Desexing or neutering your dog is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce.
In male dogs it is commonly referred to as “castration”, and in female pets as “spaying”. This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and generally your dog is home by the evening of surgery.
The most common age to desex your dog is between 4 and 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.
There are many benefits to desexing your dog before 6 months. They include:
- Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are put down each year
- Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males, and it can help prevent pyometra (infection of the uterus) and mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females
- Stopping the “heat” cycle in females
- Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males
- Being less prone to wander, especially in males
- Living a longer and healthier life
- Reduction of council registration fees
Common questions about desexing
“Will desexing affect my dog’s personality?”
Your dog will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.
“Should my female have one litter first?”
No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being spayed. Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.
“Will it cause my dog to become fat?”
Your dog’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing, however this is easily managed with adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.
“Is desexing painful?”
As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most dogs will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. Your dog will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery. In many cases, your dog will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!
“Will my dog lose its “guard dog” instinct?”
No, your dog will be just as protective of their territory as before the surgery.
What to do before and after surgery
- Make a booking for your dog’s operation.
- Wash your dog the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed after surgery until the stitches are removed.
- Do not give your dog food after 10pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 8am on the day of surgery.
- A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.
- Dr Raj or one of the vets on duty will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
- Some dogs will require intravenous fluid support during surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.
- To ensure your dog is as comfortable as possible, all dogs receive pain relief prior to desexing and to take home for a few days after the procedure.
- Keep your dog restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.
- Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal.
- Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery.
- Follow any dietary instructions that Dr Raj or one of the vets on duty has provided.
- Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.
- Ensure your dog’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
- Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
- Prevent your dog from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.
- Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches.
If you have any concerns before or after your dog has been desexed, please call us immediately to discuss.