World spay day

World Spay Day is an annual awareness day that is dedicated to promoting the spaying and neutering of pets as a humane and effective way to reduce pet overpopulation. This global event raises awareness about the importance of responsible pet ownership and encourages pet owners to take action. In this article, we’ll explore why it is important to neuter your pet.

What is neutering?

Neutering is the name of the process whereby pets are surgically prevented from reproducing.

When a male animal is neutered, or often referred to as ‘castrated’, both testicles are removed, which takes away the main source of the male hormone testosterone.

When a female animal is neutered, or referred to as ‘spayed’, both the ovaries and the uterus (womb) are removed (ovariohysterectomy). This means that the animal is unable to become pregnant, and will no longer come into season.

Why you should have your cat or dog neutered?

There are many reasons why your pet benefits from being neutered.

For your pets health

  • Spaying female dogs (bitches) and cats, especially if this is carried out when they are younger, will greatly reduce the risk of them getting cancers and infection of the womb (pyometra) – both of these are common and often fatal conditions in older, unspayed females
  • Pregnancy and giving birth carry significant risks to the mother.
  • In male dogs castration will significantly reduce the incidence of prostate disease, and reduce the risk of some cancers
  • Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their urges to roam and to fight. Less testosterone means they are less likely to go missing or suffer wounds from fights
  • For male cats, neutering reduces their chance of catching Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), an incurable viral disease, similar to HIV in humans, which is spread by saliva – most frequently from bite wounds while fighting
  • Many bitches will have a false pregnancy following their season. While this is natural, it can lead to behavioural problems and even, in some cases, medical ones Neutering will prevent this.

Benefits of neutering to pet owners

The decision as to whether to neuter your pet can affect more than the animal itself. If you’re thinking of not neutering your pet, you should consider the following.

  • Seasons – It can be stressful when out and about to ensure that your bitch does not get “caught” by a male dog. Dogs have a heightened sense of smell and a bitch in heat will draw attention from dogs. It can be quite a task to make sure you have a peaceful walk!
  • Bitches in heat can be messy, producing a bloody discharge for three weeks or more, and attract a constant stream of hopeful male dogs to the front door. Female cats, if not spayed or mated, often come into season over and over again, so that they may be almost continuously on heat. This can be exhausting for both the cats and their owners, and usually attracts many amorous and vocal tomcats to the house.
  • Entire male cats will frequently urine-mark their territory with a powerful and unpleasant scented urine, not normally produced by neutered male cats.
  • Male dogs can become quite excited and they aren’t too fussy where they direct their amourous intentions! From mounting toys to furniture or even your leg … they aren’t fussy! In some cases, this situation can lead to aggression but it is certainly a situation that isn’t enjoyable for anyone involved! Well, except your dog of course!

When to have your cat or dog neutered

Both dogs and cats can be neutered from a young age. For dogs it is usually around 1 years old, but this can vary from breed to size. Cats can often be spayed or castrated around five to six months old. It is always best to speak to your vet first before making any plans around this procedure. A vet will always check suitability and that your pet’s general health is good before any procedure.

Bitches can often be spayed before their first season, from around six months of age, although for some of the larger breeds it is recommended that they be allowed to have one season first. Bitches should be spayed between their seasons, when the reproductive tract is dormant. It is better that bitches should be spayed before their third season, since after this time some health benefits are reduced. Again, speak to your vet as they will be able to give you an idea of when a spay will be ideal!

What is a Laparoscopic spay?

Keyhole surgery uses specialist instruments and endoscopes (cameras) to perform surgeries though small incisions in the abdomen. Large incisions can be avoided during laparoscopy because the surgeon uses an instrument called a laparoscope. Minimally invasive surgeries have largely replaced traditional ‘open’ surgeries and this is especially true with Laparoscopic spays. The marked benefits it offers, includes:

  • Reduced post-operative pain and discomfort
  • Faster return to normal activity levels – especially useful for active or working dogs
  • Smaller surgical wounds with a decreased risk of wound infections
  • Better visibility during surgery Decreased surgical time

Here at Orchard House Veterinary Centres, we are one of very few vets in the North who offer Laparoscopic surgery. For more information, head over to our website.

Do you have more questions about neutering?

We are here to help. You can book an appointment with one of our veterinary nurses to discuss the benefits of neutering in more depth, or you can book an appointment with one of our veterinary surgeons if you would like to discuss neutering and to book the procedure itself.