Neutering is a medical procedure that prevents pets from being able to reproduce, and comes with a host of other health benefits.
Neutering is sometimes referred to as castration in males and spaying in females. Both operations are carried out under general anaesthetic and are very safe for your pet.
At what age should your pet be neutered?
Female dogs can be spayed from around six months old. While many people think you should wait until they’ve had their first season, there isn’t any benefit to this. In fact, a number of health benefits associated with spaying are reduced if you wait.
Male dogs can be neutered from six to seven months old.
There are a few larger breeds that may experience problems if they’re neutered too early, so it’s always a good idea to check with your vet when the best time to neuter your pet is.
Cats can be neutered from around four months old, after they’ve had their primary vaccinations. It’s completely safe to neuter older cats, so don’t be put-off if you miss the four-month mark.
What are the advantages of neutering your pet?
Neutering your pet will benefit you personally in a number of ways:
- An unneutered pet is more likely to express their frustrations and display inappropriate and embarrassing behaviour. For example, it will help reduce instances of mounting.
- It can help reduce aggressive and domineering behaviour in dogs, especially in breeds that are prone to this type of behaviour.
- Female dogs in heat can be messy, producing unpleasant fluid for three weeks or more. Female cats come into heat every three weeks during the breeding season (spring and summer), and exhibit behaviour such as vocalising ('calling') constantly. Neutering will end both of these behaviours.
- If a female gets pregnant, you’ll have to take on the responsibility of caring for her during her pregnancy, birth and looking after her litter. With some breeds of dog having as many as 12 puppies in just one litter, trying to find good homes for them, as well as feed, vaccinate and care for them, can be stressful and expensive. Neutering will avoid this.
Neutering also has a wide range of benefits for your pet:
- It prevents the risk of many types of cancer in reproductive organs.
- Neutering male dogs and cats reduces both urine spraying and roaming. This will minimise their risk of going missing, getting into fights, suffering from an injury or getting hit by a car.
- Un-neutered dogs are more likely to show aggression to other dogs and be the target of aggression. Neutering will help reduce this.
- Neutering prevents females coming into season, removing the risks associated with pregnancy and birth.
- Neutering can reduce aggressive behaviour in mature male ferrets, as well as the horrible smell and greasy fur they often develop. It can also prevent severe health problems such as alopecia and anaemia in female ferrets.
Is neutering painful for your pet?
We do everything in our power to make your pet as comfortable as possible during and after their operation. Your pet will be given an anaesthetic during the surgery and post-operative painkillers to help ease any pain and make them comfortable.
While your pet may feel slightly tender for a few weeks following the surgery, discomfort tends to minimal and your pet should be up and about again quickly.
Are there any side effects to neutering your pet?
Some people worry that neutering their pet will negatively alter its personality. In truth, the only change you’ll see will be positive, as negative behaviour such as roaming, mounting, fighting or spraying urine stops.
There’s also a false perception that neutering will make your pet overweight. Any weight gain after the procedure is not a direct result of neutering, but due to over-feeding. Neutered animals often have slightly lower food requirements and you’ll need to reduce their food in line with this. Your vet will be able to advise you on your pet’s dietary requirements following surgery.
Neutering and keyhole surgery
We’re proud to offer keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery as an option when neutering your pet at many of our practices. Contact your local Medivet vet to see if this is an option at your practice.
What is keyhole surgery?
Keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery. Very small incisions are made with the assistance of cameras and other technology. Benefits of this type of surgery include:
- smaller wounds and a smaller chance of infection
- reduced post-operative pain
- faster recovery
- fewer complications.
Will your pet need a buster collar after neutering?
A buster collar (or ‘cone’) is recommended after surgery to prevent your pet from licking or chewing, helping stitches stay in place, preventing infection, and allowing healing. Buster collars typically need to be kept on until the wound is fully healed.
Alternative options include a soft collar, a comfy collar or a simple T-shirt. If you select keyhole surgery, a collar may not be necessary or will be used for a shorter period of time. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best option for your pet.
How much does neutering cost?
The cost varies according to the type of animal, breed, sex, and weight. It also depends on the type of surgery you choose. All of our neutering surgeries are performed at highly subsidised rates – please contact your local Medivet vet for more information.