What is neutering?
Neutering is the name for a veterinary procedure which offers animals a permanent solution for birth control. It may also be known as spaying, castrating, desexing, fixing or sterilizing.
What are the benefits of neutering?
Neutering is one of the most responsible and kindest actions you can provide for your pet, family and the community.
Neutering improves your pets health by reducing or eliminating the risk of certain cancers and other diseases.
Neutering usually reduces urine marking, sexual aggression, mounting and other troublesome behaviours.
Population control – In any one year over 100,000 dogs will become homeless and there are over 25 million stray cats in the UK at any one time.
When should I get my pet neutered?
As soon as your pet is old enough, get him or her neutered! Cats generally come into season at about 6 months of age. Cats, of course, are difficult to contain if outside, and they are quick to escape the home when they want to be!
The age at which a bitch is likely to have her first season will depend on what breed she is. The smaller breeds tend to come into season at a younger age than the larger ones. Your vet can discuss with you the pros and cons of letting her have a season before spaying your bitch so that you are able to make an informed decision. Timing is important as the procedure in bitches, should not be performed whilst she is having a season.
What is the procedure?
In female animals, spaying involves surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus. Although it is an operation that we routinely perform, it is still a major procedure and as such demands the care and attention we attach to it here at this practice.
Your pet will need to have a general anaesthetic, therefore you will be asked not to feed her after 8.00pm the evening prior to the operation. The operation is performed during the morning so that she has plenty of time to sleep off the anaesthetic before she goes home, usually after 4.00pn that same afternoon. Most pets are up and alert shortly after surgery, and for neutered patients, most are back to their ‘normal’ self by the next day. You may need to restrict activity in those pets who are very active and to control excessive licking of the surgical site for a few days afterwards. You will also need to take your pet for a post-surgery check-up and to have their stitches removed.
In male animals, castration involves the removal of the testicles and is commonly practised on household pets. Although it is a less invasive procedure than for females, it still requires a general anaesthetic and so your pet will have to spend the day at the veterinary clinic. There are a number of alternatives to castration if you are hesitant to put your pet through surgery and your vet will be happy to discuss them with you.
Myths and facts around neutering.
You may be told that your pet will get fat once they have been neutered. This is just not true. The only reason a dog or cat becomes fat (or a human for that matter) is because it is eating more than it needs and the excess energy is stored as fat. We see as many overweight entire animals as neutered ones. A sensible diet will prevent your pet from becoming overweight.
Some people believe that it is better to let their pet either mate or have a litter first but medical evidence indicates just the opposite. In fact, the evidence shows that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier. Reproduction is a biological event in cats and dogs – they do not yearn for a family in the way humans do.