THE PROS & CONS OF EARLY SPAY AND
The concept of early spaying and
neutering (before the animal is sexually mature) is not a
new one. The philosophy of early spaying and neutering of
pets has been practiced for over 50 years in North America
It was not until much later that questions and concerns were
raised about the possibility of negative side effects in
practicing this procedure.
Concerns that were raised, while
determining at what age an animal should be spayed or
neutered, were that the animal may suffer from long term
effects such as; stunted growth, a higher tendency to
obesity, a lack of desire to be active or an undesirable
behavior pattern. It was believed waiting until a patient
was older increased the safety of surgery, as well, concerns
that early altering could increase the incidence of feline
lower urinary tract disease, have been voiced.
These concerns have been tested and
researched thoroughly by many different universities and
have resulted in some findings that are worth studying and
understanding before making any conclusions on when to spay
or neuter your pet. Studies Conducted on the Benefits or
Drawbacks of Early Spay or Neuter done by The University of
Florida, were funded by The Winn Feline Foundation in
conjunction with the American Veterinary Medical Association
(AVMA). These extensive studies were monitored very
seriously and concluded that the spaying or neutering of an
animal, before it has reached sexual maturity, has no known
ill side effects. On the contrary, research has founded that
early spaying or neutering of your pet can aid in the
recovery process, giving your pet a speedy and virtually
painless recovery. Years ago, when safe pediatric anesthetic
techniques were not available, waiting until a patient was
older increased the safety of surgery. Altering no longer
needs to be delayed for this reason. These studies were
conducted on animals ranging from 7 weeks old to 12 months
old. Those 7 weeks old did not react any differently than
those who were 12 months old.
Results from the studies performed in
Florida were as follows: Growth may be prolonged if the
procedure is performed prior to sexual maturity or the
animal's first heat. However, this can be a benefit for the
pet owner who has an unusually small pet and would like for
it to become a little larger.
Observations of urinary tract
development showed no differences between those altered
early and those altered post 7mos other than the differences
related to sex. The investigators measured the diameter of
the urethra in the male kittens and found no differences
between the groups. Contrary to popular belief, the neutered
group of animals were just as active as their unaltered
counterparts. Spaying a female can actually protect her
against mammary cancer and uterine infections. In males,
neutering reduces the risk of testicular cancer and
enlargement of the prostate and related infections. From a
pet owners point of view, the altered pet is a much better
companion than their unaltered counterparts. They have a
tendency to be less aggressive and more affectionate, and
since they are not motivated by the urge to reproduce, they
are less prone to roam and fight.
Why Advocate Early Spay & Neuter?
There are obvious reasons to spay or
neuter your pet as soon as possible. These reasons are for
the general animal population or for your pet's health in
general. Population Control is a growing concern and by
spaying or neutering your pet, you can help contribute to
reducing this problem. Responsible pet owners can and should
make a collective effort to insure that all pets are
neutered preventing any further increases in unwanted pets.
Susan Dixon, DVM fully endorses early altering and has done
hundreds of baby kittens. "The surgery is EASY and the
kittens heal so fast".
A Healthy Pet is a happy pet and the
earlier they are spayed or neutered the less likely they are
to remember the procedure and the more likely they are to
have a speedy recovery. So, ask your veterinarian about
concerns you may have on early spay/neuter.
Further Reading for You or Your
1.Aronsohn MG, Faggella AM.
Surgical techniques for neutering 6- to-14-week-old kittens.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assoc Vol
202(1);53- 55, 1993.
2.Chalifoux A, Niemi G,
Fanjoy P, Pukay B. Early spay- neutering of dogs and cats
(letter). Canadian Veterinary Journal Vol 22; 381, 1981.
3.Faggella AM, Aronsohn MG.
Anesthetic techniques for neutering 6- to-14-week-old
kittens. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Assoc
Vol 202(1);56-62, 1993.
4.Hosgood G. Anesthesia and
surgical considerations in Hoskins JD (ed) Veterinary
Pediatrics - dogs and cats from birth to six months,
Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co., p. 561, 1995.
5. Land TW Favors Early
Spay/Neuter. Journal ot the American Veterinary Medical
Assoc. Vol 216 (5) 659-60 2000
6.Lieberman LL. Advantages of
early spaying and neutering (letter). Journal of the
American Veterinary Medical Assoc Vol 181(5);420, 1982.
7.Lieberman LL. A case for
neutering pups and kittens at two months of age. Journal of
the American Veterinary Medical Assoc Vol 191(5);518-521,
8.Root MV, Johnston SD,
Johnston GR, Olson PN. The effect of prepuberal and
postpuberal gonadectomy on penile extrusion and urethral
diameter in the domestic cat. Veterinary Radiology &
Ultrasound Vol 37(5);363-366, 1996.
9.Stubbs WP, Bloomberg MS.
Implications of early neutering in the dog and cat. Seminars
in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery (Small Animal) Vol
10.Stubbs WP, Salmeri KR,
Bloomberg MS. Early neutering of the dog and cat in Bonagura
JD, Kirk RW (eds) Kirk's Current Veterinary Therapy XII
Small Animal Practice, Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co., p.
11.Theran P. Early-age
neutering of dogs and cats Journal of the American
Veterinary Medical Assoc Vol 202(6);914-917, 1993.