What Should You Do? Says Who?: Controversies Confronting a Responsible Pet Owner
May 05, 2018 01:50AM
By Mary Oquendo
Spay and neuter? Don’t spay and neuter? Vaccinate? Don’t vaccinate? Choose between a modern or holistic veterinarian. You want to be an educated pet owner, but where do you find information that is not biased in one direction or the other?
Before you can decide, consider the purpose of each decision and educate yourself to understand why there is even a controversy.
Spay And Neuter
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures that prevent unwanted litters and passing of unhealthy genes, as well as reducing the risk of certain cancers. Spaying removes the ovaries and sometimes the uterus of females, while neutering castrates males. They will be unable to reproduce.
The controversy comes into play because of some medical concerns that have been linked to spaying and neutering pets when they are too young including those that may be orthopedic, behavioral, immunologic and oncologic, in nature.
Vaccination provides immunity from contagious and/or deadly diseases through inoculation with a live or killed antibody specific to the virus. Many of these diseases can cause a lifetime of chronic medical conditions if the pet survives the disease. In addition, some pet diseases, for example, rabies or leptospirosis, can be passed to their human families with serious or fatal results.
The controversy centers on over-vaccination, especially that of small pets, and vaccines that are not reliable or considered necessary. There is inconsistent information about the availability and efficacy of titer tests which measure the presence of antibodies in the blood, thereby indicating whether a new vaccine is warranted. Complicating matters further, there is a lack of agreement between veterinarians about the existing science and little scientific advancement reflected in current municipal laws surrounding vaccination and use of titer testing.
Veterinarians provide medical care to your pet to keep them healthy or to treat and prevent chronic medical conditions. That seems clear and simple enough. So what’s the controversy?
Some pet owners feel that modern veterinarians rely too heavily on invasive diagnostic procedures and medication, whereas others feel holistic veterinarians don’t employ those techniques when necessary. The reality is that while there are veterinarians who are clearly on one side of the fence or the other, many veterinarians will offer a treatment or maintenance plan that incorporates both conventional and integrative modalities. Talk to your veterinarian to find out what policies and practices their practice promotes or will refer for.
Contributing to the dilemma, pet owners typically do not have access to scientific journals and studies. We can’t read them and come to our own conclusions. As such, we have to rely on the interpretation of a veterinarian.
When researching information online, check many places and look for middle ground. Any website that draws a line in the sand that you must do it their way or risk killing your pet should be avoided. Such sites are not well balanced and will skew the studies and reports being presented to achieve the results that favor their position.
This article cannot tell you what is right or wrong for any individual pet or family with individual needs, but by taking the time to research all the options and understand the questions, you will be more informed and make better choices on your pet’s behalf.
Mary Oquendo is a Reiki Master, advanced crystal master and certified master tech pet first aid instructor. She is the owner of Pawsitive Education and Spirited Dog Productions. She can be reached at PawsitiveEd.com. See ad, page 41.