Many clients ask whether they should desex their pets, and what the pros and cons are.
Desexing and neutering are terms used for surgical removal of reproductive organs of males and females.
Castration is the neutering of male animals. The reason of castrations of our pets includes:
1. Aggressive behavior is more likely. This aggression may be towards other pets or towards people, and is usually not seen until your pet reaches sexual maturity. If your pet is older, and already becoming aggressive, castration is likely to help. In male cats aggression is usually seen as fighting, with screeches and howls most of us have heard at night.
Male pets that are neutered when they are young are more likely to grow into contented family members. This applies to all breeds. Entire (non-neutered) males often want to dominate. They are less amiable and more difficult to control. They are more likely to escape the backyard, more likely to pick fights with other animals or be dangerously territorial. Common injuries that we see in undesexed male cats include fractured teeth and abscesses.
2. Territorial behavior reduced. With dogs we frequently see them trying to escape from your yard (digging or jumping out) and wandering the neighborhood. Undesexed male dogs also lift their leg to urinate on objects more frequently, sometimes inside the house. In cats this is seen as wandering, with a non desexed male cat disappearing for days at a time, and usually returning with wounds from fighting. Undersexed male cats also spray urine in and around the house and have strong pungent smell.
3. Testicular tumors are not seen. These are common in older non-desexed males.
4. The risk of prostatic diseases is greatly reduced in desexed animals, but relatively frequently seen in older non-desexed patients.
5. No chance of siring pups or kittens.
The only disadvantage to desexing is the drop in metabolic rate. This means that less food is required to maintain the same body weight. Desexing itself does not cause obesity. We can help you with your pets diet to ensure that he or she gets the right type of food for his or her life stage, and the right quantity, to ensure they don’t become obese.
Neutering is usually done at 5-6 months of age. In some large breed dogs we may recommend desexing while still a little younger, while older animals that have finish breeding still derive benefits from desexing once their breeding career have finished. Most patients recover very quickly. One of the biggest problem owners face is ensuring the pet is kept quiet with reduced activity, as the pet feels normal within a couple of days, and don’t understand that they have to keep quiet with no running and jumping for two weeks.