Pediatric or Early Spay Neuter©
Pediatric or Early Spay Neuter refers to spaying or neutering pets at a much earlier age than
the old six month standard. With today's anesthetics, advanced monitoring equipment, and
surgical techniques, not only are these procedures safe in young puppies and kittens, the
risk of complications is lower and the recovery period shorter. Concerns about adverse
affects have been proven unfounded. The American Veterinary Medical Association, Association
of Spay/Neuter Veterinarians, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of
Georgia, are among those that support early spay/neuter.
The reasons for spaying and neutering are compelling and well known:
- Overpopulation and the resulting mass euthanasia and neglect
- It avoids heat cycles, unwelcome visitors fighting on the lawn, accidental pregnancies, unwanted
puppies and kittens, inconvenience and expense. Males and their owners are spared roaming and
fighting and the resulting injuries, spread of disease, and expenses. In our area, 80% of the
dogs killed by cars and 80% of the cats with feline aids are unneutered males.
- Healthier pets - Neutered males don't have testicular cancer or the prostate problems common in
intact dogs. Females spayed before their first heat cycle have 96.4% less breast cancer, a
common cause of death. They have no risk of uterine infection, or the many complications
associated with pregnancy, whelping, or raising a litter.
But why spay and neuter babies?
- It's safer. Our mortality rate is lower. I've performed over 6,000 procedures with only three
losses (1/4th the loss rate in adults). Complications occur less often. Most compelling, in a
study done by veterinary students, completely inexperienced surgeons, their death and
complication rates were lower.
- It's easier on the pet - anesthesia time is shorter and recovery takes only a few hours.
- It completely eliminates the possibility of accidental litters. We daily hear the infamous " I
didn't know she'd go into heat so soon." And "She just got out for a few minutes." The list is
endless. My personal favorite is "She can't be pregnant, I chained her up when she was in heat."
- It completely eliminates the possibility of intentional breeding by well meaning but ignorant
owners. The old "so the kids can have the experience", "just one litter", "we can make a little
money", or "I found her a good home" that turns out to be a backyard puppy mill.
- Breeders can avoid having their names show up on poor quality stock and help control competition
by backyard breeders.
- The bottom line is fewer unwanted pets, and fewer ill-bred animals filling up homes so that
others go without.
Early spay/neuter does require some special training and adjustments to the techniques used
in older dogs. If your vet is unfamiliar with these procedures, I am happy to consult with
him or her, and/or provide research data and recommendations.
~Dr. Tracy Land D.V.M.
Animal Rescue Klub
P.O. Box 117091
Carrollton, TX 75011-7091
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