Paediatric spay/neuter does no long-term harm. True or False?

Gabs having sex again on my arm

It was World Spay Day on the 23rd of this month: an opportune moment to discuss this topic. This is partly a critique of the Catster.com article by Jane Kelley. She implies that there are myths about early cat spaying and neutering that need to be put to bed. The operations are perfectly okay when carried out on young kittens.

Thought: is it fair to say that vets are keen to spay and neuter early because they want to combat cat overpopulation. Is this is the reason it has nothing to do with the best time to operate from a health stand point.

Putting on Weight

One myth Jane quotes is that early spaying and neutering makes your cat fat. The ‘making your cat fat’ problem applies to any age when a cat is neutered/spayed. The argument is that it is not the neutering that makes your cat fat but overfeeding and a lack of exercise. That is only partly true in my opinion. It does not explain the whole story.

The lack of testosterone after the operation reduces the energy levels of a male cat. For the female, her procreation activities are curtailed. She settles down. I presume it is this which results in her being less active.

Neutering male cats calms them down. They become more sedentary as a result. Technically, this is an unnatural state of calmness and inactivity. If a cat eats the same amount that he ate before neutering he is destined to put on some weight unless the caretaker steps in and feeds less and plays with him more. My interpretation is that neutering does therefore cause a male cat to put on weight unless the guardian intervenes to manage food portions. Or at least that point can be argued. There is more…

As for ‘facts’ on this subject, research is not clear about a cat’s energy needs after surgery. However, it appears that, in practice, vets agree that spayed and neutered cats need less calories afterward: 261 kcal/day compared to 305 kcal.

Also a study indicated that cats post-operation ate more food rather than less, particularly for male cats. This compounded the problem. The reason for this is unknown but it could be due to hormonal changes. If this is true and consistent across a significant percentage of cats then it has to be argued that the spay and neuter operations do result in the cat putting on weight.

Gabriel having sex on my left arm - a different version

Early Spay/neuter stunts Growth

Jane Kelley says that if you believe this you failed your basic anatomy exams at school. She says that early spay/neutering results in cats tending to be taller and longer. This is because the operation results in later fusion of the growth plates.

Initially there were concerns by vets that early-age spaying and neutering might stunt normal growth patterns. Today, there is little data to support this concern: “although it is conceivable that long-term follow-up studies, if undertaken, may yet reveal unknown health effects.” (Olsen et al. 2001). This indicates a less than black and white situation.

Neutering male cats early (as young as 7-weeks-of-age) results in a taller cat and therefore I presume more slender. Perhaps, playing devil’s advocate, a cat owner does not desire their male cat to be taller and more slender but the opposite; a more masculine appearance. This is a point not made in the Catster.com article.

Urinary Tract Blockages

I agreed that there are no urethral diameter problems. It is myth that the urethra is constricted but there are alterations in that general area.

If a male cat is castrated (neutered) before 6 months of age or before the development of secondary sexual characteristics, his penis may remain small. Does that bother anyone? It bothers me a bit and it will probably bother other cat owners.

Also it appears that some early-neutered male cats have the “inability to extrude the penis”. Isn’t that important or do we ignore it?

Females Need to have a Litter Before being Spayed

This myth results in many unwanted kittens. Quite a few people believe it. It is untrue. Spaying the female reduces the risk of breast cancer and there is no risk, of course, of developing ovarian and uterine cancer.

Surgery on a Kitten is Risky

As far as I can tell this is a myth. The only barrier is emotional: putting a very young kitten through a major operation seems unfair but their recovery is better.

Conclusion

The conclusion that I have is that there are some effects of paediatric spaying and neutering particularly with respect to the male cat and the cat’s guardian should have the choice to delay the operation until after six months-of-age provided he/she is responsible enough to ensure that their cat has no opportunity to procreate.

Pictures on this page: Gabriel having sex with my left arm. He is not yet neutered. He is 5 months and 1 week old. He won’t have the chance to procreate.

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Has your cat ever hidden his toys so well that you can never find them?

My cat has done this. He has several toys and he has taken them away and hidden them somewhere. Despite a lot of searching I can’t find them. I don’t believe they are in the apartment any more. My current belief is that he has thrown them away not by intention but by accident because I believe he has put them in the rubbish bag, which I have thrown out.

Gabriel on the Microwave

I don’t actually have a rubbish bin. I use a big black bag to put rubbish in which is in the kitchen. He has access, therefore, to it. This is the only solution I have because I’ve been through the apartment with a fine tooth comb.

Not only has he apparently thrown away quite a few cat toys, he has also thrown away a little plush toy that my girlfriend bought me. It is a snow leopard and was part of a fund-raising exercise which she bought me as a Christmas present. That disappeared soon after I placed it on my desk. It was quite a reasonable size and appears to have been hauled away as prey and hidden in the big black plastic waste bag.

