Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I have some exciting news to share with you! This week, launched a public service announcement and Billboard campaign in the St. Louis area, featuring hockey great David Backes of the St. Louis Blues and his wife Kelly, and legendary White Sox pitcher (and St. Louis resident) Mark Buehrle and his wife Jamie. Already the campaign is attracting a lot of attention, and we want to make sure your adoptable pets benefit from the publicity.
The billboards (above) will help homeless pets in the greater St. Louis area 'score' by encouraging pet adoption! The Buehrles and the Backeses are passionate about helping get pet overpopulation in check, and this is just one more goal towards a real home run (yes, we're mixing our sports metaphors)! With this campaign, is aiming to set records for St. Louis' pet adoption rates! Check out all the news coverage this campaign is getting on our Facebook page and see Fox TV News video here.
Don't let this opportunity to get your pets seen fly past you. Get off the bench and make sure your adoptable pets are posted on today! If you need a free account, or a reminder of your login, just reply to this email.
Best wishes,
Jennifer Warner

Director of Shelter Outreach, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
(800) 728-3273 ext 45
Box 7, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Visit to adopt a homeless pet

This pet-saving service is funded by the passionate pet lovers at
Nestle Purina PetCare Company
Bayer Animal Health

Friday, March 18, 2011

Does Your Dog Love Greenies....

Greenies have become a wildly popular chew treat for dogs, due to their "healthy" appearance (a green-colored toothbrush shape) and the fact that most dogs love them. We thought it important to let people know that some dogs have been harmed by them. Some dogs have even been killed by them. Despite this, they are carried by almost all pet stores, even natural pet food stores, due to strong customer demand.

Here are just a few of the many stories regarding the danger:

Pompeii was 8 weeks old when I began to care for her. I am 76 and so hoped that we would live out our lives together. We went through puppy training, obedience training and earned an AKC good canine citizen award. We then began agility training. She was almost always more advanced than me. Through the training and when I made the wrong move she would so inform me with a sharp bark. We did our first agility trial in El Paso where she won two blue ribbons. We were scheduled to compete in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Las Cruces, New Mexico and Odessa, Texas but then I made the fatal mistake of giving her that wretched Greenie. She was always such a happy little girl. I had been giving her these things for about 7 months without any ill effects and so trusted using them. I had not taken the time to do a Yahoo or Google search as to any problems. An hour after giving her the final Greenie, I found her on the floor. Her body was completely inert, but still warm. I tried mouth to mouth, CPR and the Heimlich and rushed her to a nearby dog training center for more knowledgeable help. It was futile. We at that time did not know the cause of her death. The next day our vet did an autopsy and found a chunk of that wretched Greenie lodged in her trachea. He told me that there was no way I could have removed it. We must inform everyone of the danger from these "treats". If I had had any warning in any way, this tragedy would not have happened. Please tell everyone. --Gilbert Wright

Our wonderful dog, a healthy, 4-year old rescued Miniature Dachshund, named Burt, died July 25, 2005. He was killed by a Greenie.

Burt was promptly admitted to an emergency hospital after vomiting blood, bile and collapsing on the local vet's examination table. The doctor suspected an intestinal blockage and recommended exploratory surgery. What the doctor found inside of Burt was 3-1/2 feet of necrotic (dead) small intestines, as well as the "foreign body obstruction" behind the problem. The “obstruction” was none other than a well-chewed, partially digested portion of a Greenie.

Both the large mass of dead intestines and the Greenie were surgically removed from Burt. The Greenie was saved and was rubber-like and spongy. It had absorbed liquids and had expanded in size about 25%. It was the "toothbrush" end. My wife recognized the ribbed contours of the toothbrush immediately. But, it took me a bit longer to recognize it because it was well-chewed (like they say it has to be).

Burt tried as hard as he could but he just couldn't hang on. He turned septic. He got pneumonia. He died 48 hours after the surgery with my wife and I by his side--after his 3rd cardiac arrest. The trauma was indeed too much for him and unfortunately the damage caused by the Greenie had already been done. Burt was killed by the Greenie. His problems would not have happened if it weren't for the wretched "treat" obstructing his intestines in the first place

Prompted by my outrage over the unnecessary death of my dog, Greenies investigated. We shared medical records with them. They spoke with our vet. Then, they spoke with me. They can't find any fault in our actions, or the doctor’s actions, or the timeline of events--at least, that's what Dr. Brad Quest (Greenies on-staff veterinarian) told me over the phone. I voiced my concerns with the product with him and told him that the product needed to be recalled and reformulated. To this day, they have not responded to this request.

