A quick fix to save lives
An estimated 2.4 million healthy and treatable cats and dogs are put down in US shelters each year. That is one animal every 13 seconds. There is a way to prevent this needless loss of life and that is by spaying and neutering our pets. These statistics came from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and is just one reason why the organization sponsors World Spay Day every February.
Spay and neuter is the logical choice and not only prevents unwanted animals, but can improve the health of the dogs and cats helping them live longer lives. World Spay Day promotes this simple medical procedure and this year’s date is Tuesday, February 23. Organizations from around the world will be offering special pricing and special events to help pet owners spay and neuter their pets.
World Spay Day began as Spay Day USA by the Doris Day Animal League in 1995. World Spay Day is now a part of the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International and Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. The goal is to promote the spaying or neutering of pets as well as street dogs and cats. February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month with many organizations around the world including businesses, veterinary clinics and animal welfare organizations participating.
Here is more information from the HSUS and HSI:
- While nationwide, 87% of cats and dogs kept as pets are spayed or neutered, in some parts of the US, 91% of cats and dogs are unaltered;
- Most people want to spay or neuter their pets, but services are unaffordable;
- Of the 30-40 million “community cats” in US towns and cities, only 2% are spayed or neutered;
- Often animals put down in shelters are not stray or lost animals, as commonly assumed, but unwanted animals that people can no longer care for including many pure-bred dogs and cats.
Spay and neutering does so much for our pets, not only preventing unwanted litters, but can increase their lifespan. According to a study by Banfield Pet Hospitals and published in USA today in 2013, neutered male dogs live 18% longer than unaltered male dogs and spayed female dogs live 23% longer than unspayed females. These longer lifespans are the result of decreased urges to roam, and escape their homes, which prevents dogs and cats from getting hit by cars or into fights with other animals. There is also a reduced risk of disease and certain cancers including pyrometra, which is a fatal uterine infection, and uterine cancer and other cancers of the reproductive system in females and testicular and prostate cancers in males.
(read the full USA Today article here)
(see the 2015 Banfield study results here)
Despite knowing that these procedures can reduce unwanted litters and offer increased health benefits, most people still don’t alter their pets because cost is a barrier. On World Spay Day and during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, clinics throughout the country and around the world will offer special discounts and, in some places, even free spay and neutered services to help people who cannot afford it get their pets fixed. Visit your local shelter’s or vet clinic’s website to see what specials are being offered in your community this month.
Organizations and veterinary clinics can still get involved with World Spay Day and there are resources available on the event’s website to help both national and international organizations. Visit WorldSpayDay.org to learn more. Another way to help is to raise awareness of the event through social media. Spread the word by using the hashtag #WorldSpayDay on Twitter and Instagram to promote or find events in your area.