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French veterinarians’ opinions and practices regarding early neutering of cats: a convenience sampling survey interpreted in an international context

Abstract

Background Although data are still needed, early neutering of cats appears to be as safe as neutering at the traditional age of six months or older and beneficial to the individual and the population. The aim of this observational study was to obtain an overview of veterinarians’ opinions and practices about feline early neutering (ie, until the age of four months).

Methods In this retrospective work, a web survey was distributed to French practitioners.

Results A total of 609 veterinarians returned the survey. Majority of the veterinarians (56 per cent) reported never performing early neutering, 42 per cent reported performing it inconsistently, and 2 per cent reported consistently performing it. When carried out, it was mainly on kittens from commercial breeding, following breeders’ request, and performed at the age of three months. An overwhelming majority (93 per cent) of veterinarians performing early neutering reported no incidents. Veterinarians who did not practise early neutering neutered mostly (81 per cent) kittens from four to six months of age.

Conclusion In conclusion, early neutering is still not a common practice among French veterinarians. Opinions differed as to its advantages and disadvantages, although reported incidents were scarce. Veterinarians who do not perform early neutering reported a lack of interest in this practice rather than reluctance.

  • early neutering
  • kittens
  • survey
  • veterinarians
  • practitioners
  • opinion
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