Pediatric spay/neuter

ameezers

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I was hoping to get some insight from other breeders that spay/neuter kittens prior to them leaving. Any tips or tricks to helping multiple high energy kittens recover quickly? Any issues that you have encountered either immediately after the surgery or long term effects? Any breeders completely against it? Why?

My old vet recommended between 5 and 6 months to spay/neuter, however my new vet is willing to do it at as young as 11 weeks. I have read that it's fairly common in the UK to desex young kittens and what I have read there isn't the same risk as with say large breed dogs.

Thanks in advance!
 

Zara12345

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I was hoping to get some insight from other breeders that spay/neuter kittens prior to them leaving. Any tips or tricks to helping multiple high energy kittens recover quickly? Any issues that you have encountered either immediately after the surgery or long term effects? Any breeders completely against it? Why?

My old vet recommended between 5 and 6 months to spay/neuter, however my new vet is willing to do it at as young as 11 weeks. I have read that it's fairly common in the UK to desex young kittens and what I have read there isn't the same risk as with say large breed dogs.

Thanks in advance!
Hi! This is also a topic of much interest to me. It is the only uncertainty that is stopping me from taking that next step of becoming a breeder which has been a dream of mine for so long. Lots of breeders that I am in contact with follow the early neuter and spay (ENS) method before rehoming kittens but there are breeders that I met who wait much longer to sterilise and even let go of their kittens with contracts to sterilise within a given time frame. From personal experience with my fosters, I know for a fact that the contract thing is not very efficient but I am also in doubt about ENS. Which option did you go with and how has your experience been so far?
 

Meowmee

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Hi! This is also a topic of much interest to me. It is the only uncertainty that is stopping me from taking that next step of becoming a breeder which has been a dream of mine for so long. Lots of breeders that I am in contact with follow the early neuter and spay (ENS) method before rehoming kittens but there are breeders that I met who wait much longer to sterilise and even let go of their kittens with contracts to sterilise within a given time frame. From personal experience with my fosters, I know for a fact that the contract thing is not very efficient but I am also in doubt about ENS. Which option did you go with and how has your experience been so far?
Quinn’s breeder does not spay neuter it is in contract to do it at 5 pounds or 6 months. I had Quinn nueutered at about 5-6 months. She does not feel it is safe at an early age. My Dvm at the time also would not spare neuter a cat until around that time or weight. It may be common in a lot of places but where I am that is not done although it may be done by Dvm for shelter cats… I know I have heard some kittens get spayed and neutered very early now.
 

Zara12345

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Quinn’s breeder does not spay neuter it is in contract to do it at 5 pounds or 6 months. I had Quinn nueutered at about 5-6 months. She does not feel it is safe at an early age. My Dvm at the time also would not spare neuter a cat until around that time or weight. It may be common in a lot of places but where I am that is not done although it may be done by Dvm for shelter cats… I know I have heard some kittens get spayed and neutered very early now.
Hi! Thank you for sharing your opinion n sorry for the late reply. I also agree with the same and also wonder if 3 or 4 months is an okay age to put kittens through surgery which can be delayed until they're slightly more mature. I feel like they're babies at this age and kind of feel guilty about putting their tender bodies through this...
However, when it comes to breeding and pedigree cats, even with shelter cats, there is never a certainty that people will actually follow through with the contract and sterilise their cat regardless of how serious the terms of the contract may be. Even if the breeder wanted to reinforce the terms of the contract the buyer could always lie, come up with excuses, sell the cat... there's lots of possibilities.
Which is why early n&s seems like the safer option for the seller. How safe it is for kittens is what I am still researching but I guess it will always be a debatable topic among breeders *sighh
 

IndyJones

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Quinn’s breeder does not spay neuter it is in contract to do it at 5 pounds or 6 months. I had Quinn nueutered at about 5-6 months. She does not feel it is safe at an early age. My Dvm at the time also would not spare neuter a cat until around that time or weight. It may be common in a lot of places but where I am that is not done although it may be done by Dvm for shelter cats… I know I have heard some kittens get spayed and neutered very early now.
This is pretty much the standard here too. There's alot going on hormone wise in the devleopment phase. Skeletal development in particular is tied to hormones.

