Surgical desexing involves removing part of the reproductive system of an animal. This is the uterus and ovaries of females and the testicles of males. It is commonly referred to as a ‘spay’ for females and ‘castration’ for males.
Desexing is part of responsible pet ownership. It is now a council regulation that dogs are desexed and fines do apply. Hundreds of thousands of homeless pets are put to sleep every year in Australia; this number can be drastically reduced if pets are desexed as it prevents unwanted pregnancies. This is particularly important for cats as it is not always possible to tell when the female is ‘on heat’, and because cats are more likely to roam the neighbourhood.
Desexing also reduces the risk of developing diseases and certain illnesses. Spaying a young female reduces the risk of mammary cancers and prevents tumours of the ovaries, uterus and cervix as well as infections of the uterus (pyometra). Castrating males reduces the risk of prostate disease and perianal tumours and prevents testicular cancers.
Behavioural problems are also reduced in desexed pets, such as aggression and marking in males and mating behaviour and false pregnancy in females. It also reduces the desire to roam, which in turn reduces the risk of being in traumatic accidents (such as being hit by a moving vehicle and being attacked by other animals).
Generally we believe desexed pets are more focused on you as their owner and become more a part of the family, instead of trying to escape to mate with the neighbours’ pets! If you have any queries or concerns, call the clinic and talk to one of our friendly veterinary nurses.
WHEN TO DESEX
We recommended desexing cats and small/medium breed dogs between 5-6 months of age, and large/giant breed dogs from 8-12 months of age, depending on size.
This is generally before females have their first heat and before males realise what they’ve got!
At this age, recovery is rapid and risk is minimal.
WHAT TO DO
If you have decided to desex your pet, call the clinic to organise a date. Surgeries are scheduled Monday – Friday only. The nurse will discuss the requirements with you. These include:
Bathing: as desexing is a sterile procedure, the pet’s skin and coat must be as clean as possible. In addition, your pet will have to stay dry for ten days after surgery. Therefore bathing your pet the day before surgery is recommended, but not essential. At this time check your pet for fleas and treat if required. (We recommend a high quality oral product such as Nexgard, Bravecto or Comfortis as long term preventatives or Capstar tablets for short term treatment.) If fleas are found on your pet on admission, we will give a Capstar tablet and you will be charged for this.
Fasting: your pet needs to have an empty stomach on the day of surgery and so must fast for 12 hours. This means no food after 10pm the night before surgery and no breakfast on the morning of surgery. Water must remain available at all times.
Toileting: on the morning of surgery, encourage your pet to urinate and defecate before they arrive at the clinic. Often pets become anxious in a strange environment and try to ‘hold on’.
Recovery: with young animals recovery is rapid so you do not need to take time off work. However if you wish to be with your pet during recovery, we suggest you take the day off after surgery, rather than the day of surgery. When your pet arrives home after surgery he/she will need to rest; so ensure there is a nice warm, quiet and comfortable area organised for them. We suggest you allow your pet to sleep indoors for at least the first night to ensure they remain warm and comfortable; the bathroom or laundry is generally appropriate.
On the day of surgery, bring your pet to the clinic between 8:30am-9:00am, depending on what suits you. Our trained veterinary nurses will perform a pre-operative examination of your pet and you will be asked a few questions regarding your pet’s health.
Your pet then stays in hospital for the day. The operation is performed under general anaesthetic by our veterinarian and monitored electronically and manually by one of our qualified veterinary nurses. For dogs and female cats the surgical site is sutured internally. They may also have external sutures which need to be removed in 7-10 days, depending on the vet.
Your pet is monitored closely after surgery and we will contact you when you can pick your pet up (usually sometime between 2pm-4pm). It is our responsibility to monitor your pet while arousing from general anaesthesia; pets cannot be sent home before waking up completely as there are several complications that can occur.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT DESEXING
“Females should have a litter before being desexed” – this is not only unnecessary for your pet’s benefit, but actually may be worse for your pet. Breeding puts a lot of strain on the female’s body and it takes a while for the pet to fully recover. Spaying your female pet before her first heat will reduce the chance of mammary cancer to nearly zero.
“My pet’s personality will change” – desexing does not change the personality of the pet; in fact your pet’s behaviour would be drastically changed by puberty. Desexing only reduces unwanted behaviour such as marking, roaming and fighting, especially if done before these behaviours develop.
“My pet will get fat if I desex him/her” – removing the organs that produce hormones may slow your pet’s metabolism, but overfeeding is what makes your pet fat. This myth is also well-known as pets are usually desexed around the same age as they stop growing; this in itself requires a decrease in dietary intake as the pet’s energy output is reduced.
“My pet will miss it” – pets don’t think like humans. The urge to mate is simply eliminated and females are not upset that they cannot give birth.
SUBSIDISED DESEXING OF CATS - ONLY $55 for Females OR $35 for Males!!
We are committed to reducing the overpopulation of cats in our region, therefore we are proud to participate in the National Desexing Network which is subsidised by the Fraser Coast Council. If you have a concession card, you may be eligible for the scheme.
Please call 1300 368 992 to apply for a voucher. Once you have the voucher, call the clinic to book your cat in and bring the voucher on the day.