Desexing your pet makes a lot of sense. You can’t rely on them to just hang out at home and sleep with only you.
The reasons for desexing dogs and cats vary, as do the reasons for male and female animals, but in all cases, unless you plan to become a dedicated breeder, desexing your pet is simply just part of responsible pet ownership.
By desexing your pet you reduce the number of unwanted and stray animals within the community. There is not an infinite number of good, loving and caring homes for pets. This means that even if you find loving forever homes for the kittens or puppies that your cat or dog produces, another kitten or puppy cannot be given a home there.
We all know that there is a significant problem and issue with stray and unwanted pets in the Mackay area – over 1000 animals need to be rehomed locally every year through Charity Organisations such as the RSPCA, Animal Rescue Queensland, and Mackay Animal Rescue Service. Additionally a further 300-500 animals are destroyed each year through the Mackay City Pound as they are unsuitable for rehoming. 1500 unwanted animals a year is 4 every single day.
Furthermore, pregnancy is not a risk free condition as it is often assumed. It isn’t in people, and nor is it in pets. Pregnancies are usually straightforward and uncomplicated, but sometimes they aren’t. There can be significant risks to both the mother and the unborn puppies or kittens if pregnancies become complicated. To correct the health of the mother and save her, sometimes the pregnancy may need to be terminated, or the mother may need to have a caesarian delivery of the puppies. The neonatal period can also be complicated by weak puppies who cannot feed or suckle well, or by the mother getting mastitis. Any of these complications can result in significant cost, and emotional turmoil for the families involved.
Many owners do not realise that by allowing their pet to become pregnant, they are actually endangering her health, especially if things do not go as planned. This is even more likely with unplanned matings as abnormally small litter sizes and in dogs the genetics of the father frequently create oversize puppies which cannot fit through the birth canal.
Male Cats – What are the benefits?
Tom cats are difficult to live with as companions, mostly due to their musky odour and compulsive need to urine mark all the vertical surfaces in their domain.
Undesexed male cats are also at high risk of transmissible diseases such as Feline AIDS (FIV) as they engage often in territorial battles with other cats
In contrast, desexed male cats are much more relaxed and happy to stay home and far less likely to urine mark their territory, unless this develops as a behavioural response to stress.
Female Cats – What are the benefits?
Unplanned and Unwanted Cat litters are very common. Cat litters are typically between 6 and 10 kittens and often loving homes cannot be found for all the kittens in larger litters and so they are dumped in the hope that someone will solve the problem for them. The reality is that kittens dumped like this either become stray or feral cats (with the attendant carnage for local wildlife) if dumped in the bush, or are destroyed by local authorities as they can’t find homes for the cats that they already have.
Unfortunately, the mother cat often remains undesexed for another few cycles and so even more kittens are either destroyed or become feral.
The solution is to have female cats desexed.
There are also significant health benefits to desexing female cats – it prevents ovarian cancer and pyometra (severe life threatening uterine infection), and may also reduce the risk of mammary cancers later in life. Mammary cancers in cats are very aggressive (much more so than in dogs) and require radical surgery to manage.
Male Dogs – What are the benefits?
We like to think of undesexed male dogs as being a bit like an 18 year old boy without a car licence…. let us explain….
- They like to go down to the park or beach and hang out with their mates, and they chase girls (wandering)
- They tend to tag or mark their territory with graffiti (urine marking)
- They aren’t afraid of getting in the odd scuffle (aggression and fighting)
- They can be a bit loud and noisy (barking and antisocial behaviour)
All of these behaviours are in large part driven and exaggerated by testosterone. Removing the testosterone minimises these behaviours.
Additionally, testosterone has other effects in the body and predisposes male dogs to Prostate Disease later in life. So much so, that desexed male dogs rarely have any issues with their prostate at all. Unfortunately desexing is not protective against prostate cancer, and so this is still possible in a desexed male (though rare).
Undesexed male dogs are also at high risk for the development of perineal hernias which are a serious medical problem that results in severe constipation with damage to the rectum and requires major surgery to correct. Desexed male dogs do not suffer from this problem.
Female Dogs – What are the benefits?
Almost all of the reasons for desexing female dogs relate to her health and wellbeing (rather than the predominantly behavioural reasons for male dogs). In female dogs, desexing is 100% protective against ovarian cancer and pyometra (severe life-threatening uterine infection). it is also highly protective against the development of mammary (breast) cancer later in life. The maximum benefit is achieved prior to the dogs first heat or season, and this benefit is almost completely lost after 4 or more seasons (although the risk of ovarian cancer and pyometra steadily increase with age and cycles, so desexing is advised for all older dogs which should not be actively breeding after 7 or 8 years of age due to reducing fertility and much higher pregnancy complication rates)