It is common for shelters to do pediatric s/n but that is because they are so over crowded. Is it ideal? Not really but neither is weaning before 12 weeks.

Just make sure you don't allow any rehoming before 12 weeks minimum. Animals weaned before can develop seperation anxities and don't learn bite inhibition.
 

Zara12345

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This is pretty much the standard here too. There's alot going on hormone wise in the devleopment phase. Skeletal development in particular is tied to hormones.

It is common for shelters to do pediatric s/n but that is because they are so over crowded. Is it ideal? Not really but neither is weaning before 12 weeks.

Just make sure you don't allow any rehoming before 12 weeks minimum. Animals weaned before can develop seperation anxities and don't learn bite inhibition.
Definitely. Rehoming should be pushed until 16 weeks if the breeder can manage it and encourage buyers to adopt a companion cat as well, be it from a shelter or anywhere else so that kittens don't have to go to single cat households after being raised in such a diverse, multicat household with lots of siblings, aunts and mom to groom, play and nurture them.

My first ever cat was a single cat and he's still never learned to stop biting. My other 3 after him don't have the habit.
 

moxiewild

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I was hoping to get some insight from other breeders that spay/neuter kittens prior to them leaving. Any tips or tricks to helping multiple high energy kittens recover quickly? Any issues that you have encountered either immediately after the surgery or long term effects? Any breeders completely against it? Why?

My old vet recommended between 5 and 6 months to spay/neuter, however my new vet is willing to do it at as young as 11 weeks. I have read that it's fairly common in the UK to desex young kittens and what I have read there isn't the same risk as with say large breed dogs.

Thanks in advance!
I’m not a breeder, but I run a rescue, so go through this all the time!

As far as recovery, in my personal experience, the younger they are, the faster they recover. Kittens younger than 12 weeks are already fully awake and ambulating by the time we bring them home, and are immediately ready to play. Juvenile kittens are fully awake, but not quite fully ambulating, and they are a little tired still..adults are groggy, very tired, and walking a bit like drunks, lol.

We usually try to keep the kittens mostly separated or in pairs in crates to limit movement for the first 2-3 days, and that’s basically it. Out of hundreds of kittens, we’ve never had an issue.

We typically s/n our kittens at 6-8 weeks, or once they reach 2lbs. I did a lot of research on the safety and long term effects of this, and here is what I found -

- Pediatric spay/neuter has lower rates of mortality and complications than both juvenile (12+ weeks) and adult s/n. In one study, this was true even for completely inexperienced veterinary students. This is primarily due to the fact that peds kittens have less body fat, making their organs much easier to see, and also because they are not as vascular as juveniles or adults (and juveniles aren’t as vascular as adults). This means there is much less risk of bleeding out during and after surgery. Less risk of bleeding out also reduces the necessary operative time, meaning less time spent under anesthesia, thereby reducing the risks related to it. Additionally, peds kittens metabolize anesthesia faster than juveniles and adults, further decreasing anesthesia-associated risks. And finally, peds kittens experience less stress during recovery, further decreasing the risk of post-op complications.

- Pediatric sterilization has a much faster recovery times. Peds kittens have been shown to heal more quickly than juveniles, and especially adults.

- Peds kittens respond better to pain medication, and this + less stress + faster healing results in a less painful experience overall.

- Pediatric spay/neuter may have an increased risk of disease transmission, though this is yet to be proven. The thinking behind this is that peds s/n increases exposure to a veterinary environment (where other animals have been and are) because of the length of time for surgery and initial recovery period, and peds kittens will be more susceptible to disease transmission since the surgery is performed prior to the conclusion of the kitten vaccination series. But again - while the logic here is sound, this hasn’t actually been proven yet. Several studies specifically failed to find any increased risk of infectious disease when s/n was performed before 6 months, but I could not find details on how many of those surgeries (if any) were performed prior to 12 weeks specifically.

