Changing Views on Early Spaying and Neutering
By performing early neutering at the time of adoption, the new owner and the humane shelter have both done their part to ensure that a pet's offspring will not be back at
that same shelter in 6 months! Many progressive shelters now endorse this policy. In 1991, after careful evaluation of scientific data, the American Humane Association became the first national
organization to endorse early spaying and neutering of puppies and kittens. The American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Animal Hospital Association quickly followed suit and believe the
practice to be a safe, effective tool to help end pet overpopulation.
With the advancement of medical knowledge over the past 10 years, informed veterinarians have changed their views on the appropriate age for pet spaying and neutering.
Doctors at large and prestigious veterinary hospitals and humane shelters such as Boston's Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, and the Los Angeles SPCA, the Miami Humane Society, and the Harrison Memorial
Animal Hospital of Denver have performed thousands of early spay/neuter surgeries with excellent results.
There are three important points to consider:
Common Questions Pet Owners have about Early Spaying and Neutering
- There are no substantial medical or behavioral reasons to wait until puberty.
- New owners do not have to worry about complying with the terms of a shelter's spay/neuter deposits.
- Owners will not have to worry about their new puppy or kitten reaching sexual maturity as early as 4 months of age.
Q. What are the Anesthetic and Surgical differences between an adult and a 6 week old dog or cat?
A. Adult pets need to be restricted from food for 8-12 hours prior to surgery, whereas puppies and kittens require only a 2
hour restriction. The anesthesia is by inhalant gas, and vital functions are monitored. Minimal fat and bleeding make the surgery easier and faster in the juvenile patient, and quicker healing shortens
Q. Will Early Spay/Neutering affect the health and growth of our pet?
A. Extensive studies and research by Dr. Mark Bloomberg, DVM, DACVS and Chief of Staff at the University of Florida College
of Veterinary Medicine show that there are no difference in immune function, growth rates and final size, and urinary tract function and disease rates in juvenile versus adult spay/neuter cases.
Q. Will Early Spay/Neutering affect the behavior of our pets?
A. Dr. Suzanne Hetts, Certified Animal Behaviorist, studied and reviewed research on early spay/neuter pets. No behavioral
conditions develop as a result of early spay/neuter, and undesirable behaviors such as urine marking, aggression, and roaming are much less likely to develop with these patients.
Many humane shelters across the country now endorse spaying and neutering at the time of adoption. Euthanasia takes its toll on everyone. Consider the case for early spaying
and neutering as the key part of the solution to end unnecessary destruction of healthy and adoptable cats and dogs.
Information on this page taken directly from the videotape "The Case for Early Neutering", produced by the
American Humane Association, 63 Inverness Drive East, Englewood, CO 80112, copyright 1996.