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Dispelling the myth

When asked to write an article about Spay/Neuter for the Center’s newsletter, I figured it was like “preaching to the choir.” After all, anyone receiving this newsletter probably knows plenty about sterilizing pets, right?

But, surprisingly, there are many facts that even dedicated members of the Center may not know

For example, the word “spay.” I don’t know why we call an ovariohysterectomy a “spay” surgery. My Funk and Wagnall says it’s from the Gaelic spaive. Webster says it comes from the French, espeer, to cut with a sword. In essence, an OVH is the removal of the ovaries and the uterus. I’ve had many questions like “Why can’t you just take out the uterus and leave the ovaries, Doc?” or “Can’t you just tie her tubes?” I especially like it when the owner is concerned that Fluffy won’t feel like a woman. “Won’t she miss it, Doc?” I refer them to their mother or grandmother for that discussion.

Neuter = castration. Now, that’s a difficult term for men to say. Women seem to have no problem with the word “castration.” For some men, anything to do with “between their legs” is sacred ground, especially for their faithful hunting dog or tough tomcat. In reality, neutering a male is similar to neutering a female. The gonads are in different locales and the surgical procedure is different, but the end result is the same – no more reproduction.

Then there are the “good ‘ol boy” questions, like “Doc, don’t ya’ think he’ll miss out on somethin’?” or “Won’t he be kind of a sissy?” As far as “missing” something – well, I suppose they do.

Have you ever seen cats mate? It’s kind of like the Black Widow spider. The female lures the male with wonderful gestures, then they get together for about 10 seconds. To make matters even more “fun” for the male cat, he usually gets scratched and bitten. And it’s just as physical for the female. The male grabs her shoulders with his claws and her neck with his teeth. Oh, the joys of sex!

But I am compelled to mention the benefits of spay/neuter . Since most of you have heard the reasons for spay/neuter a million times, I’ll be brief. It really IS good for the male or female cat, dog, or rabbit. The reasons include: decreasing aggression toward other animals, preventing behavior problems, reducing the animal’s chance of getting cancer, increasing life expectancy, reducing the incidence of injury and disease, reducing the urge to roam, and decreasing the incidence of fighting. And it’ll save you money, too…in decreased license fees and fewer veterinary bills. So as not to appear narrow minded, there are three reasons NOT to spay or neuter:

A spayed or neutered animal has a tendency to gain weight due to a decreased metabolic rate (however, this should save you money because you should feed him/her less).

You won’t have puppies, kittens, or bunnies in the future.

The macho guy won’t have anything to “show” between Butch’s legs. However, I’m told that they now make a product called “neuticals,” which are synthetic testicle implants for the owner that is compelled to show off his stud dog!


A spay/neuter article can’t end without a tribute to those millions of pets and strays that are euthanised yearly, around the world. Thanks to the support of many, there are spay/neuter projects realised everywhere but it still is not enough and so the killing continues. You too, can help to end this tragedy which is caused by pet overpopulation.


– Have your pet spayed/neutere

– Provide a new home for an animal in a shelter

– Discuss this subject with your friends, family and neighbours.



The original article was written by: David W. Zanders, D.V.M.

note: This article was originally written for the American situation and some minor changes have been made to make the article suitable for the European situation.