Many people feel that vets have a ‘thing’ about getting animals neutered. People who do not see the ‘bigger picture’ often drag out the argument that neutering is not natural and ‘interferes’ with an animal’s natural behaviour.


Here at Clutha Vets we see the results of this ‘bigger picture’, and at this time of year the number of young cats and kittens that we are trying to rehome very graphically displays it. As a result it is a very stressful time at the clinic as our staff seek good homes, knowing that hard decisions may have to be made if none are found.


Yet having young cats neutered at the age of 4-6 months easily eliminates the vast majority of this stress. It is a very simple procedure (which we guarantee will never need to be done again) and as well as preventing unwanted kittens, it has the advantage of significantly reducing wandering and fighting in both sexes. So, for a once in a lifetime outlay, ongoing and costly treatment at the vets is significantly reduced! (Not often you find a business trying to reduce their workload!)


Aside from the perennial problem of kittens, neutering is beneficial for many other reasons. In the male dog it reduces prostatic problems and the associated constipation that we frequently need to deal with (usually on a Friday afternoon!). In the bitch it eliminates seasons (three weeks twice a year of having to be very careful if you don’t want puppies!), reduces the incidence of mammary cancers and eliminates the chances of a uterine infection developing. This is known as a ‘pyometra’ and is generally an emergency situation when it occurs (again usually on a Friday afternoon!).


Certainly neutering is not ‘natural’, but then neither are the conditions that we keep our animals in. Cats are not naturally mixers – in the wild they live a solitary existence and only associate with other cats to breed, they also only live to be 6-8 years of age, whereas our pampered domesticated pussy-cat now easily lives to 15 years or more.


A similar situation occurs for dogs  – they are naturally pack animals, but are frequently kept as solitary pets. Even when kept in numbers they are seldom allowed to express ‘pack’ behaviour. Some years ago in Scotland I had personal dealing with a ‘near pack’ – over a period of 4-6 months there were 3 dogs in the pack that had their throats torn out by fellow pack members – not a desirable situation for your responsible dog-owner to find themselves in!


So think seriously about getting your animal neutered – the benefits are huge, and our staff here at Clutha Vets dream of the day we don’t have kittens looking for homes in cages in our waiting room…


Written by: Suzanne Craig BVCs - Small Animal Vet, based at Balclutha and used in the local newspaper (The Leader) in the monthly Pet Corner section.