Changes To Dog And Cat Laws In SA

Did you know there are important changes that have been made to the dog and cat laws in South Australia which may affect you?

As of the 1st of July 2018, all cats and dogs older than 12 weeks of age must be implanted with an identification microchip and dogs and cats born after the 1st July 2018 will be required to be desexed before the age of 6 months. 

To help you, AdelaideVet is offering 10% off desexing for dogs and cats, but hurry offer ends 31st January.


From the 1 July 2018, all dogs and cats born after the 1 July 2018 must be desexed by a registered veterinary surgeon:

- before they are 6 months of age; or
- within 28 days after the owner takes possession of the dog or cat; or
- if the owner of a dog or cat is granted an extension of time, before the day specified in the exemption.

Book your pet for desexing

Benefits to Desexing Your Pet

There are many benefits to having your dog or cat desexed with evidence suggesting that desexed pets live longer and have fewer diseases then undesexed pets. The benefits extend beyond just preventing unwanted pregnancies.  Pets who have been desexed or sterilised are less likely to get diseases and certain illnesses such as mammary cancer and uterine infections in females and prostate problems in males. There are also behavioural benefits such as preventing male cats from spraying and preventing male dogs attempting to escape their homes to reach nearby females on heat. Entire male dogs will go to extraordinary lengths to pursue a female dog on heat nearby, increasing chances of motor vehicle accidents, dog fights and lost pets.

Unwanted pregnancies
Veterinarians recommend desexing to prevent unwanted pregnancies in females. This is especially important for cats, as it is not always possible to tell when she is ‘on call’. In female dogs, desexing automatically stops their cycles and the associated bleeding and attention from male dogs.

Undesirable behaviour
Castration helps to control male dominance aggression problems and also reduces their wandering instincts if a female dog in the neighbourhood is on heat.
Tomcats have a tendency to roam and fight with other cats which can lead to other medical implications such as cat bite abscesses and FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus).

Significant medical reasons
Spaying reduces the risk of mammary tumours (which can be life-threatening - just like breast cancer in women). Tumours of the ovaries, uterus and cervix and pyometra, a gross infection of the uterus, can also be prevented.
Castration can reduce the risk of prostatic disease, perianal tumours, and eliminates the risk of testicular cancers.

Desexing may also be recommended in your pet to prevent hereditary diseases being passed on, or for treatment of some diseases such as prostatic hypertrophy or pyometra. 

When can your pet be desexed?

Pets can be desexed at any age including during their more mature years. Whilst pets can be desexed as early as 6 weeks of age, we desex most pets around 6 months of age. We also generally recommend, unless necessary for medical reasons, not to desex a female pet whilst they are in heat/ season as the nature of being in season makes the surgery potentially more complicated.

How long will your pet be in hospital?
In most cases your pet will be required to stay with us for a day and can return home the same evening as the surgery.

What Happens Before The Surgery?

  • Admission – when you drop your pet off we will require at least 10 minutes of your time for you to answer some questions.
  • Care and attention – when you have left our nursing team will settle your pet into their new environment which includes warm fluffy bedding (we use special material that wicks away moisture so your pet stays warm and dry).
  • Blood Tests – a blood test may be performed to check vital organ functions, we will discuss this either before surgery day or during admission with you (in some cases this blood test may be performed prior to admission).
  • Pre-anaesthetic check up – our veterinarian will perform a physical examination (to check things such as teeth, ears, nails, lumps etc) and a TPR check (Temperature, Pulse, Respiratory) prior to commencing surgery.
  • Pre-medication – will be given to minimise stress and settle them down prior to the anaesthetic.
  • Intravenous Catheter – a catheter may be placed into a vein to provide access to your pet’s circulatory system. This enables us to easily administer intravenous fluids, anaesthetic and pain relief.
  • Pain Relief – To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible we have a detailed pain relief protocol to ensure your pet receives the appropriate level of pain relief.
  • Instruments, gowns and surgical area - Prior to surgery all instruments are sterilised prior to use and our theatre provides a sterile environment for your pet’s surgery.

What happens during the surgery?

  • Intubation - Anaesthesia is induced and maintained with gas by placing a tube into your pet's windpipe.
  • Theatre - your pet is placed on a heated surgical table in our sterile operating theatre
  • Monitoring care - Respiratory monitors are used and show when a breath has been taken, stethoscopes allow us to hear your pet's heartbeat and pulse oximeters give a read out of heart rate, pulse strength and blood oxygen levels.
  • Nursing team – a dedicated, trained nurse assists our veterinarian during your pet’s procedure.
  • Procedure – The surgeon will make a small incision and remove part of your pet’s reproductive system. Once this has been done, they will carefully suture the area.

What happens after surgery?

  • Care and recovery – your pet will be moved to our main treatment area where a nurse will carefully monitor your pet’s recovery. It is very important your pet stays warm during the initial stages of recovery so we will use items such as heating pads and keep them comfortable.
  • Your role – You will need to spend at least 10 minutes with us when you pick up your pet. We will provide you with an information sheet about keeping your pet comfortable and caring for them at home. It is very important that you contact us if you have a concern, no matter how minor you think it is.

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Microchipping is the most effective form of permanent identification for cats and dogs. Local councils are in the process of contacting dog and cat owners to update their database with microchip details.

If your pet isn't microchipped, we can help at AdelaideVet.  

Our experienced veterinary nurses are on hand to professionally insert your pet's microchip in a calm and reassuring environment. At AdelaideVet, your pet's microchip also includes lifetime registration.

What's a Bio Thermo microchip? Lifechip Bio Thermo microchips are the only microchip that provides instant identification plus non-invasive body temperature measurement in seconds. If your pet has one of these microchips implanted, we no longer need to use a thermometer for routine check-ups making visits to the vet more stress free for your pet. 

Book your pet's microchip today or read more about microchipping here.

More Information

If you would like more information on the changes please see or see below for more information on these services.

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