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There is More Than One Way to Desex a Dog

01 June 2016

AUSTRALIA - With mandatory desexing soon to come into effect in South Australia, the Australian Veterinary Association is urging the South Australian government to adopt a broader definition of ‘desexing’ so that veterinarians can perform effective desexing procedures based on the individual health and welfare of each pet.

“The original definition of ‘desexing’ as proposed by the government is very narrow and only allows for the removal of an animal’s testicles or ovaries. The fact is that there are several methods that veterinarians can use to desex animals, all of which will achieve the ultimate goal of rendering the animals as incapable of reproducing.

“Removing an animal’s testicles or ovaries is not always in the best interests of the animal, so it’s essential that vets are able to use their expertise and their professional judgement to determine the best approach for desexing an animal. This narrow definition of ‘desexing’ effectively ties their hands, giving them no options,” said Dr Anne Fowler, President of the Australian Veterinary Association South Australia Division.

Dr Fowler says that with veterinary medicine constantly developing, new and less invasive techniques for all types of surgical procedures, including desexing, are becoming increasingly available and veterinarians should be able to use the most current and up-to-date methods, which a broader definition of ‘desexing’ would allow for.

“There are currently hormone modifying implants that have temporary contraceptive effects of between 1 and 3 years. There is significant potential that permanent alternatives may be developed within next decade. Such permanent implants could offer significantly cheaper desexing alternatives and benefits to the health and welfare of animals.

“If a dog or cat owner must have their pet desexed in South Australia, I’m sure they would first and foremost want their vet to use the least invasive effective method available for their pet. I’m confident that pet owners would also want their vet to use the most cost effective method as well. Adopting a broader definition of ‘desexing’ makes options available to the veterinarians caring for the animals and as well as pet owners,” Dr Fowler said.

While there is some evidence that desexing by removing an animal’s testicles or ovaries has some impact on aggressive behaviour, it’s just one of many factors that influence animal behaviour. Aggression in dogs in particular is a complex issue with many contributing factors, which is why spaying or castration cannot be viewed as a solution.

“Desexing is certainly not a silver bullet solution to the issue of dog aggression and attacks. There are many factors that come into play in terms of aggression including socialisation, training and human behaviour.

“We don’t believe that by forcing an animal to be spayed or castrated by keeping a narrow definition of ‘desexing’ will result in any great behaviour benefits,” Dr Fowler said.

ThePetSite News Desk

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