VetChat Vets advocate for desexing of family pets and responsible breeding. Here’s a deep dive into the ins and outs of desexing pets.
Every cat, dog, and every-bunny can benefit from desexing. If you bought your pet from someone, and are unsure of their desexing history, then you should look into it immediately. Rescued pets are usually desexed before they are re-homed, but check on this too.
1. Health benefits
First and foremost, there are health benefits. It reduces the likelihood that your pet will suffer from illness and disease that are common in un-desexed pets such as mammary cancer and uterine infection (pyometra) in females, and prostate issues and perineal hernia in males.
In addition, desexed pets live longer lives. It has also been shown that desexing will extend the lifespan for both male and female dogs and cats, above those who are not desexed.
2. Curb those instincts
When a pet reaches adolescence their sex hormones tend to have behavioural effects as well. There’s an increased urge to roam, and to fight. Unfortunately, roaming can often lead to an increased chance of getting into a fight with another animal, to injury from cars, fences etc and even to getting lost. For females, roaming and mating can lead to pregnancy.
Male cats who are not desexed will also develop an increased smell to their urine and tend to spray urine in the house, a trait not well tolerated by even the most ardent cat lovers.
3. Oversupply of pets
Did you know that thousands of cats and dogs are put to sleep annually in Australia alone? It goes without saying that desexing your pet, whether feline, canine or lapine, will prevent unwanted babies. As well as being an immediate plus for families who don’t want more than they bargained for, this is a simple way in which you can help minimise the many unwanted pets that are given away, abandoned, or put down each year.
Most shelters and rescue organisations have desexing performed at a very young age, around 8 weeks of age. This is to ensure they are desexed before they are re-homed.
In a home environment, you can wait until a slightly later age.
Dogs have their first heat at approximately eight months of age (can be as early as six), and kittens can become pregnant as early as four months of age. Desexing females before their first season means that the absence of sex hormone reduces the likelihood of mammary cancer, and for males will reduce behavioural traits such as roaming and aggression.
There is evidence in large and giant breeds of dogs that desexing can delay the closure of growth plates and predispose to some orthopaedic conditions.
Typically Veterinarians recommend desexing male and female pets at around four to six months of age – as with any health decision for your pet, the best timing for desexing varies with your individual situation, always consult your Veterinarian.
Your local Veterinarian can perform the anaesthetic and procedure for your pet. It’s a routine day procedure, which is not only of great benefit to you and your pet, but also to the greater good.