And all this from a product that comes with veterinarian recommendations and "highly digestible" and "edible" claims on its packaging and website. We read the packaging. We followed the instructions. We had been feeding Burt Greenies this way for well over 1½ years with no problems and we supervised him every single time. I guess on that day we won that statistical Greenies lottery. Hooray for us. I constantly wonder who will be next.

Burt died 3 years to-the-day that he came into our lives. He is dearly missed by his family. He is not replaceable. Burt will not die in vain. Please think twice about this product. Make smart choices for your pets. Why take any risk at all? Our new motto for the company is this: Greenies: your dog can live without them.


Mike Eastwood on behalf of Burt


Mack the bulldog was ten weeks old and three lbs the day I took him home and became his caregiver. He didn't like to think of himself as a lapdog or even French for that matter, he was a construction site dog, a tough little guy. "I may be a runt, but I've got spunk!". The first meeting with Stella, the ridgeback, ended with Mack (5 lbs) chasing Stella (70 lbs) around the kitchen.

From the day Mack came home, he never left my side. In restaurants he would lie peacefully under the tablecloth cradled in my meetings, he would assume the same position on my knees and fall quickly asleep, "these humans are boring". Mack trusted me. I could pick him up in the air, on his back, his little legs would splay and he would be as relaxed as if he was spending a sunny afternoon at the ballgame (which we did). If I picked Mack up and he was on his belly, we'd play airplane, where I would hold his outstretched legs and he'd soar.

Mack was cream colored with the most amazing eyes that would peer deep into yours. This amazing boy seemed to be an old soul, wise and content. We were happy together. We were enjoying each other's company from morning to night, we had become a pack of two.

Last week while I was packing for our first camping trip together, Mack, now 16 weeks and 10 lbs, was enjoying a "Greenies" dog treat. I heard him choke and ran over to see if I could help. I tried to dislodge the chunk that he swallowed. I couldn't!!! I don't know if there is a doggie Heimlich maneuver, but I was trying it. I screamed for my neighbor who came upstairs and immediately tried to find help on the phone while I was still giving Mack the Heimlich and then mouth to mouth. The poor little boy's eyes were peering into mine silently screaming "Help me!". I kept doing both mouth to mouth and attempting to dislodge the Greenie, now with kitchen utensils. While giving Mack his last mouth to mouth, he spasmed, his little teeth dug into my mouth, and I saw the life drain out of my little boy. I clutched his limp body, and curled up in my tub sobbing hysterically. There had been nothing I was able to do to keep my little guy from suffocating. Please don't feed your doggies Greenies! Dedicated to the memory of Mack Straub, 2005. Thank you Mack for six weeks of pure love.

--Robert Straub,

From an unsolicited e-mail sent to Optimum Choices on 2/26/2006:
My name is Kathie Hill and I live in Lebanon, Kentucky. I, too, almost lost my 3 year old Shih Tzu to a greenie. Leo (shown on left in picture) weighs 17 pounds and I had purchased the petite size for him. I gave him one on a Thursday about a month ago, and on Friday afternoon about l:00 p.m., he became very sick. He would look up at me and cry just like a baby. He couldn't get comfortable. He vomited a little, and at the time I was watching him trying to figure out what was wrong. I also have another Shih Tzu named Theo who is also 3 years old. They are not related, but have grown up together and are just like brothers. They are inseparable.

After watching Leo get progressively worse over a 30 minute time, I immediately called my vet. I rushed him to her office and upon X-rays, she said there was something lodged in his intestine. I immediately knew it was a greenie. I am with my boys 24 seven and automatically know if they bat an eye the wrong way. I told her about my suspicions . She said he would have to remain in the hospital overnight. She would try and flush it out, and if that didn't work, he would have to have surgery. He had never been away from home and I was so worried about him. But he was so sick. I left him in her care and made her promise to call me before she left. She and her husband (who is also a vet) live next door to their office, so they checked in him all during the night. Right before, they closed she called and said he had passed it and he would be fine. She still kept him overnight to keep a watch on him, because there had been blood in his stool.

