Desexing or sterilisation of 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 “speying”. This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and your pet is home by the evening of surgery.
The most common age to desex your pet is between 5 and 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.
There are many benefits to desexing your pet early. They include:
Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly especially if there are pregnancy complications, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that don't find loving homes to go to
Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males
Reduction in risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females, now medically proven to be advantageous if sterilised pre-season, and it prevents pyometra (infection of the uterus) , both of which can be fatal to your pet
Stopping the “heat” cycle in females
Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males
Being less prone to wander, especially in males
Living a longer and healthier life
Reduction of council registration fees
Common questions about desexing
“Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?”
Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.
“Should my female have one litter first?”
No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being speyed. Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.
“Will it cause my pet to become fat?”
Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing, however this is easily managed with adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.
“Is desexing painful?”
As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery. Female dogs will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery, as this surgery is more internal and involved than in a male. In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!
“Will my dog lose its “guard dog”instinct?”
No, your dog will be just as protective of their territory as before the surgery.
What to do before and after surgery
Make a booking for your pets operation.
If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery if they are muddy, or if they have regular baths as they are unable to be washed for 10 days to two weeks until the stitches are removed.
Do not give your pet food after 10pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 8am on the day of surgery.
- The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an aneasthetic.
Some pets may need a blood test to be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function. This is recommended for any pet over 7 years, or any pet with signs of an underlying disease. Our vets and nurses can discuss this with you on the day.
Some pets will require intravenous fluid support during surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
- Restricted exercise is essential until the stitches are removed. This is about 10-14days after surgery. This allows the wound to heal and prevents wound infection.
- Offer them food and water the first night, but don't be worried if they are not keen to eat. They usally are back to normal eating habits the next day.
- Ensure any post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per label instructions.
- Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
- Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. A special cone-shaped collar may be discharged with your pet if we anticipate 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 (usually 3 days after surgery) and removal of stitches (usually 10-14 days after surgery).
- If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed, please call us immediately to discuss.