FAQs about Spaying and Neutering
It is estimated that in order to give every cat and dog in the U.S. a home, each and every person would have to own 7 pets. For example, a family of four would have to have 28 cats and dogs. We don’t know many people willing to do that!
As a result, every year millions of cats and dogs must be put to sleep at animal shelters simply because no one wants them. There is only one way to reduce the pet overpopulation problem and avoid millions more euthanasias: spay or neuter your pet.
So why do people still allow their pets to have litters? Below are some of the reasons we regularly hear:
“I don’t have enough money.”
MCSPCA offers a low-cost surgery program for anyone to spay or neuter a cat. This program is open to everyone, regardless of the county in which they reside, and is not income-dependent.
The $90 fee includes:
- Transportation of the cat between MCSPCA Animal Shelter and the vet’s office
- Spaying or Neutering
- Veterinarian Examination & medical record of health condition
- 1 year Rabies Vaccination (cats over 3 months old)
- 24 hour Capstar flea treatment
- Nail Clipping
- If ear mites, ear cleaning and treatment
- Feral cats will have an ear notched for identification
Optional Services: $25 for FeLV/FIV test, $10 for first distemper vaccination, $10 for 30-day flea treatment, $10 for Drontal deworming treatment
Pre-register at the MCSPCA Animal Shelter during open hours. Montgomery County residency is not required. At this time you will sign applicable forms and pay fees. Cash preferred, money orders are also accepted. No checks accepted. You will be scheduled for the next available Monday.
“It’s healthier for my cat to have a litter before being spayed.”
False! Going through heat actually increases a pet’s chances of developing mammary cancer, uterine or ovarian infections. Spaying eliminates these infections and reduces the risk of cancer. Neutering reduces the risk of cancer in males.
“My pet’s personality will change.”
True! It will change for the better! Spaying and neutering helps prevent a cat or dog from developing aggressive, erratic behavior due to territorial instincts or the drive to reproduce. They’ll be less inclined to run away and roam the neighborhood, too. Neutering your male cat before he matures will keep him from marking his indoor territory by “spraying.”
“My pet will get fat and lazy.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Spaying or neutering is not the reason pets gain weight. It’s too much food and too little exercise. A cat’s metabolism slows down as they age, just like humans. Their diet must be adjusted to compensate for this.
“Spaying and neutering is ‘unnatural.'”
Domestic cats are so far removed from their wild ancestors there is no need for them to reproduce to preserve the species; there are too many already!
“My dog/cat won’t feel like a male/female.”
False! Animals are ruled by instinct and hormones, not psychology. Spaying or neutering them will not affect their “self-image.”
Benefits and Best Practices of Pediatric Spay/Neuter
Broadly speaking, pediatric neutering refers to the surgical sterilization of both male and female dogs and cats under the traditional age of 6 months. It’s been the subject of ongoing debate among veterinarians over the years, with the greatest concern usually reserved for surgeries performed on puppies and kittens who are 6-8 weeks of age or under 2 pounds.
Research, however, reveals the many benefits of pediatric spay/neuter and lays many of the fears to rest. Keep reading for a comprehensive overview and explanation of best practices by the ASPCA’s Dr. Lila Miller, DVM, Vice President of Shelter Medicine.
Benefits of Pediatric Spay/Neuter
•Veterinarians who are familiar with the surgery and anesthesia agree that pediatric surgery is much less physiologically stressful for younger patients..
•Animals should be fasted for only 2-4 hours in order to prevent them from developing hypoglycemia, and this can be an advantage for clients who may forget to withhold food for several hours prior to surgery. (Many surgeons still recommend an overnight fast for adult dogs, although this practice is also falling out of favor.)
•Animals are awake and ambulatory usually within an hour of completion of the surgery, so they can be fed a small meal and then sent home the same day, avoiding an overnight stay in the hospital.
•Experienced veterinarians report that the surgery is faster, easier, and less stressful on both the patient and surgeon.
•There are fewer perioperative complications associated with pediatric neutering.
•Spaying a female before her first estrus has a strong protective effect against development of mammary gland neoplasia later in life.
•Pediatric surgery is less expensive because of the use of fewer materials, and because less staff time is needed for surgery and pre- and post-operative prep and monitoring.
• If the procedure is performed or scheduled when the last vaccination is given at 3 to 4 months of age, the veterinarian does not have to worry about the client forgetting to return, or shopping around and going elsewhere for the surgery. It can be included as part of a kitten/puppy care package of vaccinations, deworming and neutering. The unintentional delay in neutering
pets is often responsible for the production of accidental litters that end up at shelters.
•Embracing the concept of “one health” that promotes the link between animal and human health and welfare requires veterinary participation in solving community problems. Studies have shown that intact animals are much more likely to be relinquished to shelters than neutered ones. Pediatric neutering is an essential component of a comprehensive community strategy to end the euthanasia of unwanted companion animals in the United States.
•The best strategy includes education about responsible pet ownership, increased efforts to improve adoptions, counseling to keep animals with behavior problems in their homes, and the prevention of births of unwanted animals. Surgical sterilization is one part of the solution that only veterinarians can provide.