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”, which involves removal of both testicles, and in female pets as “speying”, which involves removal of the uterus and both ovaries. Desexing is one of the most common procedures performed by veterinarians - our team have lots of experience with these procedures, and will aim to make your pet's hospital stay as smooth and calm as possible. Desexing is performed as a day procedure and most animals are free to go home the same afternoon. 

Most pets are commonly desexed around 6 months of age. In some cases we may recommend delaying desexing until > 12 months, but this is done on a case-by-case basis. Your pet is never too old to be desexed and, given that desexing can help reduce the risk of certain conditions (e.g. certain types of infections and cancers), we will recommend these procedures for the vast majority of our patients. 

There are many benefits to desexing your pet before. They include:

  • Preventing unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are put down each year
  • Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males, and it can help prevent 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
  • Being less prone to wander, especially in males
  • Reduction of council registration fees

What to do before and after surgery

Before surgery:

  • Make a booking for your pet's operation. We typically require at least a few days' notice to ensure we can accommodate your dog, cat or rabbit. 
  • If your pet is a dog, you can wash them the day before surgery as they are then unable to be washed after until the stitches are removed.
  • It is very important to fast your dog or cat pet the night before surgery. This means that they can be fed their evening meal as per usual (ideally no later than 8pm), and then that ALL access to food (including snacks and breakfast) is COMPLETELY removed. This is to reduce the risk of vomiting/regurgitation during the procedure. Water can be made freely available up until 1-2 hours prior to your admission appointment. 

On the day:

  • Please arrive on time! It is very important we have all our patients ready at their allocated times, so the vet can perform a pre-anaesthetic health check and discuss the procedure and any concerns you might have. If you are running late or can no longer make your appointment, please ring the clinic to let us know or reschedule if necessary.
  • Please ensure your pet is well-restrained - i.e., dogs are kept on leads, and cats are safely stowed in carriers. This is to ensure the safety of everyone in the waiting area. 
  • We offer a pre-anaesthetic blood profile prior to anaesthesia, which allows us to assess the health of your pet's vital organs (liver and kidneys), as well as ensure they are not anaemic and that their blood sugar levels are not too low or high.
  • Your vet will perform a full physical examination prior to surgery. This includes thorough assessment of your pet's heart and lungs, as well as checking their reproductive organs to make sure everything's in the right place! 
  • Please let us know any and all medications your pet may be on prior to surgery. We routinely administer pain relief to our desexing patients, so it is important your vet is aware of any pre-existing drugs and conditions your pet may be experiencing. A good way to remember is to bring the packaging with you to your admission appointment. 

After Surgery:

  • Keep your pet restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely. Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal. Restrict running and jumping as much as possible for the first 7-10 days post-operatively. 
  • Food should be limited to small portions only on the night of surgery - we typically recommend feeding a half portion of their usual food allowance, to avoid overwhelming their tummies after surgery. Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
  • Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.
  • Ensure your pet’s rest area is kept clean to avoid infection. 
  • Check the surgical wound at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (e.g. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if any of these occur. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
  • Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.
  • Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches.