Neutering your pet

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Neutering Information

Female animals: The common name for  a  neutering a female is spaying  which consists of removing the uterus and ovaries. The technical term is ovario-hysterectomy.

  • Male animals: The common name for neutering a male is castration, which involves the removal of the testicles.

Ages for Neutering

  • Bitches (The following is to ensure that the bitch is skeletally mature before neutering):
    • Up to 15kgs, spay at 5.5 months – 7 months
    • 15-35kgs, spay at 7-9 months, after first heat
    • 35kgs + , spay at 18 months
  • Male dogs: 5 months old
  • Cats (both male and female): 4.5 months
  • Rabbits (female): 6-9 months
  • Rabbits (male): 4.5 months
  • Guinea pigs (males only): 4 months

Overpopulation

Ireland has five times more stray dogs than the UK. The chances of a dog becoming a stray and ending up destroyed is 20 times greater for a dog in Ireland than it is for a dog in the UK. There is an overpopulation crises and the ongoing destruction rate of 27 dogs per day in Irish pounds is a result of this crisis. While no official figures exist for numbers of stray or destroyed cats in Ireland, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the country’s feline destruction rate is even higher than the canine equivalent.

Reasons for Neutering

  • Neutering increases your pet’s changes for a longer, healthier life – Spaying your female pet reduces her chances of developing mammary cancer and eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian infections.
  • Neutering your male dog or cat prevents testicular cancer and may prevent prostate problems. Neutered cats are less likely to roam and fight or get killed on the roads.
  • A neutered dog or cat is a better pet – Males neutered early in life are less aggressive towards other dogs and are not distracted by females in heat.
  • Spaying your female pet eliminates the problem of stray males camping in your garden and decreases her desire to roam and breed.
  • Spaying prevents your pet from giving birth to unwanted puppies and kittens. It also stops the messy and difficult twice-annual heat period. You are helping to alleviate the dog and cat overpopulation problems we have in Ireland.

Excuses for Not Neutering

  • “My pet will get fat and lazy”
    Pets that become fat and lazy after being neutered are usually overfed and under exercised.
  • “Shouldn’t a female pet have one litter first?”
    Allowing a female dog/cat to produce a litter does not have any benefits. There are health risks to the mother during the pregnancy and when giving birth. Finding good homes for puppies and kittens is not easy. Even if you manage to place your pet’s offspring, you are condemning to death the numbers of unwanted animals in shelters and pounds who are in desperate need of good homes.
  • “Spaying and Neutering isn’t natural”
    Humans domesticated animals and brought them into our lives. The environment we and our pets live in is very different from the natural one. We have made them dependent on us, which means we are responsible for their well being, just as we are with any other family member.
  • “We can sell the litter and make money”
    Even well known breeders are fortunate if they break even on raising purebred litters. Vaccinations, health care costs and feeding consume most of the profit.
  • “I am concerned about my pet undergoing anaesthesia”
    Although there is always a slight risk involved, anaesthetics used by veterinarians are very safe. The medical benefits of having your pet neutered or spayed far outweigh the slight risk involved with undergoing anaesthesia.

Neutering a Dog

This is a most important subject. Some owners believe it is unfair to deny their pet the opportunity to breed; however, mating is not necessarily advisable for health or happiness.
Every day in Ireland, approximately 27 unwanted and abandoned puppies and dogs have to be put to sleep…..

The average female dog comes on ‘heat’ twice yearly. This may last for 1 month. During this time, a bitch is ready for mating and pregnancy may result. As well as being messy and inconvenient, she will need to be kept apart from male dogs for the duration to prevent unwanted puppies.

Spaying is now a routine operation, performed under general anaesthetic. It usually involves just a day spent at with us, and she will have recovered fully in approximately 2 weeks.

KEYHOLE SPAYING

At the Allcare Veterinary Hospital we offer the option of Laparoscopic neutering which is minimally invasive and had rapid recovery

