Neutering your pet is a routine procedure with many benefits for both you and your pet. Follow our guide for more information on reasons why neutering may be the best option for your
Every so often we hear stories going round about the "bad effects" of pets being neutered or when is the best time to have them neutered. Recent ones include:
- Having your pet neutered will increase it's risk of developing cancer.
- Every pet should be allowed to have a least one litter.
- Your pet will suffer ill health if you neuter it before it has had a litter.
These are COMPLETELY UNTRUE. Read our guide below to find out the truth about having your pet neutered.
There are many good reasons to get your cat or dog neutered:
- No unwanted pregnancies.
- Cats and dogs that fall pregnant while they are still growing can experience health problems during and after the birth as their bodies are not able to cope with it fully.
- No pregnancy is a 100% safe. Some pets need a caesarean section to help them give birth at great cost to their owners. There is also a risk that mothers and their puppies or
kittens may die.
- Rescue centres are already full of pets looking for new homes, adding new animals to the population means fewer pets can be rehomed and may have to be put to sleep. It is also
very stressful when you cannot find new owners for your own litters and have to look after more pets than you expected.
- Pets do not escape and go roaming looking for a potential mate.
- Pets can go missing or escape from home when they are in season and looking for a mate. This is especially a problem in males and can cause a lot of worry, especially if they are not microchipped.
- They are less likely to get involved in hormone-driven fights and suffer injuries. In cats this reduces the risk of cat bite abscesses or infection with FIV (feline
AIDS), especially in males.
- They are less likely to be involved in road traffic accidents.
- It reduces or removes some problem behaviours.
- It removes the desire for male cats to spray their territory (such as in your house). If a neutered cat sprays in your house it is likely to have an underlying health problem
such as cystitis.
- It reduces dog-related and human-related aggression in dogs. Although this reduces aggression it may not entirely remove this problem and may need to combined with
training. Read more about your legal duty as an owner to protect your pet, other pets and the public from dog-related aggression by visiting DogLawTV.
- It prevents pets from developing serious diseases in later life.
- The risk of female dogs developing mammary (breast) cancer increases with each season you let them experience. The earlier they are spayed, the lower their risk of developing
- Spaying female pets also prevents them from developing the rarer cancers such as ovarian or uterine cancer, depending upon the procedure performed.
- Female pets will not suffer from the life-threatening infection of their uterus called pyometra that requires expensive medical treatment or surgery. Spaying a pet costs much
less than the surgery to cure this problem!
- Male pets will not develop testicular cancer and have a lower risk of developing prostate problems.
- If your pet is difficult to handle, you want other small procedures doing (such as microchipping, checking and removing bad teeth, dewclaws or lumps) we can do this all under the
same anaesthetic with a lower cost to you and lower risk to your pet.
There are some circumstances where you may decide not to neuter you pet:
- You want to breed your pet
- Please be absolutely sure that you want to do this! Research the pros and cons well, have all the necessary equipment and support and have homes arranged for the litter. Remember that rescue
centres are already full of pets waiting to be rehomed and the effect that pregnancy might have on your pet.
- Once the surgery has been performed, your pet will NEVER be able to have puppies or kittens again.
- It might be expensive
- Some rescue charities, such as the Cats Protection may be able to help with the cost of neutering through vouchers.
- The cost of surgery or medical treatment to treat conditions that are prevented by neutering can far outweigh the cost of neutering itself. In the long-term you may cost yourself more money by not neutering your pet.
- You're worried about the surgery or the general anaesthetic
- Obviously as it is a surgical procedure, it must be done under a general anaesthetic for your pet's safety and welfare.
- This is a routine procedure in which our vets are very experienced and very few animals experience significant problems during or after the surgery.
- With any anaesthetic, there is a risk that a patient might die, however, risks can be minimized by performing it on young and healthy pets. Most deaths associated with
anaesthetics are due to pets with pre-existing conditions such as kidney or heart disease.
- Whenever your pet undergoes surgery with us, we give them a full health check and offer blood tests to check for any of these problems.
