Benefits of neutering
Females – In addition to the health benefits already mentioned, spaying also stops the bleeding that occurs with every heat cycle and prevents any changes in behaviour associated with the cycles. In cats, unspayed females that are allowed outside will almost certainly become pregnant. The process of mating can also lead to injury and the transmission of incurable viral diseases, such as Feline AIDS, or Feline Leukaemia Virus.
Males - Some male dogs develop antisocial behaviour when they reach maturity. This may be in the form of aggression to other dogs, or sexual behaviour - mounting other dogs or people! If left to their own devices, uncastrated dogs may patrol a wide area in search of a mate and can detect a female in season a long way away. A dog who wanders is far more likely to be involved in a car accident. Unneutered tom cats are much more likely to wander as well, get into fights, be at risk of disease and road traffic accidents, and hence will generally live much shorter lives than their neutered counterparts!
At what age should my pet be neutered?
Congleton Veterinary Centre is committed to establishing protocols that are based on best practice and supported by up to date veterinary science. With this in mind, our clinical team has devised the following recommendations which relate to the age at which you should consider having your pet neutered.
To reduce the risk of joint disorders later in life, we recommend that dogs are not castrated until they are have reached musculoskeletal maturity. This may be anywhere from 12 months old to 2 years old (in the case of large/giant breeds). Therefore, whether or not your dog is ready for castration is something that we shall discuss with you at the time of his first annual booster.
Similar to dogs, bitches should ideally not be spayed until they are musculoskeletally mature. Evidence also exists showing a correlation between older bitches being at increased risk of developing mammary tumours. Bitches should not be spayed when they are in season, due to the increased risks of bleeding and post-operative complications.
Our advice, therefore, is that bitches should be spayed between their first and second oestrus cycles(more specifically, approximately 3 months after the end of their first season).
Neutering eliminates the potential for developing uterine, ovarian, and testicular tumours and other gonad-related diseases (e.g. pyometra) by removing the primary organ. Although the timing of this procedure may play a role in the development of certain diseases, patient genetics and environmental factors are equally important factors.
For both castrates and spays, our recommendation is that cats should be between 4-5 months of age, and be a minimum of 2 kilograms in weight.
Procedural details for your consideration
- Although the end result may be the same, how this is achieved can vary greatly between veterinary practices. At Congleton Vets we pride ourselves in giving these routine surgeries the same care and attention as more complex ones. After all, it may be routine for us, but it isn’t for you or your pet!
- As such, our charges are based on the fact that all anaesthetics are monitored by Registered Veterinary Nurses. Further safety is achieved by using our multi-parameter anaesthetic monitoring equipment on all of our patients. This allows us to monitor your pet’s blood pressure, ECG, end-tidal carbon dioxide, heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and body temperature throughout his/her surgery.
- IV fluids are given as standard to all bitch spays at no extra cost (and when clinically indicated for dog castrates and cat neuters).
- Our fee includes all pain relief and anaesthetic drugs used, as well as non-steroidal medication for you to give to your pet at home, ensuring that their comfort is maintained post-operatively.
- Two post-operative check-ups are also included as standard (one for cat castrations).
- If there is a clinical indication based on history or physical examination for pre-anaesthetic blood screening, then this should be performed on the advice of the vet. For pets over the age of 8 years then this is strongly recommended prior to any procedure being performed under sedation or general anaesthesia. This is offered at a reduced rate (and a further 10% off is applied if your pet is a member of our Pet Health Club).
- Due to the risks of infection, we do not recommend that dentistry is performed at the same time as neutering your pet, although in some circumstances a risk-benefit analysis may dictate otherwise.
- Please note that to ease affordability, and to increase compliance, our neutering fees are heavily subsidised and do not follow our standard fee structure. Therefore, these charges should not be compared to the prices of other soft tissue surgeries performed at Congleton Veterinary Centre.
- For dogs under 10 kilograms the cost is 10% off the standard charge.
- All Pet Health Club members benefit from a 20% saving on the cost of neutering.
Are there any risks?
All neutering involves an anaesthetic and operation for your pet, and as such does incur slight risks. However, all of our vets and nurses are highly skilled and qualified at performing these procedures, and familiar with the anaesthetic protocols required.
Neutering your pet at an early age reduces the chance of health problems causing any complications, either at the time of surgery, or during recovery.
Pre-anaesthetic blood testing can help us identify underlying health problems, as well as providing a baseline of results that can be useful for comparison in later life. Please see our separate section about this, for more detailed information.
Overweight females may have increased surgical risks associated with the amount of fat surrounding their reproductive organs and blood vessels.
After neutering, all animals have a lower metabolism. As such, there is the inevitable likelihood of weight gain, unless their food amount is reduced, or they are converted to a lower calorie diet. Weight gain begins as soon as a few days after neutering. We will gladly give you advice on how to avoid this, including information about specialist life-stage diets designed specifically with neutered pets in mind (e.g. Royal Canin’s Neutered Adult range, for dogs and cats).