Has your cat hidden objects so thoroughly that he never found them again? I am going to buy some more toys and I’m going to buy a bin with a lid on to put the waste bag in. In this way, if I’m correct, my cat will no longer be able to inadvertently throwaway the cat toys that I buy for him.

We know what he’s doing. He’s treating the toys as prey and taking them back to his den. He is hiding them so that he can feed on them another day. Or perhaps he is much smarter than that? Perhaps he’s throwing them away because he’s bored with them! Wouldn’t it be funny if he was doing that? That is a bit of fun but I am astonished I can’t find them.

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Can Pot for Pets help end the suffering of our companion animals?

Although in traditional medical circles using marijuana to treat people remains a controversial topic, why can’t this popular weed help alleviate the constant suffering and intractable pain that is endured by companion animals who are terminally ill?

Pot for Pets
Photo (modified): Dank Depot on Flickr

Colorado and Washington State have already legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Thousands of people are taking advantage of the herb to alleviate pain, to deal with devastating illnesses and to counter the miserable side effects of chemotherapy. Additionally, many other patients claim numerous benefits with the judicious use of marijuana.

Since it appears that medical marijuana has been helping people deal more effectively with a wide variety of medical problems; as of January 2015 twenty three states and the District of Columbia have already legalized the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of many chronic conditions in spite of the fact that the mainstream veterinary profession remains skeptical and extremely concerned about whether the use of medical marijuana in the treatment of pets is warranted.

But according to HuffingtonPost.com, California resident Laura Bugni-Daniel loudly sang its praises. After watching her aging bulldog vomiting and suffering for two years, she was able to help relieve his pain considerably with the small, measured amount of cannabis she put in what she called her “magic cheese.”

Dubbed the “Vet Guru”, veterinarian, Dr. Doug Kramer 38, also speaks out in favor of the use of marijuana to manage pain in terminally ill pets. Kramer said,

“I grew tired of euthanizing pets when I wasn’t doing everything I could to make their lives better. I felt like I was letting them down.”

But is it a good idea to use this mode of treatment? Kramer thinks the answer is that it depends on whether your pet could be classified as a medical marijuana patient.

Years ago, Kramer treated his own dog, a Husky named Nikita. When she had cancer, his homemade pot tinctures helped her regain her appetite and alleviated her pain. He said “I do think there are therapeutic benefits to it.”

But Kramer is one of the very few veterinarians who are willing to even talk about using medical marijuana in the treatment of pets. Kramer claims that since rats and dogs have been used in many medical studies on the effects of marijuana in place of humans, with results that suggested that “mammals have the same cannabinoid receptors as humans do”, doesn’t it stand to reason that pets “would benefit in the same ways?”

Kramer has been doing extensive research on the use of marijuana for pets and has accumulated over 500 case studies. In his research he has used surveys distributed at marijuana dispensaries and other positive feedback. Most of the people who are treating their dogs and cats with marijuana are using it to ameliorate their pet’s pain and inflammation caused by arthritis. Kramer has also received many phone calls from other veterinarians who are curious about medical marijuana treatment for pets.

Pot for Pets
Pot for Pets. Photo: Flickr user Kayla Sawyer

While the use of medical marijuana in pets may hold some promise, there remain many veterinarians who not keen about the use of medical marijuana treatment for pets citing that with the concomitant rise of humans using the drug there has been an increase in cases of accidental marijuana overdoses in companion animals.

Barry Kellogg, senior veterinary advisor to the Humane Society of the United States said,

“Sometimes public sentiment and activity gets ahead of the scientific background and that can be dangerous.”

At the same time, managers of marijuana clinics claim that bad reactions can be prevented with proper dosage, and there are a growing number of veterinary practitioners who feel the drug has great merit.

Even though there is a growing interest in the use of medical marijuana for pets who are appropriate, the jury is still out until sufficient research can back up the claims of its worth. But advocates are highly concerned that it may be a decade or more before researchers can scientifically attest to its efficacy and safety.

In spite of the plethora of positive anecdotal reports from pet owners and the handful of veterinarians who are using medical marijuana in their practice at this time, according to Critterology cannabis is considered to be highly toxic to cats, dogs and other animals. So before pet guardians think that it is okay to share their medical marijuana with their pets, since presently it is not considered to be safe for pets, great care must be taken not to expose them to this substance.

What are your thoughts about the use of medical marijuana for pets? Tell us in a comment.

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Cat Walks in Circles. Causes

Here are the major reasons for a cat walking in circles:

Cat Circling Causes
Cat Circling Causes

Nasal cryptococcosis – a yeast-like fungus. Cryptococcosis is the most common systemic fungal infection affecting the domestic cat. Nasal cryptococcosis is one type and the most common. It is acquired when spores in the ground contaminated by bird droppings are inhaled. The infection can affect the brain causing neurological signs such as circling and seizures.

