Congratulations on the arrival of your new small friend! Pet ownership is a rewarding, fun and fulfilling experience that may change your life. However, with responsible pet ownership there are decisions to be made. It is an unfortunate fact that the number of kittens and puppies born each year is far in excess of the number of homes that are available for them. Having your small friend desexed will not only help to reduce the number of animals without homes, it is also a simple way to safeguard your pets’ welfare.
What is desexing?
Desexing – also called neutering – is the removal of part of an animal’s reproductive organs. Castration (for males) is the removal of both testicles, and speying (for females) is the removal of both ovaries and most of the womb.
Both of these are major operations, which require a general anaesthetic. At Small Friends Veterinary Hospital we are fully equipped to desex your pet. All patients undergo a physical examination before anaesthesia and we also like to perform in-house blood tests to check your small friend’s liver and kidney function, and measure glucose and protein levels in your small friend’s blood. It is important to know the condition of the liver and kidneys as these are the organs placed under the most stress during anaesthesia. Surgery is only ever performed by a fully qualified veterinary surgeon using the safest, most modern anaesthetic agents, and all patients are monitored during and after surgery. For more information on anaesthesia and anaesthetic monitoring please see our Anaesthesia Information Page.
Why should I desex my dog?
Females – Female dogs (bitches) come into season or heat about twice a year. A heat lasts approximately three weeks. During this time a bitch may change her behaviour, change appetite, bleed from her vulva and become attractive to male dogs. Desexing prevents the bleeding and behavioural changes that occur with each season. Female dogs that are not speyed may develop false pregnancies, and/or infections of the womb. Early speying also reduces the risk of breast cancer developing in later life.
Males – Some males will develop anti-social behaviour at sexual maturity. This may be in the form of aggression and mounting other dogs. Entire males may also roam around a large area searching for a mate. This greatly increases the risk of being involved in a car accidents or fights.
Why should I desex my cat?
Females – During their breeding season female cats (queens) come into season or heat approximately every three weeks. A heat lasts around five days. During this time a queen may change her behaviour and appetite, and become attractive to male cats. Desexing prevents the physical and behavioural changes that occur with each season. Female cats that are not speyed may develop false pregnancies, and/or infections of the womb. Early speying also reduces the risk of breast cancer developing in later life.
Males – Some males will develop anti-social behaviour at sexual maturity. This may be in the form of aggression and spraying. There is also a change in the odour of a tomcat’s urine at this time. Entire males may also roam around a large area searching for a mate. This greatly increases the risk of being involved in a car accidents or fights.
Why should I desex my rabbit?
Females – We strongly recommended that you desex your female rabbit as up to 80% of female bunnies will get cancer of the uterus if not spayed. We also advise desexing all animals to avoid any unwanted pregnancies.
Males – We advise desexing your male rabbit to reduce unwanted sexual and dominance behaviours.
How will the operation affect my small friend? Will it change my small friend’s personality?
Desexing will not have any significant effect on your small friend’s life apart from eliminating their ability to reproduce. There will be no significant change in your pet’s personality. There is usually a reduction in metabolism associated with a reduction in sex hormones after desexing. This means to avoid weight gain you may need to feed your pet less than they required prior to their surgery. This can be discussed with Dr Matt.
When is the best time to desex my small friend?
In accordance with the Domestic Animals Act ACT 2000, and the changes to that Act that have come into effect as of May 2008, cats are required to be desexed by three months of age, and dogs are to be desexed by six months of age. If you don’t intend to desex your small friend you are required to apply to the ACT Government for a Sexually Entire Animal Permit. For further information and prices for this permit please go to https://www.tccs.act.gov.au/city-living/pets/dogs/your-responsibilities.
At Small Friends Veterinary Hospital we recommend desexing at six months of age for all female dogs. Surgery at this age helps to avoid “spey incontinence” which can be a result of desexing female dogs at a very young age. For male dogs, desexing can be carried out from four months of age.
Male rabbits should be desexed between three and four months of age and female rabbits should be desexed from six months of age.
Should females have one litter before desexing?
It is of no benefit to a female to have a litter of pups or kittens before speying. Unless you are prepared for the time and expense associated with rearing pups or kittens, it is best to have your small friend speyed at the earliest possible time.
How do I go about arranging the surgery?
When you decide to have your small friend desexed call Small Friends Veterinary Hospital on 6262 2233 to arrange an appointment. The surgery can be performed on any weekday.
What preparation is there?
Canine and feline small friends must fast “from midnight” the night before surgery. This means they must not eat anything after dinner the evening before the procedure. They may continue to drink fresh water. If your small friend “grazes” then the best thing to do is to feed them dinner the night before surgery and then take any remaining food away when you retire to bed that evening. This way you can be sure that they will not eat past that time.
Rabbits should not fast prior to surgery.
What will happen on the day of the procedure?
The day of your small friend’s surgery you will need to drop them at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital between 8 and 8.30am. At this time you will need to read and sign a consent form to allow your small friend to undergo surgery and spend the day at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital. Your small friend will then be placed into a bed until it is time for their surgery.
Once the surgery is completed a staff member will call you and let you know how the surgery went, how your small friend is doing, and arrange a discharge appointment. Usually small friends are ready to go home by about 4pm.
How will my small friend feel after the surgery?
At Small Friends Veterinary Hospital we administer an injection for pain relief just before surgery, so it will take effect by the time your small friend wakes up. This injection will have effect for approximately 24 hours. As a result of the anaesthetic your small friend may be sleepy for the afternoon and evening after the procedure. Usually by the next day they will be themselves again.
It is important that their stitches remain dry and clean until Dr Matt removes them 10 days after the surgery.
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