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Neutering- at what age? [Jul. 16th, 2012|02:26 pm]
Cat Health

cathealth

[stringfever]
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When is the best (and safest) time to neuter a kitten? We've got two males at home, they just turned 5 months. Vet told us that it can be done at 3 months and they have to stay at the office for half a day, but I was doubtful. I am thinking about 6 months, but want to hear your opinion. And also, I heard that flat-faced breeds have problems with anastasia, is that true? I am worried sick about my kittens. On top of that I think that vet that tells me that declawing danger is overrated and that neutering at three months is great, that vet has to go. I am searching for the new doctor right now(
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[User Picture]From: alison_in_oh
2012-07-16 06:36 pm (UTC)
Declawing has zero benefit to the cat, so any risk that's greater than zero is unnecessary and excessive -- and believe me, when chunks of bone are removed from an animal, neither the surgical nor the long-term risks are zero. So I trust your gut instinct on the vet who claims it's no big deal.

That said, a competent vet can do a neuter procedure on a 2 month, 2 pound kitten. I personally like the 4-5 month time frame, because I like them a bit bigger and more developed, but I don't like running the risk of sexual maturity -- at about 5-6 months, boys get stinky and start wanting to tomcat around, while girls get yowly and insistent and will stay in heat almost continuously until they're spayed or impregnated.

Neutering a male cat is such a simple procedure. I'd get it scheduled ASAP, but with a vet you can trust.
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[User Picture]From: stringfever
2012-07-16 06:48 pm (UTC)
Well, that vet also suggested that giving cat Pepto Bismol for diarrhea is a great idea, up to 4 times a day, until I read that Pepto has a small dose of aspirin or something and is VERY harmful for the cats.
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[User Picture]From: purplepuffygirl
2012-07-16 06:36 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure about cats, because ours was already spayed when we got her. But with neutering our dog we were told between 4 and 6 months.

I would never declaw a cat. I've heard all the bad stories!! And I would never take my cat to a place that said that, either. Our cat likes to scratch, so we get "soft paws" which are like little rubber caps you put on their nails. It helps so much!! I would recommend those if you're worried about scratching of stuff.
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[User Picture]From: stringfever
2012-07-16 06:46 pm (UTC)
Naw, I am not worried about scratching, Just that vet said that "I knew a cat, cat had so much puss because he had claws and they were not cut correctly, blah blah blah", then I read a book, in the book author compares declawing a cat to the humans with the first phalanges removed on their fingers. I realize it must be true and will never do that to my cats. They don't bother me with scratching, its only furniture, after all. They do not scratch us or kids.
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[User Picture]From: scarybaldguy
2012-07-17 06:18 am (UTC)
It's even worse than that. Cats are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. Imagine trying to walk with your entire toes cut off.
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[User Picture]From: subluxate
2012-07-16 06:43 pm (UTC)
Declawing is a horrifying procedure.

If your cats are over two pounds, they can be neutered. I waited, with Ven, until almost six months, just because he's always been on the small side, but it can safely be done on a pretty small cat. Neutering is a simple procedure--it's an incision in the scrotum, the testicles are removed and tied off, the tubes are cut, that's it.

I believe there can be a risk with flat-faced cats, but anesthesia for neutering is usually injected (as opposed to anesthesia for spaying, which is mask or intubation-administered), and it wears off quickly.
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[User Picture]From: stringfever
2012-07-16 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: dantesmom
2012-07-16 08:54 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't put it off any longer. They're plenty old and big enough!
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[User Picture]From: starvdpersphone
2012-07-16 10:06 pm (UTC)
My clinic does low cost spay/neuter, we go by weight instead of age. We require that the cat is 4lbs. Some shelters will spay/neuter a cat at 2lbs to facilitate quick adoption. As long as the cat is healthy and in good physical condition the risk of anesthesia is not much greater than that of an adult cat. Keep in mind that neuters are much simpler and quicker than spays. The vet I work for neuters our patients in under 5 minutes. That being said, you do not have to have them neutered that young if you are not comfortable with it. 5 months is plenty old enough. As alison said, you want to have the procedure done before your kitties reach sexual maturity to prevent unwanted behaviors.

The risk of anesthesia with flat faced breeds (cats and dogs) has to do with extubation. If extubated too soon after surgery their large soft palates can relax to the point that it obstructs the airway. An experienced technician will know the proper time to extubate based on the level of alertness and presence of certain reflexes.
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[User Picture]From: denisia
2012-07-16 10:27 pm (UTC)
Mine were done at 5 months, but it can be done sooner. It is more about weight than anything else. My vet will not neuter if they are under I think, 3lbs. Some breeds do come into sexual maturity sooner than others (some cats have been pregnant at 5 months) so if I had a healthy kitten that met the weight minimum I would think about taking him in.

For the declawing, if my vet was at all in favor of it, I would find a new vet, imho. The others have covered it...it chops off part of your cat's toes, mutilates them permanently, is very painful, and often results in a cat with serious behavioral issues.
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[User Picture]From: karmen
2012-07-16 10:48 pm (UTC)
Your vet is right about the neutering, I routinely assist on spays and neuters that are quite young, 2 lbs or 2 months was the time to do it at the rescue I worked for, the one now says 3 pounds but there are some kick ass vets there so they bend the rules a bit and do them at 2 pounds. Of course they have to stay there where they will be monitored because the most dangerous time in anesthesia ie. the time they are most prone to crashing is right afterwards when they are extubated (not that they even do gas anesthesia for neuters but it is still the most dangerous time) because they can not regulate their body temperature and things are trying to come back to normal and the body can just freak out. At my clinic now they get done first thing in the am, between 8am and 10am and they can go home anytime between 3pm-6pm.

