"This information was kindly provided to us by Helen Taylor Director Rainbow Nation Animals:"

There is a serious population explosion of domestic animals in South Africa. It is estimated that around 4 million unwanted animals get euthanased country-wide, at the various animal welfare organisations - and these are only those in these shelters. The unwanted animals that are in rural areas are often not included in these statistics as unless a dedicated animal welfare organisation provides assistance and education to the residents, the problem goes unmanaged. There are also frequent instances of people dumping their animals in various places, like busy or deserted roads, at the gates of animal shelters, etc. A conservative calculation of just how serious the problem of unwanted litters of kittens and puppies are, will demonstrate how you can make a big difference by sterilising your pets. Two sexually mature animals (males around 6 months of age, and females around 9 months of age) will mate every 6 months. If we took an average litter of 6 puppies/kittens twice a year and when their offspring became sexually mature enough to mate twice a year, and their offspring, and so on and so on ... conservatively speaking, over a 5 year period this will potentially result in around 68,000 animals! Even if we reduced this number to half or a quarter - it would still be mind-boggling. Each of us animal-lovers may potentially know a few good homes, but NONE of us know about 68,000 of them! Each person can do their bit to reduce unnecessary suffering and neglect by taking responsibility and having their own pets sterilised so the welfare organisations and shelters have less pressure on them to deal with the awful task of euthanasing them. Can you imagine how they must feel, having to euthanase puppies and kittens, which could have been controlled by sterilisation? Each of us have an obligation to prevent this unnecessary breeding.

Although expensive, and we would like for veterinarians to make sterilisation more affordable, the benefits of sterilisation are many, some of which you may not have known:

  • Population control, reducing numbers of unwanted puppies and kittens, thereby preventing many animals ending up in shelters/welfare organisations where euthanase is often the only option as they have a serious lack of funding to be able to keep these dogs alive - it is a man-made situation
  • Females in heat will actively seek a male to mate with, and the males will obviously seek out the females to make this a reality. Because of this strong drive, it often results in both males and females escaping from their homes in order to find a mate and potentially causing terribly injury or even death, through fighting. By sterilising, you will reduce the chances of them straying, and prevent the loss of your pet, or even the death of your pet which may occur through being run over. Obviously any injuries occurring, will result in having to pay vet bills, so essentially 'prevention is better than cure' as the vets bills for injury, may cost as much as sterilisation in the first place. In cats, fighting may result in the transmission (through biting) of Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), also known as Feline AIDS.
  • Females in heat have various body secretions which are both smelly and messy, and may result in permanent staining of clothing, blankets, furniture, etc.
  • Males looking for mates, may demonstrate 'marking their territory' and again, may result in smells on furniture, carpets, etc. that are extremely difficult to get rid of. Neutering, can also reduce the odour of urine.
  • By sterilising under one year of age, you can potentially prevent your dog from getting canine mammary cancer which is the most common tumour in dogs, and very rarely occurs in sterilised dogs.
  • By spaying your female dog, you will also reduce the chances of tumours in her uterus and ovaries.
  • A condition called pyometra affects some female dogs and it is a uterine infection occurring after their heat cycles which is potentially life-threatening and very unpleasant condition. If your female dog has spayed, this will completely take care of the problem.

Please speak to your veterinarian about the best time to sterilise your animal, and reduce the chances of the above mentioned conditions. It is also an urban legend, that sterilising your animals will reduce the animal's 'guarding' ability. The animals' diet may need to be altered after sterilising to ensure they do not put on too much weight, as a result of their metabolic rates showing somewhat.



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