Sumner Spay Neuter Alliance

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is spaying and neutering
Spaying and neutering, the most common surgical procedures performed on animals, stop animals from being able to reproduce.  Females are spayed and males are neutered.

Q: Isn't spaying and neutering unnatural?
Euthanizing healthy, adoptable companion animals is unnatural.  Currently in this country, we euthanize one kitten, cat, puppy, or dog about every 8 seconds due to a critical lack of resources, including loving, lifetime homes.  Spay/neuter is a humane, proven solution to this tragic human failure.

Q: Doesn't spaying and neutering hurt?
Veterinarians provide animals with a general anesthetic, so the surgery itself is painless.  Any discomfort an animal experiences afterward is minimal, and can be alleviated with medication given to you by your vet.  According to VetCentric.com, "most cats will heal very easily and quickly," and "most dogs show no signs of discomfort from the procedure."  In fact, some animals "may attempt to resume their normal level of activity immediately after surgery."  This, of course, should be monitored to ensure that the animal does not aggravate the incision.  Most animals return to normal activity within 24 to 72 hours after surgery.

Q: Does spaying or neutering provide any additional benefits?
Yes. Spaying greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer and prevents various reproductive tract disorders.  Neutering often resolves undesirable behaviors such as aggression, spraying and roaming, and eliminates the risk of various testicular diseases.  Generally, animals who have been spayed or neutered prove to be more sociable companions.

Q: Doesn't spaying or neutering make dogs less protective?
No. Any changes brought about by spaying or neutering are generally positive. Neutered males tend to fight less and are less likely to become lost due to straying from home in search of a mate.  Spayed females do not go into heat or need to be confined indoors to avoid pregnancy. Dogs do not become less protective or less loyal to their guardians as a result of being spayed or neutered.

Q: Is it really necessary to neuter males? Males don't give birth!
The old saying 'it takes two to tango' is as true for animals as it is for humans.  Even if you are very careful to keep your male pet under control at all times, accidents do happen and he may escape.  In fact, he will likely try repeatedly to escape, digging up your yard, scratching up your door, or chewing off his restraint in the process.  Males roaming in search of a mate are susceptible to being injured by traffic and in fights with other males. And while a female cat or dog can only have one litter at a time, male animals can impregnate many females each day.

Q: When should I have my pet spayed or neutered?
As early as possible! Although cats and dogs have traditionally been altered at six months, many veterinarians are now practicing pediatric (also known as 'early age' or 'juvenile') spay/neuter surgery, which can be performed on animals who weigh at least two pounds - typically at six to eight weeks of age. Doctors practicing this technique report that the surgery is significantly easier and quicker to perform, quardians who have had pediatric spay/neuter performed on their animals report fewer medical problems than those who have older animals altered; and spaying or neutering homeless animals before adopting them out is the best way to prevent accidental births.

Q: Isn't spaying and neutering expensive?
Although to some animal guardians the cost of surgery may seem high initially, it's a real bargain when compared with the cost of raising a litter of puppies or kittens. Spaying and neutering also saves tax dollars.  A 1999 survey of 186 shelters revealed an average cost of $176 to handle each homeless animal,*  a cost that ultimately comes out of all our pockets. Most important of all, when you consider the moral expense of euthanizing millions of healthy, innocent beings who many of us consider 'best friends,' the cost of spay/neuter surgery fades to insignificance.

Q: I've been feeding a group of stray or feral cats and they are reproducing. What should I do?
It is important to humanely trap the cats and have them spayed or neutered as soon as possible.

Q: Are services limited to Sumner County residents?
A: No. Although Sumner County residents will be given priority, spay/neuter services will be available to anyone.



*Wenstrup, John, and Alexis Dowidchuk, "Pet Overpopulation: Data and Measurement Issues in Shelters," Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2(4), 1999, 303-319

Informationfrom HSUS Spay Day USA, www.humanesociety.org/spayday