Desexing or neutering your pet is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce. In male pets desexing is commonly referred to as 'castration', while desexing of female pets is called 'speying'. This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and generally your pet is home by the evening of surgery.

The most common age to desex cats is between 4 and 6 months. Small to medium breed dogs are generally desexed around 6 months of age, while desexing may be recommended at an older age for large and giant breeds. However, they are never too old to be desexed. Speak to your vet for a recommendation specific to your pet.

There are many benefits to desexing your pet. 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 prostate disease in males.
  • Prevention of pyometra (infection of the uterus) and reduced risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females.
  • Stopping the 'heat' cycle in females.
  • Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males when performed at a young age.
  • Being less prone to wandering, especially in males.
  • Reduction of council registration fees.

What to do Before Surgery

  • Make a booking for your pet's operation. Desexing procedures are generally performed as a day surgery, so you will need to be available to drop your pet off early in the morning and pick them up again in the evening. It is ideal for someone to be home with the pet for the day immediately following the procedure.
  • If your pet is a dog, it is great if you can wash them the day before surgery. They will not be able to have a bath or go swimming for 10 - 14 days following a routine desexing procedure. 
  • Feed your pet an evening meal as normal the day prior to surgery, but do not leave food out overnight or feed them the morning of the procedure. Water should be freely available to your pet until you bring them into the clinic the morning of the procedure.
  • Prepare a quiet, dry and clean area for your pet to occupy for 10 - 14 days following the surgery as you will be advised to keep your pet quiet and encourage rest during this time. Your pet will need to be kept warm the evening of the procedure so ensuring you have plenty of clean blankets or towels for them is good.

What to Expect During Surgery

  • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function. The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
  •  An intravenous catheter will be placed in a leg and used to administer anaesthetic medication and fluids during the surgery.
  • Your pet will be induced into general anaesthesia, their abdomen will be clipped very short and aseptically prepared before their reproductive organs are surgically removed. The surgical incision/s will be closed with intradermal sutures. 
  • A tattoo will be placed in your pet's left ear.
  • Once awake, they will be allowed to rest and nap until they are recovered and standing. Your nurse will closely monitor them from the time they are placed under general anaesthesia to when they are completely awake.
  • We will advise you that the procedure has gone well and give you a time to pick up your pet that afternoon.

What to do After Surgery

  • Keep your pet warm and quiet the evening after their surgery as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.
  • Keeping them quiet is essential to allow the wound to heal. They must not be allowed to run, jump, or excessively exercise for 10 - 14 days following the procedure.
  • Food should be limited to small portions only on the night of surgery.
  • Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions. To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief as part of the desexing procedure, and we may prescribe medication for you to administer at home for a few days after the procedure.
  • Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
  • Check the surgical wound at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (e.g. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact us immediately if any of these occur. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
  • Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.
  • Do not bath or allow your pet to go swimming for 10 - 14 days following surgery.
  • Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups.