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Rebecca
Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 13833
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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Hi Cheryl I live in UK and I have a 5 month old female kitten

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Hi Cheryl
I live in UK and I have a 5 month old female kitten and my vet wants to spay her very soon. I have read research that proves that traditional spaying and neutering has many health problems for animals in their adult lives (e.g. cushing disease, endocrine disorders, hypothyroidism, behavior problems etc.) Looking for an alternative to traditional spaying that would have less side effects and less intrusive if possible. any suggestions are very much appreciated even if vets are not performing them currently.

Thanks
Marina
Hello,
Thank you for asking about Simba. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.

Some of your research is correct, most endocrine problems like Cushing's disease are more common in spayed and neutered cats. However, Cushing's disease is very rare ( I have seen 2 cases in 30 years).

Hypothyroidism has never been confirmed in cats; perhaps you mean hyperthyroidism?

I have never seen behavior problems listed as being caused by spaying and neutering in any research or in my experience.

The alternatives to spaying are 1. To just not spay her and let her go into heat all the time. This is not a great alternative, because the frequent heat cycles ( they keep going into heat over and over all season, if they do not get pregnant) can cause anemia, and mammary cancer. Not to mention that a cat being in heat frequently from February to September will drive you crazy!

The other alternative is using doses of progesterone, to prevent heat cycles and pregnancy. These are safe to use once or twice; breeders will use them to stop a heat if a cat is going to a show. But to use them over and over can cause diabetes, uterus infections called pyometra, and other problems.

I recently helped a customer on this service. Her cat was regularly getting progesterone to control her going into heat; the cat became diabetic and developed a pyometra. The only treatment for a pyometra ( it is usually fatal) is to spay her as an emergency, and she died. So using progesterone over a life time is certainly not considered to be safe.

What is "normal" for female cats, is to have two litters a year. If they do this, they are only in heat a few days of the year. But then you have all those kittens, and kittens having kittens! Not letting them get pregnant increases the number of days they are in heat, producing estrogen, by tenfold, or more. All that estrogen is no better for them than the progesterone we use to stop their being in heat.

I just did some searching on a vets only website, and can find no new drug that is a safe alternative to spaying. They are working on it! I assumed when I was in vet school, 30 years ago, that the day would come that we would not have to surgically alter pets, but I am still waiting. I spay and neuter my cats when they are 6 to 12 months old, and consider it to be the best and safest of the alternatives.

Please let me know what else I can research, answer, or help with.

Rebecca

Rebecca and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for the great rating!

Rebecca