Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

February 23, 2014

02/23/2014 — Lee Ward: Destroying myths about spaying, neutering

ASHLAND — You wouldn’t call it a holiday, but World Spay Day, an annual campaign of The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, will be Tuesday. It’s the 20th anniversary of the observation that aims to reduce the number of unwanted animals and decrease the risk of diseases in pets.

Here are some spay/neuter facts from Northwest Spay & Neuter Center’s website, nwspayneuter.org:

‰“Spaying” is the term used for female animals and is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus.

‰“Neutering” is the term used for male animals and is the surgical removal of the testicles.

‰Pets that are spayed or neutered have up to an 85 percent lower risk of certain types of cancers and other serious health complications.

‰Animals that are fixed make better companions because they are not motivated to wander in search of a mate and they are less likely to have behaviorial problems such as marking; female dogs can avoid nervous and anxious behavior related to heat.

‰Spaying or neutering does not make pets fat or lazy. The truth is that pets get fat and lazy because they are fed too much and do not get enough exercise.

‰Females spayed before their first heat cycle are typically healthier. Every time a female pet goes through a heat cycle she is at an increased risk for breast cancer and uterine infections.

‰Even if you plan to find homes for any offspring of your pet, there is no guarantee that you will. There also is no guarantee owners of those new pets will be responsible with their offspring.

‰Pets do not have any concept of masculinity. Neutering your male pet will not cause him to suffer any kind of emotional identity crisis, nor will it change his basic personality. Pets do not have any concept of masculinity. Your pet will be healthier and a better companion.

‰One in four animals that enter shelters are purebred. Regardless of whether they are purebred, 50 percent of animals that enter into shelters are euthanized.

‰Genetics are not an exact science and even professional breeders cannot guarantee how a litter will develop. The overpopulation problem will continue to grow on the slim chance you might get another animal that is just like the parent.

‰Even if children are able to see a pet give birth, the lesson they will really learn is that animals can be created and discarded as it suits adults. Instead, it should be explained to children that the real miracle is life, and that preventing the birth of some pets can save the lives of others.

‰Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog’s natural instinct to protect its home and family. A dog’s temperament is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

‰Spaying and neutering is safe for young animals. There is no veterinary research that suggests spaying or neutering pets before six months of age interferes with healthy development.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.



 

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