Desexing or neutering your pet is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce. In male pets it is commonly referred to as “castration”, and in female pets as “speying”. This is one of the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and only requires a day stay for your pet in our hospital.
Our recommendation is to desex your pet between 5 and 6 months of age to get the greatest health benefits, however they are never too old to benefit from being desexed.
There are many health and social benefits to desexing your pet before 6 months. These include:
- Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males, and preventention of pyometra (infection of the uterus) and reduced risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females
- Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly and time consuming, and avoiding the stress of finding good homes for a litter of puppies or kittens.
- Stopping the “heat” cycle in females
- Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males
- Decreasing urine marking behaviuor, especially in males
- Being less prone to wander, especially in males
- Living a longer and healthier life
- Reduction of council registration fees
Common questions about desexing
“Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?”
Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, but will avoid acquiring many undesirable hormone driven behaviours such as urine marking or aggression.
“Should my female have one litter first?”
No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being spayed.Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.
“Will it cause my pet to become fat?”
Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing, however this is easily managed with adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.
“Is desexing painful?”
As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but provision of pain relief will keep your pet comfortable and hasten their recovery. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too.Your pet will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery. In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!
What to do before and after surgery
- Make a booking for your pets operation.
- If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed after until the stitches are removed.
- Do not give your pet food after 8pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 7am on the day of surgery.
- A blood test will be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.
- The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
- All pets will be given intravenous fluid support during surgery to increase the safety of the anaesthetic and allow for a quicker recovery.
- To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief prior to desexing and to take home for a few days after the procedure.
- Keep your pet quiet and confined as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.
- Restricted activity is also essential to allow the wound to heal.
- Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery.
- Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
- Ensure all post-surgical medications are administered as per the label instructions.
- Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
- Apply liquid betadine daily to the surgical wound.
- Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
- Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.
- Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches.
If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed, please call us on 03 9877 3999 to discuss.