Sterilising a pet before she’s had her first litter may seem to some pet owners to be cruel but in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Spaying your pet not only stops her having babies, it also protects her against deadly diseases like cancer, feline HIV and leukaemia.
Unfortunately, there are still many pet owners who believe that their pets will feel some sort of ‘loss’ if they don’t have a litter of puppies or kittens. This is what’s called ‘anthropomorphising’, attributing human characteristics and emotions to pets.
Realistically, pets that are spayed and neutered have healthier, longer lives. Here’s why:
- Dogs that are spayed and neutered don’t wander the neighbourhood so their chances of being attacked by an angry neighbour or another dog is diminished
- Cats and dogs that get into fights can be seriously injured requiring expensive veterinary care
- Dogs and cats that wander the neighbourhood during mating season are at increased risk of being hit by cars or of becoming lost
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is becoming a bigger and bigger threat to our cats and even though it does not cause immediate death, it does lead to a shortening of life expectancy. The two main ways of transmitting the disease is through sex and fighting. By sterilisation you reduce the risk dramatically.
- Feline Leukaemia Virus (FELV) is a ‘friendly’ cat disease. The more cats you have in an area the more likely it is to spread. By sterilising you decrease the numbers of cats and make them less likely to wander and pick up the disease.
- By sterilising your cat, you decrease the incidence of uterine and mammary carcinoma (cancer). Unspayed cats are 3 times more likely to get mammary cancer than spayed cats.
- Spaying before a dog’s first heat or oestrous cycle will greatly reduce her risk for developing breast or mammary tumours compared to an intact bitch; early spaying is the best method for prevention of this form of cancer. If spaying is delayed until before the second heat or oestrous cycle the risk of developing breast or mammary tumours compared to intact bitches increases to 8 percent. If spaying is delayed until after the second heat or oestrous cycle, there is a 26 percent risk of developing breast or mammary tumours
- Unsterilised male cats mark their territory with urine due to hormones; this eventually becomes a habit and even neutering does not stop it. Making sure that your male cats are neutered early ensures that this habit does not develop.
Why is sterilising so costly?
Spaying and neutering is a complicated procedure that requires anaesthetic and constant monitoring by your veterinary surgeon. The highest level of care is applied when your pet is sterilised. What you pay for has a lot to do with putting your pet’s safety first when they undergo anaesthesia.
- Firstly your pet is given a full clinical examination by the vet on duty to ensure that it is healthy enough for the procedure and to try and identify any underlying problems.
- A tailor-made anaesthetic plan is developed for your pet to cater for its individual needs.
- A vet is present during every step of the anaesthetic, surgery and recovery.
- Your pet receives the same type of anaesthetic medication as humans do when they go for surgery.
- Your pet is monitored carefully by an assistant throughout the procedure.
- Your pet is placed on a drip during the procedure.
- Your vet has many years of training and experience ensuring that the sterilisation happens smoothly.
- Your pet gets absorbable stitches in the abdominal muscle layers and the skin. This is more comfortable for your pet in the long run, prevents infections and also minimises the risk of them pulling out or biting at the stitches themselves.