Desexing or neutering your pet is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce. In male pets it is commonly referred to as “castration”, and in female pets as “spaying”. This is the most frequent surgery performed by veterinarians, and generally your pet is home by the evening of surgery.

The most common age to desex your pet is between 5 and 6 months, but they are never too old to be desexed.

There are many benefits to desexing your pet, including:

  • Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are euthanased each year.
  • Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males.
  • Significantly reducing the chance of pyometra (infection of the uterus) and mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females.
  • Stopping the “heat” cycle in females.
  • Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males.
  • Reducing their urge to wander or to look for ways to escape.
  • Living a longer and healthier life.
  • Reduction of council registration fees.

Please be aware that the laws regarding pet ownership are changing, and will soon require all new pets to be desexed unless you have a breeding licence.  Please check with the dog and cat management board for more information on how this may affect your pets.

Common questions about desexing
“Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?”
Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being slightly calmer and less aggressive.

“Should my female have one litter first?”
No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being spayed. Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.  And some females can become more aggressive after having a litter.

“Will it cause my pet to become fat?”
Your pet does require less energy after desexing due to reduced hormones.  However this is easily managed by adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a good weight.

“Is desexing painful?”
As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. Your veterinarian will administer pain relief prior to and during surgery, and you will be given some pain relief medication to use at home for the first few days after surgery. In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!