Why Desex Your Pet?
The main reason for desexing your dog or cat is to prevent them from breeding however based on new research findings it is not longer right to take the old “black and white” approach to desexing by saying that all pets need to be desexed at 6 months or less” for their own health and well being as well as to prevent unwanted litters.
The new approaches to the desexing or surgical neutering of cats and dogs treat these two species differently based on individual physiology and lifestyles and takes into account the important role of hormones in maintaining overall health.
Desexing Your Cat
Cats are prolific breeders which means no amount of supervision or care (unless confined 100% of the time without exception) will prevent females becoming pregnant when in contact with an intact male.
This is why ALL Cats need to be desexed before they are at risk of becoming pregnant or in the case of male cats – before they have the opportunity to mate with an intact female.
As a result of the difficulty in confining cats to prevent pregnancy it is generally necessary to have them desexed at around 5 – 6 months of age.
With female dogs there is more flexibility in restraint and confinement during predictable heat cycles during which time they can be safely kept away from intact males until the cycle has passed. This method of pregnancy prevention of course requires a high level of dedication and responsibility on the pet parent and certainly does not suit everyone.
It is not for us or anyone else in fact – to judge a person for not desexing their dogs if they are prepared to take the appropriate measures to keep their dogs away from others during the “unsociable” times of the year.
Many of our clients have chosen not to desex their dogs – based on the emerging research highlighting the importance of preserving vital hormones producing organs. They are highly responsible pet parents who have never had an “accident” due to their careful supervision of their dogs.
Emerging research highlights the important role played by hormones produced by the reproductive organs in both male and female animals. By removing these (ovaries in females and testes in males) we are also removing the hormones they naturally produce.
Some people (particularly those with medium to large breed dogs) elect to have them desexed only after they are fully grown because they are aware of the impact these hormones have on healthy bone growth during the juvenile life stage.
Our Desexing Recommendations for Dogs
We ask that all dog owners do their own research into the facts and issues around desexing and make decisions based on their personal commitments to breeding prevention.
As veterinarians we are responsible in bringing new findings to your attention to help you make informed decisions. The age at which you choose to desex your dog is your choice and responsibility – not ours.
In saying that however, we are not prepared to desex any dogs under the age of 6 months of age as our commitment to ensuring the vital hormones are preserved at least during these early stages in your puppy’s growth.
Surgical Spey methods for Dogs
In keeping with modern approaches to desexing female dogs – we also offer alternative methods to the traditional spey which are:
- The Ovarian spey (only the ovaries are removed) via laparascopic (keyhole) surgery and
- The ovary sparing hysterectomy – where only the uterus is removed.
You can read more about these methods in our blog post below.
P.S: And for the boys – we can perform vasectomies which retain vital hormones over normal castration where both hormone producing testicles are completely removed.
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