The United States currently labors against a cat and dog overpopulation problem.  Government facilities and government-funded entities euthanize millions of cats and dogs every year.  Millions more are abandoned to fend for themselves.  Even the local Galax – Carroll – Grayson Animal Shelter euthanizes between 2,000 and 3,000 cats and dogs annually.  It is a matter of public health.  Our first and only step to eradicate this problem is to have your pet spayed and neutered at puberty.  There are many myths surrounding having one’s pet spayed and neutered.   The truth is the animals that are spayed and neutered live happier, healthier lives.  Spaying and neutering is an effective procedure that removes the reproductive organs to prevent pregnancy. This procedure is inexpensive and safe.  With proper medication, the surgery causes minimal discomfort.  Most pets are back to normal the next day and never miss a beat.

If family finances are limited, two local organizations provide financial assistance for spays and neuters: the SPCA and the Twin County Humane Society.  Both organizations work hard to finance spay and neuter surgeries and to educate individuals about the importance of spaying and neutering.

Helps Prevent Some Medical Problems: Spaying and neutering decreases the incidence of reproductive and mammary gland tumors.  Intact females have a 1 in 4 chance of developing mammary tumors, but female animals that do not experience their first heat face a mere 1 in 10,000 chance of developing mammary tumors. (More details on preventing mammary gland tumors in the September 2006 issue.)  Another common medical problem that occurs in non-spayed females is pyometra.  This is an infection of the uterus that causes the uterus to fill with pus.  Pyometras are considered emergencies and can kill an animal.  The treatment for a pyometra is antibiotics, intravenous fluids and removing the uterus.  This is more costly than having the female spayed.  If there is no reason to breed a dog or cat, timely spaying will eliminate any chance of pyometra and almost erase any chance of mammary tumors.

Behavioral Improvements: Animals that do not have any reproductive hormones are less territorial and less aggressive.  They are also better pets because they can concentrate on being part of the family instead of being distracted by hormone-inspired behaviors.  Neutered animals are also protective of their pack, family unit or home.  Neutered dogs actually do a better job of guarding than intact animals because they don’t have the hormonal influences to interfere with their perceived job.

The Obesity Myth: Many people believe that spaying and neutering will lead to obesity.  The truth is that as dogs and cats age, their metabolism slows just like with humans.  The decrease in metabolism leads to obesity.   Overfeeding also leads to obesity.  Most humans show affection for their animals in the form of treats and table food.  This increases the caloric content of a pet’s diet substantially.

Timing for Spays and Neuters:  The best time to spay or neuter a dog or cat is at six months of age.  At this age, the pet is mature enough to cope with the surgery and, in the case of females, young enough to avoid the first heat.  Six months is also the optimal age for preventing cancers that can occur later in life.  Make an appointment for the procedure while you are getting your vaccines done.  If you have a pet who is older than six months, simply have the pet spayed or neutered as soon as possible.  Any pet that is fit enough for the surgery is a good candidate for this procedure.

Healing Springs sees many stray and unwanted animals.  There are excessively too many for the current ranks of dog and cat enthusiasts to care for them all.   Every pet accidentally bred in a person’s home represents one pet that should have been adopted from the local shelter but that was euthanized instead.  The best answer to an overpopulation problem is to adopt an animal from your local shelter and have that animal spayed or neutered.  Also, contribute to local organizations that are trying hard to eradicate our cat and dog overpopulation problem.

The United States currently labors against a cat and dog overpopulation problem.  Government facilities and government-funded entities euthanize millions of cats and dogs every year.  Millions more are abandoned to fend for themselves.  Even the local Galax – Carroll – Grayson Animal Shelter euthanizes between 2,000 and 3,000 cats and dogs annually.  It is a matter of public health.  Our first and only step to eradicate this problem is to have your pet spayed and neutered at puberty.  There are many myths surrounding having one’s pet spayed and neutered.   The truth is the animals that are spayed and neutered live happier, healthier lives.  Spaying and neutering is an effective procedure that removes the reproductive organs to prevent pregnancy. This procedure is inexpensive and safe.  With proper medication, the surgery causes minimal discomfort.  Most pets are back to normal the next day and never miss a beat. 

 

If family finances are limited, two local organizations provide financial assistance for spays and neuters: the SPCA and the Twin County Humane Society.  Both organizations work hard to finance spay and neuter surgeries and to educate individuals about the importance of spaying and neutering. 

 

Helps Prevent Some Medical Problems:Spaying and neutering decreases the incidence of reproductive and mammary gland tumors.  Intact females have a 1 in 4 chance of developing mammary tumors, but female animals that do not experience their first heat face a mere 1 in 10,000 chance of developing mammary tumors. (More details on preventing mammary gland tumors in the September 2006 issue.)  Another common medical problem that occurs in non-spayed females is pyometra.  This is an infection of the uterus that causes the uterus to fill with pus.  Pyometras are considered emergencies and can kill an animal.  The treatment for a pyometra is antibiotics, intravenous fluids and removing the uterus.  This is more costly than having the female spayed.  If there is no reason to breed a dog or cat, timely spaying will eliminate any chance of pyometra and almost erase any chance of mammary tumors.  

 

Behavioral Improvements: Animals that do not have any reproductive hormones are less territorial and less aggressive.  They are also better pets because they can concentrate on being part of the family instead of being distracted by hormone-inspired behaviors.  Neutered animals are also protective of their pack, family unit or home.  Neutered dogs actually do a better job of guarding than intact animals because they don’t have the hormonal influences to interfere with their perceived job. 

 

The Obesity Myth: Many people believe that spaying and neutering will lead to obesity.  The truth is that as dogs and cats age, their metabolism slows just like with humans.  The decrease in metabolism leads to obesity.   Overfeeding also leads to obesity.  Most humans show affection for their animals in the form of treats and table food.  This increases the caloric content of a pet’s diet substantially.

 

Timing for Spays and Neuters:  The best time to spay or neuter a dog or cat is at six months of age.  At this age, the pet is mature enough to cope with the surgery and, in the case of females, young enough to avoid the first heat.  Six months is also the optimal age for preventing cancers that can occur later in life.  Make an appointment for the procedure while you are getting your vaccines done.  If you have a pet who is older than six months, simply have the pet spayed or neutered as soon as possible.  Any pet that is fit enough for the surgery is a good candidate for this procedure.  

 

Healing Springs sees many stray and unwanted animals.  There are excessively too many for the current ranks of dog and cat enthusiasts to care for them all.   Every pet accidentally bred in a person’s home represents one pet that should have been adopted from the local shelter but that was euthanized instead.  The best answer to an overpopulation problem is to adopt an animal from your local shelter and have that animal spayed or neutered.  Also, contribute to local organizations that are trying hard to eradicate our cat and dog overpopulation problem.

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