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Should neutering be classed as essential?
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    Elective neutering: essential or non-essential procedure?
    • Khan Sharun, Small animal practitioner Indian Veterinary Research Institute

    Elective neutering: essential or non-essential procedure?

    In a recent letter, Helen O’Hare (VR, 4/11 April 2020, vol 186, pp 456) raised his concern over the classification of neutering as a non-essential procedure during the current COVID-19 pandemic.1 The reason for such a classification might be due to the fact that “neutering” is and always considered as an elective procedure that does not have any emergency component. Also, such a classification will limit the use of personal protective equipments thereby conserving this much essential commodity that is needed by medical professionals working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in the event of a possible mis-mating, neutering has to be considered as an emergency procedure.
    Hence even though “elective neutering” should be classified as a non-essential procedure, the power of decision should be vested in the hands of the practicing vets so that a case-to-case decision can be made without jeopardizing the animal welfare aspects. Taking into consideration the oncoming breeding season, I urge the authorities to reconsider the decision of classifying neutering as a non-essential procedure. Further clarification is needed in the terms “neutering” “elective neutering” and “emergency neutering” to prevent the compromise of animal welfare aspects.


    1. O’Hare H. Should neutering be classed as essential?. Veterinary Record. 2020 Apr 18;186(14):458.

    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.