In light of Spay and Neuter Awareness month – and World Spay Day on 22nd February – we are highlighting the importance of getting your pets neutered, spayed, or castrated. Although it can be referred to in different ways, all of these essentially mean the same thing. Spay is typically used to refer to females, castrate for males, and neutering as a general term.

 

The process is a simple surgical procedure administrated by a vet that removes the reproductive organs and declares a pet to be sterile. In males, it is the removal of the testes, where as in females, it is the removal of the ovaries and uterus. 

 

This has several benefits for both you and your pets. It is a relatively short procedure (always done under general anaesthetic) with a brief recovery period afterwards, but it has lifelong benefits.

Pets will live a longer and healthier life through various health benefits of the procedure, as well as you doing your part to prevent overpopulation and unwanted pets.

 

 

Benefits of Neutering Cats

- It prevents unwanted and surprise pregnancies – kittens may be cute but they are hard work! Did you know that over 85% of litters are said to be unplanned?

- Female cats are protected against the risks and complications associated with pregnancy

- The risk of certain types of cancers developing is reduced ie. testicular cancer in males, cervical cancer and mammary cancer in females – the chances of ovarian cancer are eliminated since the ovaries are removed in the procedure

- In female cats, spaying is said to help prevent uterine infections and breast tumours (which are considered to be malignant or cancerous in 90% of cats)

- Spaying is the best preventative method for pyometras. These refer to an infection of the uterus that is most common in cats who have recently been in season. If untreated, they can be fatal.

- Castrating deters males from fighting which in turn reduces the chances of them contracting diseases like FIV which is transmitted through biting – unneutered male cats are compelled by their hormones to fight, whether this be over winning mates, territory or establishing dominance

- Neutering reduces the chances of cats roaming and straying away from home in search of a mate – unfortunately, the majority of cats who die in road traffic accidents are unneutered males, probably crossing busy roads due to their biological compulsion to roam or being chased by other males

- It limits behavioural changes associated with females who are in season and males who are in search of a mate eg. louder and more consistent meowing, more frequent and strong-smelling urine, aggressive instincts

- Your house will be much fresher as neutering decreases the likelihood of males spraying and scent marking – females also pass bodily fluids when they go into heat

- It gives you peace of mind and allows your cats to continue living a typical cat life, going out and doing typical cat things without being bombarded by tomcats or ending up pregnant

 

Benefits of Neutering Dogs

- It prevents unwanted and surprise pregnancies – puppies may be cute but they are hard work!

- Female dogs are protected against the risks and complications associated with pregnancy

- The risk of certain types of cancers developing is reduced ie. testicular cancer in males, cervical cancer and mammary cancer in females – the chances of ovarian cancer are eliminated since the ovaries are removed in the procedure

- In female dogs, spaying is said to help prevent uterine infections and breast tumours (which are considered to be malignant or cancerous in 50% of dogs)

- Spaying is the best preventative method for pyometras. These refer to an infection of the uterus that is potentially life-threatening.

- Neutering limits behavioural changes associated with female dogs in season and male dogs in search of a mate eg. louder and more consistent yowling, more frequent and strong-smelling urine, aggressive instincts – many intact male dogs show undesirable hormone-related behaviours such as inappropriate mounting and roaming

 

When should I neuter my pet?

Cats

Kittens as young as 8 weeks old can be neutered as long as they are healthy. However, the general age for neutering is around 4 months as this is when they reach sexual maturity and develop the hormones that enable them to reproduce. If your feline friend has surpassed this age, doesn’t worry as cats can be neutered as adults too.

Dogs

Puppies as young as 8 weeks old can be neutered as long as they are healthy. However, the general age for neutering is between 6 and 9 months. If your canine companion has surpassed this age, don’t worry as dogs can be neutered as adults too.

 

Consult your veterinarian who will advise you if it is safe to spay/neuter your pet.

 

Although vets have remained open throughout the pandemic, it has resulted in a backlog and reduced appointments being available. If you are unable to get your pet neutered, you can still share in the same benefits by keeping them indoors and away from unneutered animals of the opposite gender.