Neutering your pet is important for a number of very good reasons. It will prevent unwanted litters of puppies, as well as reducing the incidence of common diseases and infections. If you are not planning to breed from your pet, we would strongly recommend you have him/her neutered. Please feel free to discuss your options with the vet or nurse if you are unsure whether to have your pet neutered.
Should I have my dog castrated?
Dogs can be castrated from 6 months of age onwards.
- Castration prevents unwanted matings.
- Castration removes the risk of testicular tumours, which could be malignant.
- Castration will reduce the risk of prostate problems, such as cancer and incontinence, in later life.
- Having your dog castrated can reduce behavioural problems, such as urine marking, libido, aggression and straying from home.
- It is best to have your dog castrated as early as possible as they are more likely to succeed in overcoming these problems.
The only real disadvantage is that castrated dogs can sometimes put on weight after the operation, due to the metabolic rate being slowed down. If you continue to feed your dog the same amount as before the operation, the surplus energy will be converted to fat. The solution to this is to reduce the diet accordingly and to keep an eye on your dog’s weight.
Like all operations, there is a very small element of risk involved. Thankfully, with modern anaesthetics and equipment, we find that complications are extremely rare.
Should I have my bitch spayed?
Bitches usually have their first season from 6-9 months of age (later in some larger breeds) and this can last for approximately 2-3 weeks. You will notice a swelling of the vulva and a bloody discharge. Bitches that are not spayed will continue to have a season every 6 months or so.
Spaying can be done from 6 months of age onwards. Ideally, bitches should not be spayed whilst they are in season or during a false pregnancy. The best time to have your pet spayed is 2-4 months after a season, or ideally before her first season.
- The most obvious advantage of having your bitch spayed is that it prevents unwanted puppies.
- Having your bitch spayed prevents the mess and inconvenience of the season and stops male dogs hanging around, making a nuisance of themselves.
- Spaying your bitch prevents the risk of a false pregnancy. If this was to occur in an unneutered bitch, symptoms can include depression, anorexia, signs of anxiety, nesting and other out-of-character behaviours.
- Having your bitch spayed reduces the risk of mammary tumours, which can be malignant. The risk of these tumours occurring in unneutered bitches is significantly higher and increases with each season.
- Unneutered bitches can develop a condition known as Pyometra. This is a very serious condition where the womb becomes infected and full of pus. If not surgically dealt with, this infection can be fatal. Therefore, it is best to have your bitch spayed to prevent this.
- Spayed bitches can sometimes put on weight after their operation, due to the animal’s metabolic rate slowing down, causing excess energy to be converted to fat. Carefully checking your dog’s weight and adjusting her diet accordingly will prevent this from becoming a problem.
- The operation your pet has is an ovario-hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the womb and ovaries. This is a fairly major operation and, as with all operations, carries a small element of risk. Thankfully, we find that complications are very rare.