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Should my pet be Desexed?

 Whether you have a dog, cat, rabbit or ferret if you are not planning on breeding from your pet, responsible pet owners should strongly consider getting their pets desexed.
Desexing is the term for surgical sterilization which is performed under a general anaesthetic. Most desexing operations are performed as a day surgery routinely at 5-6 months of age, but can be performed later in life.

The benefits of desexing are:

  1. To avoid unwanted pregnancies, especially important for cats that often lead a more independent lifestyle. Desexing automatically stops cycles and associated bleeding which attracts the attention of males.
  2. Prevents undesirable behavior such as male dog aggression, helps to prevent males from wandering and fighting, Tomcats have a tendency to roam and fight with other cats which can lead to other medical problems such as cat bite abscesses and FIV (Feline immunodeficiency virus). It will make both male and female rabbits much more social and interactive pets.
  3. Spaying reduces the risk of mammary tumors (which can be life threatening - just like breast cancer in women). Tumors of the ovaries, uterus and cervix and pyometra, a gross infection of the uterus, can also be prevented.
  4. Castration reduces the risk of prostatic disease, peri anal tumors, and eliminates the risk of testicular cancers.
  5. Prevents inherited diseases such as hip dysplasia being passed on to future generations.

There are a few rumors which we commonly hear from concerned clients, which we need to dispel:

Females should have a litter before being desexed

This is of absolutely no benefit to your pet. Spaying a dog before her first heat will reduce the risk of mammary cancer to nearly zero. Every season cycle a female has after that, significantly increases her chance of developing mammary cancer.

Desexing my pet will make him or her fat

By removing organs that produce hormones your pet’s metabolism may be slowed, they will therefore need less food. Only over feeding your pet will make him or her fat!

Animals become lazy after they are desexed.”

There is generally no change in the character of your pet. Young males will be less inclined to mount objects and jump fences in search of a female mate. However, they will still be happy to chase their ball or participate in their favorite activity.

I don’t want to desex my dog because he will miss it”.

Desexing animals at 6 months means they do not have a chance to develop mating behaviors. This is also “humanising” what your pet feels. Dogs are an important part of the family, but remember – they are not human!

If you have any questions regarding this article, the friendly pet health care team at Riverbank Animal Hospital in Grafton are always delighted to discuss this or any other pet health topic. Riverbank Animal Hospital is your local veterinary clinic in South Grafton located at 60 Through Street, South Grafton.


Riverbank Animal Hospital (Formerly South Grafton Veterinary Clinic)
60 Through Street, South Grafton, NSW 2460, Australia
Ph 02 6642 3083 - Click here to send us an email
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