Any surgery such as spaying (ovarian hysterectomy) or neutering (castration) a kitten or puppy should not be looked at lightly. Complications arise as animals grow and can plague a pet until it is an adult and even in their later years. Many wonder, “What happens if you spay a cat too early or neuter a cat too early?” Most Veterinarians recommend spaying or neutering a pet after they are five months old.
Spaying a dog or cat too early can result in the following problems:
Bone growth in dogs and cats is normally limited by the sex hormones. In animals that are spayed early, the bones continue to grow for a longer period of time. Animals spayed early often have longer limbs and narrow skulls and chests. Asking “what happens if you spay a cat too early?” may lead you to find that spaying a kitten too young can cause her bones to grow for a longer period of time. As she gets older, her bones will grow to different proportions. This can make her smaller than the average cat or taller with oddly-shaped bones, which can lead to a failure of joints and weakened ligaments. Breeders of Working dogs have experienced very substantial physical challenges for dogs neutered or spayed too early. Many suffer crippling orthopedic problems.
- Obesity in spayed or neutered animals is common. It can result in joint, heart and other health complications as they mature to adults. As adults, these animals suffer from a host of problems due to inactivity. Though many humans can tolerate being slightly overweight, this is not the case with your pet. If you’re wondering, “what happens if you spay a cat too early?” one possible outcome is obesity.
- Along with obesity comes torn ligaments, hip problems, and arthritis. These health issues also can occur because of early spaying and the distortion of bones as the pet grows. People interested in what happens if you spay a cat too early should be aware of these risks.
- Diabetes seems to go hand in hand with obesity. This risk increases dramatically in cats because of missing hormones and loss of bone strength.
Animals spayed as kittens or puppies have surgical considerations that older animals don’t. Pediatric patients metabolize drugs differently, especially those younger than 3 months of age. According to Winn Feline Foundation, cats younger than 12 to 14 weeks do not have adult kidney and liver function. Young animals may also suffer from hypothermia more easily during recovery and are at higher risk of hypoglycemia and pneumonia.
The Ethics of Spaying or Neutering Too Early
Spaying or neutering before five months of age is simply not in the best interest of your pet. To recommend, or try and justify such an unnecessary and potentially detrimental procedure before five months of age is in our opinion, unethical. We do recommend this procedure be performed by an experienced Veterinarian when your puppy or kitten is at five to six months of age. Several recent studies conducted by Universities of Veterinarian Medicine have downplayed the risk of early neutering and spaying due to the overpopulation of unwanted pets in animal shelters. Responsible pet owners and breeders realize that minimal risk is still a risk, especially when taken unnecessarily, and understanding “what happens if you spay a cat too early?” is crucial to making an informed decision.