I was on the phone the next morning by 8 a.m. and she said he was ready to come home. I was there in 15 minutes. I brought Leo home and Theo was so glad to see him. He had paced the house looking for his brother and really missed him. Leo slept most of the day, but it took him a couple of days to get back to his old self.

When I first started seeing all the news reports, I had to tell my story. Lebanon, KY is a very small town in the central part of Kentucky. I know of 4 cases where greenies have been the culprit of sick dogs. One was Leo’s cousin, Bailey who had the same problem as Leo. One other was one of the Schnauzers that belong to the groomer that grooms Leo and Theo. I can only imagine how many more are out there and have not been reported.

We have 3 vet offices in our town. I have spent the day, taking information to them and they have promised to remove the greenies from their offices. We have to get the word out and I want to do whatever I can to help. I can’t imagine what my life would have been if I had lost my Leo. He and Theo are the sunshine in my day. Unconditional love and something that cannot ever be replaced.

--Kathie Hilpp,

This information on Greenies is one section in our Holistic Choices e-Book: Save Your Dog or Cat.

Greenies does make another product called Lil’ Bits, treats for pocket pets. They are made out of the same ingredients as the Greenie dog bones (toothbrushes) but are small bite-sized pieces. The manufacturer says they are recommended for puppies less than 6 months old, toy breeds, dogs weighing less than 10 pounds, dogs who have difficulty chewing or dogs known to "gulp" food or treats. While this may solve the problem of large size pieces getting stuck in the dog’s throat or intestines it does not address the problem of being hard to break down and indigestible or the fact that the processed wheat gluten and powdered cellulose are not native to a carnivore’s diet and can swell up inside the esophagus, stomach and intestines.

Another product by the same manufacturer is Feline Greenies. These are little fish-shaped pieces smaller than a dime. The ingredients list chicken meal, ground rice, ground wheat and corn gluten meal as the first ingredients. The chicken meal and ground rice are an improvement but there is still wheat and corn, two indigestible and unnecessary grains for obligate carnivores (i.e., cats).


Friday, March 11, 2011

HSUS Releases Update on Missouri's Worst Puppy MillsMissouri Senate Votes to Defy Voters, Dismantle Prop B

In Wake of Repeal Effort, Dog Welfare Advocates Release New Report on Some of Missouri’s Most Deplorable Licensed Puppy Mills

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Senate gave its preliminary approval last night to SB 113, sweeping legislation that repeals every core provision of Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, and reverts back to the weak laws that allowed the inhumane treatment of thousands of dogs in Missouri’s puppy mills. Prop B was favored by voters in 18 of 34 Senate districts. The Senate is expected to take final action on the repeal bill tomorrow.

“Some lawmakers are not only thumbing their noses at a statewide vote of the people, but are also voting against their own districts,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “Whether you care about protecting dogs from abuse, or care about the democratic decision-making process, this assault on the will of the people must be stopped.”

While the leaders of the repeal effort repeatedly claimed on the Senate floor last night that licensed breeders are not a problem and they want to focus only on unlicensed operations, Missourians for the Protection of Dogs released a new report today demonstrating major continuing problems in licensed puppy mills. The new report on “Missouri’s Dirty Dozen”—reportedly some of the worst licensed puppy mills in Missouri, including six new licensed kennels of concern—demonstrates that many of the worst puppy mills in the state are still licensed and in business six months after their histories were made public. Advocates say the improved standards in the new Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act (Proposition B) must be allowed to take effect in November, as approved by Missouri voters, to address the cruelty.

Nine of the 12 “Dirty Dozen” puppy mill producers identified in October 2010 are still state and/or federally licensed in 2011, according to the report. According to their most recent USDA inspection records, many are still depriving dogs of the basics of humane care, such as shelter from the bitter cold, adequate food and water, and basic veterinary care for illness or injuries. The 26-page report, compiled by The Humane Society of the United States, was released at a press conference in Jefferson City.

“The licensed puppy mills identified in this report have an undeniable record of flagrant disregard for even the most minimal humane care standards for dogs,” said Pacelle. “The legislature should help with enforcement of Prop B by providing more funding for the inspections program, rather than working to dumb down the law and reverse the decision by voters for stepped-up attention to the dog-welfare problems at mills throughout the state.”