Inner ear disease – causes head tilt and circling. This is a disease of the vestibular system which orientates the cat and ensures balance. The semi-circular canals in the inner ear (the labyrinth) become inflamed (labyrinthitis). If things go wrong the cat stumbles (ataxia), loses balance and can circle. The cat might fall, roll over and wobble.

Portosystemic shunt (liver shunt) – an inherited anatomical defect. This is a defect concerning the portal vein that should take food nutrients to the liver but instead bypasses it and takes them to the heart. Ammonia products build up inside the cat causing non-standard behavior such as circling. There may be seizures and head pressing (cat presses head against hard surface). In addition to circling, there may be a range of other symptoms such as drooling, vomiting and diarrhea.

Diseases of the cerebrum – this is the largest part of the brain. It controls learning, memory and judgement. When it malfunctions the cat’s personality changes. Symptoms can include irritability, aggressiveness and forgetting what he has learned such as using the litter (inappropriate elimination). Also the cat might circle and pace. Seizures can also occur.

Stroke (cerebral hemorrhage – bleeding on the brain) – blood vessels feeding the brain rupture. This is rare in cats. High blood pressure can cause a stroke. Before the stroke there might have been a fever or illness. Residual symptoms are circling and seizures. Initial signs are vocalizations, paralysis, blindness and loss of coordination.


The cat in the picture is Pug the Cat. He was found on a front lawn. Initially diagnosed with a broken leg and then vestibular disease. It’s a still image from the video.

Source: Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook 3rd Ed. and myself.




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Should you be sharing your bed with your favorite feline? Infographic.

Cat Bed


Cat Bed by Terrys Fabrics.


This is an infographic provided by a business. I quite liked it which is why it is here. However, the answer is always, yes to the question in the title, for me. Any views expressed in the image are not necessarily mine.

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Facebook declares they will remove content about animal cruelty but is this a good idea?

On the Mirror.co.uk website they quote Facebook, “Content about animal cruelty is against our terms and will be removed once reported to us.” Is that enough and when should they be removed? They don’t appear to be sticking to their word. Such content is still being posted.

Jamie Card, cat puncher
Jamie Card, cat puncher. Note: he or she is holding the cat in a way which, in itself, is abusive.

The general mood is that it is abhorrent to allow nasty characters to post pictures of animal abuse on Facebook. In some cases it is not actual animal abuse but indications that the person who posts the pictures is engaged in animal abuse. This is called ‘dark humor‘. It is evidence of possible criminal behavior. There is no humor in it unless you’re a sicko like Jamie Card, who appears to a be a mid-twenties Brit living in London, UK and perhaps working at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (unlikely).

Card is becoming infamous. He (she? – see Michele S’s comment below) is a type of internet troll in some respects. He wants to provoke and be hated by decent-minded people. He likes to taunt pet-lovers. Perhaps he hates himself – low self-esteem. People with low self-esteem feel they deserve to be hated and therefore engineer situations in which they can be hated. Then their life is in balance.

The pictures I have seen posted by him provocatively indicate cat abuse but he’d argue, if he was arrested by coppers, that he is having harmless fun. In one picture there are 10 dead cats. Were they killed by him or by an animal shelter? The RSPCA says: “One photo was him holding 10 or so dead cats and another was a bin with dead cats in it….” This is the sort of thing we see at cat shelters where cats are euthanised.

The point I am getting to is that he feels compelled to advertise his objectionable behavior on Facebook. Isn’t this a good thing from one perspective? We can eventually identify him and check him out on the ground to see if he really is abusing cats.

Without posting on Facebook it could be argued that his animal abuse, should it really be happening, would be under the radar. It would be ‘dark’, invisible.

Perhaps the better compromise is for Facebook to assist in tracking him down (I am sure they can do it) and then once he has been identified and confronted on the ground (meaning not on the internet) and the matter dealt with by the relevant authorities, then his content on Facebook could be removed.

Posting so called ‘dark humor’ animal abuse on FB helps provide evidence against an abuser. To delete it removes evidence and presents a barrier to a potential criminal conviction.

Adrian, on the Change.org petition website under a petition to ensure that Facebook sticks to their promise to remove animal abuse pages, makes a nice point: Facebook only care whether visitors to their site will be upset by animal abuse pictures. They are less concerned about the animal abuse and stopping it.

The internet is the wild west. It is time for some regulation which will be resisted by Google and Facebook and the other major websites. They want total freedom and control because they can make more money. Facebook should be regulated to a certain extent and one regulation would place an obligation on them to assist the police in apprehending animal abusers.

