Neutering is carried out for many reasons including preventing unwanted pregnancy, preventing unwanted behaviours such as aggression, wandering off and fighting and for the health benefits such as reducing the incidence of mammary tumours, womb infections (pyometra) and prostate disease.
Neutering a female pet is called spaying, and is an ovariohysterectomy, meaning we remove the ovaries and the uterus. This is done through a small incision and recovery is quick, although dogs need to rest for 10 days whilst the wound heals.
Neutering a male pet is called castration, and involves removal of the testes. This is not the same as a vasectomy and isn't reversible. (We do sometimes vasectomise ferrets though). The wound is small and heals quickly.
For all pet cats we advise neutering at 4-5 months old as they can breed at as young as 6 months old and male cats start spraying urine and becoming very territorial. They are usually kept indoors until being neutered and microchipped whilst they are under anaesthetic.
We will advise about your dog on a case by case basis as there are different recommendations for different breeds and different circumstances. As a general rule for female dogs we advise spaying smaller breeds before their first season so generally at 5-6 months old. The incidence of mammary tumours is greatly reduced if a dog is not allowed to have more than 2 seasons. If she has had a season, neutering should be at least 12 weeks after that season has ended so that her hormones are settled down. Male dogs are neutered mainly to control behaviour, rather than for specific health benefits, so can be a little older. We suggest allowing them to reach their adult size first and not castrating nervous dogs as they benefit from the testosterone to increase their confidence . All giant breeds of dog (and Golden Retrievers too) should be left until they are 18 months old, as neutering them before then can increase their risk of bone cancer.
Both male and female rabbits should be neutered at 4-5 months old. This prevents unwanted pregnancy as rabbits do breed like, well, rabbits. It also prevents uterine cancers in does and has been proven to increase their life expectancy.
Some older animals will be neutered after their breeding life is over or because of specific illness such as womb infection (pyometra) or prostate gland disease.
Neutering involves a one day hospital stay, no overnight stays. Your pet needs to be fasted from midnight (bunnies can eat right up until the time of the op) and surgery is performed in the morning. As soon as the op is complete, we will phone you to put your mind at rest and arrange a time to go home later in the afternoon. We will offer a light meal as soon as they feel peckish and send them home with a suitable meal for that evening.
You might be surprised to learn that some vets don't include painkillers as standard when neutering pets. We believe these are essential, not an optional extra that can be omitted in order to keep the headline prices down. That's why our prices include all the pain relief your pet needs for a comfortable recovery, the food, the collar to prevent them licking, the post op checks and suture removal (although we usually use internal dissolvable stitches). No hidden extras.
As well as the standard plastic cones, we offer a range of inflatable collars and pet medical T shirts to prevent them licking their wounds.