The violations, drawn directly from federal kennel inspection reports, include sick or dying puppies who had not been treated by a veterinarian; dogs and puppies found shivering in the cold in 28 degrees, dogs with oozing, open lesions and injuries that had not been treated by a vet; puppies with their feet falling through wire cage floors; and dogs so emaciated that their bones were clearly visible through their skin. At Hidden Valley Farms in Greencastle, USDA inspectors found six puppies with “raw, moist, red” open wounds on their tails with “what appeared to be bone/ cartilage” exposed to dirt and flies after the breeder allegedly performed botched home surgeries on them rather than taking them to her vet.

Six new kennels of concern were added to the list, including one kennel (Simply Puppies in Hannibal) where a dog was found dead in an outdoor enclosure in bitter cold temperatures of just 28 degrees, and another facility (Sunset Ridge Kennel in Princeton) where dogs were found last summer with signs of “heat stress” and “heavy respiratory effort” inside a building with a heat index of more than 114 degrees, according to USDA inspection reports. A dog at Sunset Ridge Kennel was found “sprawled and flattened on the wire floor of the cage” as she panted in the heat, according to inspectors.

The cruel conditions noted in the report, such as dogs suffering and sometimes dying in extreme heat or bitter cold, dogs suffering from untreated injuries, dogs confined in cramped cages with no exercise, and dogs deprived of adequate food and drinkable water, will be addressed by Proposition B -- but only if it is allowed to go into effect as written and passed.

In November 2010, nearly one million Missouri citizens voted to pass Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, and the measure passed in a majority of state House and state Senate districts. Prop B simply requires that commercial puppy producers provide breeding dogs with daily access to nutritious food, continuous access to drinkable water, veterinary care for illness or injury, safe housing, adequate space, and room to exercise. Prop B will increase and facilitate local law enforcement because it provides clear standards that sheriffs and prosecutors can understand, as compared to the existing vague and highly technical puppy mill regulations. Prop B does all this without wiping out or eliminating the existing laws and penalties.

The protections outlined in Prop B will apply to all large-scale commercial dog producers whether the owner is licensed or not, and will ensure that dogs in large-scale commercial breeding facilities receive basic humane care. But what did our senators do but voted against what the people of MIssouri demanded of our state !!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
POKIN AROUND: Pork producer cut a campaign slice for 2 local lawmakers in Prop B fight
In Sunday's column I scratched my head — which indicates deep thought — and wondered why two of our St. Charles County lawmakers would cosponsor bills to either repeal what's called the Puppy Mill proposition or gut it.

And they did this, they say, without reading the bills.

Sally Faith, R-15th District, of St. Charles, has withdrawn her support of any anti-Prop B measure, saying she made a mistake by trusting a fellow House member as to what the measures were about. Faith also happens to be running for mayor of the dog-lovin' city of St. Charles.

Chuck Gatschenberger, R-13th District, of Lake Saint Louis, told me Friday he never really wanted to change anything about Prop B. He just thought the two bills he cosponsored would provide a chance for the warring sides to talk rationally and intelligently about the issue.

Statewide, the measure passed with 51.6 percent of the vote on Nov. 2. Urban areas supported it and rural areas didn't.

It passed with 61 percent of the vote in St. Charles County.

And last week the House Agriculture Committee approved an anti-Prop B measure, cosponsored by Gatschenberger, that "guts" the new law, according to Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation.

OK, maybe I'm not exactly the sharpest pencil in the pocket protector, but over the weekend it hit me like a ton of puppy chow that maybe one reason Gatschenberger and Faith were willing to disregard the sentiments of their constituents was because they received a campaign contribution from someone unhappy with Prop B.

So when I came into work Monday morning I checked. And they did.

They both received $500 from Smithfield Foods Inc., the world's largest hog producer and pork processor. The company is based in Virginia and has hog operations in Missouri — but not in St. Charles County.

In addition, Gatschenberger received $300 from a lobbyist for the Missouri Pork Association, which was front-and-center in the effort to defeat Prop B at the ballot box and, now, in Jefferson City.

Faith says the contribution had nothing to do with her cosponsorship. She says she did not know pork producers were against Prop B and only assumed Smithfield was a pork producer because, "They told me they were going to send me a ham, and they didn't."

I was unable to reach Gatschenberger for comment.

You might wonder, as I did, what the connection is between puppy mills and pork production.

Before I explain, a short digression. My column was posted on my Facebook page ( at 5:24 p.m. Friday and 36 minutes later someone posted a remark advising me to check out the real agenda of HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle.

