The benefits and disadvantages of pet sterilization
Feline cat colony management
Whether one has a dog, cat, rabbit or guinea pig, pet owners who struggle with a pet in heat always ask themselves if spaying their pets is the right thing to do.
They question, and rightly so, whether it is right to remove a part of a pet’s body. They wonder if not sterilizing their pets brings problems.
Sterilizing a pet has advantages that can be good for it and communities, both human and animal, as a whole. However, it does have a few drawbacks so considering sterilization requires the weighing of a few pros and cons.
A personal experience with pet sterilization
I have noticed that many sterilized dogs experience a little structural change and some weight gain.
Believing that I was putting my schnauzer through the unnecessary pain of sterilization I refused to sterilize her for many years. She had pyometra and had to have an operation to remove her womb.
Recently, my little West Highland Terrier, Cloudy started her heat cycle and I decided that it was time for a pre-sterilization check. Like many women, female dogs too suffer from a little menstrual discomfort.. Cloudy experienced a little nausea and a hike in her liver enzyme level.
What are the benefits of pet sterilization?
The benefits of sterilization
As you can ascertain from my little sharing, sterilization has pros and cons that should be balanced. Having your pet sterilized or neutered has some benefits.
A sterilized pet has no Pyometra.
When your pet is sterilized, it does not have Pyometra. This refers to the formation of pus in the womb of a female dog because of the over stimulation of female hormones. My dog Misty had this condition and therefore had to have her womb removed because of the dense formation of pus.
A sterilized female dog has no Eustrus mess.
Female dogs get a little messy during the first few days of heat. It usually lasts a week or so, and the discharge is known as Eustrus discharge.
This is when female dogs get a little attention seeking, start to lick themselves and drip menstrual fluid. It also attracts male dogs which want to make friends! The same behavior is displayed in unsterilized female cats, who have their cycles more frequently.
A sterilized pet will hump less.
A sterilized pet, of courhumps ill hump less.. I remember visiting a friend whose poodle got a little too friendly with visitors. Noting that male dogs can be persistent suitors, this ends amorous behavior.
Would you have your pet sterilized?
It decreases pet wanderlust.
Any pet should not be released and left unattended, but loose pets which have been neutered tend to stay closer to the home. This keeps them safer and out of trouble with other pets and traffic.
It reduces prostate disorders.
A male dog’s prostate tends to enlarge as it grows older, and this is particularly in male dogs that have not been neutered.
An enlarged prostate results in problems defecating. Neutering your pet can remove the hormones that are responsible for this condition.
It reduces incidents of cancers.
Testicular cancer develops in about 7% of older male dogs that have not been neutered. The problem can be eliminated with sterilization.
Womb cancer in female dogs is also eliminated with sterilization.
Sterilization reduces tumors surrounding your pet’s anus
Known as andenomas and andecarcenomas, these develop around a pet’s anus especially when it is not neutered. 80% of these are benign and occur less often in neutered male dogs.
Sterilization means fewer mammary tumors
Older female dogs tend to develop mammary tumors the more heat cycles they have. This is due to the increased hormone levels. The problem does not arise in un-neutered females.
It helps to solve the problem of the overpopulation of pets.
Pet owners who allow their pets to run loose might find themselves with a few more pets they have to take care of after a while. Again, letting an animal loose and unattended should never be done, but neutering keeps the problem of overpopulation in check.
What are the disadvantages of sterilization?
Sterilizing a dog comes with a few side effects that might have to be considered.
Your pet will miss the miracle of childbirth
Your pet will, of course, miss out on being a mummy. Some people prefer to let their pets have a litter of puppies before neutering, but that is up to the individual.
A young pet might experience distorted bone structure
Hormones produced by a pet’s testes and ovaries determine its bone structure. Removing them too early, before the bones are set can cause the abnormal growth of bones and cause your pet to be a little too tall. Your pet’s knees are particularly at risk.
A sterilized pet is at risk of hypothyroidism
Neutered dogs are at greater risk of hypothyroidism, when there is a deficiency in thyroids.
This occurs because the dog’s metabolic rate slows when the hormone thyroxine cannot be produced in the thyroid gland. For the symptoms and treatment of this disease, please read this.
Pets sterilized too early may experience hip dysplasia
Younger dogs that have been neutered a bit too early may develop hip dysplasia, a condition that causes lameness or near leg lameness in dogs.
Neutering is a minor cause of hip dysplasia in dogs, among others.
Because of a decreased metabolic rate, sterilized dogs will tend to become a little fatter. Reducing a dog’s food intake is the best way to handle the problem in this case.
Cruciate ligament tears
This is the ligament that connects the thigh bone with the lower leg bone and stabilizes the knee or stifle joint. A tear of this ligament causes near lameness in dogs.
Probably because of post-sterilization weight issues, spayed dogs have a higher incidence of this disease.
Overweight, neutered female dogs tend to experience this problem, but do better after they are given replacement female hormones - the ones not present after spaying.
Urinary tract infections
These are common in spayed female dogs which tend to be overweight.
Neutered pets tend to gain a little more weight, which increases the risk of diabetes. The situation is more pronounced in neutered cats.
What can I do to minimize the risks of neutering?
If you are thinking about neutering your pet but are worried about any ill-effects, there are some things that can be done to minimize risks.
Wait till your pet is sexually mature.
To avoid abnormal changes in bone structure, wait for your pet to mature before it is neutered. This is usually when their adult teeth reach their full length.
Try not to let your pet out unaccompanied.
To avoid fights and infections after it is neutered, do not let your pet out unaccompanied.
Let it pass through one heat cycle.
Let your female dog, let her pass through one heat cycle before neutering. Because the hormones essential for growth and development are connected to sexual organs, it is good to let them play out the whole symphony and allowing your dog to grow before having it neutered.
Keep your pet trim.
Metabolic rates drop after neutering so it is best to keep your pets trim. Reduce their food intake after sterilization.
I would like to thank the hubbers who answered the question “What are the benefits and disadvantages of sterilizing your pet?” Each has left such wonderful insights which should be read. Do check each of these hubbers out!
Sterilizing a dog has a few pros and cons that should be weighed before a decision is made. Do consult your vet for advice before making a decision.
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