One of the most common questions that Dr. B and the Freddie’s Place staff get asked is, “Should I have my pet “fixed” (an antiquated term for spay/neutering)?” It’s an age old question that fur families have wrestled with since wolf became dog, and big cat became house cat. The correct and clinical answer is “YES, most definitely” in almost every case, as there are overwhelming positives to the procedures. We will go into a list of those, shortly.
However, when someone is against it, their objection can normally be traced to one of three common reasons;
The Owner wants to use the animal for breeding
This is a smaller subset of owners but a focused group. Breeders will normally abstain from spay/neuter plans until the animal has lived its usefulness in this role. At the point of retirement from the reproductive position, they are often evaluated for the procedure. They can then retire to a different kind of life.
The Cost of Surgery and After Care
The ever rising cost of treatment vs the ever rising cost of living is a consideration for more and more fur families. As many veterinary hospitals become chain related, and profits drive the decision making of the staff, the cost of a procedure like this can become something the average fur family has to plan for in advance. The “What if’s” often muddy up the mind. “What if something goes wrong, what additional cost would that be?”, “What if there are hidden costs or follow up treatments not detailed?”, “What if the medication needed for after care is expensive?”
Sure there are “Spay/Neuter Factories” run by the SPCA or private firms like UCAN that can be more cost effective, as that is normally their full time gig “All Spay, All Day!” The cost will be lower but you are forced to deal with unknown doctors at a strange location that often seems to lack any quality after care or personal/bedside touch. So, you have to ask yourself if the cost cut is worth the fear factor.
Fear of the Surgery and Outcome for the pet
Every pet parent has that “what if” moment. Since we’re talking invasive surgery and using a general anesthesia during the procedure, there is always some worry in the back of every owners mind. This is normal, even though somewhat irrational, as the national number of deaths during a spay/neuter operation is less than .02%. Occasionally, there are some after operation concerns which require treatment that are reported, but those are in the .07% range. More often, if there are issues, they are abnormalities that are reported and checked, they require no additional treatment (slightly over 10% of the time). Normally the biggest medical concern faced is fur family anxiety for the block of time their fuzzy kids are in surgery and recovery. Again, this is normal and comes with love and worry.
We thought putting the objections first would allow those who are or have been on the fence to associate with a reason(s) and know that we understand. It doesn’t make anyone a bad fur parent… but we would ask that, before you make the call NOT to spay/neuter, you consider the positives of the procedure.
Our friends at the Humane Society of America list the following reasons of why you SHOULD spay/neuter your pets, and we believe the argument is pretty strong… especially when you overcome and eliminate “Fear” from the equation.
Cost Saving on Healthcare
As a counter to our #2 fear, having the spa/neuter procedure done in a timely manner can actually produce a healthier pet in the long run. The risk of certain cancers and female issues are reduced by huge percentages in pets who have undergone spay/neuter procedures. So in a “you can pay me now, or you can pay me later” world, the idea of a longer and less health impacted life for an animal that will spend their days as a pampered family pet with no designs of parenthood makes perfect sense.
Have a keen eye to shop your veterinary hospitals and look for best care/best price alternatives can also help in both the initial and long term cost impacts.
The idea of pet insurance for wellness and emergency care is also something we can strongly suggest you look into. Major companies like Progressive and Liberty Mutual have the ability to bundle car, home, health and pet insurances to save you money.
Reduces Territorial and/or Bad Behavior
Dogs mark their territory, it’s a fact. Once the marking starts, it’s time to consider the spay/neuter because they have reached that age. If you have a multiple dog household, it takes one loose leg to start a pee war. Once the procedure is over, you should see a marked decrease in marking and in many cases it stops all together.
Cats spray in a mist pattern, with their urine being potent and long lasting. Doctors suggest that most kittens be considered for spay/neuter by their 5th month. This is the “get it before it gets bad” method and the procedure normally reduces “the spray” by more than 90%. I mean, a cat gonna pee in a shoe for revenge, no matter how diligent or wonderful you might be!!
Other “behavioral” issues that can be curbed with the procedure are thing like “barking and mounting”, “weird yowling or throaty meowing”, roaming and weird physical acts during heat (we’ve all been recipient of the “weirdo hump or rub” that our favorite furry can’t control).
