Most vets recommend neutering due to the health benefits it has for pets if you don’t intend to breed them. It also prevents unwanted pregnancies and the risks (and costs) involved.
What is neutering?
Neutering is the removal of the reproductive organs. For males this is referred to as castration, a procedure where both testicles are removed. In females, this is called spaying and involves removing both ovaries, and sometimes the uterus.
Both procedures require a general anaesthetic which carries a very small risk of complications for young, healthy pets.
What are the benefits of castration?
Castration may help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Castrated male dogs and cats are less likely to roam and spray urine.
Neutering will not change your pet’s inherent personality or make them easier to train. However, it may reduce a male dog’s interest in female dogs. Without the hormonal urge created by testosterone, a castrated male dog may be less likely to demonstrate amorous intentions around your home, or on family members or visitors.
What are the benefits of spaying?
A female cat or dog’s risk of mammary cancer is very low if she is spayed before her first season. Spaying also prevents diseases related to sexual activity, uterine infections, uterine cancers, and unwanted or false pregnancies.
After being spayed your pet will not have another season, this eliminates the risk of post-season complications such as life-threatening womb disease (e.g. pyometra) that can occur after a season.
Spaying removes the hygiene issues caused by your pet coming into season. It also removes the hassle of keeping your pet housebound due to the unwanted attention from male cats and dogs.
Spaying can also improve temperament as well as reducing hormonal behaviours often associated with seasons such as anxiety, attention-seeking, fighting and vocalisation.
When should a pet be neutered?
Cats and rabbits can be neutered or spayed from four months of age.
Dogs can be neutered from six months onwards depending on the breed, we will be able to advise you on this.
You do not need to wait for females to have a litter of puppies/kittens as neutering can be performed before they come into season for the first time. If dogs have had a season, we would recommend waiting three months before having them neutered.
Neutering – Post-operative care
Animals recover remarkably quickly and will usually be discharged on the same day as the operation. They will need to return to the surgery for post-operative checks and recovery usually takes a few days to a week.
We will provide specific instructions upon discharge regarding limiting exercise, nutrition and any pain relief to be administered at home.
Female dogs are generally mature enough to reproduce when they reach six to nine months, although smaller breeds can come into season earlier, and larger breeds a bit later. Female dogs will come into season throughout their life approximately every six months, although this can vary.
The heat cycle typically lasts between 2-4 weeks and there is usually some bleeding at the beginning of the cycle. Female dogs may undergo physical and behavioural changes such as swelling of the vulva, licking their genital area, frequent urination and displaying sexual behaviour e.g. mounting furniture or other dogs.
Cats can have two or three litters per year with up to six kittens in each litter. They can begin to breed from approximately five months of age. On average, cats will enter their reproductive cycle every three to four weeks from spring until autumn. During this time, they may be very noisy, meowing for a mate, rolling around and lifting their bottoms. They may also hide, become grumpy or beg for constant attention. If your cat isn’t kept indoors whilst she is in heat, there is a high chance that she will become pregnant.
There is always some degree of risk with any procedure involving anaesthetic, although modern techniques keep that to an absolute minimum.
Would infections can be caused by the pet licking or nibbling the wound area.
Dietary requirements post neutering
Following neutering, we will help you to keep a close eye on your pet’s waistline. Neutering causes a change in metabolism and a neutered dog or cat may require up to 25% fewer calories than their non-neutered counterparts! For this reason, we will ask you to adjust your pet’s diet or the quantity of food they are fed. We’ll invite you to bring your pet back in for a weight check after surgery to make sure everything is as it should be.