On Neutering

Today’s post is about Egon.

"Hello, ladies."

Two weeks ago, when Peach went for her vaccinations, Egon tagged along for the long ride into Quebec. He was also getting his vaccinations, but for a darker purpose: once Egon was vaccinated, he would be neutered. Egon has always been a lover, not a fighter. At 8 months he has never sprayed, fought, hissed, or even looked cross at anyone. His weapons are subtle: the Flehmen, the Hump, the Neck-Bite. Indeed, my friends, Egon would utilise these foul weapons against even his own sister.

Since Astrid is about 2/3rds of Egon’s weight, she was a bit outmatched. Being equally lover-y, she wouldn’t fight back, and would only cry pitifully as he tried to hump her into the floor. We spent a lot of time clapping and shouting at him, and he spent a lot of time looking forlorn, or pressing himself to the floor when he thought we were angry at him. It wasn’t going to stop, so we knew it was best to get the deed done sooner, rather than later.

So Egon went to a more local vet yesterday. Not the local vet (Who is prohibitively expensive) and not our family vet (Who is prohibitively far) but a vet in-between. About a third the driving distance, but right in the middle, price-wise. He was dropped off in the morning, and kept all night, and we picked him up this evening. He was active, alert, and not at all phased by the lack of his two little friends. It will take a few weeks for his hormones to even out, and until then we expect to continue to clap and shout when he gets too frisky, but Egon has had the Snip.

There’s some research being made into neutering and spaying companion animals. I haven’t found much research into cats yet, but in dogs, the results are staggering, and go against much of what we’ve been taught. With my first Pom, I chose not to neuter because, well, I wouldn’t crop, dock, or declaw, why would I neuter? Apparently, I was “in the right”. Research shows almost no benefit to neutering a dog, but some downfalls, like an increase in the harder-to-treat prostate cancer. Sure, he won’t get scrotal or testicular cancer, but those are much easier to treat. Research also shows a link between aggressive or hypersexual behaviour once a dog is neutered. My belief is that, since these behaviours aren’t governed by hormones anymore, the dog begins to use them out of context.

With females it’s a bit more touch-and-go. Some breeds have been shown to have a longer lifespan if they can benefit from hormone production until middle-life. The occurrence of mammary cancers if left intact doesn’t rise until after age 3, in some breeds.

Egon may have been neutered, but his sister is waiting a bit. Spaying a female cat is almost not a question, as female cats do not shed their uterine lining with each heat cycle, which can lead to a deadly build-up and infection called pyometra. Peach… Well, it’s touch-and-go. She’ll be able to benefit from some hormone production, since an early spay is just not an option for me. But whether she remains intact for one year or ten depends on the future.

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