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Why Spay/Neuter Is Crucial


FACTSHEET

 

 

 
 

Overview

Why Spay/Neuter
Is Crucial

Early-Age Spay/Neuter

Feral Cats in Israel

 

 


Campaigns:
Cat & Dog Overpopulation

Campaign in the North: Spaying & Neutering Before Adoption

Mobile Clinic Medical Services: Clinic in Action

 

Shelter dog scheduled for euthanasia:
one result of the reluctance to spay or neuter
 

Dogs and cats have been companions to humans for thousands of years. Domestication, however, has taken these animals out of their natural environment, and their reproduction is no longer regulated by predators or habitat. Now there is an overpopulation crisis, where the real victims are the countless homeless dogs and cats who often spend and end their short lives in suffering. Many are euthanized in shelters. Spaying and neutering your companion animals will go a long way toward eliminating the source of this problem.

 

What is Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus of the female animal, making her sterile. The operation is performed under anesthesia and the animal will likely be able to go home within a day or two afterwards, with her activity restricted for about 10 days. For more specific information, please see our factsheets on spaying dogs or cats.

 

Neutering is the surgical removal of the testicles of the male dog, making him sterile. The surgery is performed under anesthesia and the patient can usually go home the same day, with his activity restricted for about a week. For more specific information, please see our factsheets on neutering dogs or cats.

 

The Numbers

One unspayed dog and her offspring can lead to 67,000 dogs in six years. One unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years.1 At that rate, it's no wonder the streets are filled with unwanted cats (an estimated 2,000 every square kilometer) and dogs. Approximately 100,000 puppies and kittens will be born in Israel this year, and most will not find a home. An equal number of dogs and cats will be abandoned in the same year. Dogs and cats in loving, responsible homes can live into their teens. On the street, left to fend for themselves, their lifespan is about two years.2

 

Unwanted animals are often treated as a nuisance and their brief lives include cruel treatment, starvation, disease, highway death, procurement for research laboratories, and more unregulated breeding. Many strays have succumbed to government-sanctioned strychnine poisoning in food, which leads to agonizing death by asphyxiation during convulsions. 

 

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Common Misconceptions about Altering Dogs and Cats

  "Altering my dog/cat will change his/her personality." FALSE

Neutering does not change the fact that the dog or cat is a male he will still be attracted to the opposite sex and will defend his people, but he will be less likely to mark territory or attempt to assert dominance within the family. Neutered animals are much more loyal to their human companions and are far less likely to roam or fight. Spayed females are less likely to experience so-called "false-pregnancies," which can be mentally and physically challenging to the animal.

 

  "These surgical procedures will cause pain to my dog/cat." FALSE

The procedures are not painful to the animals, nor will they experience any discomfort for the rest of their lives quite the opposite in fact! Neutered animals are not as vulnerable to testicular and prostate cancers. Spaying eliminates the stress and discomfort that females endure during heat periods, eliminates the risk of uterine cancer, and greatly reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Altered animals are also less likely to contract deadly, contagious diseases spread through bodily fluids, such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia (FeLV).

In addition, by effectively removing the ability to reproduce, the dog or cat's desire to do so is also reduced, thereby causing less stress on them and on you. Since you won't have to discipline your animal or keep constant vigilance in case another intact animal is nearby, they won't have to wonder why you're yelling or yanking on the leash or trying to keep them away from their friends.

 

  "My dog or cat will become fat and lazy if I have him/her fixed." FALSE

Weight gain comes from too much food and a lack of exercise.

 

  "Every female dog/cat should have one litter before being spayed, and it's a great way for my child to experience the miracle of life." FALSE

The sooner you spay your companion animal, the better. Being pregnant and giving birth are very stressful for the animal, mentally as well as physically. In addition to difficult labor, the potential mother could have to deal with puppy mortality. There is also a risk of uterine and mammary infections. If it is imperative that your children witness "the miracle of life," then either rent a video or call a local humane society or rescue group and offer to foster a pregnant mother or newborn puppies or kittens in your home.

 

  "My companion animal is already pregnant, so it's too late to get her spayed." FALSE

As difficult a situation as this can be, there is no medical reason why a pregnant female dog or cat cannot be spayed. (If there is a concern about the health of your particular animal, your veterinarian will help you decide.) Some tough questions must be asked, the most important being: "Can I provide or find a safe and nurturing home for these babies?" If the answer is "no," then please consider a medical abortion as the compassionate thing to do. Even if the answer is "yes," keep in mind that every puppy or kitten you keep or find a home for is taking the place of a dog or cat who already desperately needs a home.

 

  "I have a house dog/cat. He/she never goes outside, so spaying or neutering is a waste of time and money." FALSE

This line of thinking can mean tragedy. No matter how diligent you are about keeping your dog or cat indoors, there is always a chance that he or she will escape. It only takes a few minutes for a female to become impregnated, or for a male to impregnate other females in the neighborhood. The surgery is not expensive, considering it is a one-time cost with a lifetime benefit. Please read about our mobile spay/neuter clinic.

 

Other Issues

The overpopulation problem is not limited to strays. Many people have companion animals who they allow to run free. This can greatly add to the number of cats and dogs because house animals are often healthier and more likely to breed if not altered. Once a cat brings home an unwanted litter of kittens, they are often all abandoned, leading to more animals on the streets who can multiply.

 

In 2007, Israel's Ministries of Agriculture and Environmental Protection allocated funding for an ongoing national campaign to spay and neuter thousands of dogs. Dog owners in Israel who have not yet neutered or spayed their dogs are asked to contact participating veterinarians.

 

Please, if you have a companion animal who has not been spayed or neutered, make an appointment with your veterinarian today. Your dog or cat will be much happier, live longer, and will not add to the overwhelming number of unwanted animals on the streets who suffer horribly during their short lives.

 

For more information on how we are working to promote spaying and neutering, please read about our Cat and Dog Overpopulation Campaign.

   

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Footnotes

1 Bellwether, Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, No. 63, Winter 2006,
http://www.vet.upenn.edu/Portals/0/media/Bellwether 63 Winter 2006.pdf Page 6

2 Dalia Itzik, "Ministry Pressing for Spaying, Neutering of Pets," Jerusalem Post, Jan. 12, 2000.