Spring is in the air! – by Dr. Amanda Glew
April is the month of Easter, which is not just one day. Easter itself is named after a pagan goddess who was worshipped for centuries before Christ. Eastre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility (from whom we get the word estrogen) was believed to usher in spring every year, thereby resurrecting the earth from the dead of winter into the new life of spring.
With spring, comes renewal. With renewal, comes breeding. With breeding comes babies. Often, many unwanted.
It is during the spring that most veterinarians are their busiest, and yet time and time again, people wait until “spring fever” (when females go into heat, make a ruckus, and drive you crazy) to consider it an EMERGENCY spay, or neuter. I have even been called into the clinic for an emergency when an owner thought for sure their husky had bitten their cat, she was paralyzed and rolling on the ground in agony. So in I came, and to their surprise, she was miraculously better. It was only upon examination when her tail head came up that I realized what had happened- so I placed her on the floor, rubbed her tail head vigorously, and miraculously- she started rolling on the ground, vocalizing in what appeared to be pain. She was in heat. She was just flirting with the husky, the poor dog probably had no idea what she was doing!
Even neutered animals can make noise in spring, and feel “frisky”! I have had neutered male dogs mate on walks, much to the chagrin of the owners (and the person walking the bitch in heat).
I recently had a client who called me very upset, that we had not removed “les gosses” (I love that word, French for – well, look it up). The cat was acting very male. It is to be noted that it is best to sterilize your animal before they exhibit “male” tendencies of spraying, otherwise they may continue even once the hormones are gone. It also takes 2-3 months for the hormones to reduce- so it is not guaranteed, and certainly won’t change behavior immediately. He was semi-feral, so we could not examine him awake, sand had to sedate the cat after he had bitten a technician. Well, the cat had already been neutered, so despite trying to call the owner on her emergency line (which rarely are answered in today’s world!), through a comedy of miscommunications, she never found out. But she never questioned why the cost was so little either. So when the cat came home, and had no evidence of being neutered – she called me accusing us of doing a poor job.
Even after explaining what had happened, and apologizing that she wasn’t reachable on her emergency line, she still did not believe me. “My cat would never bite anyone” – she told me emphatically. So I said, lift up his tail, and feel. If they are not neutered, it is quite obvious. The next day she called me back a little contrite, asking what she could do since he was still spraying. “So you saw he was neutered?” I asked. “Well, I tried, but he bit me”…. Ahhh!!! So I went onto advise how to reduce the spraying, and asked her where and how she noticed it.
“Well, when I made toast in the morning, there was a terrible smell.” There is nothing quite as bad as male urine marking, except for toasted male urine marking!
Spay and neuter your animals!!! Spring is in the air.
And if cost is a concern, TVC is doing a low cost fundraiser Spay/neuter clinic in May, proceeds going to charity, so call the clinic for more information at (514) 505-6555.