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Neutering

If you are not intending to breed from your pet then having him or her neutered is the responsible thing to do. Over the last few years there has been a rise in the number of abandoned pets (thought likely to reflect the economic situation). Rescue and rehoming centres are currently all full to capacity. Please think carefully before breeding from your pet.

Dogs: females

Neutering female dogs (also called ‘spaying’) involves removal of the uterus and ovaries (ovariohysterectomy) via an incision in the abdomen under general anaesthesia.

In general we advise neutering female dogs at around 5.5 months of age. This is before they have their first season.

Once female dogs have started to have seasons we recommend spaying at least 4 months after the end of the last season (this is to prevent the development of ‘false pregnancy’ after the surgery)

Health benefits associated with spaying female dogs

  • Prevention of unwanted pregnancies
  • Prevention of the development of an infected uterus (pyometra) in later life
  • Prevention of the development of mammary tumours (if spaying is carried out before the 2nd season)
  • Prevention of false pregnancies

Dogs: males

Neutering male dogs (also called ‘castration’) involves the removal of both testicles via a small incision just in front of the scrotum under general anaesthesia.

In general we advise neutering male dogs at around 5.5 months of age. This is before they reach sexual maturity and therefore prevents the development of unwanted behaviours associated with the action of testosterone.

Health benefits associated with neutering male dogs

  • Prevention of enlargement of the prostate gland in later life
  • Prevention of the development of a certain type of tumour around the anal area
  • Eliminates the potential for testicular tumours to develop

Anti-social behaviours in male dogs prevented by neutering at a young age

  • 'Mounting behaviour'
  • Urine marking
  • Aggression towards other male dogs (in certain cases)
  • Tendency to roam

Please note: The above information about neutering dogs is a general guideline only. Our advice regarding the timing of neutering may vary depending on the individual and a variety of other factors.

Cats

We currently recommend neutering both male and female cats from 5 months of age.

In male cats the operation (castration) is very straightforward and usually does not require any stitches.

In female cats the operation (spaying) involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus (ovariohysterectomy) through an incision in the cat’s abdomen.

Both operations for males and females are performed under general anaesthesia.

Health benefits associated with neutering male and female cats

  • Reduces fighting between tom cats and therefore reduces the risk of FeLV and FIV (Feline Leukaemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) which can be spread by scratching and biting.
  • Prevents the development of mammary tumours in females (if spaying is carried out at an early age)
  • Prevents the drain on the female cat’s body caused by repeatedly coming into season, pregnancy and nursing kittens.
  • Reduces roaming in search of mates and therefore decreases the risk of being involved in road traffic accidents

Anti-social behaviours prevented by neutering male cats

  • Reduces the strong odour of male cat urine
  • Reduces urine spraying to mark territory

Rabbits

Neutering of both male and female pet rabbits is recommended.

We recommend neutering (spaying) female rabbits at 4 - 6 months of age. The operation involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus through an incision in the abdomen under general anaesthesia.

We recommend neutering (castration) or male rabbits from 3.5 - 4 months of age onwards. The operation involves the removal of the testicles via a small incision in front of the scrotum under general anaesthesia.

Health benefits associated with neutering female rabbits

  • Decreases the risk of developing cancerous tumours of the uterus. These tumours are very common in female rabbits and their prevention is the most important reason to spay.
  • Prevention of false pregnancies
  • Decreases the risk of mammary tumours
  • Reduces aggression towards other rabbits and people

We recommend neutering (castration) of male rabbits from 3.5 - 4 months of age onwards.

The operation involves the removal of the testicles via a small incision in front of the scrotum under general anaesthesia.

Behavioural benefits associated with neutering male rabbits

  • Reduces unwanted mounting behaviour
  • Reduces aggressive behaviour towards other rabbits and people
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