Desexing Your Pet
Article donated by Dr. Paula Short, Tasman Bay Vets, Mapua
Here at the vet clinic the most common procedure that we perform is desexing. Over autumn and winter we are generally kept pretty busy speying and castrating many of last years kittens when they reach 6 months of age. Then in late spring/summer we tend to get a run of older cats to spey once they have weaned their kittens. Often times the kittens have been accidents and, particularly last year, we noticed that people were having difficulty finding new homes for them.
We recommend that all cats and dogs are desexed at around 6 months of age. There are both health reasons and population control reasons for this.
Desexing Female Cats and Dogs
In both cats and dogs a full ovario-hysterectomy is performed. This involves surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. This surgery can be performed at any age but we recommend that it is done at 5 ½ to 6 months, at which time the cat or dog will not have had a first season.
The main reasons for speying are:
- Eliminates the possibility of unwanted kittens or pups
- Removes the risk of potentially life threatening uterine infections (pyometra).
- Reduces the chances of mammary (breast) cancer.
- As a bitch that has been speyed will not come into season there is none of the mess associated with the bleeding that occurs when a bitch is on heat and none of the inconvenience of having to keep male dogs away.
The down side:
- Speying can increase the chances of a bitch developing urinary incontinence later in life. However this problem can usually be easily treated with hormone replacement therapy.
Frequently asked questions:
- Won't she be a nicer cat/dog if she has a litter first? This is an old wives tale!
- But won't she get fat? Speyed females are more likely to put on excess weight but this can be easily controlled through correct feeding and exercise regimes.
Desexing Male Cats and Dogs
Males undergo a castration which involves surgical removal of the testicles. Again we generally perform this surgery at 5-6 months of age.
Reasons for castrating:
- A reduction in roaming behaviour (less chasing the girls!) and thus a reduced likelihood of road traffic accidents.
- A reduction in aggressive behaviour and territorial fighting and thus less chance of abcesses and wounds and, in cats, less spread of unwanted diseases such as Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Aids which are spread through bites.
- Prevention of unwanted litters of kittens and pups.
- The potential for conditions such as testicular tumours, prostate problems and hernias can be reduced or removed.
- Reduced urine spraying in cats
If you want to breed from your animal
First ask yourself these questions .
- Are you prepared for the cost of breeding? Nursing females will initially consume up to 3 times their normal food intake and as the kittens and puppies grow they start to eat more and more.
- Do you have time? Young animals do take a lot of caring for and cleaning up after!
- Do you have good homes for the kittens and puppies to go to, where they
will receive a healthy diet, regular vaccinations, worm and flea treatments,
training, toilet training and lots of tender loving care?
If the answer is no . are YOU prepared to keep them, and pay for their vaccinations, worm and flea treatments, good diets, obedience training and TLC?