Spay Neuter is the most important component of animal welfare! – Friendicoes

Spay Neuter is the most important component of animal welfare!


09 June 2023

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Spay Neuter is the most important component of animal welfare!

Anybody in the animal welfare space, individuals and organisations alike, would attest to the fact that the single most significant challenge they encounter is being overburdened by the number of animals needing care, coupled with limited resources at their disposal to provide that care. The sheer population of animals in need, especially dogs and cats, is overwhelming, and there never seems to be sufficient funds or human power.

To put these numbers into perspective, nearly 62 million dogs and roughly 9.1 million cats in India live on the streets or are housed in shelters like Friendicoes. Aside from providing food and shelter to these animals, ensuring that they are spayed and neutered at the right time is one of our most important responsibilities.

Why? Without spay and neuter initiatives, the fate of homeless animals is sealed. Sadly, many are neglected or die from disease, and it’s our responsibility as a community to ensure we minimise the chances of that happening.


First, what is spaying or neutering?

Spaying and neutering refer to a simple surgical procedure that removes the reproductive organs of male and female animals and is typically carried out when the animals are between six months to one year of age, i.e., physical maturity. Spaying is the removal of the ovaries and uterus of a female animal, while neutering is the removal of the testicles of a male animal. These procedures are safe, effective, and can be performed by any qualified veterinarian. The recovery duration is also minimal and doesn’t require significant post-op care.


Why is it necessary?

Sterilisation is critical for several reasons:

  • Health concerns: First and foremost, sterilisation has proven to be a beneficial preventive measure for an animal’s long-term health regarding the risk of potential diseases, including transmissible ones. Spaying can help reduce the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer in female animals. In contrast, neutering can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and other health problems in male animals.
  • An overburdened welfare system: As unfortunate as the situation is, it is our reality. With the rising population of dogs and cats, sterilisation is necessary to ensure that we, as animal welfare organisations, can adequately give our time and efforts to the animals already in our care. Since most shelters like ours function at maximum capacity nearly all the time, doing routine sterilisations gives our animals a fighting chance to find homes and good lives.
  • Young mothers: You often see young mothers, many of whom are not fully mature, giving birth to litters of puppies or kittens they are not physically strong enough to care for. This results in malnourished and weak offspring with meagre survival chances. The potential impact of trauma caused by the loss of a litter cannot be ignored. Add to that, it’s never just a one-time occurrence for these mothers – they may have up to 3 litters per year, with no one around to provide them with the care they would need.
  • More mouths for mom to feed: Supposing the puppies or kittens do survive, the reality remains that the mother is still living – or rather surviving – on the streets and is forced to scour for food for herself, let alone half a dozen babies. Far too many cases of puppies and kittens not surviving simply due to starvation.
  • Dogs in heat: If you’ve ever seen a female dog or cat in heat, you know how uncomfortable and painful it can be for them. Having to survive outdoors through a very vulnerable period while trying to escape from unwanted male attention is an avoidable situation.
  • Behavioural link: Sterilisation has also been linked to having a positive effect on the nature of dogs – specifically on their propensity for aggression as their instinct to mate has been eliminated.

When followed up with regular doses of vaccinations, spaying and neutering provides a humane way to reduce the number of animals forced to live out on the streets and helps improve the lives of those we already have among us. While those who take the time to understand Indies and treat them with love experience their loyal, gentle, and obedient nature irrespective, the unfounded misconceptions about them have led the public to be more open to caring for sterilised and vaccinated dogs, considering them less of a nuisance and/or threat.


How can you help your community animals?

If you live in a community where there are plenty of resident dogs and cats, and you want to help, sterilisation is definitely something that should be on your radar. Aside from feeding them, you can take responsibility for carrying out their procedures and cover the financial cost. It is a fairly straightforward process if you manage to independently get them to your closest veterinary clinic for these procedures. If that is not feasible for you, there are other options. Many organisations like ours have the vehicles to transport the animals from your neighbourhood to their clinical centres. They can carry out the sterilisations and return them to you when called upon. We would urge you to ensure that you call upon a well-known and trusted organisation and keep tabs on the animals after their operation to ensure they’re doing okay! The animal welfare community would salute you for your service 🙂