Jul 28

All You Need To Know About Desexing Your Pet

Vetchat vets advocate for desexing of family pets and responsible breeding for those who are not. As July is National Desexing Month, it’s the perfect time to take another look at the ins and outs of desexing pets.

Who?

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 first, but check on this too.

Why?

  1. Health

First and foremost, desexed pets are healthier pets. It reduces the likelihood that your kitten or puppy will suffer from illness and disease that are common in undesexed pets such as mammary cancer, uterine infection (pyometra), prostate issues and perineal hernia. Overall, desexed pets live longer, healthier lives.

  1. 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. Male cats in particular also have an increased smell to their urine and are more likely to spray in the house. For females roaming and mating can lead to pregnancy.

  1. Oversupply of pets

Did you know that approximately 250,000 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.

When?

Most shelters and rescue organisations have desexing performed at a very young age, around 8 weeks old. This is to ensure they are desexed before they are rehomed.

In a home environment, you can wait until a slightly later age. Typically Veterinarians recommend desexing at around 6 months of age. Dogs come into season from 8 months of age (sometimes from 6 months), and kittens can become pregnant as early as four months old, so even having them desexed at 6 months of age you need to ensure they cannot get pregnant in the time before. Desexing at this age means that the absence of sex hormone reduced the likelihood of mammary cancer in females, and 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. For responsible pet owners who can easily control their pets, it may be ok to wait until they are a year of age to desex.

The pros and cons associated with timing need to be weighed up for each individual pet.

How?

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 society.

Want help? Chat with our Vets.

Our 5 years + experienced Aussie Vets are on stand-by to help your pet via video and text from 6am - Midnight, Sydney Australia time every day.

Dr. Claire Jenkins

Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.