Neutering & Spaying Procedures
Neutering, also called altering or sterilizing, refers to the
surgical removal of an animal's reproductive organs. A male dog's testicles are
removed in surgery called a gona-dectomy, or castration. A female dog's ovaries
and uterus are removed in surgery called an ovario-hysterectomy, or spay
surgery. Neutering procedures are the most common elective surgeries
veterinarians perform, and are very safe when conducted by a veterinarian under
sterile conditions. Random bred dogs should certainly be neutered, but reputable
breeders agree that purebred dogs not in a professional breeding program should
also be sterilized.
Not Fat and Lazy
The line about spaying or
neutering making a canine companion turn chubby is practically a classic. The
truth of the matter is that any overfed, under-exercised dog can put on weight
regardless of its sexual state.
Nor will neutering or spaying cause a dog to become lethargic, although if a
male has been putting all his energies into pursuing lady dogs with lust in his
heart. he may become calmer once the urge to merge has been quelled.
Some folks tend to anthropomorphize their pets. So they see the act of neutering
a male as somewhat degrading and robbing him of his macho nature. Or they regard
spaying as depriving their female of maternal rights, taking away her
femininity. They feel they wouldn't want to see it happen to themselves and so
they don't want to see it happen to their dogs.
This is so wrong. Dogs are dogs and people are people. Dogs don't even
understand romance - candlelight and soft music are wasted on them. Please don't
attribute your own beliefs about sexuality to your pet. Instead, think about
what's best for his or her life with you, and his or her life in society.
There are many sound medical reasons for considering neatening or spaying. Dr.
Milts discusses them in his article on health, elsewhere in this issue.
There are also humanitarian reasons for the operations, the prime one being that
your pet will not accidentally add to the overpopulation problem that results in
so many helpless, unwanted dogs being put to death in animal shelters each year.
These number in the millions. It is your responsibility to be sure that you
don't allow your dog to contribute to the problem, through some fuzzy notion,
about preserving your dog's sexual rights.
There are many practical reasons for considering spaying or neutering. A spayed
female will not have messy, twice-yearly heats that leave blood stains on your
rugs and furniture. Nor will she attract a bevy of amorous swains to wail
piteously outside your door and water your shrubbery. Instead she can be your
companion any time, ready for play or competition. since you don't have to worry
about her periods of confinement.
The male dog that seems intent on grabbing your leg or making love to the arm of
the sofa can be turned into a more reserved gentleman via the surgeon's scalpel.
And the result is usually a far more tractable and pleasant pet. Neutered males
are also less likely to leave home for some alluring female since the 'drive' is
no longer there. another plus is that they won't be inclined to 'scent-mark'
their territory (in other words. lift a leg) in forbidden areas.
What's more, a dog that is spayed or neutered before the age of sexual
responsiveness will never miss sex, It will never occur to him or her.
There's one time when you should not have your purebred dog spayed or neutered
and that's when you intend to participate in conformation dog shows, which
originated to help breeders select the very best dogs to carry on the breed.
Since spayed or neutered dogs can't produce, the rules prohibit them from being
shown. However, they're happily accepted in other official and unofficial sports
such as obedience or lure coursing.
If you have no interest in conformation shows or in breeding, consider the many
benefits of spaying or neutering your pet.