Desexing or neutering a pet is a surgical procedure that removes or renders the reproductive organs of the animal non-functional. It is typically performed on both male and female pets to prevent them from reproducing. In males, neutering involves the removal of the testicles, a procedure known as castration. In females, neutering, or spaying, involves the removal of the ovaries and often the uterus. Neutering offers several benefits, including population control, prevention of certain health issues, and reduction of behavioural problems.

The most common age to desex or neuter a pet can vary depending on factors such as the species, breed, and individual health considerations. In general, for cats and dogs, the recommended age for desexing is typically between four and six months. At this age, pets are usually old enough for the procedure to be safe, but young enough to still receive the benefits of early neutering, such as reducing the risk of certain reproductive-related health problems and unwanted behaviours.

Desexing your pet before six months of age offers several benefits:

  • Population control: By desexing your pet early, you prevent unplanned litters, which helps to reduce the number of homeless animals and overcrowded shelters.
  • Health advantages: Early desexing can lower the risk of certain reproductive-related health problems. For example, it greatly reduces the chances of developing testicular cancer in male pets and eliminates the risk of uterine infections (such as pyometra) and ovarian and mammary tumors in females.
  • Behavioural improvements: Neutering before six months can help mitigate undesirable behaviours such as roaming, marking territory with urine, aggressive tendencies, and excessive mounting or humping.
  • Ease of recovery: Young animals tend to have quicker recovery times and can bounce back from the surgery more easily compared to older pets. They are generally more resilient and heal faster.
  • Cost-effective: Early desexing may be more cost-effective in the long run, as it helps prevent potential health issues and expenses associated with caring for litters of puppies or kittens.

Frequently Asked Questions about Desexing

Will my pet’s personality change after desexing?

Desexing typically does not alter a pet’s fundamental personality traits, such as their playfulness, sociability, or trainability. Their core personality remains intact. The only aspect that change are the reduction in certain behaviours, such as aggression.

Should I let my female pet have one litter before desexing?

There is no medical or behavioural benefit to letting your pet have a litter before desexing. In fact, there are several reasons why it is generally recommended to desex pets before they have their first heat cycle or become pregnant, such as behaviour and health risks.

Will my pet gain weight after being desexed?

Desexing can potentially contribute to weight gain in some pets, but it is not a universal outcome. Metabolic and hormonal changes can arise after desexing but your pet’s weight can be controlled by adjusting their diet and ensuring regular exercise.

Does my pet experience pain during desexing?

During the desexing procedure, pets are typically under general anaesthesia, which means they are not conscious and do not experience pain or discomfort during the surgery itself. After the surgery, some discomfort or pain is expected as the pet recovers. However, our vets provide appropriate pain management to alleviate any discomfort during the recovery period.

After being desexed, will my dog stop with its “guard dog” nature?

Desexing your dog does not eliminate their “guard dog” instinct. Desexing primarily affects reproductive behaviours and hormone-related influences, rather than specific instincts or drives.

Before and after surgery instructions

Before Surgery:

  • Consult with your veterinarian: Schedule a consultation with us to discuss the desexing procedure and any specific instructions or requirements. They will guide you through the process and address any concerns you may have.
  • Fasting: We will provide specific instructions regarding fasting before surgery. Typically, pets are required to fast for a certain period before the procedure to avoid complications during anesthesia. Follow these instructions carefully to ensure the safety of your pet.
  • Pre-surgical health assessment: We may conduct a pre-surgical health assessment, which may include blood tests or other diagnostic procedures, to evaluate your pet’s overall health and ensure they are fit for surgery.
  • Follow pre-surgery instructions: We will provide guidelines on administering any necessary medications, preparing your pet for the surgery, and bringing them to the clinic or hospital on the scheduled day. Follow these instructions closely to ensure a smooth process.

After Surgery:

  • Post-operative care: Follow our instructions for post-operative care, including medication administration, wound care, and any activity restrictions. These instructions may vary depending on your pet’s specific needs and the type of desexing procedure performed.
  • Monitor your pet: Keep a close eye on your pet during the recovery period. Watch for any signs of discomfort, excessive licking or biting at the incision site, abnormal behavior, or complications. Report any concerns to us promptly.
  • Rest and confinement: Provide a quiet, comfortable, and confined space for your pet to recover. Limit their physical activity and avoid strenuous exercise for the duration recommended by us.
  • Prevent licking or chewing: Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the incision site, as this can delay healing or lead to infections. We may provide a protective collar (e-collar) or other alternatives to prevent access to the incision area.
  • Follow-up appointments: Schedule and attend any follow-up appointments as instructed by us. These visits are essential to monitor your pet’s progress and ensure proper healing.

Please call us right away if you have any questions before, during, or after having your pet spayed or neutered.