Neutering Your Dog
Neutering is a topic we are asked about a lot. When to do it, why to do it, whether to do it at all, the pros and cons…
So we have put together a brief summary of everything you need to know about neutering your dog. Hope you find it helpful!
WHAT IS NEUTERING?
In males neutering is called castration and involves surgical removal of the testicles. In females neutering is called spaying and involves surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus (also known as ovariohysterectomy). Both procedures require a general anaesthetic.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY DOG COMES IN TO BE NEUTERED?
The night before their procedure your dog can have their dinner as usual, but they can have no other food and no breakfast before coming in the next day.
We will ask you to drop your dog off with us in the morning and we will run through the procedure with you and give your dog a full health check. We will then settle them into one of our kennels.
About half an hour before the surgery your dog will be given a light sedative and a strong pain killer, this makes them drowsy before being anaesthetised. Once anaesthetised your dog is transferred to our operating theatre where they will be closely monitored throughout the procedure using our state-of-the-art equipment. This includes constant ECG, oxygen and blood pressure monitoring.
After their procedure we continue to monitor your dog as they wake up from the anaesthetic, at this stage some warm blankets and a nurse to cuddle is often required! Once they are fully awake we will give them something to eat. Most dogs are up and about within a couple of hours of the procedure and can go home the same afternoon.
WHAT AFTERCARE IS REQUIRED?
After the surgery your dog will need to wear a cone-collar or one of our fetching pet shirts to stop them licking their wound. We will send them home with some pain relief for you to give at home.
For 48 hours after their surgery your dog should be rested and should only be taken outside on a lead to go to the toilet, no walks. We will book your dog in for a check up 2 days after the procedure and make sure they are comfortable and the wound is healing well. If everything looks good at this check they can start to have very short (5 or 10 minute) walks on the lead for the next week.
At 10 days post-op we do a final check of your dog, if everything has healed nicely they can slowly increase their walks back up to normal and start to go off the lead. They can also say goodbye to the cone-collar or pet-shirt!
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS?
- Reduces the risk of mammary cancer (depending on the age at which the dog is neutered)
- Eliminates the risk of infection of the womb (Pyometra), this disease affects up to 25% of un-neutered bitches.
- Prevents unwanted pregnancy and the risks associated with giving birth.
- Prevents false pregnancies (also known as Phantom Pregnancy).
- Stops your dog having seasons.
- May increase the risk of urinary incontinence in adult bitches, this problem can usually be treated with medication, and the risk can be reduced by keeping your bitch slim.
- Prevents testicular tumours.
- Significantly reduces the risk of prostate disease.
- Can reduce unwanted behaviour such as showing interest in female dogs….or being amorous with their favourite cushion!
- Castration may have beneficial effects on behaviour, however if your dog is showing problematic behaviour this should first be discussed with your behaviourist or vet.
Males and Females:
- Prevention of unwanted litters.
- Risk of complications – there is always some risk associated with anaesthesia and surgery, these risks are low and we do all we can to keep them to a minimum. Pre-operative blood sampling and intravenous fluids can help to make the anaesthetic and recovery as safe as possible.
- Neutering may increase the risk of your dog becoming overweight, to prevent this their food should be slightly decreased after their surgery or a diet specifically formulated for neutered pets could be fed.
- Neutering large breed dogs at a young age may increase the risk of developing orthopaedic conditions.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD I NEUTER MY DOG?
The age at which a dog should be neutered varies according to each individual. In most cases neutering is performed after 6 months old but the exact timing depends on many factors, including the following:
- The risk of mammary tumours in bitches is significantly lower if she is spayed before her second season, if she is spayed after her second season the protective effect against mammary tumours is reduced.
- The risk of a bitch developing urinary incontinence is higher if she is spayed before her first season than if spayed after her first season.
- The risk of a large breed dog developing certain orthopaedic problems is increased if they are neutered before they are 12 months old, this effect has not been found in smaller dogs.
If you are considering having your dog neutered and would like to find out more, please phone, email or pop in to see us and we will be more than happy to answer your questions.
11th June 2019