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Should I desex my DOG?

Desexing will help control many problems such as roaming, aggression, inappropriate mounting and territorial urine marking as well as mammary, prostate and testicular tumours. There is now some debate about the benefit of your female dog having a season or a litter first before desexing. There are some advantages to letting the dog approach maturity before desexing, especially in larger breed dogs, but getting her desexed before her first or second  season drastically reduces the chances of her getting mammary tumours later in life.


Why do I need to desex my CAT?

Desexing will help control many problems such as spraying, wandering, behaviour problems and mammary, and testicular tumours. There is no advantage for your female cat to have a season or a litter first before desexing. In fact, getting her desexed before her first season drastically reduces the chances of her getting mammary tumours later in life. By desexing your female cat, this will stop the possibility of any unwanted litters. Desexing will also reduce the likelihood of your cat getting into a cat fight (which in turn reduces the risk of getting abscesses and contracting Feline Aids).


How old should my PUPPY or KITTEN be?

Desexing has traditionally been done at about 5-6 months of age. This involves a day visit with us at the clinic. Your puppy or kitten will be given a general anaesthetic and pain relief before and after the procedure. It will be important for you to keep your pet quiet for 10-14 days following the procedure.

As mentioned, there is now a lot of debate about the “right” age to desex a pet. The larger the breed of dog, the later they mature, especially their bone growth and closure, and the later we should leave desexing. Whilst some opinion mentions leaving until after a season, this is not necessary if the the dog has reached mature, or close to mature size. Please feel free to come in and discuss your pet’s specific circumstances with our expert staff.

What are the advantages of desexing my pet?


The Benefits of Speying (Females)

  1. Preventing unwanted pregnancy. This is not physically possible with ovaries and uterus gone.
  2. Prevention of health problems associated with the female reproductive tract.
  3. Mammary tumours are much less likely. This is true regardless of the age your pet is when desexed, but if your female dog is less than 6 months old when speyed her risk of mammary tumours  remains 1/200, the same risk as in male dogs. If your female dog has even one cycle or “season”, her risk of mammary tumours increases.
  4. Infection of the uterus (called pyometra), which is a life-threatening condition seen in our older non desexed females and fatal if left untreated. Treatment of pyometra involves neutering at a time when the patient is older and seriously ill, with the high risk of rupture of the uterus and peritonitis. The risks involved are obviously much greater than in a young, healthy pet.
  5. Your pet will not cycle (come into season). When female dogs come into season, they drip blood from the vulva for 1-3 weeks, and attract every undesexed male dog from miles around. She usually becomes promiscuous, and often they attempt to escape, even if she has never done this before.
  6. Cats “in heat” display the overly friendly behaviour, often presenting their rear ends to owners or visitors!  They constantly vocalise and try to escape, especially at night.
  7. Desexing pets decreases the number of homeless or unwanted pets in shelters around Australia.


The Benefits of Castration

  1. Aggressive behaviour is much less likely.
  2. This aggression may be towards other pets or towards people, and is usually not seen until your pet reaches sexual maturity. If your pet is older, and already becoming aggressive, castration is likely to help. In male cats aggression is usually seen as fighting, with screeches and howls most of us have heard at night.
  3. Male pets that are neutered when they are young are more likely to grow into contented family members. This applies to all breeds. Entire (non-neutered) males often want to dominate. They are less amiable and more difficult to control. They are more likely to escape the backyard, more likely to pick fights with other animals or be dangerously territorial.
  4. Common injuries that we see in undesexed male cats include fractured teeth and abscesses.
  5. Undesexed male dogs also lift their leg to urinate on objects much more frequently, sometimes inside the house.
  6. In cats this is seen as wandering, with a non desexed male cat disappearing for days at a time, and usually returning with wounds from fighting.
  7. Undesexed male cats also spray urine in and around the house and have a strong pungent smell.
  8. Testicular tumours are not seen. These are common in older non-desexed males.
  9. The risk of prostatic disease is greatly reduced in desexed animals, but relatively frequently seen in older non-desexed patients.
  10. No chance of siring pups or kittens. Without testicles no sperm are produced.


What are the disadvantages of desexing my pet?

A disadvantage to desexing is the drop in metabolic rate. This means that less food is required to maintain the same body weight. Desexing itself does not cause obesity.

We can help you with your pet’s diet to ensure that he or she gets the right type of food for his or her life stage, and the right quantity, to ensure they don’t become obese.

Studies in Golden Retrievers and a couple of other breeds have shown some changes in female dogs when desexed at a very young age that do not happen if desexing is left until they are a bit more mature.