Yes falt faced cats have extra issues with anesthesia, they can have issues with a lot of things ;) Its the way that the sinuses are formed or malformed and the nasolacrimal ducts (that carry the tears from the eyes to the back of the throat and their breathing. if you have a vet that you trust then it should not be an issue.

As for the declawing - it depends on what he meant, if he uses laser then he is right a lot of the issues that happen with a traditional declaw just aren't there. The laser is actually the same as the traditional scalpel, the incisions are in the same place but the difference is with the laser it seals the blood vessels in the area as it cuts, most of the declaws we did at th practice I worked at (all cat practice for 5+ years) have no blood until we suture the toe (if we suture the toe). There are some serious nerves in that area as well, with a scalpel or *gah* clippers those can be damaged. It's kind of like cutting yourself clean with a sharp knife or cutting yourself with a can lid - the can lid has much more potential to cause nerve damage. (not the best comparison but you get the idea, I have cut myself with both and there is nerve damage with the cat food can lid). Tingly nerves like when your foot falls asleep is one of the most common feelings. Pain from damaged nerves can also happen. So when the cat scratches in the litterbox ... its painful! So they don't use the litterbox.

The tissues in the surrounding area are not bruised because the laser cuts clean and: no bandages! No reperfusion pain and the potential for bleeding to start after the tourniquet is removed. Faster recovery time because there are no bandages.
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[User Picture]From: karmen
2012-07-16 10:49 pm (UTC)
Part 2 because I am wordy:



Bone chips can be left - the distal part of the bottom of the toe bone is a common one. With scalpel or clippers there is blood and its harder to see the area. That is one of the parts that depends on the skill of the surgeon too because you can get bone chips left with the laser as well. Again bone chips = pain = not using the litterbox. if the remaining bones that are left are damaged by the scalpel or clippers they can regrow unevenly as well. I have heard of that happening but I personally have never seen that, just xrays from a cat that happened to. Then the potential for infection is much much higher which if that happens obviously causes more complications and pain.

Pain can also change the personality of the cat. I would be pretty grouchy if I was in pain all the time too! Some cats are self aware and realize that they have no claws even if they have no detrimental after effects. So they overcompensate by biting much more and much quicker because they feel they have no other means of defending themselves. And DEAR GOD cat bites hurt. Plus cats have pasteurella in their saliva and if that gets into you that's a nasty infection.

The biggest thing for me is taking the toes off changes the way the cat walks because cats walk on their toes. So it throws the rest of the legs/back out. Kind of like how wearing high heels throws a persons back and legs out. I have seen most declawed cats get arthritis (my own empirical evidence). Not every cat that gets arthritis is declawed but almost all the cast I see that are older and declawed have arthritis. Commonly mis attributed to 'just getting old' and supported by studies from NC State that state that 90ish% of cats over 10 years old have arthritic changes though they did not separate clawed/non clawed.

It's a surgery that is all too common when it does not need to be. Are there cases that I support it? Yes if it is in the best interest of the cat. A lot of people just don't understand a cats needs. All that being siad I would never declaw my cats.

I hope some of that helped, thanks for tagging your post and let us know what you decide to do!
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[User Picture]From: suidae
2012-07-17 01:14 am (UTC)
if the remaining bones that are left are damaged by the scalpel or clippers they can regrow unevenly as well.

We actually have a patient at my work that had a declaw that is partially growing back. The owners are afraid to over clip the area so they bring her in to have us clip back the... hard areas that are growing back. They have said that as they get thicker she is more reluctant to walk on those paws, but it seems to take about 3-4 months before they are even long enough to clip again.
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[User Picture]From: kitzira
2012-07-17 01:36 am (UTC)
We had an unadoptable declawed cat come into the shelter several years ago. My manager noticed that one of her declawed paws felt a little odd and after she was put to sleep, we discovered why. The dewclaw had just enough bone left behind to grow a nail under the skin. There was years of coiled up nail, like a snail shell, under her paw. My manager has it saved somewhere inna jar.

It's now in my 'why it's bad to declaw' spiel upon adoption.
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[User Picture]From: silaren
2012-07-17 02:40 am (UTC)
I have had a front-declawed cat (he came that way) and he was fine with it but I would never do that to a cat myself without some other medical necessity driving it. (My Ash, in the icon, lost his front left claws ... as part of losing his entire paw all the way up to the shoulder due to a seriously nasty cancer in his elbow that was spreading fast. He's fine now, they got all the cancer and he gets around quite well on three legs, even at his age!)

As for spay and neuter, as everyone says, "2 pounds" (~2 months) is a good lower limit, and 3 pounds / 3 months is better in many ways. Neutering is a far simpler process so it's less dangerous all the way around. My current girl kitties got done at about 11 weeks, just before they were supposed to go up for adoption (except I'd gotten too attached and adopted them myself :-) ).
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[User Picture]From: megm
2012-07-17 02:26 pm (UTC)
They can be neutered as soon as their testicles drop, good luck :)
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[User Picture]From: cissa
2012-07-18 11:21 pm (UTC)
We trapped our feral Things at 11 weeks (we know when their momcat went into heat). Our vet suggested 6-7 months for speutering, but would do it earlier if Gunn (the lad) seemed to be getting sexually mature. I think we had them both done around 6 months (Gunny was starting to show proto-mating behavior, and Heidi was NOT FOND).

I would never get a cat declawed again. We did it about 25 years ago upon advice, but it was NOT a good thing. Cats use their claws not only for defense/aggression, but also with fine motor skills.
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