43 Knaresborough Road
Harrogate
North Yorkshire
HG2 7SR

Practice Number: 01423 884 074

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About Neutering
 
Should I have my pet neutered and from what age and what does neutering mean?
shamrock kitten
All animals start out as male or female, but when we neuter them we take away their sources of their sex hormones, which means they are effectively a "neuter" and can no longer reproduce. Americans call this de-sexing.
When we neuter a male we remove the testicles, which removes the source of testosterone hormone. We refer to this procedure as castration.
In the case of a female we remove the ovaries (as well as the uterus) which removes the source of oestrogen. We refer to this procedure as spaying.
For all of these procedures, your animal would be admitted as a day patient and full general anaesthesia is used.
Instructions will be given with regards to what to do before you bring your pet in, when you book the operation.
If we have never seen your pet before, or we haven't seen it recently we would need to have a consultation to examine the animal first. This is to ensure we are happy to go ahead and administer an anaesthetic to your pet.
 
Male Cats.
Age for castration: from 4 months of age.
5 reasons for castrating a male cat:
  1. To eliminate the very strong smell associated with tomcat urine.
  2. To reduce the tendency to fight with other cats.
  3. To reduce the tendency to wander.
  4. To eliminate the possibility of fathering unwanted kittens. As many cats are free roaming, neutering is often considered obligatory for all pet cats.
  5. To make your cat a more contented pet by reducing natural urges.
Disadvantages:Possible weight gain but this is preventable.
 
Female Cats.
Age for spaying: from 4 months of age and as soon as possible after that because female cats can come into season anytime from 5- 6 months.
3 reasons for spaying a female cat
  1. To eliminate possibility of unwanted kittens- as most cats are free roaming, it is highly likely that your cat will get pregnant unless neutered.
  2. To eliminate the female cats "season" or "heat" period. Most female cats will meow loudly when in season, often all night long!
  3. To make your cat a more contented pet by reducing natural urges.
Disadvantages: Possible weight gain, though this can be prevented.
 
Female Dogs.
Age for spay: from 5 months of age.
5 reasons for spaying a female dog
  1. To eliminate the possibility of unwanted puppies.
  2. To eliminate the bitch's "season" or "heat". This would last for 3 weeks and usually there is a blood discharge which may leak on to the floor. On average most entire bitches would have a season every 6 months but this can vary from every 4 months to every 9 months.
  3. To make your dog a more contented pet by reducing natural urges. During her season, your pet is likely to actively seek to escape to find a mate.
  4. To eliminate the possibility of a condition called pyometra, or pus filled uterus.
  5. To minimise the chances of mammary tumours (doggy equivalent of breast cancer). Figures which have been quoted in the veterinary literature suggest that bitches which are spayed before their first season have a negligible or minimal chance of developing mammary tumours.
Bitches which are spayed after their first season but before 2 years of age, may have their chances of mammary tumours reduced but perhaps by not as much as if done before their first season
Bitches which are spayed after 2 years of age are thought to have the same chances of developing mammary tumours as entire bitches.

For older bitches which have already had one or more seasons, we recommend waiting 3-4 months from the end of the previous season before spaying.
An entire bitch is a female dog which has not been spayed.
Disadvantages: Possible weight gain.

Entire bitches as well as spayed bitches can both develop urinary incontinence. The difference in numbers is not shown to be statistically significant. However there are one or two of the larger breeds where there seems to be an increased risk for urinary incontinence for example Weimeraners, Irish Setters, Rottweilers, Dobermans and Old English Sheepdogs. For this reason some people have recommended that these breeds do actually have their first season before spaying. However this has not been scientifically shown to reduce the chances of incontinence.
Luckily urinary incontinence in the bitch can now easily be controlled with some droplet medication which goes in the food.
 
Male Dogs.
Age for castration: approximately 12 months of age.
4 reasons for castrating a male dog
  1. Behavioural problems and where these are hormonally dependent.
  2. To eliminate the possibility of him fathering unwanted puppies.
  3. To make your dog a more contented pet by reducing natural urges.
  4. To minimise the risk of prostate problems in later life.
Disadvantages: Possible weight gain.
 
Female Rabbits.
Age for spaying a rabbit: at 5 months.
3 reasons for spaying a female rabbit
  1. To reduce aggression- in rabbits it is often the female which can be aggressive and difficult to handle, especially for children. Spaying tends to make them calmer pets.
  2. To eliminate the possibility of unwanted baby rabbits (kits).
  3. To prevent cancer of the uterus.
Disadvantages; Spaying a female rabbit is a technically demanding operation, and rabbits sometimes nibble at their wounds and occasionally will not eat after surgery.
 
Male Rabbits.
Age for castration: from 4 months.
2 reasons for castrating a male rabbit
  1. To reduce fighting amongst male rabbits.
  2. To eliminate the possibility of him fathering unwanted baby rabbit ( kits).
Disadvantages: Possible weight gain.
 
 
 
 
 
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