs in a pack are breeding, and if you desex less than 75% - 80% of them, others just take their place in the breeding procedure. It has even been put forth that unless you achieve a desexing rate of 75% - 80%, you will not have changed the pet population by even one animal. You can see the proof in Guam, as the Boonie dog problem is consistently getting worse, despite spay/neuter campaigns. This is also because education and leash laws have not been addressed.
Common Myths About Spaying or Neutering an Animal:
Myth: My pet will get fat and lazy.
Fact: Spaying or neutering does not make pets fat or lazy. The truth is that pets get fat and lazy because they are fed too much and do not get enough exercise.
Myth: It is better to have one litter first.
Fact: Medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat cycle are typically healthier. Every time a female pet goes through a heat cycle she is at an increased risk for breast cancer and uterine infections.
Myth: When my pet has a litter I will find good homes for all of them.
Fact: You may find homes for all your pet's puppies or kittens but there are already puppies and kittens being euthanized in shelters every week. Further, you have no way to guarantee that those animals will not have babies of their own when they are older. Allowing your pet to breed can contribute to the problem.
Myth: My male pet will feel like less of a male.
Fact: Pets do not have any concept of masculinity. Neutering your male pet will not cause him to suffer any kind of emotional identity crisis, nor will it change his basic personality. Your pet may be healthier and a better companion.
Myth: My pet is just so special and I want the puppies/kittens to be just like them.
Fact: Genetics are not an exact science and even professional breeders cannot guarantee how a litter will develop. Our children may be similar to us but they are not the same as us. Those who breed attempting to have a pet just like the one they already have, are in for a big disappointment. You're correct that your pet is special, and there will never be another like him/her.
Myth: It's good for my children to witness the miracle of birth.
Fact: Even if children are able to see a pet give birth, the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life, and pets are not simply disposable creatures. Most veterinarians have noticed that one of the easiest ways to convince pet owners to spay/neuter is, if they insist, to let them have a litter. The "miracle" is frequently not a pleasant one. So if you want your children to witness the miracle of birth, please visit a local rancher.
Myth: My dog will no longer be a protective watch dog.
Fact: Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog's natural instinct to protect its home and family. A dog's temperament is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.
Myth: It is healthy or ethical to spay or neuter when my pet is young.
Fact: Modern veterinary research has proven that spaying/neutering pets before six months of age absolutely interferes with healthy development. Dogs and cats need their hormones to complete their development properly. If dogs are spayed/neutered at less than 6-9 months of age (cats at less than 4-5 months - especially female cats), the list of side effects is very extensive. For dogs there is an increase in hip dysplasia, skin cancer, bone cancer, mast cell tumors, urinary/fecal incontinence, hormone disorders, developmental disorders, torn knee ligaments and more. For cats, the urethra becomes thinner resulting in severe urinary blockages, extreme obesity, increases in the rates of several cancers, urinary/fecal incontinence, behavior/hormone disorders and more.