The process of desexing a dog or cat is such a common occurrence that the skill required, risks and technicality are often overlooked. This causes desexing to almost be classed as being in the same realm of having a tooth pulled ourselves.
Make no mistake, the procedure your pet has either had or is going to have is invasive and should be treated with the same concern as any other surgical procedure. It may be necessary, but it does not come without risks.
What happens when you drop your dog or cat off at the Vet?
When you arrive at the clinic you will be asked a series of questions pertaining to your pet's health. Do they have any allergies? Are they on any medications? etc.
You will have the option to have pre-anesthetic bloods taken and if you want your pet on fluids. Each option is very beneficial and are explained below:
This involves taking a blood sample and running it in-house (in the Veterinary clinic). The purpose of this test is to mainly check the function of the liver and kidneys, as these are the main organs that go under some strain during any anesthetic.
There is some debate as to what age this should be done. The best way to think of it is this... most of the time the tests come back with no problems, especially in young dogs, but there are always the occasional cases where it shows some potentially worrying results where either treatment or monitoring is required. As a general rule, if you pet is senior (over 7 years of age), it is highly recommended that you take this option.
This is called Intravenous Fluid Therapy (IVFT) and basically means putting you pet on a drip before, during and after the surgery. The same as what would happen to you if you went in for surgery yourself. Using IVFT is beneficial no matter the age and no matter the duration of the surgery. It will help to regulate your pets blood pressure, help to flush the anesthetic out of their system and help support their recovery by keeping them hydrated. All in all, it makes for a safer surgery.
The surgery itself:
The part that every owner worries about. Whether it be a spey or castrate, they each come with their own risks.
When a female dog is speyed, their entire uterus is removed through an incision in the centre of their abdomen. Yes, that's right... a complete hysterectomy. When women have a hysterectomy they need hormone support, but don't worry, dogs and cats handle this much better and do not need any hormone support after their surgery.
Some people believe that desexing a female dog or cat effects their personality but that is untrue and they bounce back like nothing has happened within a few days, assuming there are not complications.
Most men cringe at the thought of having their tubes tied but will send their dog in for castration without a second thought. But in fact, tubes being tied is far less invasive than an entire castration. Castrations are performed through an incision made between the head of the sheath and the testicular sacks. The testicles are then push upwards to expose them to be removed.
The act of castrating does not change their behavour when they are young (around 6 months). It can however reduce the testosterone fuelled anger than can spark up in certain situations in older dogs. If the dog is over 1 year of age, it can have engrained bahavours that castration will not fix or change.
Another difference between castrating when your dog is 6 months old as opposed to 18 months, is if you have a larger 'beefy' breed of dog. Desexing young can reduce the muscle gain slightly, but will not have any effect over their performance or agility.
What to do when you get home?
- Rememebering that your pet has been through a major surgery and still has anaesthetic on board until the evening of the surgery. There are a few things for you to keep in mind:
- Only feed a small dinner... half what you would normally feed as too much may cause vomiting
- Animals are more sensitive to noise after an anaesthetic, so find some where quiet and away from children
- Animals are also more sensitive to the cold after an anaesthetic. It is important to ensure they are adequately warm
- If you have been provided with a 'bucket' or collar to stop him/her from licking, then keep this on at all times. Any pulled stitches or infections may be another anesthetic.
Some final key points:
- If your female dog was desexed while in heat you must keep her separate for 2 weeks to 1 month as she will still have a scent and if mated it can be life-threatening while healing. It is recommended to wait until her heat is finished.
- The stitches will stay in for 10 days, so no bathing or swimming
- Keep exercise to a minimum for at least the first 5 days, but preferably the entire 10 days. Any running or jumping will put strain on the stitches and can cause breakages in the suture.
- You can never give too much TLC!
If you have any questions or comments, we would love to hear from you.
All the team at