Neutering is a surgical procedure and involves removal of an animal’s reproductive organs. In male animals this means removal of the testicles (castration), and in female animals it means removal of the ovaries and womb (spaying).
We can perform neutering at either our Torquay or our Paignton surgery.
Dogs can be neutered from 6 months old. Benefits of neutering female dogs include reduced incidence of breast cancer if performed early in life, the prevention of life-threatening womb infections (pyometra) later in life and obviously the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Castration of male dogs can help with certain behavioural issues, but is best discussed on an individual basis with the vet.
We are pleased to be able to offer the option of a keyhole spay at our Torquay surgery and keyhole surgery is also a great technique for castrating cryptorchid dogs (where one or both of the testicles is in the abdomen).
Cats can be neutered from 4 months old. We recommend neutering of all pet cats, to reduce the incidence of unwanted litters of kittens. Other benefits for your pet are reduced incidence of roaming and road traffic accidents, reduced incidence of fighting (which can result in costly abscesses and disease transfer) and reduced incidence of urine spraying in male cats.
Information about neutering of rabbits and ferrets can be found on our ‘exotics’ pet page.
We take the opportunity to discuss neutering with you at puppy/kitten vaccinations and our adolescent health checks. If we have not seen your pet before we will schedule an appointment with the vet so that they can check that they are healthy and discuss the procedure with you. The vet will be happy to answer any questions that you have.
Although neutering is a routine procedure, it is still an operation and therefore there are risks and you are bound to worry about your precious pet. To minimise risks, we include the following as standard in our neutering procedures:
- A pre-operative assessment, to make sure your pet is healthy.
- General anaesthetic, including monitoring of vital parameters by a dedicated nurse. All patients have an intravenous cannula placed, which should be standard for any anaesthetic. You can read more about our anaesthetics here.
- Pain relief on the day of the procedure, which lasts for 24 hours.
- All our surgery is performed to the highest standards, and this includes neutering. This means we wear full theatre attire i.e. theatre scrubs, theatre shoes, and use disposable surgical gloves, gowns and drapes to minimise potential infection. This is more expensive than traditional veterinary methods (everyday clothes and re-used drapes), but is considered gold standard in human surgery. We believe your pet deserves equally high standards. We are confident in our levels of sterility, so we have no need to give your pet antibiotics for routine surgery – this is important in preventing antibiotic resistance.
- “Swaged on” suture material for any knots or stitches – this is more expensive than the traditionally used “suture on a reel” but guarantees sterility. It means an individual pack of suture material is opened for your pet, with a brand new needle that does not need to be threaded on – this causes less tissue damage and therefore less pain. We believe this is better surgical procedure and it is standard in human medicine. For most pets we put in dissolvable skin stitches, as we find they are better tolerated by the patient.
- A discharge with a nurse, who can advise you on how to look after your pet after the procedure. We stock a light and easily digestible recovery food to help get your pet eating again after the operation.
- Two post-operative check-ups, one the day after the procedure and one 7-10 days later to check the wound.
We assess your pet for pain on recovery from the surgery, before they go home and at the post-operative check-ups. The amount and type of post-operative pain relief needed varies from pet to pet, but we will advise of an estimated cost for you.
We can provide a buster collar, or a special re-useable body suit (pet shirt) to prevent your pet from licking their wound. The choice depends on the individual patient and owner preference.
If you would like to discuss neutering in more detail or find out prices, please speak to a member of our team or drop us an e-mail.