Why Animals Should Be Spayed Neutered Term Paper

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Spaying and Neutering Pets

Spaying and Neutering -- the least costly alternative to you, your pet, and to society

Why you should spay or neuter your pet

Attention getter -- common misconception

Subvert Common Misconception

Why spaying and neutering good for society

Common Myths -- miracles of birth, purebred

Overpopulation -- the reality

Why spaying and neutering good for pet

Reduces cancer

Doesn't hurt animal

Why spaying and neutering good for you

Reduces Behavior Problems

Improves Community

Spaying and Neutering -- the least costly alternative to you, your pet, and to society

Who doesn't love a puppy or a kitten? Everyone loves animals -- until the animals become living problems for animal control, of course. Not only is spaying your female pet or neutering your male animal something you should do, it's something you should want to do. Spayed and neutered animals make better companion animals, and are healthier, too. Thus for societal, humane, and personal reasons, spaying and neutering companion animals should be seen as an ethical and moral obligation for all pet owners today.

In societal terms, many new pet owners today will respond from their guts, rather than their heads. They want their children to see Fido or Fifi to give birth, to see the miracle of life. But it might be equally important, one might add, that the child see the miracle of death -- namely the not-so miraculous but equally real termination of so many unwanted animals in shelters across the nation. And the problem has such a simple solution. The only surefire solution to pet overpopulation is spaying and neutering the currently existing population. To those who want their pet to have a litter just to let their children see the miracle of life, as well, one vet points out that there are better ways to teach children about reproduction and responsibility -- in fact, teaching children to care responsibly for family pets, including taking steps to reduce the population of unwanted pets, could be an equally important, if not the most important lesson about life that they can learn from animals. (Meenen, 2001)

Other pet owners might respond, well, my pet is a purebred. His or her puppies will be very desirable to own, unlike those mixed breeds that supposedly make up the majority of the shelter population. But guess what -- those 'other' pet owners should wake up to the statistical reality that at least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters around the country, is a purebred according to statistics gathered by the Humane Society of America, on the "Myth and Facts about Spaying and Neutering" section of the organization's website. (American Human Society Website, 2005)

Furthermore, even professional breeders who make their lives from breeding purebred animals would stress that they do not breed casually, as is typical of even purebred pet owners, but do so only to ensure that the top of the line from each breed should be mated so that good quality animals are reproduced. Breeding less valuable animals casually, even if between animals of the same breed perpetuates congenital defects and abnormalities, which simply adds again to the problem of the ever-increasing numbers of unwanted animals. (Meenen, 2001)

The fact is that there are just too many dogs and cats at present -- mixed breed and purebred animals alike, to support the desires of American pet owners. Even if a casual breeder finds homes for all of that pet's litter, each home that is found means one less home for the dogs and cats in shelters in need of good homes. Also remember that in less than one year's time, each of that bread pet's offspring may have his or her own litter, adding even more animals to the population. The problem of pet overpopulation is created and perpetuated one litter at a time. There is simply not room for one more litter, or one more handful of cute and furry, pups or kittens to be added to the overwhelming population of wild, incarcerated unwanted strays.

Also, although you may be responsible about finding homes for all of your pet's offspring, do you think the people you sell the pups or kittens too will be equally as responsible? And what about the people they sell their pet's puppies and kittens to? (SPAY USA Website, 2005) One un-spayed female cat, and her particular offspring, can produce 420,000 kittens in seven years. One un-spayed female dog, and her particular offspring, can produce 67,000 puppies in seven years. (Dr. Larry, 2001) Are you sure you can find homes for all of those animals, too?

The community will also benefit, every time a dog or a cat is spayed or neutered. Unwanted animals are becoming a very real concern in many places, rural, suburban, and urban. Stray animals can easily become a public nuisance, soiling parks and streets, ruining shrubbery, frightening children and elderly people, creating noise and other disturbances, causing automobile accidents, and sometimes even killing livestock or other pets. (the American Veterinary Medical Association, quoted on SPAY USA Website)

But the benefits of spaying and neutering aren't just intended for society and for the other, currently homeless pets in the shelters. The benefits of spaying and neutering extend to the lives of the existing, beloved pets as well. Pets who are spayed or neutered are healthier. For neutered females, there is less of a risk of mammary gland tumors. Ovarian and uterine cancer is almost unheard of for neutered females, especially if done before the first heat cycle. For neutered males, the risk of testicular cancer is eliminated, and early neutering remarkably decreases incidence of prostate disease. (SPAY USA, 2005)

Furthermore, as noted by the ASPCA, it is a myth that a female cat or dog must have a litter before she is spayed. Rather, "the sooner you spay your female, the better her health will be in the future." (ASPCA, 2005) Also, spaying does not make a pet fat or lazy, another common myth. This myth may have been generated because often-older animals are spayed. Remember, even if a "very minute drop in metabolism may occur after the procedure, that would have occurred regardless of the operation. At about one year, as pups and kittens are becoming adults, their metabolism will begin to slow down. Excessive weight gain and lethargy most likely can be attributed to an increase in feed and a decrease in exercise." (Meenen, 2001)

Spaying is much safer than giving birth, surgically speaking. The risks associated with either of these operations, both spaying and neutering, is minimal, especially with improvements in anesthesia and other areas of surgery. But if people are worried about the risks of surgery, that is all the more reason to spay or neuter earlier rather than later. An increased risk in surgery is associated with age and the presence of disease, thus by having a pet spayed or neutered early, before problems develop, the safest scenario is created. "The optimum age for the surgery for both dogs and cats is six to nine months." (Meenen, 2001)

The sooner the surgery, the lesser the surgical risk and the more benefits are reaped regarding the animal's long-term health. Breast cancer can be fatal in about fifty percent of female dogs and ninety percent of female cats. For an older, seriously ill animal, anesthesia and surgery are complicated and costly. Spaying your pet before the first heat offers the best protection from these diseases, and for potential costs to you, as well, in addition to the time spend caring for an ailing, elderly animal. (ASPCA, 2005)

Spaying and neutering also reduces the nuisances that cause people to abandon their pets. A neutered female has no heat cycles, therefore annoying stray males will not be attracted to the home, howling at all hours of the night and acting in potentially aggressive ways towards your dog -- and perhaps yourself and your loved ones! A neutered female does not bleed on the furniture, or experience hormonally charged excitement, and thus the frequent pacing and 'acting out' typical of a female in heat is nonexistent. Also -- no chasing your female dog around the neighborhood, as she has less of a desire to roam! (SPAY USA, 2005)

The benefits of neutering males are especially noticeable, as neutered males do not have the urge to spray or mark the family furniture with urine. They too have less desire to roam and therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents. The desire to roam for a sexually intact male can be especially acute, sometimes lasting for days, and leading to costly want ads, and if injured, vet bills. Also neutering eliminates aggressive behavior, including dog bites, as un-neutered males do not customarily exhibit the need to be 'top dog.' This eliminates costly training fees to dog trainers who must housebreak and recondition male animals who continue exhibit aggressive behavior, because of their higher male hormone levels, to strangers, children, and even timid… [END OF PREVIEW]

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