Volume 5 Issue 4

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Abby's Magazine - Volume 5 Issue 4| Page 55 To Spay Or Not To Spay Is That The Question? To Spay Or Not To Spay Is That The Question? Nothing like a controversial topic to get everyone talking (arguing)! Let's explore the controversy. This discussion is limited to dogs only. Cats pose a whole different set of concerns and challenges. Cats with their intact sex hormones would not make good indoor companions. Cats also are more resistant to the nega ve consequences of early spay and neuter. When in veterinary school I asked why surgical procedures were performed a certain way, and the answer was "that is how we were taught". Veterinarians are not taught alterna ve methods of steriliza on; therefor it is not offered in general prac ce. This doesn't make it right or wrong, just a truth to be considered when educa ng oneself as to what is truly the best for each individual dog and their owner. A spay is the removal of the females ovaries and uterus while a neuter is the removal of a male dogs tes cles to prevent reproduc on. These procedures are also removing the ssues responsible for producing sex hormones. The older I get the more I appreciate how much I do not know or understand. What I have learned is that everything that was created in the design of living organisms all has a purpose. Just because we don't understand all the ramifica ons, doesn't lessen the fact that everything was put there for a reason. Current studies are now ques oning whether or not the removal of all the sex producing ssues from dogs early in life may not be responsible for nega ve health consequences such as thyroid and adrenal disease, urinary incon nence, ruptured cruciate ligaments and certain cancers. Other recent evidence suggests that dogs that retain their hormone balance may have fewer health problems. On the flip side of that, intact males are at risk for tes cular and prosta c disease along with perianal hernia. Females are at risk for uterine and ovarian cancer along with pyometria (a poten ally life threatening infec on of the uterus). Everyone agrees there is a need to control the pet popula on. The purpose of this discussion is not whether or not to spay and neuter, but to consider other methods of steriliza on that may (or may not) be be er alterna ves to consider. In evalua ng other steriliza on op ons, careful considera on for the long term pros and cons of each procedure needs to be fully understood. There will never be a one answer fits all. It is not just irresponsible pet owners who don't confine or control their pets that contribute to pet overpopula on. Even the most diligent and conscien ous pet owner has had a dog escape from the house or yard. Pet over popula on is a serious problem. Over 2.7 million adoptable dogs and cats are euthanized each year in the United States simply because they do not have homes. To aid in resolving the issues, many states and coun es have established low-cost spay/neuter programs that make surgery easily affordable and accessible. Currently in the United States, the recommenda on is for early spay/neuter (at 4 months of age or younger), and the removing of all the sex hormone producing ssues. This is the only surgical technique currently being taught in veterinary schools. To Spay Or Not To Spay Is That The Question?

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