Deciding whether or not to have your pet desexed is a big decision, and from our point a view a significant surgical procedure that requires a high level of care and skill. For most pets that live a healthy and event free life, desexing will be the most significant surgical procedure they will have. This article provides information on when you should have your pet desexed, what is involved in the procedure and some of the myths of desexing.
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 dogs or cats at 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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. Select this link for more information on the medical and behavioural benefits of sterilisation
This is not necessary for your pet’s benefit. Spaying a dog before her first heat will reduce the risk of mammary cancer to nearly zero. Every season/heat a female has, significantly increases her chance of developing mammary cancer.
By removing organs that produce hormones your pet’s metabolism may be slowed, overfeeding your pet will make it fat.
There is generally no change in the character of your dog. Young males will be less inclined to mount objects and jump fences in search of a female mate. However, they will still be happy to chase their favourite ball or participate in their favourite activity.
Guarding results from instinctive territorial behaviour… it is not changed by the removal of testicles.
Desexing animals at 6 months means they do not have a chance to develop mating behaviours. This is also “humanising” what your pet feels. Dogs are an important part of the family, but remember – they are not human!
Please contact your local practice to schedule a time for your pet's procedure. This is best done by telephone so we can discuss any specific questions you may have. We can also provide information about the price of the procedure as this depends on the species and size of your pet. If your pet is female, we'll also ask you specific questions about her heat or oestrus cycle.