Castries, Saint Lucia: HelpAWS outlined their policies on spy/neutering the animals they rescue before sending them off to their forever homes, and even challenged at times by potential adopters who are adamant an animal should not be altered prior to 6 months of age, or even later.
Read here: Full statement of HelpAWS
With clinical studies and technology, animal health care has greatly evolved and transitioned through the years, including what is considered to be an acceptable timeline for sterilization of companion animals. There are many benefits to juvenile spays/neuters, in so many more ways than just preventing unwanted litters in Saint Lucia.
Obviously, the primary focus of spaying/neutering is to help control the animal population and we know that people have good intentions of eventually spaying/neutering their pets if they are adopted while still intact, but the reality is that time gets away from people and accidents happen – a dog gets out or has a little romance at the dog park and, voila, the world has a half dozen more puppies in Saint Lucia.
Juvenile spay/neuter has a much faster recovery time; the incisions are smaller and heals quicker, and the animals resume normal activities within hours of the procedure. Spaying/neutering prevents the urge to mate which in turn reduces sexually transmitted diseases like TVT, and the chances of getting cancers. Early spay/neuter can also help to reduce certain behaviors in dogs, such as aggression. Recently we have noticed that there is a misconception that early spay and neuter may hamper normal growth of the animal or cause joint issues later in life. This has been discussed only as a concern in some very large breeds, and still not scientifically proven.
But the bottom line is that everything we do, including spay/neuter prior to adoption whenever possible, is based on vet recommendations. The decisions we make and the policies we follow are for the lifelong well-being and health of every animal we rescue. Over the past 2 days, we’ve completed 52 spays/neuters of the animals at our shelter and we will continue to stand by our policy of juvenile s/n for the wellbeing of the animals we serve.