Last week’s column entitled ‘Spaying and neutering makes sense’ provoked an outpouring of support for the premise, and many callers and e-mail letter writers added further comments on the issue, most of which I will include in this week’s TPC.
Firstly, allow me to emphasize that my mentioning last week of the almost compulsory overnighting of the animal in the vet’s clinic, after the surgery, was simply to illustrate the added costs the owner would have to pay in other countries. I do recognize that many owners would prefer to arrive the next day at the vet’s clinic and see ‘Sheba’ bouncing around and wagging her tail, instead of the owner having to agonize with the pet (throughout the day/night) until the patient has fully recovered.
Well, for that peace of mind one has to pay. Also, if there is a problem with the dog’s recovery, then the best place for the dog to be is in the vet’s clinic. However, I maintain that it is much better for the spayed/neutered dog (or any dog which has undergone surgery which needed a general anaesthesia) to recover in the environment with which the pet is most comfortable and in the presence of loved ones. In the post-surgical recovery room of the vet’s clinic, there are sounds (other dogs howling, hallucinating, barking, whimpering, etc) and strange smells and general bustle to which the recovering pet is not accustomed; in fact, such environments (like any hospital) are not conducive to the mental well-being of the recovering patient. As to the possibility of a problem emerging during the time between the actual completion of the surgery and the attainment of full consciousness, I can only say that if the surgery had been performed professionally and with technical soundness, then the chances of a dilemma emerging is well nigh zero.
One caller reminded me to document the argument of mathematical progression relative to numbers of offspring which can be produced from unspayed/unneutered adults. The figures go like this: An unspayed bitch, her male partner and all of their puppies, if none are ever spayed or neutered, would add up to 67,000 in six years.
In the case of an unspayed female cat, her mate and all of their progeny, producing two litters per year, with 2.8 surviving kittens per litter can total 11, 606,077 offspring in 9 years.
Permit me quickly to mention that I saw a submission by one Sabujan S of Georgetown in the Ripley’s ‘Believe it or Not’ column in the Guyana Times of March 6, 2013, which documented that two brown rats can multiply into a million in just 18 months.
In the end, there is one simple and immutable fact: A cat/dog can produce too many young ones in their lifetime for any person (however kind or willing) to look after properly, or even to find good homes for. These unwanted animals are often neglected, cast outside the home to fend on their own, or just consciously taken far away from the nurturing, protective household and strayed. This results in lives full of unimaginable misery and suffering.
Allow me to synopsise some of the advantages of spaying and neutering:
The female cat or dog does not go into heat, so you will not have the noise and inconvenience of male animals trying to mate with them.
Pets are less likely to get away from home and go roaming, thus reducing the chance of them being injured in accidents or being involved in fights or territorial disputes, all of which can lead to massive lacerations and deep trauma.
Pets that are spayed/neutered will not get sexually transmitted diseases.
Spaying females reduces the risk of mammary gland tumours, ovarian and uterine cancers, especially if done before the first heat cycle.
Neutering males eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate disease.
Finally, let’s remove some myths about spaying and neutering:
i Your pet will not be ‘unfulfilled’ if it does not have a litter.
ii Spaying and neutering will not break your pet’s spirit. If anything, your companion animal will become more attached to you.
iii There is no medical reason to wait for your pet to have its first litter before it is spayed. In the case of the male pet, one does not have to wait until he has had his first sexual experience before the neutering is done. One can do the surgery as early as 8 months of age.
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.