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 “spaying”. This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, your pet is admitted in the morning and will be discharged that afternoon.
The most common age to desex your pet is at 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.
There are many benefits to desexing your pet. They include:
● Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are put down each year
● Prevention of pyometra (infection of the uterus) and mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females
● Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males
● Stopping the “heat” cycle in females
● Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, 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, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.
“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 most pets will recover very quickly. We administer injectable pain relief with surgery. Your pet may then be discharged with a short course of oral pain relief medication for the first few days after the surgery. In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy, so we also may offer sedation tablets to assist.
What to do before and after surgery
● Make a booking for your pet’s surgery
● If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed until the stitches have been removed.
● If needed a flea treatment should be applied.
● Do not give your pet food after 7pm the night before the surgery and do not give them any water after 7am on the day of surgery.
● A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function and some pets will benefit from intravenous supportive fluid therapy. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
● To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive a pain relief injection with surgery and if needed oral medication for a few days after the procedure.
● Keep your pet restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.
● Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal.
● Offer a small portion of soft food that night, don’t be concerned if your pet’s appetite is reduced, this can be normal after an anaesthetic.
● Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
● Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.
● Check the incision at least once daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if you have any concerns. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
● Prevent your pet from licking or chewing at the suture line. Special cone-shaped Elizabethan collars assist with this problem . A single chew or lick can have disastrous effects.
● Ensure you return to us for removal of the sutures in 10 days.
If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed, please call us immediately to discuss.