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Consider this: One pair of un-sterilized cats, together with
their offspring, can result in 420,000 kittens in 7 years.
One pair of un-sterilized dogs, with their offspring, can result in
4,372 puppies in 7 years. Statistics also show that only one
out of nine of these animals find a good home, leaving the rest to
suffer abandonment and/or euthanasia.
For years, pet owners have questioned whether or not spay or
neuter their pets. However, history and research show that there
are many pros to having your pets spayed or neutered.
Whether your pets are kept indoors or out, there are many health
and behavioral benefits associated with spaying and neutering, says
Dr. Lynn Ruoff, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM).
"Spaying and neutering pets results in fewer reproductive health
problems and makes the treatment of epilepsy, diabetes, and other
diseases much easier," notes Ruoff.
Ruoff adds, "Spayed pets will not develop pyometra, or pus in
the uterus, and they have a greatly decreased risk of developing
mammary gland tumors. Neutered pets are less likely to
develop testicular tumors or an enlarged prostate."
Another big benefit can be peace of mind - a spayed or neutered
pet is far less likely to leave the yard in search of other
"In both male and female pets, sterilization makes them far less
likely to roam, which tends to safeguard against injuries due to
fights and accidents," adds Ruoff. "Neutered males are less likely
to mark their territory by urinating in the house and will not be
inclined to wander off in search of a mate. Spayed females
are also less likely to wander and will not attract males who will
fight over a female in heat."
In addition, hunting, guarding, and other skills are actually
improved in spayed and neutered dogs because they are not
distracted by hormonal urges, Ruoff believes.
Pet owners concerned with the pain and cost of the actual
procedure can be put at ease by talking with their
Ruoff explains that spaying and neutering, while considered
major surgery and performed under general anesthesia, involve
little risk in young, healthy pets. In the past, it was
believed that puppies and kittens should not be spayed or neutered
until they were at least six months of age. However, recent
studies conclude that sterilization of pets as young as three
months of age does not increase the risks associated with surgery
or the number of long-term complications.
Animals also recover from these procedures much faster than one
might expect. Stitches are usually removed 10 days after the
surgery, until which time pet owners are advised to keep the
surgical area clean and to keep the animal calm. Most pets
recover within a week or less, often not requiring additional pain
If cost has been keeping you from having a pet spayed or
neutered, it is wise to consider the expenses associated with the
alternative. Without sterilization, you may find yourself
paying to treat pyometra, mammary gland tumors, prostatic
enlargement, or injuries caused by automobiles.
"You can't put a price tag on a family pet that becomes lost or
killed," adds Ruoff.
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