At Ou Kaapse Vet we highly recommend sterilising all dogs and cats at 6 months old. Rabbits can be sterilised at 4 to 6 months old.
Why is it necessary?
Males (castration). All animals
- To prevents tumours of the testicles and prostate as well as anal tumours and hernias near the rectum.
- Reduces the risk of other prostate gland diseases.
- Decreases sexual behaviour, aggression, dominance, roaming, fighting, spraying (cats) etc.
Females (spaying). Cats and Dogs
- Reduces the risk of mammary tumours (the younger the bitch or queen i.e. 6 months, the greater the reduction in risk)
- Prevents tumours of the ovaries and uterus
- Prevents pyometra (a potentially fatal womb infection)
- No unwanted pregnancies.
- No false or phantom pregnancies, no milk production
- No male dogs and cats sniffing around and no mess in the house.
Rabbit females are not routinely spayed but the procedure can be done to minimise all of the above.
The risks involved with sterilisation
The procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic. This always carries a very small risk. The risks are minimised by a pre surgical clinical examination as well as blood tests if indicated.
In rare cases, there may be minor problems post operatively e.g. bleeding, suture reactions etc. and these will be dealt with accordingly.
What does the procedure involve?
In males the testes (which produce male hormones) are removed from the scrotum.
In females the ovaries (which produce female hormones) and entire uterus are removed from an incision in the abdomen.
Some dogs may gain weight after castration, but this can be controlled through diet and exercise. Many people are concerned that castration will alter the personality of their male dog; fortunately this is seldom the case as all castration does is remove the hormonal motivation for certain types of behaviour e.g. aggression, territorial behaviour but even these are unlikely to be affected if the males are older when they are castrated.
Some bitches may gain weight after spaying, but this can be controlled by careful diet and exercise. A very few may show some degree of incontinence, either just after surgery or years later. This can normally be controlled with medication or further surgery.