Desexing or neutering pets is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce (have babies). In male pets it is commonly referred to as castration and in female pets as speying.This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets and generally your pet is home by the evening of surgery.

The most common age to desex your pet is between 5 and 6 months but it can also be done later on.

There are many benefits to desexing your pet before 6 months. They include:

  • Preventing unwanted litters which may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are put down each year

  • Preventing testicular cancer and reducing the risk of prostate disease in males

  • Preventing pyometra (infection of the uterus) and reducing the risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females

  • Stopping the “heat” cycle in females 

  • Reducing aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males

  • Being less prone to wander, especially in males

  • Living a longer and healthier life

  • Reducing council registration fees

Common questions about desexing

Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?

Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.

Should my female have one litter first?

No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being speyed. Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.

Will it cause my pet to become fat?

Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing. This can be easily managed by adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.

Is desexing painful?

As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief before starting the surgery and after the surgery too. In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

Will my dog lose its guard dog instinct?

No, your dog will be just as protective of its territory after the surgery as it was before.

What to do before and after surgery

Before surgery:

  • Make a booking for your pet's operation.

  • If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed again until after the wound has healed.

  • Do not give your pet any food after 9 pm the night before the operation but make sure they have free access to water at all times.

The morning of surgery:

  • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.

  • The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.

  •  Some pets will require intravenous fluid support during surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.

  • To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief at the time of desexing.

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.

  • Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night 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 clean to avoid infection.

  • Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact us immediately on 9890 1728 if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will get better on their own.

  • Watch for any chewing or licking of the wound. Your pet may need an Elizabethan collar to prevent this and we can provide one if required.

If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed, please call us at Mont Albert Vet on 9890 1728.

An Elizabethan collar can help prevent chewing & licking of wounds (Photo: Cathie Macdermott)