- Peds sterilization has no known adverse short or long term side effects. Most long term studies follow up 3-4 years after pediatric spay/neuter, but I recall one study that followed up after 10 years and still found no greater rate of long term adverse side effects relative to adult s/n.

- Pediatric spays may result in slower and prolonged growth in females, though more study is needed. So far, no clinical significance of this delay has been observed (meaning no harmful consequences have been found as a result of the delay).

- Pediatric sterilization may increase the chances of the kittens becoming more affectionate as adults (needs further study).

- Pediatric s/n may prevent or minimize long term weight gain generally associated with s/n on kittens/cats older than 12 weeks.

- Pediatric sterilization has long term health benefits beyond the typical benefits of spay/neuter, especially for males. Benefits for both males and females include lower rates of gingivitis, asthma, hyperactivity, territorial spraying (especially for males), and inappropriate urination. For males, the benefits of pediatric neuter are even more substantial - lower rates of urinary blockage, abscesses, fighting, roaming, and sexual behaviors (to reiterate - while s/n at any age lowers the risk of most of these, pediatric s/n appears to decrease the risk even further).

- The reduced risk of these behavioral problems likewise reduces the risk of eventual relinquishment, especially for males, since aggression, inappropriate urination, and territorial marking are among the most common behavioral reason cats are abandoned, surrendered, returned, and euthanized.

- Pediatric spay/neuter is typically less expensive

- Pediatric spay/neuter as early as 6 weeks is explicitly endorsed by many major veterinary medicine (including specifically feline medicine), animal advocacy, and other cat related organizations,
including the AVMA and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

- Kittens receiving pediatric s/n should have their fasting time proceeding surgery minimized to 2-4 hours (vs the typical ~12 hours), and should be offered food as soon as possible after coming out of anesthesia (vs waiting hours after), as peds kittens are more susceptible to hyperthermia and hypoglycemia.

- During recovery, the risk of hyperthermia can be further mitigated by proper warming (the supervised use of pet-safe heating pad with room for the kitten to move off and away from it in the event of potential overheating), and / or allowing litter mates to recover together in the first few hours so they can keep one another warm via body heat. For the latter option, ensure you supervise this to prevent anyone’s breathing becoming obstructed by a cuddling sibling until the obvious effects of anesthesia appear to have fully worn off and all kittens are fully ambulatory again.

As far as your first vet’s recommendation for waiting, I have learned that pediatric s/n takes a bit more specialization to perform (particularly where anesthesia is concerned).

When many vets recommend waiting, people typically assume it’s because it must be best for the cat. In reality, most general practice vets simply don’t have adequate enough training to feel comfortable performing pediatric s/n or have never performed them (pet owners often wait a few+ months, so it isn’t often performed early).

Others, however, are holding on to outdated ideas (it was once feared that pediatric spay/neuter could potentially have adverse physiological and/or behavioral long term side effects), and are not keeping up to date on current research from the last ~25 years.

if you would like more sources, please let me know! For now, I thought I’d include this one, since it’s a short and easy read, and includes the most major points on the benefits of pediatric spay/neuter -