My response was: What's the HSUS?

"HSUS" stands for the Humane Society of the United States. It was one of the sponsors of Prop B.

Let me tell you, farmers don't like Pacelle much at all.

A March 29 story in the Kansas City Star reported that at least six states have laws banning or phasing out sow-gestation crates. The HSUS helped pass those laws.

A sow gestation crate is a small pen where pregnant sows are kept immobile for years while they are bred.

In 2007 Smithfield announced it would phase out gestation crates over 10 years, but the company in 2009 said it would delay those plans for financial reasons.

The use of these crates is an international issue, as well. The European Union has required they be phased out by 2013.

"The fear is that if you can't confine a dog in a cage with only 3 inches of space that you won't be able to do the same thing with pigs," Baker says.

There is nothing in Prop B that deals with animals other than dogs. I've seen the arguments still insisting that it does. Typically, someone finds a reference to "those animals" in the legislation and leaves out what we grammarians call the antecedent — the "breeding dogs" that appeared earlier in the sentence.

Don't believe me? Think I'm a left-leaning vegan HSUS flak? Then read the words at the top of the law: "Statutory Amendment to Chapter 273, Relating to ... now this is the important part ... Dog Breeders."

Pork producers, cattlemen, those who raise chickens and the Missouri Farm Bureau fear the 'slippery slope." They argue that if you can't breed dogs however you want then, someday, the government is going to impose a crate load of laws on humane ways to treat livestock. That, they contend, will increase the price of food.

The slippery-slope rope-a-dope was used before in Missouri by those who found it hard to bid farewell to cockfighting.

In 1998 lawmakers were unwilling to take it upon themselves to ban "cockfighting, bear wrestling and other kinds of animal fighting." (FYI: Bear wrestling would be one human vs. one bear.)

So it went to a vote of the people and Prop A passed with 62.6 percent in favor.

A man named Phil Church, president of the Missouri United Gamefowl Breeders Association, told the Post-Dispatch that if the ban passed we would all soon be rolling down the slippery slope to the criminalization of baiting a hook with a live minnow.

And as we all know, our state prisons are teeming today with live-bait fishermen.

Steve Pokin is a columnist for the Suburban Journals. He can be reached at or by phone at 636-946-6111, ext. 239. His column is on Facebook at


POKIN AROUND: Prop B repeal? Shouldn't you read the bill first?

State Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-13th District, of Lake Saint Louis, says that maybe things have gone a bit beyond what he had in mind when he cosponsored a couple of bills regarding Proposition B.
Do ya think?

One simply puts a bracket in front of the first word of the legal changes made by Prop B to more humanely treat dogs and another bracket after the final word.

Meaning, the entire Prop B measure would be repealed.

Maybe a bit too far?

Voters approved Prop B, dubbed the puppy mill proposition, in November. It requires dog breeders in the state to treat dogs more humanely.

Please don't call to tell me it also affects chicken production and limits what you can feed your cat. The official ballot language states, "Relating to Dog Breeders" and the measure deals with dogs, and only dogs.

The other measure Gatschenberger has cosponsored, House Bill 131, was approved Tuesday by the House Agriculture Committee. How would this measure — now considered a House and Senate compromise bill — affect Prop B?

"It pretty much guts it," says Bob Baker, executive director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation. Baker, who lives in South County, attended the committee's hearing Tuesday in Jefferson City.

The bill, as it stands after's Tuesday's action, would remove many Prop B provisions, including the ones that called for the prohibition of wire flooring for dog cages and the stacking of cages. The stacking ban is intended to keep waste from one dog dropping onto another.

Gatschenberger told me Friday he cosponsored the bills involving Prop B simply because he wanted the two sides — pro-Prop B and anti-Prop B — to discuss the matter in an intelligent, reasonable manner.

That dialogue, he says, might include: "Hey, let's talk this out. Show me where it says anything about pigs."

Gatschenberger says, "I wanted to get the experts on both sides of the issue and get them to sit down and talk. I am not in favor of changing much of anything."

Prop B passed statewide with 51.6 percent of the vote. Urban areas favored it and rural areas didn't.

If you don't really want to change it, I asked Gatschenberger, why cosponsor a bill that would either (A) repeal it or (B) gut it?

Gatschenberger hasn't read the bills. He signed on to encourage greater dialogue. And all he's gotten for his statesmanship is an earful from constituents who support Prop B, he says.

