Rescue and rehoming centres are already full to bursting with pets who can’t find homes, and there are thousands of pets put to sleep each year because they have no home and no hope of getting one.
At Medivet we recommend neutering as a key element of preventative healthcare and believe that it is one of the best things you can do for your pet.
There are numerous benefits to castrating (males) or spaying (females) your pet, both physically and behaviourally.
Neutering greatly lowers the risk of various cancers, most notably mammary, ovarian and cervical cancer (females) and prostate and testicular cancer (males).
A pregnancy can place your female pet at risk of possible complications – what if they have trouble giving birth and need a Caesarean? What if they reject their babies or can’t cope?
Some female seasons can also cause health issues such as anorexia (reluctance to eat), vomiting or diarrhoea if a pet experiences several seasons without being mated with.
What is a pyometra?
A pyometra is an infection of the uterus. This is a potentially fatal condition and becomes more likely to occur as an un-neutered female dog ages (although it can occur at any age). A dog’s uterus will fill with pus and can then go on to burst.
Neutering can have a significant impact on an animal’s behaviour and eliminate many unpleasant or anti-social acts.
For instance, many un-neutered male dogs will ‘mount’ peoples’ legs and engage in other sexual behaviour. Not only is this inappropriate, it is also very embarrassing!
Un-neutered male cats will often roam far from home in search of a mate and may get into fights.
You’ll also find that un-neutered male pets may spray in the house. Early neutering should help to prevent this behaviour in the majority of cases (if it persists, it may be that your pet could have a physical problem or another behavioural issue). In fact, neutering should help to lower territorial behaviours in general.
Generally, neutering should make males less aggressive and calmer. However, this is not a hard and fast rule and you should not expect neutering to halt all negative behaviours.
Owners will notice a distinct difference in female cats, who can come into season again and again if they’re not mated with. This means that the experience of owning an unspayed female cat can be a noisy and infuriating one. Cats in season will meow persistently and try to escape constantly. With female dogs, they will actually experience some bloody discharge which can be very messy and unpleasant.
But I’ve heard that pets will get really fat after neutering?
Pets do generally burn a little less energy after neutering so are more prone to putting on weight. You can avoid this by adjusting their portion size or switching to a diet designed for neutered animals.
For any form of neutering, we will ask you to bring your pet in first thing in the morning, having not fed them. We’ll also check them over prior to agreeing any surgery to make sure that they’re healthy and don’t have any existing health issues.
We try to perform surgery early in the day to give your pet plenty of time to recover afterwards. Your pet will be anaesthetised and monitored closely during the procedure and then checked by our veterinary team as they come round. They’ll normally go home with you later on the same day and we’ll go through what you should expect and the healing process with you.
Generally, we ask you to bring your pet back after 2/3 days so we can check they’re recovering okay and feeling back to normal. You might notice that your pet seems a bit ‘off’ for a little while following their operation. This is normally just grogginess and confusion following the anaesthetic, but we do ask you to keep a close eye on them and let us know if you have concerns.
With spaying females, we often recommend ovariectomies, where we just remove the ovaries, instead of an ovariohysterectomy where we remove part of the uterus too. This is less invasive for pets. In some situations, perhaps with an older animal or one we have concerns about, we will still recommend an ovariohysterectomy for health reasons.
At Medivet we spay female dogs at the midpoint between seasons (or before their first season if possible). This is because when they reach a point near to their season, their blood vessels are at their most full, meaning it is more difficult and likely to create problems with blood oozing when operating. There are no health or psychological benefits to waiting until your dog has had a first season to spay.
We know that owners are sometimes worried about having their pet undergo surgery. Any type of anaesthetic procedure carries a certain degree of risk, but neutering is a procedure that we carry out every day and modern veterinary medicine is advanced. We also offer laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery at some of our sites for bitch spaying. This is less invasive and often means less post-operative pain and a quicker healing time.
Still have questions or want to book your pet in for neutering? Use our online practice finder to speak to your local Medivet team.
Posted April 28, 2015 in Preventative Healthcare