Pet overpopulation is a problem. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that over 4 million pets are euthanized each year in shelters across the nation. That’s almost 11,000 pets per day. These numbers alone are staggering, but they do not include the thousands of stray animals which are turned loose to fend for themselves and die on the streets. We will never eliminate the issue of unwanted pets, but we can drastically reduce their numbers with two words: spay and neuter.
Spaying and neutering are surgical sterilization procedures which remove the reproductive organs. While any surgery carries some risk, spays and neuters are considered to be fairly routine procedures and the pet is often able to return home the same night. After a brief healing time, the pet will be ready to resume its normal activities.
Preventing more unwanted pets is not the only benefit of spaying and neutering. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, animals that have been spayed or neutered have a lower risk for certain types of cancers and infection. Certain types of behavior which are associated with the mating urge will also be reduced or eliminated. These include aggression and urine-marking.
The cost of these procedures varies from city to city. Many areas offer low-cost spay/neuter clinics occasionally. Contact your veterinarian or local humane society for assistance in locating these events. Financial assistance is often available through non-profit organizations.