An excellent summary from the veterinarians who specialize in reproductive medicine, the American College of Theriogenologists:
....the decision to spay or neuter a pet must be made on a case by case basis, taking into consideration the pet’s age, breed, sex, intended use, household environment and temperament. The use of generalized rules concerning gonadectomy (removal of the ovaries or testes) is not in the best interest of the health or well-being of the pets or their owners.And go on to comment:
In fact, in some European Union countries where gonadectomy is illegal unless deemed medically necessary (such as Norway) there are no significant problems with pet overpopulation, indicating that the pet overpopulation problem that exists in the United States is due to cultural differences on the importance of pets, the responsibility of pet owners, and the ability of the government and national agencies to properly educate the public.
And this good basic overview of just a few of the many issues, covered by Dr. Karen Becker:
Even the AVMA admits to some seldom-mentioned problems with sterilization in this journal article:
....potential health problems associated with spaying and neutering have also been identified, including an increased risk of prostatic cancer in males; increased risks of bone cancer and hip dysplasia in large-breed dogs associated with sterilization before maturity; and increased incidences of obesity, diabetes, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and hypothyroidism.
Keep spreading the word! Send letters to the editor of your local newspapers. Post comments to blogs. We may be able to reverse the tide of "speutermania" if the message is continually thrust into the public eye.
Sterilization is a decision best made by an owner in consultation with his enlightened veterinarian, after consideration of the risks and benefits involved in each individual situation.