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, and generally your pet is home by the evening of surgery.

The most common age to desex your pet is between 4 and 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.

There are many benefits to desexing your pet before 6 months. 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 testicular cancer and prostate disease in males, and it can help prevent pyometra (infection of the uterus) and mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females
  • Stopping the “heat” cycle in females 
  • Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males
  • Being less prone to wander, especially in males
  • Reduction of council registration fees

Should I de sex my bitch when in heat?

If you notice your pet in heat prior to surgery, notify the veterinary practice. Unless it is an emergency, it is often best to wait 2-3 weeks after the heat before booking them in for desexing. During a heat, the uterus has an increased blood supply and can be more fragile.

What are the behavioural changes associated with desexing?

Sexual behaviour will disappear after desexing, however on rare occasions sexual behaviour may continue.

Desexed females are less likely to urinate at the front door or howl nonstop when in heat.Desexed males are less likely to roam, mount, mark or fight.

Are de-sexed pets prone to obesity?

  • Energy requirements are known to decrease by up to a third after desexing. Managing your pet's caloric intake and exercise levels are important it keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
  • As with people, pets become less active with age and, therefore, caloric requirements may decrease.

What is a retained testicle?

A retained testicle is a testicle that has not descended into the scrotum by the age of 6 months. Abdominal surgery may be required to locate and remove the retained testicle.

How soon after having puppies should a bitch be de sexed?

It is recommended that a brood bitch is desexed once puppies have been weaned, their milk has dried up and the breast tissue has returned to normal size.

What to do before and after surgery

Before surgery:

  • Make a booking for your pets operation.
  • If your pet is a dog, you can wash them the day before surgery as they are then unable to be washed after until the stitches are removed.
  • You can give you pet an evening meal as normal the day prior to surgery, but do not leave food out overnight. Water should be freely available to your pet until 8am on the day of surgery.
  • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.
  • The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
  •  Intravenous fluid therapy is required during most types of surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
  • To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief as part of the desexing procedure, and we may prescribe medication for you to administer at home for a few days after the procedure.

After Surgery:

  • 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.
  • Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night of surgery.
  • Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
  • Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.
  • Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
  • Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (e.g. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if any of these occur. 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.