BIG BENEFITS TO SPAYING & NEUTERING - THE FACTS.
Before you breed and create a litter, or if your pet is not altered yet, please read the following information.
1. Spaying a young female prevents most mammary cancers. Spaying a female before her first heat reduces her chances of contracting mammary cancer "200 times" compared to intact females. Spaying after the first heat, but before the second heat will reduce a dog's chances of contracting mammary cancer 13 times compared to intact females (Schneinder 1969, 1970). Mammary cancer is the MOST common single type of cancer in intact females (Bastianello 1983, Kusch 1885).
2. Spaying COMPLETELY prevents problems with the uterus, such as pyometra and uterine cancer. Pyometra is a serious infection of the uterus, which is usually expensive to treat and can often be fatal. It is a relatively common problem in intact females especially after their heat cycles. Uterine cancer is relatively rare in dogs but also expensive to treat and is usually fatal. If the uterus is removed through spaying, these diseases will be prevented. Other diseases such as transmissible venereal diseases, cystic ovaries, mastitis, ovarian cancer, uterine torsion and vaginal prolapse will also be eliminated.
3. Sterilized pets never produce unwanted litters. Millions of dogs are killed each year in shelters simply because there are too many dogs and not enough homes. Roughly 11-19 MILLION cats and dogs are killed in shelters each year (National Council 1995). Every shelter in the U. S. is FULL of puppies and kittens.
4. Intact females are in heat for 2 to 3 weeks, usually twice a year. During this time, it may be difficult to walk her or let her out, even into a fenced yard. She may spot blood all over the house and, be prepared for a camp out of male dogs in your yard. Females in heat will dig under fences, jump over them and breed THROUGH fences, if necessary, and male dogs will go to more extremes to get to your female when she is in heat.
5. Castration prevents most prostate cancers in male dogs. The prostate gland often becomes enlarged or infected in older, intact males. Diseases such as benign prostate hyperplasia, acute or chronic prostitis, perianal gland adenomas and prostatic abscesses are common in intact males. These diseases are ELIMINATED if the male dog is castrated (Cowan 1991, Krawiec 1992, 1994).
6. Castration decreases aggression problems. Aggression problems are most often common in intact male dogs including dominance aggression, aggression between males, and even human aggression. Roughly 50 to 70% of the dogs that are castrated for aggression will show significant improvement or complete disappearance of their aggression. Castration benefits include not only digression of aggression, but elimination of roaming and mounting behaviors, and other mischievous behavior.
7. Castration COMPLETELY prevents testicular cancer in male dogs. This is the most common cancer found in male dogs that are intact (Bastianello 1983, Kusch 1985).
8. Letting your dog breed only adds to the staggering death toll. Indiscriminate litters add to the vast numbers of dogs already suffering from genetic diseases like hip dysplasia, Von Wildebrand's disease, progressive retinal atrophy, and so many other diseases which can only be avoided by CAREFUL planning and veterinary certification of health BEFORE breeding. Before you decide to let your dog "have just one cute litter", spend some time volunteering at your local shelter or with an area rescue group and see all of the puppies and dogs who must be killed DAILY because of the sheer numbers being born. Before ANY dog is bred, the owner should be able to prove that the dog will actually IMPROVE the breed. And just because your dog is AKC registered, does NOT mean it should be bred. Thorough health testing, including tests for genetic diseases should be performed first. It is an expensive endeavor to breed correctly. Numerous and various tests and checks must be done prior to mating to ensure the health and quality of the male and female as well as the same for the litter they may produce. If you have not studied the heritage and genealogy of your dog and its potential mate, and have not done thorough testing of both to ensure the best and healthiest litter, please consider that you may be adding to the over-population problem and helping to bump that many more dogs out of a home and into the gas chambers to die. If you are not breeding with a top quality dog for the purpose of improving the breed, you are only adding to an already huge number of dogs being put to sleep because there are not near enough homes to go around. Please check with your local Humane Society and SPCA to get the disturbing, hard-to-hear facts in cold numbers of how many thousands of pets MUST be killed daily because one more unnecessary litter was created.
Being an informed, responsible pet owner is the first step in helping to make YOUR pet the healthiest it can be. Spaying or neutering it can be the best gift you can give your pet to prevent the suffering that can take place from not being fixed. And if you want to make another big difference and really want to help to change this sad situation for pets, help educate the public and ask to be a volunteer with a rescue group. They always welcome fosters and always need more help!
Originally written by Lisa M. Chassy, DVM, Emory Animal Hospital, Nashville, Tenn. 1999
Revised (with permission) by Dusti Summerbird-Lockey and Midge Kelly, 2000