Preventing pregnancy

Continued from last week

If we tie off the canal (the tube that leads the eggs from the ovary to the womb), then the eggs can’t reach the sperm cells to be fertilized.

Of course, like in the spay which I will discuss next week, the abdomen has to be cut open and the tubes found and tied off.  Only the skilled veterinarian can carry out this exercise. Tubal ligation carries practically all the same risks as the spay, and is only slightly less expensive.  Furthermore, since the ovaries remain intact (unlike the ‘spay’ surgery where the ovaries are removed), the female dog/cat still comes in heat.  This means that all the male callers (and in the case of cats, I mean callers, as in howlers) will be around the area trying to seduce the female. She won’t be able to get pregnant, but she can mate and therefore can get all the sexually transmitted diseases (yes, just like humans, animals contract STDs), which we will discuss at some later date.

The best advice, therefore, is to spay the bitch/cat fully (taking out the ovaries and the womb). The only reason I can offer for a tubal ligation is if the owner does not want to risk pregnancy at a certain time, but wishes to get puppies/kittens at a later date. If the owner chooses to ligate (tie off) the tubes and then wishes later to expose his bitch/cat to copulation so as to get a litter of puppies/kittens, then the animal has to be placed once again under anaesthesia, the abdomen has to be once again cut open and the suture removed from the tubes.  As can be expected, the tube that has been tied off for a long period might have developed adhesions.  This could mean that the canal is closed and cannot easily be opened.  So, the whole exercise would be useless, since the eggs from the ovaries would not be able to pass through the canals to meet the sperm cells.  One cannot know beforehand if the lumen of the tube is blocked.

The male equivalent to the tubal ligation is vasectomy.  This bit of surgery removes a piece of the tube (vas deferens) that transports the sperm from the testicles to the urethra.  As in the case of the tubal ligation, the testicles remain intact and can produce hormones. So, the male dog/cat will be attracted to the female in heat and will want to mount and insert his penis – but sperm can’t come through the canal, because a piece is missing. So no pregnancy can occur.

There is a variation to this surgery.  Instead of removing a piece of the tube, one can tie off (ligate) the tube (vas deferens). This intervention has the same effect, but is seldom carried out – unless, later on, one wants to use the bull dog as a stud animal.  In this case one would have to remove the ligation. The same jeopardies (adhesion, blockage of the canal), as described above, can occur.

In the final consideration, the tying off of the tubes (vas deferens in the male and the oviduct in the female) does not make much sense. The animals will be still sexually active – with all the jeopardies (fights, wandering, irritating mating noises, etc) associated with these types of surgeries.  The best thing to do is allow the vet to castrate (male) or spay (female) the animal.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

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