Most pet owners recognise the significant benefits of desexing male and female cats and dogs – and understand it is an important part of being a responsible pet owner.
WHY DESEX YOUR PET?
Speying or desexing a female cat means you, as a pet owner, won’t struggle to keep your entire female at home when she comes into season nor will you have to manage (and cover the costs of) unwanted litters of puppies or kittens. Female cats are on heat (‘calling’) regularly throughout the year – and it is a very noisy and disruptive experience. Females desexed before their first heat have a much lower incidence of mammary tumours (the most common cancer in female dogs), and the removal of the uterus as well as the ovaries prevents pyometron developing, a life-threatening infection of the uterus that occurs in entire females.
The castration of male cats before puberty reduces aggressive, territorial and hypersexual behaviour. Your pet will be more content to stay at home than roam in fighting packs following females on heat, and desexed males are also less likely to urinate inappropriately, and the rank odour and constant urine spraying of tom cats is eliminated. Non-castrated cats fight frequently to guard their territory, developing abscesses and increasing the risk of contracting potentially fatal viruses such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (feline AIDS) and Feline Leukaemia Virus.
The neutering operation does NOT change the personality of your pet, nor does it make them obese.
Our vets perform desexing operations on any weekday – please ring us on (02) 4832 1977 to make an appointment or to speak with our staff if you have any questions about neutering your pet.
WHAT AGE SHOULD YOUR PET BE DESEXED?
At Crookwell Veterinary Hospital we recommend cats and dogs (both male and female) are desexed by 5 to 6 months of age, and we strongly encourage early desexing from 8 weeks of age. This is now well-recognised as a safe and common practice.
But - pets are rarely too old to desex! Pending a good health assessment, older pets should also be desexed.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF DESEXING?
Significant health benefits result, including prevention of two serious disease conditions. Health benefits of desexing include:
- Desexed female pets will not develop life-threatening pyometra
- Desexed male cats are less likely to urinate inappropriately and fight for territory. Fights cause abscesses and increase the risk of contracting potentially fatal viruses such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (feline AIDS) and Feline Leukaemia Virus.
While it is less common in cats than dogs, pyometra is a life-threatening infection of the uterus seen in middle-aged to older non-desexed females 8 to 12 weeks after coming into season. It is dangerous for the pet and requires major surgery and intensive care to treat successfully. Desexing stops pyometra developing.
Desexing is usually a one day procedure. For both cats and dogs, it involves full anaesthesia in a sterile environment. For females, the spaying operation involves abdominal surgery with the removal of the uterus and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy). Castration of male animals involves the removal of both testicles.
Refer to our handouts How to prepare your pet for surgery and Post-operative care for information about the surgical process and what you can expect.
The environment benefits hugely too. Feral cats exist right across Australia and kill massive numbers of native birds and small mammals. Cats are supreme hunters, amazing survivors in the wild, and very effective breeders. One of the most critical reasons for desexing cats, both male and female, is to protect our wildlife.