What is Pet Desexing?
Desexing is a surgical procedure to remove the reproductive organs of a pet, such as a dog or cat. In female animals, this involves removing the ovaries and uterus, while in males, it involves removing the testes.
At the Bayside Animal Hospital, we always recommend starting with a consultation; This lets us understand your pet’s lifestyle, breed, age, location, and health history to give you personalised recommendations that are best suited to your pet.
Why Should I Get My Pet Desexed?
Bayside Animal Hospital highly recommends desexing for pets as a general rule of thumb. However, the surgical procedure is always your decision. Some of the reasons why we recommend desexing are
- Prevent Unwanted Litters: By desexing your pet, you’ll prevent them from having unplanned pregnancies. Not only can pregnancy pose a health risk to your pet, but many unwanted puppies and kittens go to animal shelters.
- Reduce Troublesome Behaviour: For both male and female pets, desexing will help reduce challenging behaviour typically associated with their reproductive organs; this may include excessive marking, roaming, and fighting.
- Improved Health: Desexing your pet can also help to prevent specific health concerns. It can prevent uterine infections and mammary cancer for females, while it reduces the risk of perianal tumours and prostatic diseases for males.
- Increased Safety: By neutering or spaying your pet, you’ll reduce their urge to roam and find a mate; This can lower their chances of being hit by cars or attacked by other animals, which is particularly important for outdoor male cats.
Recommended Age for desexing
Traditionally, vets have been desexing cats at around 5 ½ or 6 months of age. However, studies such as RSPCA’s report and the Australian Veterinary Association recommend desexing cats before puberty, which can be safely performed as early as 8 weeks if your cat weighs at least 1 kg.
We recommend cats be desexed at around 16 weeks old.
When desexing dogs, a consultation with a vet is best to determine the right age to spay or neuter your dog. Dogs vary a lot in size, development and risk of hip dysplasia across the different breeds, so we recommend a visit to the vet to get a personalised recommendation for your pet.
Generally, this remains around 5 ½ or 6 months of age. However, we may recommend desexing sooner as some dog breeds can start puberty earlier than this age.
What If I Don’t Get My Pet Desexed?
Before the 1st of July 2020, it was illegal not to desex your companion cat or dog. However, you can keep an un-desexed animal from this date if you pay an $80 annual permit.
The strong incentives are due to the large population of stray and feral cats and dogs wandering in the environment or pond. On average, 200,000 dogs are surrendered to the shelter in Australia every year, and 20% of this number gets euthanised.
- Book an admission appointment on the day of surgery.
Particularly with dogs, we start the process with a consultation to learn about your pet’s health history, lifestyle, and breed and take a physical examination. On the appointment, our vet can recommend whether your pet is a good candidate for the surgery or advise you on how long to wait.
- Fasting (the night before)
As with any surgical procedure, you must put your pet on a fast, meaning no eating from dinner at 10 pm the night before until after the surgery. Your pet can still have water, but ensure they have nothing else.
- Pre-Anaesthetic and Surgery Check-Up
Make sure you arrive on time for the consultation. Our vets can properly discuss the procedure with you, take consent forms and complete the last health check-up for your pet before going under.
- General Anaesthetic & Sedation
We administer sedation to relax your pet before putting them unconscious for the procedure with general anaesthesia.
Our veterinary surgeons will remove your pet’s reproductive organs in our operating theatre.
- RecoveryAfter the surgery, your pet will likely still be disorientated and groggy and may remain so for 2 days. Our vets or nurses will inform you how to look after your pet during this time and what to monitor to prevent infection. We monitor your pet and their vital signs after they’ve come out of surgery to ensure everything is fine. We will also provide pain relief for the patient to go home.
Female cats and all dogs will have sutures that must be removed 10-14 days after the surgery. While male cats will have no suture, we still recommend having a visit around 2 weeks after surgery for a proper health check-up.
Other tips for aftercare include:
- Set up a comfortable and quiet recovery space for your pet, away from other animals and noise.
- Monitor your pet closely and check the incision site for signs of infection, swelling, or discharge.
- Prevent licking or chewing of the surgical site using an Elizabethan collar or alternative device.
- Follow your veterinarian’s instructions for pain management and administer medication as directed.
- Restrict your pet’s physical activity to avoid strain on the incision site.
- Provide a balanced diet and fresh water as instructed by our vets.
- Keep your desexed pet away from other animals to reduce the risk of infection or injury.
- Adhere to the post-operative care instructions.
- Watch for signs of complications and contact your vet if anything abnormal is noticed.
- Attend follow-up appointments to ensure proper healing and share any concerns.
Need to Desex your pet? Want to learn more about it? Give our friendly team a call!