Pediatric spay or neuter neutering (Proceedings)
Adapted from an article originally published in Veterinary Medicine, February 2011.
Each year in the United States millions of homeless or unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters and humane societies. While precise numbers are difficult to obtain the Humane Society of the United States estimates that between 3 and 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year (HSUS 2006). Many factors have led to the overpopulation of dogs and cats and the solution will be multifaceted. Until safe and effective chemical or immunological sterilization is available spay neuter will be the cornerstone of any program to reduce the overpopulation thereby reducing the numbers of animals relinquished and euthanized each year.
Ovariohysterectomy and castration of pediatric dogs and cats (between 8 and 16 weeks of age) is supported by the AVMA and is becoming increasing popular especially in the shelter and high-quality high-volume spay neuter environments. The AVMA position statement says, "Resolved that the AVMA supports the concept of early (8-16 weeks) ovariohysterectomies/gonadectomies in dogs and cats, in an effort to stem the overpopulation problem in these species (AVMA 1994)." "The concept is for the benefit of animal shelter and humane society spay/neuter programs. Individual veterinarians have the right/responsibility to decide on what age they will perform the procedure." Other organizations supporting pediatric neutering include the: