Theriogenologists Weigh in on MSN
Theriogenologists are veterinarians who specialize in animal (therio) reproductive (gen / genesis) science (ology).
The American College of Theriogenologists has published a position statement on mandatory spay-neuter (MSN) of companion animals. From their website:
The American College of Theriogenologists and The Society for Theriogenology believe that companion animals not intended for breeding should be spayed or neutered; however, both organizations believe that the decision to spay or neuter a pet must be made on a case by case basis, and this decision should be made between the pet’s owner and its veterinarian, taking into consideration the pet’s age, breed, sex, health status, intended use, household environment and temperament.
While there are health benefits to spaying and neutering these must be weighed against the health benefits of the sex steroids. In general, the advantages of spaying or neutering a pet include effective population control, decreased aggression, decreased wandering, decreased risk of being hit by a car, and decreased risk of mammary, testicular and ovarian cancer. On the other hand, the disadvantages of spaying or neutering may include increased risk of obesity, diabetes, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, prostatic adenocarcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, autoimmune thyroiditis, hypothyroidism and hip dysplasia. Therefore, the decision to spay or neuter a dog or cat should be made solely by the pet’s owner with the direct input of their veterinarian and will be dependent on each particular animal’s situation.
Additionally, research has shown that in locations where mandatory spay and neuter programs have been instituted, a decrease in the number of vaccinated and licensed animals has been seen due to poor program compliance from pet owners’ fears of seeking veterinary care if their animals are still intact. This may result in decreased preventive care and regular wellness examinations which may then diminish the pet’s quality of life because of increasing undiagnosed health issues. It also may result in an increase in zoonotic diseases, such as hookworm and roundworm infection in children due to poor deworming programs, and decreased compliance with routine rabies vaccination.
They have also published the basis for their position statement here. There’s some good information at the link, and we *hope* that state and local legislators take heed of these recommendations made by veterinarians who specialize in reproductive medicine.