One of the most common questions that pet owners have 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. Still, there are pet parents that have reservations and some are outright against having their pets spayed or neutered. The reasons people who chose not to take this step can be traced to one of three common reasons;

Why People Choose NOT to Spay/Neuter their Pets

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    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.

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    The Cost of Surgery and After Care

    The ever rising cost of treatment vs the never 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 ifs” often muddy up the mind.  “What if something goes wrong, what additional will that cost?”, “What if there are hidden cost 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 of after care or personal/bedside touch. So you have to ask yourself if the cost cut is worth the fear factor.

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    Fear of the Surgery and Outcome for the pet

    Every pet parent has that “what if” moment. Since we’re talking an 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 requirement treatment 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 pet parent… however, we would ask that, before you make the call to NOT spay/neuter, you  consider the positives of the procedure.

On the Plus Side

Our friends at the Humane Society of America have a strong list of reasons of why you SHOULD take the leap to spay/neuter your pets, and we at Freddie’s Place fully support there opinions … especially when you overcome and eliminate the “Fear Factor” from the equation.

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    Cost Savings on Overall Healthcare

    As a first counter to the fear factor, we ask that you look at your pets lifelong health. Studies show that 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.

    In comparison the possible impacts to your pets health and the cost of treat these conditions, the out of pocket expense of a spay/neuter procedure is minimal.

    There are many options for the surgery. You can check with your primary care veterinarian as your trusted healthcare provider. Other options include veterinary hospitals in your area, spay/neuter clinics that specialize in the process (and often offer discounted prices or reduced costs for the procedure), or even a mobile animal hospital on wheels that will come to a central location in your area.

    Most pet insurance carriers include the spay/neuter in their list of covered procedures, and offer reduced to no cost for the operations.

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    Reduces Territorial and/or Bad Behavior

    Dogs and cats mark their territory, it’s a fact. Once you see the signs of marking, it’s time to consider the spay/neuter, as they have reached the right age for the procedure. If you have a multiple pack household, it takes one loose leg in the pack or pride 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. Taking care of the spay/neuter will normally reduce their urge to spray by more than 90%. Sometimes a cat is going to 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 call or cry”, neighborhood roaming and weird physical acts during heat (we’ve all been recipient of the “weirdo hump and rub” that our favorite furry can’t control).

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    Eliminates the Aggression

    As some pets come of age, they begin to exhibit dominate behavior in their family unit. This is normal as they start to search for their place in the pack. Nobody wants to be a bench warmer on a team of All Stars, so there is always jockeying for position in the pack. This attempted coop can, and often does, include the attempt to replace or overtake the ranking of their humans, as well (nothing personal, it’s an instinctual thing). Having the spay/neuter will create a calmer and more easy going animal. They will 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 and uncontrollable habits.

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    Cuts the Risks of Certain Cancers

    Pets are developing 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 are reduced or nearly completely gone from your pets future health profile. This peace of mind should be reason enough to schedule that spay/neuter procedure.

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    Helps Control Animal Overpopulation

    We live in a society of overpopulation in most, if not all, animal communities. Pet shelters and rescues are overflowing, as 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 or from a guy in your neighborhood with a box of cats from an unwanted litter his female just had, so cats in shelters are less likely to ever get that second chance at a forever home.  To put real numbers to the problem of overpopulation, over 10.000 animals are euthanized on a daily basis in US shelters because they are unwanted and the shelters are just to taxed and overcrowded to care for them.

    But still the merry-go-round turns, as scores of 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. In under-served communities (those without the veterinary resources or support needed) there are no options to have the spay/neuter procedure. In low income areas of the nation, families simply can’t afford the procedure, so it’s never done. There are over 70 million stray animals in this country that are left to fend for themselves, and reproduce at natures will. Until we, as the dominate species, decide that it is cruel and usual to abandon and destroy animals because they are too old, have unfix-able behavioral issues, cost too much, or are “just not a right fit”, then we will continue to let them down. Spay/Neuter is more than just a procedure, it is population control, behavioral control and potentially positively life altering for an animal.

    Keep in mind, spay/neuter isn’t a magic FIX ALL for all problems, but you should see a reduction or elimination of most common concerns. 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 positive result of the procedure is that pets who have with a spay/neuter 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, don’t you agree?

What can you Expect to see in a Spay/Neuter Procedure?

That’s a 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…

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    Anesthetic Introduction/Anesthesia

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    Bloodwork–PreOp Profile and CBC

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    IV Catheter Placement

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    IV Fluids, if needed or required

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    Post Op Antibiotic and Pain Injection

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    Take home Antibiotics and Pain Mediation

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    Complimentary Nail Trim

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All of this is included for a single price for all cats and a varied prices for dogs (based on weight). The spay procedure is more costly, simply because it is a more involved surgery.

There are possible additional items that could increase 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 general area.  Add to that our Freddie’s Place state-of-the-art facility and Best Care Anywhere Team delivering compassionate and caring treatment to your special fur kids, we believe Freddie’s Place is the right choice for not only your pets spay/neuter, all wellness and urgent care health needs.

In the end, regardless who you chose, it makes good sense to consider these facts and do the right thing for you AND your fur family. Take the steps for a best possible life outcome by scheduling their Spay/Neuter. Your pets lives, and yours, will be less stressful and they will have a long term diagnosis of better health and happiness in the future.