Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Neuter your pets, people.

Excuse me while I hop up onto my soapbox. Okay, here we go.

Neuter your goddamn pets, please. My phrasing may not be as convivial as Bob Barker, but now that he's off the air and no longer reminding you to "spay or neuter your pets" he needs a mouthpiece to carry on his legacy. And I am happy to be that voice. Since starting work at the ASPCA, I have seen a startling number of pets come in that are not spayed or neutered. I can't even begin to emphasize how necessary these procedures are for animals. Already there are too many unwanted pets in this city (and in this country for that matter) and by not neutering your animals you are contributing to the problem. Just come into my job and take a look at all the animals waiting to be adopted. There is an endless parade of kittens coming through the door everyday. There is also a steady flow of female animals coming to the hospital because of dystocia, or difficulty giving birth. This is due largely in part to people breeding their pets irresponsibly (or unknowingly).

There is a contingency of pet owners who will squeal and squawk about how neutering is robbing their dog of his manhood. Bullshit. It's not a trophy to Fido. Those are dog balls, not Golden Globes. Male intact dogs can become more aggressive and territorial, they may try to dominate their humans and they will search out a female to breed with. Submissive male dogs may become friendlier and more comfortable around people once they are neutered. Intact male cats and dogs will mark their territory, or in plain language, pee all over your house.

But aside from the pet population and behavioral reasons, there are health reasons to neuter your pet as well. Intact male animals may develop benign prostatic hypertrophy or testicular cancer. For female animals the main reason to spay is to prevent pyometra, a painful infection of the uterus. This is no small infection. Don't believe me? I watched a surgeon remove a 15lb pyometra from a dog. Needless to say, the dog was in excruciating pain. Female pets are also more likely to develop mammary tumors which will then have to be surgically removed, another painful procedure.

Let me make it perfectly clear that I find nothing wrong with responsible breeding, but responsible breeding means being knowledgeable about your pets health and it's birthing process. There is more to it than letting your dog get mounted by another dog. I am not being a causehead, I just have your animal's best interest at heart.

1 comment:

Selina said...

Just now stumbled upon this article. Great article, by the way.

I say the top 10 reasons to spay or neuter your pet died in shelters last year.

There aren't enough homes for them all, and that's all there is to it.