What is neutering?
Neutering is a surgical procedure that prevents pets from reproducing. In males, the operation is called castration and in females it’s called spaying. The best age to neuter will vary, so please book in a neuter check anytime from six months and we will advise you what’s the right time for your pet.
What’s involved in the neutering process?
Operations are carried out under general anaesthetic. With castration, both testicles are removed which eliminates the main source of the male hormone testosterone. With spaying, both the ovaries (and usually the uterus) are removed which means the female is unable to become pregnant.
Every human and animal surgery carries some risk, but the techniques used at The Pet Vet ensure that the risks to your pet are kept to an absolute minimum. We use the safest, most advanced anaesthetic gas which minimises the post-surgery ‘hangover’, our surgeons are highly experienced in neutering and our nurses conduct a monitoring regime before, during and after the procedure.
Post-operative care is very important for a quick recovery. As neutering involves surgery, your pet will feel some discomfort afterwards, but we provide highly effective pain relief medication immediately after the procedure and to take home; so most pets in our care are up and about in just a few hours. When your pet is discharged, you’ll receive guidance on how to look after your pet over the subsequent few days; and we’ll book you a follow-up appointment to check that recovery is progressing as expected.
Why should I get my pet neutered?
Thousands of unwanted animals have to be put to sleep every year because there are not enough homes for them. Neutering helps with population control. There are also lots of health, behavioural and social reasons why neutering your pet is a good idea:
For male dogs:
- Castration eliminates the risk of testicular cancer, significantly reduces the chance of your dog getting prostate disease and also reduces the risk of some perianal tumours and perineal hernias.
- Your dog’s temperament, training and personality is mostly due to genetics and upbringing, not its male hormones. Castration does not “calm” an excitable dog, however, neutering can have a beneficial effect on any behaviours that are influenced by testosterone.
- Undesirable sexual behaviour: Attraction to female dogs, roaming and mounting can often be reduced or eliminated by castration.
- Urine marking: Most adult male dogs lift their legs while urinating. Instead of emptying their bladders completely, most male dogs retain some urine to deposit on other vertical objects that they pass. Some males have such a strong desire to mark that they also mark indoors. Castration reduces marking.
- Aggression: Castration may also reduce or eliminate some forms of aggression and prevent aggressive traits genetically transferring to future offspring.
For female dogs:
- Neutering greatly reduces the risk of breast cancer (known as mammary cancer in dogs). Mammary cancer is seen relatively often in older, unneutered dogs and can prove fatal.
- Spaying your dog eliminates the risk of an infection of the womb (called pyometra), which can be fatal.
- Many unneutered female dogs suffer a false pregnancy after a season and, although this is natural, it can cause behavioural and even medical problems.
For dog owners:
- An unneutered dog is likely to direct their amorous intentions towards your favourite sofa – or your visiting auntie!
- When a female dog is in season, she attracts a stream of hopeful male dogs to the front door.
- If a female gets pregnant, you have the responsibility of caring for her during her pregnancy, birth and looking after her litter – and that’s before the challenge of trying to find good homes for the puppies.
- Female dogs in heat can be messy – they produce a bloody discharge for three weeks or more.
- Female dogs who were not spayed when young will need to have their nipples and mammary glands checked regularly for mammary tumours as they grow older.
- As with all surgery, neutering carries a risk. Although complications are rare, the risk depends on factors including the health of the dog, age, and breed.
- Dogs with inherited health conditions will pass these on to their litter, causing suffering for another generation of dogs. If your dog has genetic health problems, getting them neutered will ensure they cannot be passed on to their puppies, and potentially subsequent puppies as well.
For male cats:
- Neutering cats reduces their urge to roam and fight so they’re less likely to go missing, get hit by cars, or get hurt.
- Unneutered cats that are confined can become frustrated and may try any escape route – including out of your top floor window.
- Neutering reduces your pet’s chance of catching feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), an incurable disease similar to HIV in humans which is spread by saliva usually from bite wounds during fights.
- Unneutered male cats tend to urine-mark their territory, including your house, with a powerful and unpleasant scented urine.
For female cats:
- Spaying cats, especially if it’s done when they’re young, greatly reduces the risk of them getting breast cancer and infection of the womb (called pyometra). Both of these can be fatal.
For cat owners:
- With most cats being free-roaming, it can be incredibly stressful trying to make sure your pet doesn’t get pregnant and if she does, you’ve got the worry of caring for her through her pregnancy, birth and the rearing of her litter.
- Female cats that aren’t spayed often come into season over and over again, which means they can be almost continuously in heat. This can be exhausting and usually attracts a queue of amorous and vocal tomcats to the house.
If you want to find out more or you are interested in having your pet neutered please contact The Pet Vet to Book an appointment