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In the UK does the Food Standards Agency (FSA) cover pet food recalls?

In the USA they have the FDA which provides a useful, constantly updated list of pet food recalls. The latest cat food recall concerned Oma’s Pride Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal because of potential salmonella poisoning. This FDA listing is dated 16th Jan 2015. I like the FDA website.

We seem have a UK equivalent: Food Standards Agency (FSA) but it is not clear from their website that their remit includes pet food. A search on their website for pet food recalls threw up no results.  Perhaps there has been no pet food recalls in the UK. This is implausible but it could be true. There ‘about page’ fails to clarify the situation.

Does anyone know if there is a UK equivalent of the FDA with respect to pet food recalls? Over the past year, there has been about 14 pet food recalls in the USA. It makes sense to make the occasional visit to the FDA website to check. 

How do we check in the UK? Is there is an equivalent agency in India, which has a growing pet food market?

Apparently, in the USA, Nutro Products Inc., a subsiduary of Mars have had 78 recalls over the past 10 years. About 30 million bags etc. of pet food have been removed from the shelves over that time from this manufacturer alone. The point being made is that it is worthwhile to check.

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Cat Fundraising Fraud and Bart the Zombie Cat

Dusty comments for miracle cat Cali before she deleted them
Dusty comments for miracle cat Cali before she deleted them. Click on the image to enlarge it.

The story of Bart, AKA Markie, who returned from the dead after being buried, has taken a new turn (see Zombie Cat posts). There have been questions brought up about the validity of the GoFundMe page set up to raise money to first pay for Bart’s medical care, then to cover the cost of an attorney to get Bart back. This is quickly turning into a legal mess involving possible fraud. This article (external site) explains the situation.

After Bart was taken to Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida, Dusty Albritton, neighbor of Bart’s owner, Ellis Wayne Hutson, posted a video showing Bart’s miraculous ‘rising from the dead’. Apparently this isn’t the first video she’s posted of a “Lazarus” cat. This is a copy of the video she posted in 2014, where Dusty tells of how she held her dying cat.

 
Word is now circulating that Bart was never really dead, and the entire Zombie Cat story was created to gain media attention and raise funds for a need that didn’t even exist. You heard right, readers. Bart’s death may never have happened, those who have followed this case closely from the beginning now report.

Now for the possible “fraud.” Here’s the GoFundMe page (as at 21st Oct 2016 the link no longer works so it has been deleted), started by Dusty, where she says:

“Monies will be used for Both to bring Bart home and his medical care when he is at home, I want to thank all who have been caring and praying for Bart and the owner. May God Bless you all. Refunds are available if you do not wish to help bring Bart home.”

This sounds well and good, until you realize the offer of a refund didn’t occur until word began to spread on social media questioning the validity of a fundraiser when Humane Society of Tampa Bay was footing the veterinary bill for Bart. So what was the money to be used for, considering this? According to a post on Dusty’s Facebook wall, which has been screenshotted, a lobster dinner may be one of the luxuries funded by the cat-loving public!

Lobster dinner
Lobster dinner

Dusty posted news of her generous neighbor on her Facebook wall.

“Then when I got home I had a major surprise Mr Wayne was barbecuing and it hollers at me does hey dusty come here so with a smile I go over he hands me a plate here this is for you I opened it up and its lobster I’ve never had lobster so it was quite a surprise for me and lobster is delicious oh my gosh I’m addicted I want more lol”

Keep in mind that Ellis Wayne Hutson is using the indigent (poor/needy) court-appointed attorney system available to people who don’t have the funds to hire an attorney on their own. A lot of people believe he’s using funds from the GoFundMe fundraiser for personal use, and/or that he misrepresented himself about being indigent.

GoFundMe has been contacted about the page in question, yet have refused to remove the page. Listed below are ways to report Dusty.

You can report Dusty and her fraudulent Go Fund Me accounts to the

  • Tampa FBI: Phone: (813) 253–1000 – E-mail: tampa.division@ic.fbi.gov
  • Hillsborough Sheriff: 813–247–8000 or submit an online inquiry here.

Go Fund Me can be reached at support@gofundme.com but don’t expect them to do anything. A Facebook page has been set up here for people who wish to follow these new developments.

Meanwhile, Humane Society of Tampa Bay report Bart is doing well in their care, receiving toys from admirer’s as far away as Germany. They plan to fight Bart being returned to his former owner.

Of course, with social media being what it is, there’s also the possibility Dusty has done nothing wrong, and the whole fraud accusations are false. Please read the article linked above by Medium.com, as well as this one, and form your own opinion. And of course, express that opinion here on PoC. Especially on how fraudulent cat fundraiser webpages hurt those in rescue who need those donations to survive.

Sources and prior articles: three Examiner articles: 123




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