In view of the excess number of puppies and kittens produced compared to the number adopted into new homes, it is our social and moral responsibility to ensure where possible our pets are desexed. The costs of raising and homing a wanted or worse unwanted litter far exceed the cost of desexing surgery which is required, after all, only once in your pet’s life.
Desexing or neutering your pet is a surgical procedure that prevents them from being able to reproduce. In female pets it is commonly referred to as “speying”, and in male pets as “castrating”. This is the most frequent surgery performed by our vets, and your pet is usually home by the afternoon of the surgery.
The most common age to desex your pet is at 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.
There are many benefits to desexing your pet at 6 months. 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
- Halting the “heat” cycle in females, which in turn will stop uninvited “visitors” clambering your garden walls to get at your female.
- Decreasing aggression towards humans and other animals, particularly in males
- Being less prone to wander, especially in males searching for females on heat
- Living a longer and healthier life
- Reduction of council registration fees. Council law requires all dogs and cats to be desexed if they are not registered as breeding animals.
What to do before surgery
- Make a booking for your pets operation.
- If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed until after the stitches are removed 10 days later.
- Do not give your pet food after 8pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 7am on the day of surgery. Their last meal should be a small meal and it is a good idea to take them for a toilet walk in the morning before they are admitted for the day.
- Any anaesthetic carries a percentage of risk – both in human and animal surgery. Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic’s protocol is to offer a pre-anaesthetic blood test to our patients undergoing an anaesthetic. The blood test is performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function and to check if the blood can clot. This test also determines whether your pet will be able to process the anaesthetic and if their electrolyte levels are correct.
- The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
- All our surgery patients are placed on intravenous fluid support during surgery. This supports them through their surgery and ensures they remain hydrated. This will be explained to you on admission.
- To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief prior to Desexing.
Your pet is monitored and cared for the whole day by a qualified veterinary nurse.
When your pet is admitted in the morning, an examination is carried out. Once this is completed, a sedation injection is given which includes pain medication. With your approval, blood tests are run to ensure your pet is suitably well enough to handle the anaesthetic.
The surgery nurse will prepare the patient for surgery.
A catheter is placed in the cephalic vein of the foreleg and taped in place.
The veterinarian will induce anaesthesia IV through the catheter.
An intubation tube is placed down the windpipe of the animal and secured in place.
The nurse clips the surgery site and washes it with a surgical disinfectant solution.
The patient is then transferred to the sterile surgery where the nurse will proceed to sterilise the surgical site.
Sterile surgical packs are used for all surgeries.
Once the patient is on the anaesthetic and oxygen machine, the nurse will administer intravenous fluids. The nurse will also monitor the patient’s anaesthetic continuously and record vital signs every five minutes whilst communicating this information to the veterinarian.
Once the surgery is completed and the patient recovers under strict monitoring by the nurse, pain medication in the form of an injection is administered subcutaneously.
When the patient is properly awake, the nurse will ring the owner and a discharge time will be booked. Your pet is usually admitted for the day and in most cases, can go home in the afternoon.
What to do after surgery
- Keep your pet restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely. Anaesthetic causes the body temperature to lower and may take up to 24 hours to regulate again. So keeping your pet warm and dry is essential in the first 24 hours post surgery.
- 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, as they may feel nauseous after their anaesthetic.
- 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 (e.g. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.
- Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars called Elizabethan (or Buster) collars can assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching and can result in a second anaesthetic and surgical procedure to re-suture the wound.
- Ensure you return to us for a free post-operative check-up 3-4 days following surgery and removal of stitches between 10 – 14 days following surgery.
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. She has an increased risk of developing breast cancer if she is allowed to go through her first heat.
“Will desexing cause my pet to become fat?”
Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing, however this is easily managed by feeding them food specially formulated for desexed pets and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot maintain 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 in for the form of an injection prior to surgery and post-surgery too. Your pet will be discharged with a short course of anti-inflammatory/pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days following the surgery. We encourage you to keep your pet calm and quiet and limit exercise in those first few days following surgery in order to give the surgical incision time to heal.
“How long do the stiches stay in?”
Stitches are removed 10 – 14 days after the surgery.
Can I walk my dog while it has stiches/should my cat stay indoors?
Dogs should be kept quiet for the first 2-3 days after surgery to allow the wound to start healing. Walking should be controlled on a lead till the stitches are removed. Cats should be kept indoors with a litter tray for the first 4-5 days to ensure the wound gets a chance to heal and to keep the wound site clean.
“Is the E-collar really necessary?”
The surgical site will be uncomfortable to start with and animals have a tendency to lick wounds. As the wound heals the skin will start to itch which may result in your pet licking more vigorously and chewing at the stitches. If stitches are chewed out within 8-10 days, they will need to be replaced which will incur an unnecessary cost for another anaesthetic and procedure. Therefore it is important to use the E-collar provided and to follow the clinic’s recommendations and instructions.
“Will my dog lose its “guard dog” instinct?”
No, your dog will be just as protective of their territory as before the surgery.
If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed or if you would like to discuss anything please do not hesitate to call us at Tallebudgera Veterinary Clinic on 55224566