SPAY AND NEUTERING
To spay or not to spay? To neuter or not to neuter? Except in very rare situations, those should not be the questions when you adopt a puppy or kitten.
Think of it this way. By spaying and neutering your dog or cat, you can help improve a world that is sadly overpopulated with unwanted dogs and cats.
“Many people love their dog or cat so much that they think it’s a great idea to have litters. But there is no guarantee that they will get another dog or cat just like the one they love so much. Puppies and kittens, like our own kids have their own personalities,” said Dr. Jean Heyt.
So what happens to those offspring of beloved dogs and cats? “Each year, 3 million dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters,” Dr. Jean said. “Even purebreds find their way into shelters where there simply are not enough good homes to adopt all of them.”
There are some myths associated with spaying (for a female) and neutering (for a male). Among them is that your pet will get fat and lazy or your dog won’t be protective of your family and home. “The truth is that dogs and cats get fat and lazy if you overfeed them and they don’t get enough exercise. It sounds a bit like most of us pet lovers who battle weight our entire lives,” she said.
Also, spaying and neutering has nothing to do with a dog’s natural instinct to protect your home and family. That behavior comes from genetics and environment, not sex hormones. “Your dog or cat will not be less manly because of neutering. That characteristic is not being affected by neutering,” Dr. Jean said.
Also, there is no truth to the notion that you should wait to spay a dog or cat until after the first litter. When females are spayed before their first heat, they are healthier and, frankly, easier to live with than a dog or cat in heat. Dogs spayed before their first cycle have a lower chance of developing breast cancer.
Even if you think your pet is pretty special – as most of us do – there are still too many dogs and cats. And it is much harder to find good homes for the puppies and kittens as cute as they may be. “You can ask the Coulee Region Humane Society about that,” according to Dr. Jean.
Thompson Animal Medical Center recommends spaying and neutering any time after six months, although it can be done earlier at times. You may be surprised by how early some females can become pregnant. The spaying or neutering operation is performed while your pet is under general anesthesia. Depending on your pet's age, size and health, he or she will stay for a few hours or a few days. Spaying and neutering is a one-time cost. When compared with the cost of veterinary bills and food for a litter of puppies or kittens that you may or may not be able to place, it is a bargain. “Even more important,” Dr. Jean said, “it is important for the health of your pet."
Caring for your pet during surgery
No routine surgery is treated as routine at Thompson Animal Medical Center. That means special care is taken for the safety of all of our patients during their surgery and after.
Equipment monitors blood pressure, heart rate and function and oxygen levels. IV fluids are provided during most surgeries.
We always have at least one veterinary technician in the operating room carefully watching the patient and charting his or her vital signs during the operation. This safeguard is very a important priority for us.
Whether the surgery is spaying, neutering or something more serious, the bottom line is that we do not fear anesthesia, but we do have respect for anesthesia. That’s why we are so dedicated to safety. The monitors in conjunction with a highly trained staff should provide peace of mind for every pet parent.
“We take care of your dog or cat as our own”, said certified veterinary technician Meghan Gaul. “That’s why I provide monitoring in the operating room while our doctors are performing surgery. We’re also there during the recovery period.”