The importance of Sterilising your pets

What is sterilisation? 


There are many terms used for sterilisation. Some that you may hear are 'neutering', 'fixing' and 'desexing'. For females the term is refered to as a 'spay' which is the surgical procedure where the ovaries and uterus is removed. For males it is called 'castration', in this procedure the testicles are removed.

 

Why castrate male dogs? 

The reasons include:

  • Eliminate the chance of testicular tumors - this is the most common cancer in mature intact male dogs 

  • Reduced chance of prostate conditions such as cysts and infections 

  • Reduced chance of perianal tumors 

  • Reduced chance of perineal hernias 

  • Decreased aggression (for best effects of this, the castration should take place under the age of 1, preferably by 6 months of age)

  • Decreased roaming (less chance that your boy will go looking for females in heat) 

  • Increased concentration in dogs (your dog will be less distracted by pheromonal stimulus around them)

  • Reduced chance of sexually transmitted diseases such as:

    • Transmittable canine venerial tumors 

    • Canine Herpesvirus

 

Why castrate male cats? 

The reasons include:

  • Eliminate the chance of testicular cancer

  • Decrease he incidence of spraying 

  • Decrease the urge to roam longer distances 

  • Decrease the chance of abscesses due to less territorial fighting 

  • Decrease the chance FIV and FeLV due to less fighitng 

  • It is now law, so you will prevent yourself being fined if found to be uncompliant 

 

Why spay female dogs? 

The reasons include:

  • Eliminate the chance of pyometra (infected uterus) which is a common condition that is very serious and if left untreated, fatal 

  • Greatly reduce the chance of mammary cancer which is the most common malignant tumor in dogs (The risk of malignant mammary tumors in dogs spayed prior to their first heat is 0.05%. It is 8% for dog spayed after one heat, and 26% in dogs spayed after their second heat)

  • Eliminate the chance of tumors of the ovaries and uterus

  • Eliminate your dog going on heat which means it gets more time to spend with you on the couch and on your bed and is less likely to escape in search of a mate

 

Why spay female cats? 

The reasons include:

  • Eliminate the chance of pyometra (infected uterus) which is a common condition that is very serious and often fatal 

  • Reduce the chance of mammary cancer by 40 to 60%, this is the third most common feline tumor

  • Eliminate the chance of tumors in the uterus and ovaries 

  • Eliminate your cats oestrus cycle which will have her wandering further than normal (increasing chances of accidents), making a lot of noise calling for a mate, and spraying around your house (yes, females spray too)

  • Decrease the chance FIV and FeLV due to less fighting

  • It is now law, so you will prevent yourself being fined if found to be uncompliant 

 

Sterilisation is not just beneficial for dogs and cats, it is also very important to sterilise your ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs.
Ferret Fact: 1) It is not recommended to breed ferrets in WA due to the very small gene pool and the high likelihood of birth defects and fatalities. Leave it up to the experts. 

Ferret Fact 2) A female ferret left in season for a prolonged period of time can develop aplastic anaemia and die 

Small Pet Fact: Many guinea pigs and rabbits end up in shelters and rescues too, it is also important not to add to these numbers 

 

The biggest benefit for ALL animals, of both genders is that you will prevent breeding and pregnancies. 
Our shelters in Western Australia work tirelessly to cope with the large flow of young and old animals that are surrendered to them daily. It is ethically the right thing to do when you sterilise your pets and end their chance of contributing to these numbers. 

 

Mythbusters:

 

"It is OK because I have homes lined up for the whole litter" 

These are homes that would have gone to shelter and pound animals who are now on death row :(  
 

"But it is good for my cat/dog to have one litter"
Actually, on the contrary, there are medical statistics that prove the benefits of sterilising prior to the first season

 

"But I am robbing my pet the chance to be a mother" 

You are also preventing them the sad experience of loss and grief they go through when their young are taken away from them as well as the possibility of physical pain from non septic mastitis 

 

"Birth is natural" 
This may be so, but you are putting your beloved pet at risk of complications from birth which could be fatal - is it worth that risk? 

 

"But I can make money from the puppies/kittens"
You will likely spend a lot more than you make. If you breed a cat you must now by law provide a pre-paid vet voucher for the kittens sterilisation and microchipping, plus you will need to worm, vaccinate, de-flea, feed quality nutritional food (mums eat way more) and have money for trips to the vet for check ups and in the case of emergencies 

 

"I want my dog to be masculine" 

Dogs have no concept of sexual ego, they will not suffer emotionally post-op and the surgery will not alter their personality 

 

"I want my dog to be a guard dog" 

Your dog will protect you and your property due to loyalty and genetics, not hormones. A castrated dog will still guard you well 

 

"I want my children to witness the miracle of birth" 

It is a much more rewarding and positive experience to teach your children responsible pet ownership. It is up to you to educate them about all the health, behavioural and ethical benefits of sterilisation. If you do want to teach them reproductive lessons, visit a shelter and show your children some dogs or cats who are still raising young, or even better, ask your local rescue if you can foster a pregnant or feeding mum, then they can witness the joy of life as well as learn how wonderful fostering can be, win/win. 

 

"My pet is a purebred/pedigree"

Many of the animals in shelters and pounds are also purebreds. There are unwanted animals of all backgrounds. This will not ensure them a better home nor does it mean they should reproduce. 

 

and the last myth, "I cant afford to sterilise my pet" 

That is where Perth Veterinary Bill Assistance Inc can help you! 
We can advise you of which Vet Clinics offer reduced rates as well as help you with the costs should your application for assistance be approved. You can also ask your local council if they are one of the many in WA who offer a subsidy for sterilising your pet. Another benefit is that your council registration is cheaper when your pet has been fixed.