What is desexing?
Desexing is the process of removing reproductive organs so a dog can no longer produce offspring or hormones associated with sexual behaviours and reproduction. A general anaesthetic is required and surgery is performed to remove the ovaries and uterus in a female (ovariohysterectomy or spay) and testicles in a male (castration).
Desexing in Female Dogs
Bitches can be spayed from as early as 6 months of age, or 3 months after the first season. From a medical standpoint there are a variety of advantages. Female dogs are very much less likely to develop malignant mammary cancers later in life if spayed at a early age. The chance of developing these tumors increases with each successive heat, so spaying early gives the best possible protection.
Another common condition in older unspayed bitches is pyometra - an infection of the uterus, in which the uterus becomes extremely enlarged and filled with pus. This necessitates an emergency operation to remove the ovaries and uterus - a much larger and riskier surgery than a routine spay, as it can be fatal if left untreated.
Desexing the bitch prevents oestrus as well as breeding. She will not come into heat and therefore will not attract unwanted attention from male dogs. It also prevents false pregnancy.
Desexing in Male Dogs
Male dogs can be castrated from as early as 6 months of age. Desexing a male dog removes the sexual urge so that if a dog gets the scent of a bitch in season, he is less likely to show any interest which in certain breeds can be an undoubted advantage. Castration also removes any testosterone related aggression. It should be noted that aggression can result from various sources, and that even is testosterone is part of the cause this aggression can become a learned behaviour and castration alone will not resolve it, it may still help, but is much more effective when performed as a preventative at 6-8 months of age.
Male dogs will not develop testicular tumors if castrated, and are much less likely to develop prostate enlargement and tumors around the anus.
Desexing in Female Cats
Female cats may be spayed at 4-6 months of age before they start coming into season. Cats come into season roughly every 3 weeks and spaying eliminates unwanted kittens.
Desexing in Male Cats
Tom cats can be castrated from 4-6 months of age. Cats that are not castrated have a larger territory, so castrating reducing roaming behaviour, spraying and fighting with other cats.
Desexing for both male and female animals does involve a general anaesthetic, and as always this does carry a very small element of risk. However, your dog or cat will receive a full clinical examination prior to the procedure, and we will give you the option of a blood test to check their blood cell counts, liver and kidney function prior to the procedure.
We run a full sterile surgery with a nurse dedicated solely to monitoring your pet the whole time it is under anaesthetic. We can confidently say the chance of having problems during anaethetic and surgery of a young healthy animal is extremely small.
If you have any further questions or queries regarding spaying or neutering your pet, please feel free to contact us and speak to one of our nurses or veterinarians, we're here to help.