Desexing is the surgical procedure that leaves a cat or dog unable to reproduce.
In males, castration involves a small incision in the front of the scrotum to remove the testicles. The testicles are responsible for the production of sperm and the male hormone testosterone.
In females, speying involves intra-abdominal surgery to remove the ovaries and uterus. The ovaries are responsible for the production of eggs and the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Removing the uterus prevents potential infection later in life.
It is best to have your pet desexed when they are between 4 and 6 months old, as their organs are smaller than at an older age, and therefore surgery is easier and shorter. Desexing at this younger age means your pet will be under anaesthetic for a shorter time, and wake up and feel better much faster after the procedure than at an older age.
This is important for female pets, such as cats, which come into their first season at 4-5 months old. For male pets, it is also important as it reduces the development of testosterone induced behavioural problems such as aggression, mounting or urine spraying. These may become a problem when your pet is older and mature, and can become part of their nature, meaning they may not be corrected by desexing at an older age.
Desexing is a routine procedure, but although this surgery occurs every day, we always consider that it is a once in a lifetime experience for your pet. We are therefore careful to maximize your pet’s comfort and reduce stress once admitted to hospital and throughout the procedure.
Desexing is conducted under full general anaesthetic with strict hygiene controls. When under anaesthetic, your pet will be closely monitored by a qualified and skilled veterinary nurse. We also utilise insulated blankets and administer anti-inflammatory medication to minimise any discomfort after the procedure.
While under anaesthetic, your pet will also have an Australian Veterinary Association ear tattoo applied to indicate they have been desexed. This is important in males as they can have testicles retained in the abdomen.
After being desexed, your pet will have a reduced metabolic rate, so be sure to balance the number of calories they consume with those they use during exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
The benefits of desexing male pets
- Less aggression with other pets and people – entire males can be unpredictable when near a female in season
- Less likely to wander looking for females and cause/become involved in fights and road accidents
- More likely to stay home so usually make better guard dogs
- Less vet visits for traumatic injuries/illnesses
- Less inappropriate behavior in your home, such as urinating and mounting
- Less extra puppies and kittens produced, and therefore less unwanted animals at shelters
- No risk of developing testicular cancer (compared to a high risk in entire males)
- Greatly reduces the potential for prostate problems later in life (common in entire males)
- In cats, greatly reduced incidence of cat fights, feline AIDS virus and abscesses
- Cheaper council registration fees
The benefits of desexing female pets
- Speying before their first season reduces chances of breast cancer by over 90% – there is no physical or behavioural advantage for your pet in speying after their first season or litter
- No irritability and unpredictability caused by hormonal surges
- No unwanted pregnancies or litters
- No lock-in period when in season, and no bleeding (when entire, bleeding occurs twice a year for up to 3-4 weeks)
- Avoidance of potentially life threatening medical conditions such as pyometron (pus-filled uterus)
- Reduced incidence of feline AIDS virus and cat abscesses
- Less desire to wander, and therefore less likely to be involved in fights and road accidents
- Reduced aggression, particularly with children
- No caesarian procedure for difficult births – caesarian procedures can cost $600-800!
- Cheaper council registration