Getting your pet de-sexed is a simple day surgery procedure. For female dogs and cats it is usually carried out before their first heat (between 5-6 months of age). The heat is the period when a female animal can become pregnant.
On the day of the surgery, your pet is brought to Vet HQ on an empty stomach. The last meal before the surgery day must be no later than 10pm the night before eg if surgery is booked for Tuesday, then the last meal is before 10pm on Monday night.
Water can be available during the night but should be taken away in the morning. Please allow your pet to empty their bowels and bladder before arrival if possible.
Recently we have seen the consequences of not being desexed in two cases that has lead to extensive surgery in older dogs.
The first was in a 12 year old cocker spaniel. Multiple lumps were felt around her nipples. De-sexing before the first heat can remove the possibility of breast cancer occurring.
The second case was in a 8 year old dog who presented in-appetent, thirsty, lethargic with a vaginal discharge. She was diagnosed with a pyometra. The uterus is designed to grow babies, but unfortunately it can also be a breeding ground for a nasty infection. The swollen uterus, in the picture below was full of pus. She required a massive surgery to remove the infected uterus. De-sexing of female animals involves removal of the ovaries and uterus. Their absence means that infections are not possible.
In male animals, de-sexing involves castration or removal of both of the testicles. It is also a day surgery. Conditions seen in non de-sexed male dogs include prostatic disease, testicular cancer, increased risk of anal gland tumours and dog fight wounds. In male cats we see an increased tendency to roam and fight.
Vet HQ advocates the routine de-sexing of pet animals. The risks of the surgery and anaesthetic in animals between 5-6 months of age is minimal and the benefits far outweigh the risks involved in not de-sexing.