We recommend neutering male dogs from six months of age. Female dogs can be neutered from 6 months of age also, but we advise doing this after their first season - once your pet
has had a season we have to wait three months before we can perform the surgery to avoid persistent false pregnancy.
We can neuter both male and female cats from four months of age. We recommend having your pet neutered before you let them outdoors unsupervised.
There are several different things that we do to make sure the procedure and anaesthetic are as safe as possible:
- The night before surgery:
- DOG OWNERS: Check that your pet has been treated for lungworm. You must have given them AT LEAST 2 months
treatment prior to surgery - pet shop products unfortunately do not treat this worm and you must use ADVOCATE or MILBEMAX (from your vet). Please be aware that this worm causes problems with blood
clotting and this can be very dangerous during an operation. Find out more about this worm on our parasite page or BeLungwormAware.
- Do not feed your pet after midnight and do not give them breakfast in the morning.
- Allow them access to water overnight as normal.
- Make sure your pet is as clean as possible before you come to the surgery.
- The day of the surgery:
- Allow your pet to go to the toilet before you bring them to the surgery.
- Bring your pet to their admission appointment at the agreed time. (Please allow 15 minutes for this appointment)
- One of our vets or nurses will perform a full clinical examination on your pet to check they are fit for surgery.
- You will be asked to leave a contact number with us should we need it.
- You will be asked to sign a consent form.
- If your pet has any special requirements, let us know so that we can make them as comfortable as possible. You are welcome to bring your pet's bedding and toys to
help reduce stress if you wish.
- Following admission:
- If you have requested a pre-op blood test, we will perform this soon after admission. Please be aware that this test can identify problems with the liver, kidneys and other organs but it
cannot diagnose all problems (such as heart problems).
- Your pet will then be given a 'premedication' consisting of a sedative and a pain killer (to make sure they are calm, relaxed and in no pain before surgery starts).
- We are happy to show clients our operating theatre and kennels. We appreciate that some animals and clients are anxious about the anaesthetic, clients can stay with their pets until they are
drowsy from their premedication so that they don't notice their owners leaving them.
Please note: All pets are required to be treated with Advocate no earlier than 4 weeks prior to surgery to protect them from
complications associated with French Heartworm (see our worming page for more information). In rare cases we may prescribe pre-operative antibiotics (such as in
those with severe dental disease) if we feel that this poses a risk to them during the surgery.
We perform a castration which involves completely removing both of the pet's testicles. We do not perform vasectomies (tying off the tubes from the testicles to the penis) in
either dogs or cats as this is not recommended by the wider veterinary profession.
We perform a spay (the correct term for which is an ovariohysterectomy) in which we remove both of your pet's ovaries and their uterus.
Please note: In some cases both we and owners are unaware that a pet is pregnant before we start the surgery, you will be asked at
admission whether you wish us to continue with the surgery or not should this be found to be the case. Performing the surgery is likely to result in the death of the puppies or kittens but will cause
no harm to your pet. If you wish us to continue, there will be a slightly increased cost to cover the additional time and anaesthetic needed.
On the day of your pet's surgery, please phone the practice at 2.30pm so that we can provide you with an update on your pet's progress and arrange a time for you to collect your pet. Your pet will
be discharged by one of our vets or nurses and the following points will be discussed:
- Your pet may be slightly quiet the evening after their surgery due to the anaesthetic.
- Feed them a 1/3 of their normal food or bland food such as chicken and boiled rice.
- The following day they should return to normal and be fed their normal food.
- Some pets may go home with an Elizabethan Collar if they are at risk of damaging their op site, you must keep this on them at all times until otherwise advised.
- All pets go home with post-op pain relief, you should give this as directed.
- All pets must come back to the pratice for a free post-op check in 1-5 days - all dogs should be on lead-only exercise and cats should be kept indoors until this time.
In the rare event of an infection of the op site, your pet will be prescribed antibiotics. This is not covered by standard surgical costs and must be covered separately.