Desexing is the surgical procedure that renders a cat or dog unable to reproduce.

The castration or neutering involves the removal of the testicles through a small incision in front of the scrotum – the empty scrotal sac then shrinks.  The testicles produce sperm and the male hormone testosterone.

The spey involves removal of both the ovaries and the uterus in a female pet.  The ovaries produce ‘eggs’ during the heat cycle and the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone.  The uterus is removed to prevent possible infection later on in life.  This involves intra-abdominal surgery.

Desexing is best done between four and six months of age. At this age the organs are smaller than when the animal is older. This means surgery is easier and so takes less time – your pet will be under anaesthesia for less time and wake up faster and feeling better than if the procedure was done at a later stage.

Also note, some female pets, especially cats, will come into season for the first time at 4-5 months of age, and this first season is a fertile one!! For males, desexing at this age also means that we can reduce the development of testosterone induced behaviour problems such as mounting, masturbation, urine spraying and aggression towards other pets.  If these become a problem later on when your pet has passed puberty and is sexually mature, they often are then part of the pets nature and may not be corrected by desexing at a mature age.

Benefits of desexing for your male pet

  • Less likely to wander looking for females and become involved in road traffic accidents and fights!
  • Desexed male dogs are more likely to stay at home so often make better guard dogs!!    Nb.  An entire male can smell an ‘in season’ female over 3km away and ‘where there is a will, there is a way’!!!
  • Reduced tendency towards aggression with other pets and children – entire males can be unpredictable with the family when an in season female is ‘within smell’!!
  • Less likely to urinate inappropriately in your home and mount your furniture and party guests!!
  • No risk of testicular cancer developing – a high incidence in entire males!!
  • Greatly reduces the chances of prostate problems later on in life – very common in entire males!!
  • He won’t contribute to the thousands of unwanted pets destined for destruction at the RSPCA every year!!
  • Greatly reduced incidence of cat fights and feline AIDS virus (contracted from deep bites) as well as cat abscesses which can make the life of a tom cat a living hell!!
  • Less visits to the vet due to traumatic causes therefore smaller veterinary bills!!
  • Cheaper council registration fees!!


Benefits of desexing your female pet

  • Speying before the first season reduces the chances of breast cancers later in life by over 90%!
  • No lock in period when she is in season, and bleeding, twice a year for up to 3-4 weeks!!
  • No hormonal surges (often seen when in season and when have had a litter) causing irritability and unpredictability (especially with the children of the family)!!
  • No lusty males knocking down your door and urinating over your property!!
  • No unwanted pregnancies or litters (RSPCA Brisbane destroys tens of thousands of unwanted pets every year) – they may not come from your litter but what about their descendants?!!
  • Avoids potentially life threatening medical conditions such as pyometron (pus-filled uterus) – often seen just a few weeks after a season!!
  • Reduced tendency towards aggression especially with children!!
  • Less desire to wander – less likely to become involved in road traffic accidents and fights!!
  • Reduced incidence of feline AIDS virus and cat abscesses in female cats!!
  • Cheaper council registration!!
  • No caesarian procedure for females having difficulty with a litter – note that some breeds of dogs especially Staffies and very small breeds often need a caesar (have a spare $600-800 on hand just in case this is necessary when your pet is expecting)!!!

Note that there is NO physical or behavioural advantage for your female pet in having a season or a litter before being desexed.


The procedure

Desexing is a routine procedure in our veterinary practice but we always keep in mind that although we do this surgery every day, it is a once in a lifetime experience for your pet.  For this reason, we take the utmost care to reduce your pets stress once admitted to hospital – please feel free to bring any blankets or toys which will make them feel more at home.

The procedure is conducted under a full general anaesthetic using strict hygiene controls – your pet’s anaesthetic will be closely monitored by a skilled and qualified veterinary nurse and we routinely keep our patients on insulated blankets and administer anti-inflammatory medications to minimise any post-operative discomfort.

Your pet will also have an Australian Veterinary Association ear tattoo applied while under anaesthetic to indicate that he is desexed.  This is necessary as males can have testicles retained within the abdomen.

After desexing, your pet’s metabolic rate will be reduced so balance the number of calories being eaten to the number used in exercise to maintain a healthy weight.  We are all what we eat!!!