Desexing / Sterilization

WHAT DOES DESEXING / STERILIZATION INVOLVE?

Desexing also termed Neutering, is a form of surgical sterilization.

Whilst there are now several options for surgical sterilization in females (spaying), our preferred method involves either the traditional Ovario-hysterectomy, (ovaries and uterus) or the emerging Ovario-ectomy, (Ovaries only) 

In males, the standard method of sterilization is the Castration or technically termed an Orchidectomy, which involves complete removal of both testicles.

In our experience, our protocols and surgical expertise results in very smooth and quick recovery times, with minimal post operative discomfort.

Whilst sterilization procedures are viewed as routine procedures, they are treated with the same level of care and attention as any of our major surgeries. Our experienced team of veterinary surgeons and theatre nurses, take all precautions to reduce the risks associated with surgery, general anesthesia and post operative complications. 

Patient comfort is also a strong focus for us, with particular attention paid to reducing stress and pain both before, during and after surgery.

It is not uncommon for many owners to have questions and concerns surrounding desexing, including the best age for desexing, or if they should desex their pets at all?

Hopefully the information below can help answer some of those questions and alleviate any concerns.

SHOULD I DESEX MY DOG ?

It has always been accepted and recommended that all pets should be desexed. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. It is however, still an elective procedure and it is important that all pet owners are able to make an informed decision when it comes to desexing.

Our aim is to be able to guide and discuss the risks and benefits that will impact your pet, taking into consideration their age breed and sex. The information provided should help you, as a pet parent, make the best informed decision in the best interests of your pet..

The main aim of desexing/sterilization is to stop reproduction, which historically has reduced the number of unwanted puppies in the community and in shelters. Whilst accidental pregnancies are not very common these days, there are a few social challenges that need to be kept in mind. These may include having an entire female who will cycle approximately every six months and when on heat will not only spot blood but also become very attractive to male dogs.

It is also very common for owners to want to desex their dog due to unwanted for behavioural issues. They believe desexing will calm, or improve their pet’s behaviour. It is important to note that desexing will not change a pet’s personality or temperament, nor will it reduce anxiety related behavioural issue. Desexing pets who may be displaying anxious behaviours could actually have a negative impact on their behaviour, and is best delayed until any behavioural issues are addressed first.

 

WHEN SHOULD I DESEX MY DOG?

Whilst the general recommendation has always been for pre-pubertal desexing (between 5-6 months of age), in light of emerging evidence and improved understandings of the negative impacts of desexing, it is becoming clearer that delayed desexing can have positive health benefits, especially in large and giant dog breeds.

Our recommendation therefore is to delay desexing until fully grown.

  • Small to medium breeds – after 12 months of age.
  • Large breeds – After 15-18 months of age (e.g. Labradors, German Shepherds, Rottweilers)
  • Giant Breeds  – After 24mths, with some even advocating for not desexing giant breed males at all. (e.g. Great Danes)

 

 

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF DESEXING DOGS?

In Male Dogs

  • It removes interest in females on heat.
  • Reduces the chances of medical problems such as testicular cancer, prostate problems/cancer, and certain peri-anal skin conditions, and tumours.
  • May reduce Urine marking

In female dogs:

  • Prevents oestrus or heat cycles. Females will generally have a heat (oestrus) cycle every 6 months, which can last for about 3 weeks. Bitches will have some bleeding during a 2-3 week period which can always be challenging to manage when indoors.
  • Avoids mating and pregnancies.
  • Avoids phantom pregnancies which some undesexed females may have as a regular occurrence.
  • Prevents Pyometra which can be a life threatening infection of the uterus.
  • Can reduce the risk of mammary cancers,

 

WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF DELAYED DE-SEXING IN DOGS?

The most recent research has shown that delayed desexing could ;

  • Reduce the incidence of certain joint issues such as hip and stifle problems, particularly in large and giant breeds.
  • Reduce the risk of Urinary incontinence in females
  • Improve certain anxiety related disorders, including improved resilience, particularly in male dogs.

 

  WHAT ABOUT CHEMICAL CASTRATION IN MALE DOGS?

This is a growing option which can be discussed in more detail. If there may be concerns about surgical desexing, or reasons such as the possibility of future breeding then chemical desexing which is a temporary measure, could be an option. READ MORE ABOUT CHEMICAL CASTRATION   

CATS

SOCIAL AND HEALTH BENEFITS FOR DESEXING CATS.

  • Stops reproduction and unwanted kittens.
  • In Females stops calling behaviour
  • In males can stop urine marking and spraying, roaming and fighting.

At this stage we still believe that pre-pubital desexing of all cats at 5-6 months of age is still the best option.

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For the latest information from the Australian Veterinary Association and their position on desexing, please refer to the following link

AVA Desexing Guidelines

 

 

 

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