Dear LA Teacher,
My parents are so mean. They are talking about fixing my dog, Sparky. What does “fixing” mean and will it hurt?
Dear LA Kid,
Fixing a cat or dog means that the animal will be spayed or neutered. Veterinarians spay females and neuter males. When a female animal is spayed a vet removes her ovaries and uterus so she can’t have puppies or kittens. When a male dog or cat is neutered his testacies are removed so he won’t be able to make a female pregnant. The operation can be costly, however, Los Angeles County has established a low-cost spay/neuter program that makes surgery easily affordable and accessible.
Last month I had my puppy, Scribble, spayed. The Los Angeles Animal Services in Van Nuys performed the operation. I brought her in at 7:00 AM and had to pick her up by 4:00 P.M. That evening Scribble was in a little pain, but the vet gave her pain pills that helped a lot. After a few days she bounced back nicely and was her old self, but a bit calmer. Here are some other benefits to having your pet spayed or neutered.
1. Heat Problem Fixed. You’ll avoid having your pet go into heat. Scribble had her first heat in September. The bloodstains left behind were really difficult to clean up. If you have a cat in heat she will yowl and urinate frequently in an effort to find a mate. Scribble barked incessantly.
2. Health Benefits. For female pets, spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer. For males, neutering prevents unwanted litters and testicular cancer.
3. Improved Behavior. The male dog or cat that is not neutered will urinate all over the house to mark his territory. They will also runaway in search of a mate. If he escapes he can get hit by a car or get into fights with other males. Neutered cats and dogs tend to focus on their human families and are much better behaved.
4. Good for the Community. Spaying or neutering your pet is good for the community. Every year the Los Angeles City Animal Shelters has to euthanize stray pets. In the United States last year approximately 8 million stray pets were placed in animal shelters and about 3-4 million dogs and cats were euthanized. Animals not housed in animal shelters can starve in the wild without proper homes. By fixing your pet you help your city and future pets from unnecessary suffering and reduce the number of animals on city streets.
February is Spay and Neuter Month and February 26 is World Spay Day. Let’s celebrate by caring for our pets and getting them spayed or neutered—for their health and ours.