Today, February 24, is the 15th annual Spay Day, USA. It is a day well worth observing! Spaying and neutering our pets goes a long way to prevent a wide variety of health concerns resulting from unwanted breeding. Not only does this save money and heartache, but it can help to reduce pet overpopulation which often results in euthanasia in animal shelters. The Humane Society of the United States is coordinating Spay Day events around the country today, through local shelters, which will be distributing vouchers for low-cost neutering and spaying surgeries. According to HSUS, "over 32,500 operations were performed as a result of the event last year." And while that seems like a large number in reality it is only a very small portion of the year-round need. An un-spayed female dog can become a problem to their owner, for obvious reasons. But it is just as important to neuter male dogs as well. Neutered dogs make much better pets, are easier to handle, and are less likely to become aggressive. It is equally essential to neuter and spay kittens and cats. Intact females, not in responsible purebred breeding programs, can develop a wide range of medical conditions which can be prevented. In fact, spaying a female kitten before she goes into season the first time can virtually reduce the risk of mammary cancer to zero. Intact males are prone to spraying, will do everything possible to get out of the home in search of a mate, and also can transform from a gentle and loving cat into a fierce and aggressive ball of fur in an instant. In addition, according to HSUS's website, "In fact, neutering can actually reduce a number of behavior problems. Unneutered pets are more likely to roam, with a risk not only of producing puppies and kittens, but of getting into fights and being hit by cars. Unneutered cats are more likely to have litter box problems, a prime reason that cats are given up to shelters. And statistics also show that unneutered dogs are responsible for the majority of bites. "It's estimated that one pair of cats producing two litters a year can have over 2,000 descendants in four years - and over two million by the end of eight. And according to Vicki Stevens, Spay Day USA national coordinators for HSUS, since the 1970s, when educational programs and affordable spay-neuter programs started to become widespread, euthanasia figures have gone down from 22 percent of the companion animal population in 1973 to about 3 percent now." The sad fact is that there remain an estimated 3-4 million animals that end their lives in shelters each year. Financial considerations should not be a reason to not take action on behalf of your pet. There are many low cost neutering and spaying programs around the country which make it possible for all folks to be able to afford these procedures. We can all take part in celebrating the joy of being owned by a pet, by taking responsible and caring action to protect them. What are your thoughts about neutering and spaying pets? Leave a comment and share.
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