Neutering, de-sexing, spaying and castration are all terms used to describe the surgical procedure rendering an animal incapable of reproducing (the complete removal of all reproductive organs).
Advantages for De-sexing Pets
The main purpose for de-sexing is to avoid overpopulation with unwanted puppies and kittens, but there are other advantages too.
Reduction of unwanted behaviours such as:
- Mounting (other animals, owner and visitor’s legs!).
- Urine spraying (particularly male cats).
- Roaming (tracking females in heat).
- Some forms of aggression.
- Reduce chance of prostate cancer.
- No testicular cancer.
- No unwanted pregnancy.
- No hassle of being on heat (confinement for that period, no mess spotting for bitches).
- Reduction of chance of mammary tumours.
- No pseudo-pregnancies.
- No ovarian cancer and no pyometra, a life-threatening infection of the uterus.
CONCERNS WITH DE-SEXING
Weight gain can be a factor for neutered pets. An easy solution can be simply a reduction of food intake and healthy exercise regime.
Urinary incontinence can occur in a small percentage of spayed females later in life. Incontinence is easily controlled with medication and is a lesser risk than other complications involved in not spaying.
WHAT AGE SHOULD YOU DE-SEX YOUR PET?
Ideally your pet should be de-sexed before reaching sexual maturity, before adopting the unwanted behaviours mentioned above.
Sexual maturity for felines can be from as early as six months, so de-sexing is recommended between five and six months of age, before hormones reach peak levels.
Canine sexual maturity is generally between six and nine months; females can have their first heat around this time, so de-sexing at five to six months of age is recommended before this occurs.
WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
No matter if your loved pet is a cat or dog, male or female, bringing them in for de-sexing is generally a one-day procedure in which they are dropped off between 8am or 9am and usually picked up between 4pm and 6pm.
It is required that they have no breakfast on the morning of the surgery (no food after 8pm the night prior) but a bowl of water is fine left out overnight.
It is recommended to toilet your animal before bringing it into the clinic; cats should be locked inside with a litter tray to ensure they are at hand in the morning.
De-sexing is performed under a general anaesthetic in which complications and risks can arise, but due to veterinary advancements, e.g. safer patient-tailored drugs, monitoring equipment and a team dedicated to ensuring the safety of your pet, these risks are greatly minimised.
For both cats and dogs it is important that they are kept as quiet as possible in the days following surgery to aid in the healing of the surgery site.
Generally recovery from anaesthesia is fairly quick, from 24 to 48 hours.
The most important aspect of aftercare is to ensure that they do not lick or bite at the stitches (cat neuters do not have stitches as the incision site is too small) while healing. If they do interfere with the incision, an e-collar will be needed to prevent this. The stitches are then removed in 10 to 14 days.