  • Female dogs are generally spayed about 5.5 months of age, but your pet can be spayed at any age.
  • A spayed bitch will not come into season again, and so will not become pregnant.
  • Spaying prevents womb infections, which are very serious, and can be life threatening.
  • Spayed bitches are far less likely to develop mammary or breast cancer, which can be life threatening also.
  • After spaying dogs will not put on weight, as long as they are fed sensibly and exercised regularly. You may find that your dog does not require as much food after the operation.
  • Contrary to popular belief, neutering has absolutely no affect on a dog’s temperament or personality. It is just an old wives tale that a dog needs to have a litter of puppies.
  • Uncastrated male dog’s behaviour can alter greatly when a local bitch is in heat. They will escape at any opportunity, and may cause or be involved in a road traffic accident; get into fights with other dog’s, or worst of all, get lost and go missing, possibly forever.
  • Male dogs are usually castrated at about 5 months of age, but can be done at any age.
  • Neutering or castrating your dog is another straight forward operation, that usually involves just a day stay with us, and dogs usually make a complete recovery within 2 weeks.
  • As well as making your dog less likely to stray, dog’s tend to be less aggressive and less likely to fight, and often more amenable to training.
  • Castrated dogs will not develop testicular cancer, and are far less likely to have prostate trouble or anal tumours.
  • Neutering your dog is not as expensive as you may think…. It is certainly cheaper than the cost of an unplanned pregnancy and raising a litter of pups, or the vet’s bill following your dog’s road accident.
  • Neutering is the only guaranteed way of preventing unplanned puppies being born, and the needless destruction of thousands of dogs every year.

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It is a sad truth that the number of puppies born every year is far greater than the number of good homes that can be found for them. As a result, thousands of healthy animals are destroyed and many unwanted dogs are left to fend for themselves. Having your dog neutered will not only help to reduce these numbers, it is also one of the simplest, safest and most practical ways of safeguarding your dog’s health and welfare.

What does neutering involve?

Both castration in the male dog and spaying in the female are major operations which need a general anaesthetic. Your dog must be fasted overnight before the operation to reduce the risk of problems on the operating table. Castrating male dogs is a relatively straightforward operation and there is very little chance of anything going wrong. Spaying bitches is more difficult but it is one of the operations most frequently carried out by vets and any experienced vet will have done it many hundreds of times.

Both castration and spaying involve a single cut, into the belly of the female to remove the ovaries and uterus (womb), or into the scrotum of the male dog to take out the testicles. Your dog should be ready to come home on the same day as surgery, as soon as the anaesthetic has worn off. If there are any complications, your vet might keep your dog overnight to keep an eye on them.

What are the benefits of neutering?

Females – Spaying will stop the bleeding that occurs with every heat cycle and prevent any changes in behaviour associated with heat cycle. Females that are not spayed, but who do not have puppies, may develop false pregnancy or infection in the womb. Early spaying of females reduces the risk of them developing mammary cancer (breast cancer) later in life.
Males – Some male dogs develop antisocial behaviour when they reach maturity. This may be in the form of aggressive or sexual behaviour – mounting other dogs or people!! Uncastrated dogs, if left to their own devices, may patrol a wide area in search of a mate and can detect a female in season a long way away. A dog who wanders is far more likely to be involved in a car accident. Castrating male dogs also reduces the risk of them developing diseases of the prostate or testicles in later life.

When should my dog be neutered?

Traditionally, female and male dogs have usually been neutered at about six months old. Before the development of safe anaesthetics and surgical methods, it was believed that a nearly fully grown animal would cope better with the operation. However, some vets now like to neuter animals earlier than this. There is no evidence that such early neutering harms a dog’s later health and physical development. Female dogs are often neutered before their first season. However, if your dog has had a season most vets recommend waiting for 2-4 months after a season (in a mid-cycle phase) before performing the operation. Your vet will be happy to discuss with you the best time for neutering your dog.

Is it ever too late to have my dog neutered?

There is no upper age limit for neutering your dog. You may wish to have your dog neutered if you acquire it as an adult, or once they have retired as a breeding animal. Male dogs can also be castrated later in life and this may reduce certain types of antisocial behaviour. But the older the male is, the more likely that it will carry on showing the less desirable behaviour traits such as aggression or mounting. If older male dogs develop prostate problems, castration may be recommended as the treatment.

Is neutering dangerous?

All operations requiring a general anaesthetic involve a certain amount of risk and, on rare occasions, there may be complications after the operation. Some known complications of the operation are excessive bleeding during the operation and problems with the wound site afterwards. It is important that your dog does not lick or nibble at the wound site. If you are concerned about your dog after the operation, contact your vet immediately.

Will neutering make my dog fat and lazy?

Neutering will not have any significant effect on your dog’s lifestyle apart from eliminating its sexual behaviour. Most owners find that any changes in their dog’s personality are for the better as many neutered dogs are more affectionate. When dogs have been neutered their energy requirements tend to be lower. It is important to pay careful attention to your dog’s weight in the months after neutering and if necessary to adjust their dietary intake to avoid weight gain.

