Sterilisation of dogs and cats is the only hope we have of contributing to the ever increasing problem of pet overpopulation in our country. The fewer new puppies and kittens we allow to be produced, the more chance the thousands of homeless ones have of being adopted from welfare shelters.
Common questions asked by clients:
“isn’t it cruel?”
“wont my female get fat?”
“wont it change my male’s personality?”
“why is it so expensive?”
Fiction: “Its just a quick procedure, the vet must be able to do it cheaper”
Fact: Veterinarians tend to charge out sterilisation at a very low profit margin to make the procedure as affordable as possible for clients. The sterilisation protocol starts off with a thorough pre-surgical examination to ensure the animal is fit for general anaesthetic. This is followed by premedication and then induction with a short acting anaesthetic. The animal is then intubated so that anaesthesia can be maintained by a mixture of oxygen and anaesthetic gas. The animal is then prepped for theatre by the veterinary assistant while the veterinarian scrubs for surgery. The assistant shaves the surgical site, expresses the bladder and disinfects the surgical site. He/she also sets out the sterile surgical pack and sets up the rest of the theatre for the veterinarian. During the procedure the breathing, heart rate and depth of anaesthesia of the animal are monitored closely by the veterinary assistant. The surgical time required to remove the uterus and ovaries in the female animal is longer than the time needed to remove the testicles in a male animal. This accounts for the price difference in sterilising males vs females. Cats generally have less intra-abdominal fat, require a smaller dosage of drugs and take less surgical time. This accounts for the difference in cost between sterilisation of cats vs dogs.
Fiction: “It is cruel. Females should be allowed to have at least one litter.”
Fact: No animal has the cognitive ability to miss something they have not experienced. There has been no behavioural research that supports the belief that a female is calmer or more content after having a litter.
Sterilising a female before her first heat cycle saves her from the risk of mammary tumours. [note that sterilisation later on in life does not provide this same benefit]. Early spaying prevents the occurrence of uterine infection (pyometra). This is a condition that an intact female is at risk of contracting every time she comes into oestrus (on heat) and is not mated. It is an emergency situation that requires immediate hospitalisation and sterilisation.
Fiction: “Neutering a male will make him less protective.”
Fact: Removing the influence of testosterone at the correct age will in no way affect the male’s innate personality. It will help to decrease interdog aggression as well as dominance aggression towards owners but will not alter the animal’s natural territorial protection instincts. A pets’ genetic make up, early socialisation, training and home environment remain the key factors that influence an animal’s personality. Castrating your male will remove the urge to roam and find other females (which in turn decreases his chance of being run over or attacked by other roaming males). Castration removes the possibility of prostatic and testicular diseases such as cancer, hyperplasia and abscesses (all common health risks in mature intact males).
Fiction: “Sterilised animals become fat and lazy.”
Fact: Many neutered/spayed pets become overweight as a result of hormonal changes and a quieter lifestyle but this is as a result of a simple maths equation: Calories consumed exceed Calories used. Monitor your pets’ body condition and if you suspect that he/she is putting on weight a) remove table scraps from the diet as these are often high in fat and calories b) increase the exercise your pet gets c) decrease the amount of pet food offered or change to a low calorie/weight management brand of pet food.
If you are still not convinced then please be responsible. Make sure that your intact pet is not able to add to the population of pets that end up homeless or euthenased in our shelters. If you do decide to breed then make sure you educate yourself fully before hand on the costs, health issues, complications and time requirements – your veterinarian will be able to provide you with all the information you will require.
Our advise is – unless you are a dedicated breeder, take the cheaper, healthier, practical, easier and responsible route of sterilising your pets.