Spay and Neuter – the Good and the Bad

Today is my third post during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month and I want to say something about the medical debate that is ongoing when it comes to the health risks and benefits of spaying and neutering. Every dog or cat adopted from the Wake County Animal Center (WCAC) is spayed or neutered before going to its new home. When I first started volunteering, there was a voucher policy where you could put an extra deposit on the pet and have it refunded when you provided proof of spay/neuter. I have seen statistics from the ASPCA that says that only about 40% of these vouchers are actually used. And as my concern is for shelter animals who are having to be euthanized because of random pregnancies and backyard breeding I firmly believe that a policy of 100% spay/neuter is our current solution to stop the influx of animals to our shelters.

The Benefits

  • Decidedly the number one benefit of neutering is fewer unwanted and thrown away animals in this world.
  • In addition there is the added benefit in some male dogs of a decrease in their humping and marking behavior.
  • And a decrease in “spraying” by male cats.
  • Because of the removal of the reproductive organs there is no chance for the development of uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or testicular cancer.

The Risks

  • The main risk in spay/neuter surgeries is the potential for surgical complications. These risks are considered to be low where healthy dogs and cats are concerned.
  • In cats there is an increased risk of obesity, but we as their human caretakers have control of this.
  • There is evidence of increased risk for certain bone, urinary tract, and blood vessel cancers.
  • There is only weak evidence of spaying causing urinary incontinence in female dogs.

The ASPCA has a great overview article about spaying and neutering including citations for research on each of the potential risks.

It’s Decided

Yesterday I volunteered to help transport a dog to Suite Paws for the duration of the WCAC renovation project – be sure to stop by here tomorrow for a picture story of it. Okay, back to the real story. I went in a little early to do some pawparazzi work. It had been too long and just the little time I spent with each of these sweethearts has brought me to rededicate my efforts. Monday mornings are now for sweatpants, volunteer t-shirts, and my camera.

Arkansas (WCAC ID: 99628)

A three-year-old Boxer mix currently on stray hold. He was sweet and a little camera shy.

Isn’t he beautiful – that lovely brindle brown – and those ears!

Harrison (WCAC ID: 99637)

He had just arrived that morning. A stray pup, just ten months old, thrown into crazy new world.

He expressed his fear with a growl to the empty world outside his kennel, but was a happy boy when I got in there with him.

Bronco (WCAC ID: 80420)

You can’t resist a happy face like this. I admit to being briefly concerned upon stepping into the kennel. It was based on some past experiences with big blue and white boys like him. It was unfounded and a good lesson on looking at each dog for their individual personality.

He’s currently in foster care, but is ready to find his true furever home.

Charice (WCAC ID: 99495)

Such a sweet, sweet girl who came in as a stray and has yet to be reclaimed by her owners. Maybe it was a snowmageddon thing and she’ll be home by the time I post.

If not, how can you not want to take this girl home and cuddle her up?

Gibbs (WCAC ID: 81596)

His database record seems to be a little “messed up” – hint, hint, J – the whole “came in to the Center on 2-15-2014 and available for adoption on 11-30-2012” was my first clue. ‘Cause otherwise he is one BIG boy for just nine months old.

Hopefully his family will have come for him by the time I post this, but if you’re looking for a conversationalist, Gibbs is the boy for you.

Fab (WCAC ID: 99607)

Fab is an energetic schmedium size dog – you know, you wouldn’t quite call him small, but he’s not big enough to be a medium.

He’s just eight months old and is full of that wonderful puppy energy without being over-the-top crazy.

Bailey (WCAC ID: 99509)

This beautiful boy needs you. He’s heartworm positive, which makes him harder to adopt out.

His owners surrendered him saying he was housetrained, good with dogs, and good with cats – so ask staff about heartworm treatments options and for more information.

Goober (WCAC ID: 99605)

Another happy boy surrendered by his owners.

Not just your basic black Lab mutt, but a happy boy with love and smiles for days.

Brutus (WCAC ID: 99626)

Frankly, Goober was supposed to be my last shoot of the morning as it was time for the Suite Paws run, but I had spotted Brutus earlier looking sad in a dark corner kennel. He looked sad and the kennel next to him being out of commission for a three day bleaching made him seem even lonelier. So even though I was out of treats I popped in and FELL IN LOVE.

Such a sweet boy just looking for some love. He would hang his head and reach for my hand with his paw each time I stopped petting him.

So there they are – the sweethearts that are the reason I volunteer and write this blog. Please stop by the WCAC at 820 Beacon Lake Drive Raleigh, NC 27610 any day of the week between noon and 6 PM to visit all our wonderful pets. You can also see them and those in foster by viewing the online adoption gallery here.

4 thoughts on “Spay and Neuter – the Good and the Bad

  1. I volunteer there as well and was there today… Fell in love with Brutus, he broke my heart. I agree about him being lonely in the back corner. And he is soooo quiet he is practically over looked. He let me hug and love on him. Oh what a sweetheart he is, and he’s good with kids, dogs, and even chickens!!!

      1. On top of being family friendly, he likes car rides, walks, swimming…. So in left scratching my head (yet again) on why the perfect pet is surrendered. Thanks for all you do!

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