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 females as “spaying”. This is one of the most frequent types of surgery performed by our vets, and generally your dog is able to come home by the evening of surgery.

The most common age to desex your dog is around 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed. In fact, there are some benefits to delayed desexing in some breeds. It is best to discuss the ‘pros & cons’ associated with your particular dog at their next consultation.

There are many benefits to desexing your dog. 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 reduced rate of prostate disease in males, and prevention of pyometra (infection of the uterus) and reduced incidence of mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females
  • Stopping the “heat” cycle in females, which can be messy and cause unwanted male visitors!
  • Decreasing the incidence of aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males
  • Being less likely to wander, especially in males
  • Reduction of council registration fees

DESEXING SURGERY – What to expect:


Before Surgery:
  • Call us to make a booking for your dog’s operation – this can be perfomed on weekdays at our Taroona Hospital.
  • Bath your dog the day before surgery as they are unable to be immersed in water in the recovery period, until the stitches are removed (10 – 14 days).
  • 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.
  • Blood & urine testing may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function – this is optional but highly recommended.
  • The Vet on duty will perform a thorough physical examination of your dog before administering first a calming sedative/pain relief, followed by a general anaesthetic.
  • All patients at The Dog Clinic receive intravenous fluids, heat mats and continuous monitoring from our trained nurses during their procedure and in the post-op period. This is ‘gold-standard care’ and helps aid in patient safety and reduced recovery time.
  • 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.
After Surgery:
  • 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 the Vet has provided.
  • Ensure all post-surgical medications 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 E-collars (cones) 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

Desexing FAQ:

“Will desexing affect my dogs’ personality?”

Your dog will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive, if these issues are present.

“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. The surgery can be more complicated if the female has had a litter.

“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 adjusted feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed dog cannot be maintained at a normal weight.

“Is desexing painful?”

As with all surgery, there is some discomfort immediately after the procedure, but most dogs will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery also to minimise this discomfort as much as possible. 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 their “guard dog” instinct?”

No, your dog will be just as protective of their territory as before the surgery.

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