Neutering your cat or dog?

Points to think about before breeding :

  • Is your pet suitable? Many breeds of cats and dogs are predisposed to various genetic conditions and should not be bred from without first undergoing genetic testing eg. hip scoring, PRA eye testing, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy testing.
  • Is there a suitable mate available who has also had all the relevant health tests?
  • Do you have time for a pregnant animal and the subsequent litter, pregnancy lasts for 9 weeks and a litter is required to stay with their mother until at least 8 weeks of age. If the mother is unable to rear the litter do you have the time to commit to hand-rearing?
  • Finances -are you prepared if things don’t go according to plan. Not all pregnancies and births are straightforward, even when they do there is considerable financial outlay involved in rearing a litter.
  • Finding homes -are you going to be able to find suitable homes for the whole litter and would you be prepared to take a puppy or kitten back if things don’t work out in their new home.

Cat Neutering – Why should I get my cat neutered?

  • There are a range of reasons to get your female cat neutered:-
  • tackling the growing number of strays and rescue cats in the UK , one un-neutered female can lead to 20,000 descendants in 5 years!
  • female cats come into season every 3 weeks during the breeding season and will scent mark the home with urine
  • repeated seasons increase the likelihood of the development of cystic ovaries, ovarian tumours and pyometra (uterine infection)
  • neutering decreases the likelihood of your cat developing mammary tumours, 90% of mammary tumours in cats are malignant
  • if you allow your cat to be mated by the local neighbourhood tom cat you have no knowledge of its health status eg. is it infected with FIV (feline equivalent of HIV) or feline leukaemia which may well be passed on to your cat during mating.

For male cats: –

  • neutering can reduce undesirable behaviours, including fighting which can in itself lead to further injuries and increased risk of contracting Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (feline AIDS)
  • neutering will stop your male cat urine spraying
  • unneutered male cats have an increased tendency to roam and stay out at night which can lead to injury on the roads or getting lost.

Both male and female cats can be neutered at 4-6 months of age.

Dog Neutering

Neutering your male dog (castration) – What is currently recommended?

Elective neutering of dogs (castration) is one of the most common veterinary procedures performed.

Castration is relatively simple proceudre carried out on a day patient basis so your dog can go home the same day. Whilst the recovery time varies between individuals, usually animals are bright and well the day after surgery and can return to normal exercise within 7-10 days.

Knowledge of the pros and cons associated with castration enables us to provide tailored advice specific to your pet, we continually review the most current veterinary guidelines and studies and below are some up-to-date facts to help you to make a fully informed decision.

Advantages of castration:

  • behaviour – if performed at the right time castration can prevent aggressive and protective behaviours along with reducing awkward sexual behaviours such as ‘humping’.
  • by removing the testicles you are removing the risk of testicular tumours and a number of hormone driven diseases such as prostatic hyperplasia though this can be treated if it occurs
  • population control – uncastrated males may roam in pursuit of unneutered bitches in season possibly resulting in unwanted puppies

Disadvantages of castration:

  • Previous evidence suggested castration reduced the risk of prostatic cancer but more recent studies suggest this is not the case and may have the opposite effect.
  • There is some evidence that castration performed too early, or unneccessarily, could potentially lead to a higher incidence of orthopaedic conditions such as cruciate ligament injury.
  • neutering can decrease metabolic rate and lead to a tendency towards weight gain
The timing of castration varies with the size of the dog, being around 6 months for small dogs and up to 18 months for very large breeds. We will discuss the question of neutering of your dog on an individual basis and assist you in making an informed decision.

​As an alternative to surgical castration male dogs can now undergo ‘chemical castration’ with a simple implant which is injected under the skin just like a microchip and which will last 6 or 12 months depending on the strength of implant chosen. Ask us about Suprelorin implants for your dog.

Advantages of neutering your female dog (spaying):

  • spaying your female dog can prevent a number of issues including some mammary tumours and pyometra (uterine infection).
  • prevention of unwanted pregnancy – if your dog comes into contact with an unneutered male dog and is in season you are risking an unwanted pregnancy.
  • false pregnancies commonly occur after a season and can be distressing for dogs as they may produce milk and start ‘nesting’ in preparation for having puppies.

Disadvantages of spaying your female dog:

  • a tendency to gain weight which may affect conditions such as joint disease.
The timing of spaying has been a subject of much research as it had been thought that spaying before a season increased the risk of urinary incontinence later in life, latest studies have shown that having a season is not the key factor but that bitches should not be spayed before 6 months of age regardless of size or breed and that larger breeds should not be spayed until they have gained skeletal maturity.