Long-term outcome of gonadectomy performed at an early age or traditional age in cats

Lisa M. Howe DVM, PhD, DACVS1, Margaret R. Slater DVM, PhD2, Harry W. Boothe DVM, MS, DACVS3, H. Phil Hobson DVM, MS, DACVS4, Theresa W. Fossum DVM, PhD, DACVS5, Angela C. Spann BS6, and W. Scott Wilkie BS7
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 5 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 6 Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.
  • | 7 Department of Veterinary Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4474.

Abstract

Objective—To determine long-term results and complications of gonadectomy performed at an early age (prepubertal) or at the traditional age in cats.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—263 cats from animal shelters.

Procedure—Cats that underwent gonadectomy were allotted to 2 groups on the basis of estimated age at surgery (traditional age, ≥ 24 weeks old; prepubertal, < 24 weeks old). Adoptive owner information was obtained from shelter records, and telephone interviews were conducted with owners to determine physical or behavioral problems observed in the cats after adoption. Follow-up information was obtained from attending veterinarians for cats with complex problems or when owners were uncertain regarding the exact nature of their cat's problem.

Results—Compared with traditional-age gonadectomy, prepubertal gonadectomy did not result in an increased incidence of infectious disease, behavioral problems, or problems associated with any body system during a median follow-up period of 37 months. Additionally, the rate of retention in the original adoptive household was the same for cats that underwent prepubertal gonadectomy as those that underwent traditional-age gonadectomy.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Prepubertal gonadectomy may be performed safely in cats without concern for increased incidence of physical or behavioral problems for at least a 3-year period after gonadectomy. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217: 1661–1665)

Abstract

Objective—To determine long-term results and complications of gonadectomy performed at an early age (prepubertal) or at the traditional age in cats.

Design—Cohort study.

Animals—263 cats from animal shelters.

Procedure—Cats that underwent gonadectomy were allotted to 2 groups on the basis of estimated age at surgery (traditional age, ≥ 24 weeks old; prepubertal, < 24 weeks old). Adoptive owner information was obtained from shelter records, and telephone interviews were conducted with owners to determine physical or behavioral problems observed in the cats after adoption. Follow-up information was obtained from attending veterinarians for cats with complex problems or when owners were uncertain regarding the exact nature of their cat's problem.

Results—Compared with traditional-age gonadectomy, prepubertal gonadectomy did not result in an increased incidence of infectious disease, behavioral problems, or problems associated with any body system during a median follow-up period of 37 months. Additionally, the rate of retention in the original adoptive household was the same for cats that underwent prepubertal gonadectomy as those that underwent traditional-age gonadectomy.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Prepubertal gonadectomy may be performed safely in cats without concern for increased incidence of physical or behavioral problems for at least a 3-year period after gonadectomy. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2000;217: 1661–1665)