Can neutering cause incontinence?

A small number of female dogs develop bladder weakness after neutering. They may dribble small amounts of urine especially when lying down. This is more of a problem in some breeds of dogs than others and many of the affected animals would have developed the problem whether or not they were neutered. If this problem does develop it can usually be controlled with daily medication. If you are concerned discuss the risks for your own dog with your vet.

Is it fair to let a female dog have just one litter of puppies?

It is an old wives’ tale that a female needs to have a litter of puppies. What your pet doesn’t know she won’t miss and neutering will save you the trouble and anxiety of finding good homes for the litter.

Is neutering expensive?

Different vets will charge different prices for neutering, costs may vary according to the location of the practice and the quality of the facilities there. If you are concerned about the cost of neutering talk to your vet. On the whole vets want to see as few unwanted puppies as possible and their neutering charges reflect the cost of the procedure. People on low or fixed incomes may be able to get help with the costs of the procedure from one of the animal shelters. However, it is wise the balance the costs of neutering against the expense of having an unwanted litter. A pregnant female will need more food to support herself and her offspring, the litter will need veterinary attention and you may have to advertise to find them good homes.

Laparoscopic Spays (keyhole Surgery)

At the Allcare Veterinary Centre we offer this minimally invasive procedure .Female dogs & cats can now be spayed using keyhole surgery. This minimally invasive surgery is less painful than open surgery and there is a much faster recovery for your pet. The keyhole surgery is carried out through 2 small incisions. We use electro surgery to seal the blood vessels so that the whole procedure is virtually bloodless. There are no external stitches so there is no need for a return visit to remove stiches and also there is no need for a buster collar.

AGE TO NEUTER YOUR PET

  • Bitches (The following is to ensure that the bitch is skeletally mature before neutering):
    • Up to 15kgs, spay at 5.5 months – 7 months
    • 15-35kgs, spay at 7-9 months, after first heat
    • 35kgs + , spay at 18 months
  • Male dogs: 5 months old
  • Cats (both male and female): 4.5 months
  • Rabbits (female): 6-9 months
  • Rabbits (male): 4.5 months
  • Guinea pigs (males only): 4 months

Overpopulation

Ireland has five times more stray dogs than the UK. The chances of a dog becoming a stray and ending up destroyed is 20 times greater for a dog in Ireland than it is for a dog in the UK. There is an overpopulation crises and the ongoing destruction rate of 27 dogs per day in Irish pounds is a result of this crisis. While no official figures exist for numbers of stray or destroyed cats in Ireland, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the country’s feline destruction rate is even higher than the canine equivalent.

Reasons for Neutering

  • Neutering increases your pet’s changes for a longer, healthier life – Spaying your female pet reduces her chances of developing mammary cancer and eliminates the threat of uterine and ovarian infections.
  • Neutering your male dog or cat prevents testicular cancer and may prevent prostate problems. Neutered cats are less likely to roam and fight or get killed on the roads.
  • A neutered dog or cat is a better pet – Males neutered early in life are less aggressive towards other dogs and are not distracted by females in heat.
  • Spaying your female pet eliminates the problem of stray males camping in your garden and decreases her desire to roam and breed.
  • Spaying prevents your pet from giving birth to unwanted puppies and kittens. It also stops the messy and difficult twice-annual heat period. You are helping to alleviate the dog and cat overpopulation problems we have in Ireland.

Excuses for Not Neutering

  • “My pet will get fat and lazy”
    Pets that become fat and lazy after being neutered are usually overfed and under exercised.
  • “Shouldn’t a female pet have one litter first?”
    Allowing a female dog/cat to produce a litter does not have any benefits. There are health risks to the mother during the pregnancy and when giving birth. Finding good homes for puppies and kittens is not easy. Even if you manage to place your pet’s offspring, you are condemning to death the numbers of unwanted animals in shelters and pounds who are in desperate need of good homes.
  • “Spaying and Neutering isn’t natural”
    Humans domesticated animals and brought them into our lives. The environment we and our pets live in is very different from the natural one. We have made them dependent on us, which means we are responsible for their well being, just as we are with any other family member.
  • “We can sell the litter and make money”
    Even well known breeders are fortunate if they break even on raising purebred litters. Vaccinations, health care costs and feeding consume most of the profit.
  • “I am concerned about my pet undergoing anaesthesia”
    Although there is always a slight risk involved, anaesthetics used by veterinarians are very safe. The medical benefits of having your pet neutered or spayed far outweigh the slight risk involved with undergoing anaesthesia.

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