MYTH Contra to popular belief, neutering does not make animals lazy or fat.
The vet's view
If you were to ask one hundred people if they would neuter their pet, you would undoubtedly get one hundred reasons for and against this procedure. Everyone seems to have an opinion. In my own view, there are very few meritable reasons not to get your pet neutered, whatever the species – dog, cat or rabbit.
One of the most frequent arguments I hear for not getting this procedure done is, “Oh no, I would never do that. Rover will get fat and lazy if I did.” The reality is completely different. If you watch your pet’s calorific intake after being neutered and give them plenty of exercise, they should not put on one extra pound post-op.
Another argument I hear from time to time, particularly regarding working dogs, is that the animal will get lazy and become unwilling to work. This is a total myth. Again, post-op weight gain and subsequent laziness are, and should be, completely controllable by the owner. No scientific research has shown that they will be unwilling to work post op.
Neutering (generally referred to as ‘spaying’ in females) has so many positive benefits, both physical and behavioural.
Firstly, neutering can help curb unwanted or undesirable behaviours, such as barking and aggression, and it can boost overall health and lifespan, since it eliminates testicular and ovarian cancers and dramatically reduces the incidences of other related cancers, such as prostate and mammary-gland cancers.
Secondly, neutering helps reduce the number of unwanted animals. This is especially true of cats. Year-on-year we see so many unwanted and abandoned kittens. The animal charities we work with are totally inundated every year. Did you know that a Queen (female cat) will come into season numerous time in a single year, from now right through to November? If left unchecked, she can go on producing multiple litters, each with multiple kittens, every year. That’s a lot of cats.
The Department of Agriculture estimates the Irish feral cat to be anywhere between 200,000 and 1 million. The majority of these animals have terrible lives filled with starvation and disease.
And then there’s the dogs. Over 11,000 were processed through Irish pounds last year. This figure it truly awful, especially when you consider that it doesn’t include the animals that were re-homed through our animal charities.
So, please do the right thing for your pets and get them neutered/spayed at or (better still) before sexual maturity, and help in your own way to reduce the numbers of unwanted pets and subsequent suffering we see on a daily basis in vet clinics up and down the country.
Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.