Desexing is one of the most effective measures in limiting unwanted strays and overpopulation of dogs and cats. Also offering a wide range of behavioural benefits, including reduced roaming, fighting and aggression, desexing allows pets to live harmoniously with other animals and with humans. Plus, desexing significantly reduces the risk of uterine infection and mammary cancer in females and prostate gland cancer in males.
Desexing is generally recommended when pets are approaching sexual maturity but before coming on heat – at around six months of age. An invasive and complex procedure, desexing requires proper aftercare and support to ensure a smooth recovery.
Learn more about desexing recovery for dogs and cats and how to care for your pet once they return home.
Generally a day procedure, desexing begins with an admission process that covers blood tests, a check-up and pain relief measures. During the surgery, your pet is under anaesthesia and is operated on in a sterile surgical theatre. The procedure involves making a small incision and removing part of your pet’s reproductive system. Once the surgery is complete the area is carefully sutured. Throughout the procedure, your pet’s vitals are monitored by an experienced nursing team who provide support to the operating veterinarian.
Desexing is a particularly significant procedure for pets of all ages. Classified as a major surgery, it’s important to look after your pet properly once they return home. From monitoring wounds and encouraging eating to providing your pet with a warm, clean and cosy spot to recovery, your care can make a real difference to their comfort and recovery.
After your pet has been desexed, they will most likely have stitches around their wound site. As pets are generally compulsive cleaners, they may lick or bite the area excessively. To avoid irritation from licking, most pets are fitted with an elizabethan head collar to allow the stitches and wound to heal. This is required to be fitted to your pet 24-hours a day until the stitches are removed.
After desexing surgery, puppies and kittens (and older pets too) will be groggy and weary for the next few hours and even into the next day. In order to keep them comfortable and to encourage proper recovery, it’s important to provide them with a quiet and stable environment to get some much-needed rest. Take care to set up a warm spot and provide them with nutritious food and water. As pets are less able to regulate their own body temperature after a procedure, a cosy blanket is a good addition. Particularly for females, the desexing procedure can be quite invasive and taxing on the body. A comfortable and stress-free spot to rest will speed up recovery times.
Once pets return home from being desexed, they may still be feeling nauseous from the procedure and the anaesthetic. Start by offering your pet a small amount of food and water to encourage them to eat. If they seem to be eating well and aren’t vomiting their food, you can continue to feed them a bit more a few hours later. If your pet is vomiting frequently or refuses to eat through the night, contact your vet for advice.
While your pet is recovering from their procedure, exercise should be controlled and limited. Here’s what we recommend to keep your pet active but to allow for a thorough and smooth recovery:
After your pet has been desexed, your vet will schedule a follow-up consultation to remove sutures, assess the healing of their wounds and check on their overall recovery. If you have any questions about your pet’s health and behaviour, chat with your vet during your consultation. For any urgent concerns during recovery, be sure to contact your vet for sound advice and support.