Dr Billie Jo Chambers, Medical Director and Veterinarian, Crown Vet, Mumbai on why it is essential to neuter or castrate your pet
Whether you’ve recently adopted a pet or you’re considering it, one of the most important health decisions you’ll make is to spay or neuter your cat or dog. Most dog and cat owners, especially in India, often face a common dilemma – Should I neuter my pet or no?
Unless one practices as an ethical breeder, most vets advice pet parents to neuter their dog or cat for a number of reasons.
To begin with, spaying the female animal will prevent estrus and unwanted puppies.
Spaying, especially if performed on bitches under 18 months old, significantly reduces the risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer in dogs) , prevents pyometra, and eliminates tumours of the ovaries and uterus. There is a common misconception that spaying our female dogs makes them fat, this is not the case if you are feeding an appropriate diet and they are getting a suitable amount of exercise.
And for the boys, castration eliminates testicular cancer, reduces the risk of prostate disease, reduces the boy’s tendency to roam and reduces aggression.
Neutering is a day procedure, the girls will need up to a week of rest after the procedure, but the boys will bounce back quicker.
Spaying also helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats. Spaying your pet offers the best protection from these diseases.
Castrating males will help eliminate the reproduction potential (dog/ cat), reduce sexual activity, the tendency to roam and fight, eliminate general aggression, eliminate testicular cancer and will also help resolve diseases of the prostate gland. About 7% of intact males develop a testicular tumor. It seldom spreads and has a cure rate over 90%, but neutering prevents it entirely.
Though the surgery can be conducted at any stage of the animal’s life, typically, vets advice pet parents to conduct these surgeries before they turn two years old.
Half baked information off the internet has lead to a number of concerns and misbeliefs among pet owners globally.
Here are a few myths and facts that pet parents must keep in mind while making a decision:
Myth: Spaying or neutering can result in undesirable changes, including laziness, obesity, and more.
Fact: Most animals become fat and lazy, simply because they are fed too much and don’t get enough exercise.
Myth: Neutering a male will make him feel less “manly” – less of a male.
Fact: While it’s understandable for people to process a neutering this way, the fact is that animals usually don’t have the same sense of sexual identity as we do.
Myth: I have to wait until my pet is six months old to be sterilized.
Fact: The American Veterinary Medical Association endorses “Early Age Neutering,” which means an animal can be spayed or neutered at the age of two months – or the weight of two pounds.
Myth: Spay and neuter surgeries are risky
Fact: If you go to an experienced vet, spays and neuters are some of the safest surgeries they can have, considering those surgeries are done so often. While there are always risks with any surgery, with sterilisation, the risk of complication is very low.
Interesting Read: The Little Things That Separate and Unite Cat Owners vs Dog Owners