Pediatric Neutering: Safe, Efficient, and Humane - WSAVA 2017 Congress - VIN
 
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Meowmee

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Hi! Thank you for sharing your opinion n sorry for the late reply. I also agree with the same and also wonder if 3 or 4 months is an okay age to put kittens through surgery which can be delayed until they're slightly more mature. I feel like they're babies at this age and kind of feel guilty about putting their tender bodies through this...
However, when it comes to breeding and pedigree cats, even with shelter cats, there is never a certainty that people will actually follow through with the contract and sterilise their cat regardless of how serious the terms of the contract may be. Even if the breeder wanted to reinforce the terms of the contract the buyer could always lie, come up with excuses, sell the cat... there's lots of possibilities.
Which is why early n&s seems like the safer option for the seller. How safe it is for kittens is what I am still researching but I guess it will always be a debatable topic among breeders *sighh
Yes it is not an easy decision to make. In my case for Quinn, she did not feel it was safe and I was just used to doing it at around 5 to 6 months anyway… none of my cats ever had early spay neuter as far as I know. I adopted two kittens from shelters and neither of them were spayed. One my Angelina was in about 2001 as I recall. I don’t know if they did that then yet, it’s more of a recent thing. She has been breeding Siamese cats for over 50 years, so I think she knows what she’s doing.
 
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Meowmee

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This is pretty much the standard here too. There's alot going on hormone wise in the devleopment phase. Skeletal development in particular is tied to hormones.

It is common for shelters to do pediatric s/n but that is because they are so over crowded. Is it ideal? Not really but neither is weaning before 12 weeks.

Just make sure you don't allow any rehoming before 12 weeks minimum. Animals weaned before can develop seperation anxities and don't learn bite inhibition.
I think you meant to reply to the OP because I am not breeding any cats. Lol.😀 I am mostly taking in cats from outside that people dumped and didn’t spay or neuter. Quinn is my only purebred cat ever.

apart from the hormonal and developmental issues, I also worry about giving anesthetic to such a young and small kitten.
 

IndyJones

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I think you meant to reply to the OP because I am not breeding any cats. Lol.😀 I am mostly taking in cats from outside that people dumped and didn’t spay or neuter. Quinn is my only purebred cat ever.

apart from the hormonal and developmental issues, I also worry about giving anesthetic to such a young and small kitten.
I meant around 6 months is the standard here. Sorry if that was unclear.
 

Zara12345

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I’m not a breeder, but I run a rescue, so go through this all the time!

As far as recovery, in my personal experience, the younger they are, the faster they recover. Kittens younger than 12 weeks are already fully awake and ambulating by the time we bring them home, and are immediately ready to play. Juvenile kittens are fully awake, but not quite fully ambulating, and they are a little tired still..adults are groggy, very tired, and walking a bit like drunks, lol.

We usually try to keep the kittens mostly separated or in pairs in crates to limit movement for the first 2-3 days, and that’s basically it. Out of hundreds of kittens, we’ve never had an issue.

We typically s/n our kittens at 6-8 weeks, or once they reach 2lbs. I did a lot of research on the safety and long term effects of this, and here is what I found -

- Pediatric spay/neuter has lower rates of mortality and complications than both juvenile (12+ weeks) and adult s/n. In one study, this was true even for completely inexperienced veterinary students. This is primarily due to the fact that peds kittens have less body fat, making their organs much easier to see, and also because they are not as vascular as juveniles or adults (and juveniles aren’t as vascular as adults). This means there is much less risk of bleeding out during and after surgery. Less risk of bleeding out also reduces the necessary operative time, meaning less time spent under anesthesia, thereby reducing the risks related to it. Additionally, peds kittens metabolize anesthesia faster than juveniles and adults, further decreasing anesthesia-associated risks. And finally, peds kittens experience less stress during recovery, further decreasing the risk of post-op complications.

- Pediatric sterilization has a much faster recovery times. Peds kittens have been shown to heal more quickly than juveniles, and especially adults.

- Peds kittens respond better to pain medication, and this + less stress + faster healing results in a less painful experience overall.

- Pediatric spay/neuter may have an increased risk of disease transmission, though this is yet to be proven. The thinking behind this is that peds s/n increases exposure to a veterinary environment (where other animals have been and are) because of the length of time for surgery and initial recovery period, and peds kittens will be more susceptible to disease transmission since the surgery is performed prior to the conclusion of the kitten vaccination series. But again - while the logic here is sound, this hasn’t actually been proven yet. Several studies specifically failed to find any increased risk of infectious disease when s/n was performed before 6 months, but I could not find details on how many of those surgeries (if any) were performed prior to 12 weeks specifically.

