Spay / Neuter refers to the sterilization surgery that is performed on cats and dogs, traditionally around the age of 6 months. However, pediatric spay/neuter (performing the surgery prior to 6 months) has been introduced in recent years and is becoming more common. While some veterinarians are still resisting the change in tradition, many veterinary schools are beginning to teach the practice to their students, thus encouraging the positive change.

            Experienced veterinarians that are familiar with the surgery claim that the surgery takes less time, costs less money, and is less stressful on the patient, with the healing time reduced to roughly two days. Plus, there are fewer complications before, during, and after surgery than with a traditional spay/neuter. Performing the surgery while the patient is younger than 6 months also helps to prevent many different health issues later in life. For a female, pediatric spaying helps to protect her against mammary gland cancer. If she goes through heat before the procedure – and kittens can go into heat as early as 4 months – she loses the chance of being protected against that cancer.

            Performing the surgery during the 8-16 week period, before sexual maturity, helps to greatly improve a dog’s behavior, decreasing aggressive and destructive tendencies. Some of these behaviors can include scent marking, spraying, fighting, and roaming. When a dog is not as inclined to roam, it will further prevent any accidental pregnancies from occurring, so long as he/she is spayed/neutered.

The following are a few of the groups that have endorsed pediatric spay/neuter:

  • American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
  • American Humane Association (AHA)
  • Cat Fanciers Association (CFA)
  • American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
  • California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)

Of course its always up to the pet parent to make the final decision on what is best for their furbaby!

~ Written by guest blogger and North Wales Dog Walker, Danielle C!

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