Eliminates the Aggression
As some pets come of age, they begin to exhibit dominant behavior. This is normal, as they start to search for their place in the pack. Nobody wants to be the water boy on a team of All Stars, so they are liable to be jockeying for position. This attempted coop can, and often does, include the attempt to replace or overtake the ranking of their humans, as well.
Having the spay/neuter will create a calmer and more easy going animal. They no longer see the need for physicality or domination, as those urges fade. What shouldn’t change is the pets overall personality. Once recovery is complete, they should bounce back to their old self, minus some unneeded parts.
Cuts the Risks of Certain Cancers
Pets get cancer at an ever increasing rate. Having the spay/neuter reduces and/or eliminates certain types of cancer from ever showing up in your pet. Things like prostate cancer, testicular cancer, cancer of the uterus or ovaries… all completely or nearly completely gone from your pets future health profile.
Helps Control Animal Overpopulation
We live in a society of overpopulation in the animal communities. Pet shelters and rescues are overflowing, not enough families want “2nd chance” animals or shelter babies. Designer pets and puppies/kittens are always favored to your average “mixed breed” or elderly fur buddy.
Cats have it worse, as you can always get a cat for free, from your buddy with a box of cats from an unwanted litter his female just had. However, thousands of dogs are euthanized on a daily basis because they are unwanted and unclaimed.
And still the merry-go-round turns. Animals go unaltered and left to their own devices. There is no birth control for your pets other than spay/neuter, and the animal is not going to walk into a veterinarian on their own to ask for help. Until we, as the dominant species, decide that it is cruel and usual to abandon and destroy animals because they are old or not cute or behavioral issue or cost too much, then we will continue to let them down. Spay/Neuter is more than just a procedure, it is population control, behavioral control and potentially life altering for an animal.
Keep in mind, spay/neuter isn’t a magic FIX ALL for problems, but you should see a reduction or elimination of most. The idea of a healthier, happier and more well behaved best buddy should be motivation enough. When you add in the long term savings that you could see from NOT having medical issues that arise in a pet who is not altered, then it does become a smart choice.
Another seldom published result of the operations is the fact that pets who have undergone the spay/neuter procedure have a life expectancy of 2+ years longer than their “unaltered” counterparts. An additional 2 years with your fur kids is reason alone to push you into camp spay/neuter.
What can you Expect to see in a Spay/Neuter Procedure?
Great question, to which there are varied answers. It would be nothing but a guess for us to speak for everyone in the industry, however, at Freddie’s Place we can tell you exactly what our Spay/Neuter package includes…
- Anesthetic Introduction/ Anesthesia
- Bloodwork–PreOp Profile and CBC
- IV Catheter Placement
- IV Fluids, if needed or required
- Post Op Antibiotic and Pain Injection
- Take home Antibiotics and Pain Mediation
- Complimentary Nail Trim
All of this is included for a single price for cats and a varied prices for dogs (based on weight). The spay procedure is more costly, simply because it is a more involved procedure.
There are possible additional items that could drive more costs. Such things as overweight animals, senior pets, pets with pre-existing medical conditions, umbilical hernia repair or a complete blood profile if your pet is over 7 years of age. Costs on these would be quoted to you prior to scheduling the surgery.
Overall, we believe our base package is complete and contains the needed items for the large majority of Spay/Neuter procedures. We also firmly believe you’ll find our prices at or below competitors other animal hospitals in our area. Add to that, our Freddie’s Place state-of-the-art facility and best in class staff delivering compassionate and caring treatment to your special fur kids.
In the end, regardless who you choose, it makes good sense to consider these facts and do the right thing for you AND your fur family by scheduling that Spay/Neuter. Their lives, and yours, will be less stressful with a long term diagnosis of better health and happiness.
We hope that was helpful and opened your eyes to some information you didn’t have prior to reading today’s Dog Blog. As we always say, you can read as much as you want but, once you’re done you can’t stay here.
Be good to each other and be Pet Responsible! From all of us at #FreddieSez, have a great week!
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