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SPAZ- Society for the Protection of Stray Animals SINCE 1987

9 MYTHS ABOUT NEUTERING

Everyone knows that there are too many stray cats and dogs in Greece. And the only way we will eventually be able to control the stray population is by nation-wide neutering! Many animal welfare groups run neutering programs and this is beginning to show results in some areas but until we neuter more than 50% of the stray population, we will not have the situation under control. That is why SPAZ focuses on neutering; that is why we encourage our members to neuter the stray animals in their neighbourhoods. That is why we work with 7 vets; why we work hard at fund-raising to pay those vets; why we do not run a shelter so that we can concentrate on neutering. It has been proved over and over again that neutering is the ONLY way to cut down stray population; that the catch and kill method does not work – other strays move into the area and continue breeding and soon there are more animals than before.

If you have any doubts about the benefits of neutering, please read the information below.

1. It’s better for a female to have one litter before being neutered.
False.  CURRENT VETERINARY OPINION IS THAT THERE IS NO MEDICAL REASON TO SUBSTANTIATE THIS IDEA. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS  -  WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THE KITTENS AND THE PUPPIES?
 

2. Un-neutered cats and dogs live longer, happier lives because they can follow their `natural’ urges.
False. It is the neutered ones that live longer, happier and healthier lives. Their fur shines, they don’t spray, they avoid problematic pregnancies, they stay home and away from potentially dangerous situations, they’re calmer, they’re more content. Taking away an animal’s need to seek sexual activity takes away that animal’s sexual frustrations.
 

3. Cats and dogs have am emotional crisis when they are neutered and are denied the possibility of having offspring.
False. Cats and dogs do not have a sexual identity like humans; they don’t romanticize sex as love; they don’t have a sexual ego. Sex is purely an instinctive drive that takes over from the animal’s domesticated behaviour and makes them run wild!
 

4. One less neutered cat or dog doesn’t make any difference.
WHAT! One female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 babies in seven years; one female dog and her offspring can produce 67,000 in six years!!!!! Every neutered animal makes a BIG difference.
 

5. Neutered cats and dogs have medical problems.
False. Neutered animals have fewer medical problems; males avoid cancer (an un-neutered male dog with only one descended testicle is at high risk for cancer) females avoid breast cancer. Neutered animals have less behavioural problems, are less likely to spray, roam and fight, less likely to run away from home. They look healthier, act healthier and are easier for humans to live with.
 

6. Neutering is cruel.
WHY? Neutering is a sensible measure to take to prevent unwanted births, to keep a pet healthier and to stop the abandoning, poisoning and dying of thousands of cats and dogs. What is really cruel is all the dying that goes on because too many animals are being born.
 

7. Neutering makes a pet fat and lazy.
False. Any pet can get fat and lazy but it’s not the neutering that causes it. Pets should eat the amount of food necessary to maintain proper weight, and this depends to a large part on the amount of exercise they get. And since pets are calmer in behaviour when they are neutered, they may not need as much food as un-neutered ones. It’s up to you to monitor their diet.
 

8. Neutering will make your pet less protective.
ON THE CONTRARY. Your pet will stay closer to home, bond more with family members and be MORE protective because it won’t be distracted by uncontrollable sexual urges.
 

9. It’s not natural to neuter animals.
True. Okay, we admit it – you’re right. But by domesticating cats and dogs and taking them into our homes, we have certainly altered their `natural’ way of life.  Is it natural to breed animals with special characteristics just for our own self-interest? Is it natural to keep a dog on a chain his own life? Or on a balcony? To abandon a pet on the street? To have thousands of hungry, sick cats and dogs on the street? To poison strays to get rid of them? To throw newborns in the sea, or the garbarge or bury them alive. To hang dogs, shoot dogs?  A lot of what we do to cats and dogs is not natural. At least neutering is done for the health and welfare of the animal AND its human companion.
We hope we have convinced you that neutering is absolutely essential if Greece is ever going to control the stray animal population.  So let’s go to the next question.
 

When should an animal be neutered?
Check with your vet, or a SPAZ vet, about the right time to neuter your pet. For females, `spaying’ consists of removing the womb and ovaries; if the ovaries are not removed, the dog continues to have periods and go into `heat’ even though she cannot conceive; she is also vulnerable for breast cancer.  The incision is usually made in the middle of the abdominal area, but can also be on the side; stitches are required; some dissolve, some need removing 10 days after surgery. The animal will also need oral antibiotics. Follow the vet’s instructions.
Male animals have an incision made to remove both testicles. Stitches are needed for male dogs but not male cats. The vet puts antibiotics in the empty sac; antibiotics are also givenorally – follow vet’s instructions.
Animals should not be fed for 12 hours prior to surgery. Either operation causes only minimal discomfort; we suggest you discuss the matter thoroughly with your vet so you will know exactly what to expect.

Text by Elizabeth Koubena for SPAZ.  This text may be downloaded and printed or freely quoted as long as SPAZ if credited as the source.