This year, World Spaying Day happened last 02222022. It is celebrated on the 4th Tuesday of February. Doris Day started the Doris Day Animal Foundation in 1978 and the foundation created “Spay Day USA” in 1995 to help popularize a simple answer to the problem of homeless pets. This ultimately became World Spay Day.
Are you thinking of spaying or neutering your pet baby? Why should you do it and when is the best time to desex a pet? Here are some things you need to know about this medical practice and how it benefits your pet in the long-run.
What is spaying/neutering?
Spaying/neutering is the surgical procedure of removing the reproductive organs of an animal, either all of it or a considerable large part. We call it spaying for female procedures and castration for male procedures.
What are the advantages of spaying/neutering?
Pet parents neuter their furry babies because they want to prevent unwanted puppies or kittens. It is, afterall, a means to reduce the behavioral problems associated with the mating instinct. This includes free-ranging and some aggressive behaviour, which can cause public nuisance. In cats, desexing stops calling behaviour in queens, reduces spraying in toms, reduces fighting, abscesses and transmission of infectious diseases.
Perhaps the most important reason why you want this procedure done on your pet is because you want to protect them from health problems later in life, including uterine infections and breast cancer for female pets and testicular cancer and prostate issues for male pets.
The history of desexing:
The history of neutering pets started as human population moved from rural to urban communities and along with them, came their pets. This brought about an explosion of the pet population and the number of unwanted animals multiplied exponentially. Techniques to sterilize livestock already existed, however neutering procedures for cats and dogs did not become available nor accessible until the 1930’s.
Feral cat trap neuter release (TNR) programs emerged thereafter. TNR is the most effective and permanent way of controlling the stray cat population in a community. With the spaying/neutering movement, pet euthanasia rates dropped by almost 90 percent, encouraging pet owners to take this early intervention for the well-being of their pets.
In 1969 the first low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Los Angeles opened, spurring discussions on the benefits of desexing as well as the controversy that came with a new practice. Over the next several decades, shelters and rescue groups aggressively campaigned for more awareness on the proper practice and benefits of sex sterilization. By 1972, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) started requiring sterilization for all adopted animals.
At what age should you consider neutering your pet?
The guide is based on a number of factors including the animal’s weight, vaccination status, health status and ability to withstand the surgery. Your vet should be able to recommend neutering before puberty unless there is a valid reason to delay the procedure. In some cases, desexing is performed as young as 8 weeks of age and at a minimum of 1kg bodyweight. However, the risks associated with early desexing far outweigh its benefits so in most cases, vets recommend it around the age of puberty.
How exactly is the procedure done?
Male and female pets have different desexing procedures which are:
- Female/Ovariohysterectomy or Spay: the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed
- Male/ Orchiectomy or Castration: the testes are removed
Your dog or cat will be receiving general anesthesia so before any shot is administered, your pet will take medication to make him sleepy and to help with the pain.
Male dogs will undergo a procedure requiring an incision in the skin at the base of the penis nearest to the scrotum (the skin that holds the testicles). Both testicles are removed through this incision. The incision is closed with stitches under the skin that will dissolve and be absorbed by the body over time. The skin is closed with skin glue, skin staples, or stitches.
Female dogs will have an incision made just below the belly button into the abdomen. The reproductive tract, both ovaries, and the uterus are completely removed through this incision. Then the incision is closed with two layers of stitches under the skin that will dissolve and be absorbed by body over time. The skin is closed with skin glue, skin staples, or stitches.
Male cats have an incision made in the skin of the scrotum, and the testicles are removed. The incision is not sealed, but will close on its own with time.
Female cats have a small incision in the midline of the abdomen, just below the umbilicus. Both ovaries are removed along with the entire uterus. The surgical incision will be closed with several layers of sutures.
How long does the surgery take?
A male dog neuter takes between five to twenty minutes depending on his age and size at the time of neuter. A female dog spay is generally twenty to ninety minutes, or longer, depending on her age, size, and if she is in heat*.
A male cat neuter can be done in under 2 minutes while a female cat spay is generally fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on her age and where she is in her heat cycle.
*Female animals in heat can take a longer time because their reproductive tracts are much more fragile and hold more blood when they are in heat.
How do you take care of a newly neutered pet?
Taking care of pets after the surgery is just like taking car of humans who undergo surgical procedures. Mainly, you have to limit physical activity until the wound is dry, provide a healthy balanced meal and observe/lookout for complications, changes in behavior or pain signals. You must dress the wound as recommended and check on the incision for any signs of infection at least twice a day. Most pets will be on their paws after a couple of weeks. Incidence of complications is low but it pays to be observant at all times.
Where do you go for neutering?
In the Philippines, some vet clinics offer neutering. Otherwise, check out the website of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) at https://paws.org.ph/programs/spay-neuter/where you can fill up a form for their program called KAPON.
Why we spay and neuter our pets and desexing procedure https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/spaying-and-neutering
History of Desexing: https://dogtime.com/dog-health/spay-neuter/34567-history-spaying-neutering-pets#:~:text=While%20techniques%20to%20sterilize%20livestock,nor%20accessible%20until%20the%201930s.&text=Prior%20to%20the%201970s%2C%20the,dogs%20killed%20per%201%2C000%20people.