Spay neuter pets? February 28, 2023 is World Spay Day! Kittens and puppies and litters, oh my! If you conduct a feline fix by five months, you’ll save a LOT of headaches. It’s all about spay and neuter, and the benefits gained for everyone. Including your dogs.
But a recent survey sponsored by the Feline Fix by Five Months awareness campaign shows that not all veterinarians or pet parents are aware of or have implemented this approach. They compiled responses from over 200 licensed veterinarians in the United States as part of a blind survey to determine attitudes toward spaying and neutering cats.
SPAY NEUTER SAVES PETS LIVES
Animal advocates have been preaching to the choir for years. The American Veterinary Medical Association (among others) endorsed a consensus document calling for the sterilization of cats at five months of age or younger if they are not intended for breeding.
According to the survey, 31% of respondents use age and gender to determine the best timing for sterilization. In fact, 61% advocated for spaying female cats at five months or less. But 57% wait until boy cats reach six months or older to sterilize.
When asked why they wait, veterinarians believed performing the surgery before six months of age puts cats at risk for urinary tract disease, blockages, and bone and joint disorders. “None of these concerns are supported by veterinary research,” said Dr. Philip Bushby, DVM, MS, DACVS, veterinary medical advisor to the Fix by Five Months campaign.
Esther Mechler, Program Director for the Feline Fix by Five campaign says the survey provides valuable insights for the program. Using this data drives increased awareness by sharing expert studies that undercut myths about future health risks. While there is no one-size-fits-all situation, it’s clear that the benefits far outweigh the consequences.
What Is Fix By Five Months?
When I first worked as a vet tech *mumble-mumble* years ago, six months of age was the standard “fix pets” date. In the years since, several studies have supported performing the spay-neuter on much younger animals. Some shelters recommend and perform sterilization on 8-week-old babies once they reach a certain weight (often two pounds or more). These surgical techniques are safe. Pets recover more quickly, and the benefits of relieving cats and dogs of reproductive angst are immeasurable.
The Marion’s Dream FELINE FIX BY FIVE program suggests simply dropping the 6-month age to 5 months also makes a huge impact for good.
WHAT ABOUT DOGS SPAY-NEUTER?
Yes, dogs are different. Sure, “fixing Fido” before a litter-ary mistake is ideal. There are some canine-specific issues, though, that don’t apply to cats. For one thing, dogs don’t get pregnant as early as kitties can. Nor do they go in and out of heat as frequently. I cover some of these issues in the Ask Amy video, below, and you can read more about dog neutering pros and cons here.
If you have a furry baby in your future–c’mon, you KNOW you WANT to adopt!–please prepare yourself for a lifetime of love and fun. One of my care manuals like COMPLETE KITTEN CARE or COMPLETE PUPPY CARE offers all the guidance you need to start off on the right “paw.”
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian for the best options for your furry wonders!
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!