You might recall that Gatschenberger is not the only state lawmaker from St. Charles County who has cosponsored a bill to roll back Prop B.

Sally Faith, R-15th District, cosponsored the same bills. But Faith, who is running for St. Charles mayor, has withdrawn that support, regrets it and also admitted she didn't really read the bills.

"I'm not perfect, but I'm human," Faith told the Journal's Russell Korando.

Why this need for a re-do of Prop B? Were we all that confused? Were we similarly confused on the people we voted into office? Can we get a re-do of that, too?

Prop B passed in St. Charles County with 61 percent of the vote.

In Gatschenberger's district it passed with 53.3 percent. That figure does not include the sliver of his district that includes the portion of Foristell that is in Warren County.

I have to wonder: How often do lawmakers in Jefferson City cosponsor bills they don't read?

How often does a lawmaker slap a colleague on the back in the House cloak room and ask for a little help, a little cosponsorship love?

How often is the reply, "Sure George, but only if you cosponsor my bill in return?"

Only to find out later you're calling for Missouri to re-form the Confederacy?

It would be like me putting my byline on something I've neither written nor read.

Or stepping outside of Schnucks and signing a petition without reading the part about making German the official language of St. Charles County.

Obviously, now that I think about it, it must happen more than I ever imagined.

Patti York fact checking

Contrary to what you might have read in a campaign flier sent in January by St. Charles Mayor Patti York, Money magazine did not name St. Charles one of the Top Ten cities in which to live in 2009.

York told me this week that — oops! — she meant to say top 100.

For the record: In 2008, not 2009, Money magazine named St. Charles the 82nd best place to live in the nation. St. Peters was 60th and O'Fallon 68th.

Steve Pokin is a columnist for the Suburban Journals. He can be reached at or by phone at 636-946-6111, ext. 239. His column is on Facebook at


Friday, March 4, 2011

Last November, nearly one million Missouri citizens voted to pass Prop B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, to help thousands of dogs suffering across the state. But, unbelievably, some career politicians in Jefferson City are defying the will of the people and working to dismantle Prop B.

The Prop B repeal could come up for a vote as early as next week, and it’s critical that your legislators hear from you. Please make a brief, polite phone call or write to your state senator and state representative to urge them to respect the will of the voters, and to oppose the weakening of Prop B. Even if you have called or written before, please contact them again today and make your voice heard at this critical time.

After you take action, use our easy form to send an eCard to everyone you know in Missouri and ask them to speak out as well.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

During Difficult Economical TImes........

So many family dogs are being turned into shelters across the country because families can't afford to feed their families let alone dogs. When your thinking about adding a new animal to your family kindly consider a shelter dog. 25% of dogs at shelters across the country are PUREBREDS !!! If you only want a certain type of dog then simply google that breed with the word rescue behind it and your state you live in. Most states or states close by you have breed specific rescues. Way too many fabulous pets are put to sleep everyday !!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Project SNaP's...........

Benefits of Early Spaying/Neutering

Early spaying and neutering (sterilizing pets 8 to 14 weeks of age) has been practiced in North America for 25 years. Altering pets between 5 and 7 months of age was established by tradition rather than for any specific medical reason. Years ago, when safe pediatric anesthetic techniques were not available, waiting until a patient was older increased the safety of surgery. But we no longer need to delay altering for this reason.

Myths Laid to Rest
Over the years, the safety of early altering has been questioned, mainly by vets who may be unfamiliar with the surgical and anesthetic techniques required for pediatric patients. As well, concerns that early altering could increase the incidence of feline lower urinary tract disease, could affect skeletal development, and affect behavior have been voiced. These concerns have largely been laid to rest by many studies, and early altering has become more widespread and available. A study recently published by researchers at the University of Florida found no significant differences in the physical and behavioral characteristics of cats altered at 7 weeks of age compared to those altered at 7 months of age.

Earlier = Easier on Your Pet
Recent scientific research shows evidence that a younger puppy or kitten does better with the anesthesia and the surgical process. They typically have faster recoveries than pets spayed or neutered when they are older. And for female pets, spaying before she has a first litter or heat cycle is usually a simpler procedure. The only difference in sterilizing younger pets is that they may need different anesthetics and are more prone to hypothermia

Spay/Neuter information courtesy of Hidden Valley Animal Clinic, McMurray PA