One of the most important health decisions you will make for your pet is to have him/her sterilised (spayed/neutered). Not only does it help with the pet overpopulation problem, but it also has health benefits for your pet.
What is spaying and neutering?
Spaying involves removing the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus of a female pet. Also called ovariohysterectomy.
Neutering involves the removal of the testicles of a male pet. Also called a castration.
The procedure is usually done at 6 months of age, although some veterinarians and Welfare organisations do it at a younger age. For the best advice on the right age to have your pet sterilised, please consult your veterinarian.
Benefits of having your pet sterilised
- Eliminates the heat cycle and the undesirable behaviour associated with it.
- An unsterilised female dog will experience a heat cycle about every 6 months, lasting for approximately 21 days. During this time she will leave bloodstains, may be anxious, short tempered, actively seek a mate and attract unneutered male dogs.
- An unsterilised female cat has a heat cycle every 3 weeks during breeding season, lasting for 5 days. During this time she will frequently vocalise and urinate to attract a mate, or even roam looking for a mate.
- Reduces the risk of your female pet developing ovarian, uterine or mammary tumours and cancer or a pyometra (an often fatal uterine infection)
- Eliminates the risk of unwanted litters.
- In male pets it eliminates the risk of developing testicular tumours or cancer and decreases the risk of developing prostate problems.
- Decreases the urge to roam, indirectly reducing the risk of being struck by a vehicle and fighting which can cause serious injury or death.
- If done early enough, it eliminates the undesirable behaviour displayed by unneutered males. like urine marking and misplaced dominance.
- Helps in the fight against pet overpopulation. Every year millions of unwanted puppies and kittens and adult animals either end up in shelters, suffer on the streets as strays or are euthanised.
Yes, having your pet sterilised costs money, but the cost of caring for a pregnant pet and a litter of puppies or kittens is much more expensive and stressful. A caesarian, if necessary, costs even more.
Sterilising your pet will not change his/her personality or natural instinct to protect its home or family.
About the procedure
Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed under general aneasthetic. The patient is monitored carefully with special and great care to make sure there are no complications.
In female animals an incision is made in the lower abdomen through which the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. In male cats a small incision is made in each testicle (no suturing required) and in dogs an incision is made just before the scrotum through which the testes are removed. The incision is then sutured and the sutures removed 10 to 14 days later. Pain killers are also given to make them as comfortable as possible.
How to prepare your pet for surgery
In general, no food should be given after 9pm the night before the procedure and on the morning of the procedure. Water should always be freely available.
For cats, keep them inside to avoid them from disappearing, which most cats love to do if they do not want to go to the vet.
Your vet or vet nurse will also give you all the necessary pre- and post-operative instructions.
Recovery is usually uneventful. Your pet might experience some discomfort for a short time after the procedure while healing occurs, but pain killers are given.
Provide your pet with a quiet, warm place indoors to recover. For the first meal, feed you pet small amounts of food at a time. Keep your pet quiet for a few days, i.e. no running, jumping or playing. Avoid bathing/swimming until the wound has healed and the sutures have been removed.
Prevent your pet from licking or pulling at the sutures. An Elizabethan collar/cone can be used to help prevent this from happening.
If your pet has managed to pull the sutures out or if you notice that the wound is open, inflamed, swollen, or has a discharge, or your pet is showing signs of discomfort or illness, please contact your vet immediately.
Sterilisation does have an effect on your pet’s metabolism, thus feeding the correct diet in the correct quantities and exercising regularly will help to keep your pet fit and lean. You can consult one of our friendly nurses for any advice to help keep you pet slim, trim and active.
All pets, whether sterilised or not, should visit the vet at least once a year for a thorough physical examination. This way your vet can help you monitor your pet’s weight and overall condition and advise on any dietary changes or adjustments, if required.
If you have any further questions about pet sterilisation, please consult your Veterinarian.