The importance of desexing your cat
What is desexing?
Surgical desexing involves the removal of part of a pet’s reproductive system whilst under a general anaesthetic. Desexing of females (also known as spaying or an ovarian hysterectomy) involves removing the ovaries and uterus. Desexing of males (also known as castration or neutering) involves the removal of both testicles.
Why your pet needs to be desexed
Across Australia, tens of thousands of dogs and cats are destroyed at animal shelters every year. The exact number is hard to determine, but some estimates exceed the hundreds of thousands. We can do better. Veterinarians recommend desexing to prevent unwanted pregnancies in females and to stop this unnecessary destruction. Desexing is especially important for cats, as it is hard to tell when she is in season.
Castration in male pets helps to control several behavioural related issues. It is kinder to desex your male pet to stop their hormonal drive to stray from home in search of a mate. In male cats, it can reduce the tendency to roam and fight which often leads to injuries, abscesses, and infection.
In both cats and dogs, male urine odour can be particularly strong and pungent. Desexing usually prevents this odour, and in most cases, desexing will reduce or eliminate spraying in cats.
At what age should my pet be desexed?
The right age for desexing your pet can vary depending on their breed and size. The recommended age for desexing a dog or cat is six months. However, at Greencross Vets we know that each of our patients is unique. Our veterinary team will take into consideration everything that’s special about your pet before giving any recommendations.
Facts versus myths
Myth – ‘Females should have a litter before being desexed.’ Fact – For your pet’s health this is not true. Spaying a dog before her first heat will greatly reduce the risk of mammary cancer.
Myth – ‘Desexing will make my pet fat.’ Fact – Desexing is done at an age when rapid puppy growth is decreasing and diet control is necessary. Overfeeding and lack of exercise will make your pet fat, not desexing.
Myth – ‘Desexing a trained guard dog will reduce his/her ability to guard.’ Fact – Guarding is an instinctive territorial behaviour. This does not change when a dog is desexed. They are less likely to become aggressive as they get older.
Myth – ‘Pets become lazy after they are desexed’. Fact – There are generally no changes in the character of pets after desexing. However, young male dogs will be less inclined to mount objects and jump fences in search of a mate.