Well, this topic is sure to be a real discussion starter!
When I was a veterinary technician in the Army, it wasn’t long before I was advising my clients to spay and neuter their dogs and cats.
I started telling them, “Neutering your dog will reduce the chances of him wandering off and getting hit by a car.” I added, “It will also reduce the chances of prostate cancer.”
If they had a female dog, I’d encourage them, “Spaying your dog will prevent unwanted pregnancies. An intact male can detect a female in heat for up to 10 miles. Spaying her will also reduce the risk of pyometra and mammary cancer.”
A few years ago, I read a book that changed my mind. I was persuaded by medical research to rescind my position on spaying and neutering.
Should all pets be spayed or neutered? No.
Should some pets be spayed or neutered? Yes.
But who gets to decide which animals should or should not be spayed or neutered?
It depends on who you ask.
Ask traditional veterinarians, and they will likely list the reasons I used to tell my clients.
Ask holistic veterinarians, and you’ll discover how important the hormone producing gonads are to the overall health and longevity of your animal. You’ll also discover how spaying and neutering can cause endocrine system disorders and even cancer in animals. If birth control is the objective, holistic veterinarians suggest an alternative to spaying and neutering: vasectomies and hysterectomies.
In a spay, the ovaries and uterus are removed from the animal. In a neuter, the testicles are removed. Their proposed alternatives allow the animal to retain their hormone producing gonads for the betterment of the animal. It is interesting to note, that intact animals or even animals that use the modified spay/neuter technique live on average 2 years longer than animals whose gonads are removed.
Ask anyone in the animal shelter community and they will tell you to adopt don’t shop. They implicate breeders for contributing to the pet overpopulation problem. And this is a real problem. Too many unwanted animals end up in shelters and some of them die there. That’s not OK!
Ultimately, the decision must come down to the pet owners. But how can they make the right decision without being informed?
If you’re still reading, that means you have a somewhat open mind. In the world of pet care, your position on spaying and neutering is so strong that you will fight for it. You believe in it so dearly that it is practically a religion. A lot of problems can come up when discussing a person’s religion so here’s how I’d like to approach this discussion.
- If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all. This discussion is not here to bash other people for not believing the way you believe. It’s to be an open discussion that sheds light on the truth. And let’s be honest, there is some truth on both sides of this issue.
- Feel free to share your feelings but don’t let your feelings get in the way of facts. I want you to express your feelings but do it in a way that allows you to maintain your dignity. Share facts – not opinions or anecdotal evidence – but verifiable facts that support your side of the issue.
- Avoid the use of profanity. Seriously, folks? We’re all adults here so this should go without saying. Besides, using profanity weakens your argument. Let’s be professional.
- Stay calm! This is important. There is no sense in letting this topic of discussion become the reason for your high blood pressure today.
- Think before you respond. If you are having a hard time staying calm, take some time to meditate on the question. Get away from the desk, go for a walk, and allow your mind to think deeply about this. Instead of rushing to a response based on emotion, give yourself time to clearly think it through and then share with the community.
I really look forward to a quality discussion. So when you’re ready, add your comments below.