It’s National Prevent A Litter Month

It’s National Prevent A Litter Month

Love is frequently the semi-official theme for February. As Valentine’s Day approaches, shops fill with romantic decorations like flowers and candies. However, when it comes to pets, the emphasis is actually on curbing romance: It’s Prevent A Litter Month, Spay/Neuter Month, and Feline Fix By Five Month. All three of these awareness events have the same purpose: to reduce the number of unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. A  Mt. Airy, GA veterinarian provides some insight on this topic below.

What Is the Best Time to Spay or Neuter a Kitten?

Ideally, young Fluffy should be fixed before her first heat, which occurs at around five months of age. (This is the premise behind the Feline Fix By Five Month awareness campaign.) Our feline pals can become pregnant at only four months, while they are still very young. They can be fixed at eight weeks old, but many vets prefer to wait a little longer. Speak with your Mt. Airy, GA veterinarian and follow their recommendations.

Can I still get my adult pet fixed?

Yes! These procedures can still be performed successfully on adults. Of course, they may not be appropriate for a senior or a pet with major medical problems. Consult with your veterinarian.

What is the best age to spay or neuter a dog?

There are some gray areas here, since Fido’s size will come into play. Currently, the AKC recommends fixing little dogs between the ages of six and nine months. Larger breeds may require a longer wait. Some large dogs should not undergo surgery until they are 18 months old. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe a time range based on your pet’s size and health.

Are male pets more affectionate after being neutered?

Your furry friend may be affectionate and cuddly before they are fixed, but don’t be surprised if they are much more so afterward. Removing the hormonal need to reproduce just results in a calmer pet. This can be really beneficial in dealing with behavioral difficulties. Dogs and cats who have been fixed are no longer interested in claiming their territory or looking for a mate. That reduces things like spaying, aggression, and escape attempts. 

Are There Health Benefits of Getting Your Pet Fixed?

While we would undoubtedly prioritize reducing animal overpopulation as the primary reason for doing this treatment, there are also some significant benefits for your cat.

Here are a few significant examples:

Lower Cancer Risk: Getting your four-legged pet fixed lowers the risk of them developing certain cancers. Males, for example, have significantly lower odds of testicular cancer. females have a lower risk of ovarian, uterine, and mammary gland tumors.

Longer Lifespan: Did you know that pets who have been fixed live longer? For girls, the risks associated with pregnancy and/or delivery are eliminated. There is also the previously reported lower cancer risk. Additionally, pets are less inclined to roam after. 

Reduce Unwanted Behaviors. Heat cycles and hormonal desires can have unpleasant consequences. For example, intact male pets are far more likely to spray. They are also more aggressive and prone to harmful conduct.

Will Getting My Dog Or Cat Fixed Really Help To Reduce Overpopulation?

While getting your pet spayed or neutered will not miraculously fix this problem, it will definitely help. Every pet counts!

Let’s take a look at Fluffy and Fido’s reproduction statistics. The figures get quite mind-boggling here.

Our canine companions can have two litters per year, with an average litter size of six to ten. That means just one pair of dogs could produce up to 67,000 descendants in just six years!

Of course, that’s only an average. Some dogs have many more babies than that. Tia, a Neapolitan Mastiff, holds the Guinness record: the pooch had 24 puppies in a single litter in 2004. That very exhausted mama set a Guinness World Record for her litter. More recently, an Australian dog named Honey smashed that country’s record. Honey had 22 puppies after three days of labor!

As far as cats go, Fluffy can have three litters per year, with each litter having typically 4-6 kittens. That means a pair of cats can produce up to 2, 072, 514 descendants in just eight generations!

Some of our feline companions can give Honey and Tia a run for their money. The record for the largest litter of kittens was set in 1970, when a Burmese/Siamese cat delivered 19 offspring.  However, the ultimate lifetime record belongs to Dusty, a Texas feline who had 420 babies over her lifetime.

Too many puppies and kittens may sound like a cute problem, but those figures correspond to some pretty dismal data. Each year, around 7.6 million animals enter American shelters. Approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats will be euthanized.

That doesn’t even include the millions of homeless pets who are left to fend for themselves. Animals on the street have a difficult life, with many living very short and terrible lives. Stopping your animal pet from contributing to those figures is a small but important act that can and will make a difference.

How Can I Help My Pet Recover After Spay/Neuter Surgery?

Your Mt. Airy, GA animal hospital will provide you with aftercare instructions, usually in the form of a care sheet. Follow the directions to the letter.

In general, you’ll want to provide your furry friend with a clean, quiet, and comfortable recovery environment. (If you’ve been thinking about buying them a new bed, now is a good time.)

Pets have a tendency to scratch or nibble stitches. To keep the stitches intact, your veterinarian may recommend an inflated collar or lampshade collar (often known as the Cone Of Shame). Your veterinary clinic will provide you with information about this.

If you have other pets, keep them in a separate place for the first several days while your furry patient rests and recovers. Keep an eye on the surgical site, and look for any symptoms of infection or problems. This includes the following:

  • Redness
  • Pus 
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Torn stitches
  • A foul odor 
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of Appetite

If you see anything that seems off, contact your veterinary clinic immediately.

How Long Will It Take My Pet To Recover After Being Fixed?

Boys recover from the operation faster than girls do. Males will be over the healing ‘hump’ in a few days. Females may take several weeks to fully heal.

How much does spay/neuter surgery cost?

Prices differ from place to place. Remember, while there may be an initial expense to spaying or neutering your pet, it may save you money in the long term. Caring for a litter of pups or kittens can cost significantly more than the initial treatment!

Bonus: Another reason to get your cat fixed.

We can’t talk about spaying or neutering pets without mentioning one of the lesser-known benefits of getting Fluffy fixed: you’ll be spared your pet’s rather horrifying-sounding feline love songs. Fluffy is a great pet, but her musical abilities leave much to be desired. When cats are in heat, they try to attract partners making noises that they appear to consider singing. Apparently, other felines enjoy this ‘caterwauling’. To our human hearing, it sounds more like low-key torture. This alone may be reason enough to have your pet fixed!

Do you need to arrange a spay/neuter for your pet? Do you have any questions about getting your pet friend fixed? Please contact us, your local Mt. Airy, GA pet hospital, for all of your pet’s veterinary care needs.

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