- Peds sterilization has no known adverse short or long term side effects. Most long term studies follow up 3-4 years after pediatric spay/neuter, but I recall one study that followed up after 10 years and still found no greater rate of long term adverse side effects relative to adult s/n.

- Pediatric spays may result in slower and prolonged growth in females, though more study is needed. So far, no clinical significance of this delay has been observed (meaning no harmful consequences have been found as a result of the delay).

- Pediatric sterilization may increase the chances of the kittens becoming more affectionate as adults (needs further study).

- Pediatric s/n may prevent or minimize long term weight gain generally associated with s/n on kittens/cats older than 12 weeks.

- Pediatric sterilization has long term health benefits beyond the typical benefits of spay/neuter, especially for males. Benefits for both males and females include lower rates of gingivitis, asthma, hyperactivity, territorial spraying (especially for males), and inappropriate urination. For males, the benefits of pediatric neuter are even more substantial - lower rates of urinary blockage, abscesses, fighting, roaming, and sexual behaviors (to reiterate - while s/n at any age lowers the risk of most of these, pediatric s/n appears to decrease the risk even further).

- The reduced risk of these behavioral problems likewise reduces the risk of eventual relinquishment, especially for males, since aggression, inappropriate urination, and territorial marking are among the most common behavioral reason cats are abandoned, surrendered, returned, and euthanized.

- Pediatric spay/neuter is typically less expensive

- Pediatric spay/neuter as early as 6 weeks is explicitly endorsed by many major veterinary medicine (including specifically feline medicine), animal advocacy, and other cat related organizations,
including the AVMA and the Cat Fanciers’ Association.

- Kittens receiving pediatric s/n should have their fasting time proceeding surgery minimized to 2-4 hours (vs the typical ~12 hours), and should be offered food as soon as possible after coming out of anesthesia (vs waiting hours after), as peds kittens are more susceptible to hyperthermia and hypoglycemia.

- During recovery, the risk of hyperthermia can be further mitigated by proper warming (the supervised use of pet-safe heating pad with room for the kitten to move off and away from it in the event of potential overheating), and / or allowing litter mates to recover together in the first few hours so they can keep one another warm via body heat. For the latter option, ensure you supervise this to prevent anyone’s breathing becoming obstructed by a cuddling sibling until the obvious effects of anesthesia appear to have fully worn off and all kittens are fully ambulatory again.

As far as your first vet’s recommendation for waiting, I have learned that pediatric s/n takes a bit more specialization to perform (particularly where anesthesia is concerned).

When many vets recommend waiting, people typically assume it’s because it must be best for the cat. In reality, most general practice vets simply don’t have adequate enough training to feel comfortable performing pediatric s/n or have never performed them (pet owners often wait a few+ months, so it isn’t often performed early).

Others, however, are holding on to outdated ideas (it was once feared that pediatric spay/neuter could potentially have adverse physiological and/or behavioral long term side effects), and are not keeping up to date on current research from the last ~25 years.

if you would like more sources, please let me know! For now, I thought I’d include this one, since it’s a short and easy read, and includes the most major points on the benefits of pediatric spay/neuter -

Pediatric Neutering: Safe, Efficient, and Humane - WSAVA 2017 Congress - VIN
Thank you for taking the time to share your research. I've been teaching out to so many breeders and it's either they follow early n&s or don't. And they've never been able to provide an explanation as detailed and convincing as this. I am currently not going into breeding but I am heavily involved in rescue and foster and I have had to rehome so many of my kittens without sterilising because where I am at, they don't sterilise before the cat reaches 2 kgs or 4 months earliest.
Now, thinking about it I do understand that it might not be a surgery that all vets are comfortable performing because of the skill and experience required.
Many many thanks again for the helpful information🤗❤😊
 
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