Wondering whether your dog or cat should be neutered? It’s best to talk to your veterinarian directly regarding your pet’s individual needs — but in the meantime, here’s some information about what a neuter is, and why it’s recommended for so many pets.
What is a neuter?
A neuter is a routine surgical procedure done to remove a male dog or cat’s testicles, thus making them sterile. Removal of the testicles also results in decreased testosterone, meaning that neutering can help to reduce unwanted behaviors and lessen the chances of certain health risks.
The benefits of neutering your dog or cat
In general, neutering is recommended for both dogs and cats at about six months of age. Here are a few of the health and behavior benefits that come with neutering your pet…
- Decreased risk of testicular and prostate cancers
- Less likelihood of certain types of aggression
- Less desire to roam in search of a mate (and thus, less likely to get lost or hit by a car).
- Many doggy daycares and dog parks will not allow pets who are not neutered to attend
- In addition to the benefits to your own pet, neutering has significant benefits to the pet population as a whole.
Are there any risks to neutering your dog or cat?
Like all surgeries, neuter surgeries can carry some degree of risk. However, this is considered a very routine procedure, and the risks are rare in a healthy pet.
After being neutered, a pets metabolic function decreases and we will need to keep an eye on your pets weight to ensure they don’t encounter any unnecessary weight gain. If you have any questions about how much your pet should be eating, one of our team members will be here to help.
If you have a large breed dog, talk to your veterinarian about the ideal time to have him neutered. There is some newer research that indicates it may be better for him to wait until he’s full grown to be neutered.
What to expect when your dog or cat gets neutered
Pre-surgical exam and bloodwork
Prior to any surgery, it’s important for your dog or cat to have an up to date physical exam with their veterinarian. Here are a few things your vet will check during the head-to-toe physical. . .
- Heart and lungs
- Gum color
- Body temperature
- Skin health, especially near the site where the spay incision will be performed
- Eyes, ears, nose and throat
In addition to a physical exam, routine bloodwork may be recommended. The blood panel will typically check:
- Function of major internal organs such as the liver and kidneys, which helps us choose the correct drugs for your pets surgery and makes sure they don’t have any underlying conditions
- Platelet function, which means that your pet can adequately clot their blood
- Immune function, to ensure your pet does not have an increased risk of infection
- Red blood cell count, to make sure your pet is not anemic
Preparing for a Neuter
Most times we ask that you fast your pet overnight the night before their surgery. Check with your vet clinic for specific instructions.
You’ll bring your pet to the clinic in the morning, and pick them up later in the day when they’re fully awake. Don’t worry, your fur baby is in good hands with people who love pets!
How we care for your pet during the procedure
A neuter is performed under general anesthesia, which is delivered to your pet through a breathing tube along with oxygen. This allows the procedure to be done safely since there won’t be any sudden movements, and reduces fear and stress. Your pet is also given injectable pain control before the start of the procedure. In other words, your pal will sleep comfortably through the procedure.
During the neuter surgery, we take several measures to ensure your furry friend’s safety, we always have a dedicated nurse monitoring their heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, blood pressure, gum color, reflexes and more.
Additionally, if your pet is not yet microchipped, this is a great opportunity to implant one. A microchip is a permanent form of identification, which will be registered to you, just in case you and your furry friend ever get separated.
What to do at home
Your pup or kitty will probably feel tired for the next 12-24 hours as the anesthetic drugs work their way out of the system. So, be sure to give your pet a quiet, calm place to rest, away from children and other pets. Avoid stairs and try to keep them from jumping, as they may be more prone to falling during this time.
You’ll receive specific instructions from your vet for what to do at home. But, here’s a general overview of what to expect…
- You’ll receive medications to give at home. Be sure to follow all directions, to prevent pain and infection.
- Use an e-collar. This prevents your pet from licking the site, which could cause irritation, infection, or even ripped stitches (which can require an emergency vet visit).
- Limit their activity for 10 days. This will prevent bleeding and allow for better healing.
- Check the incision site daily, and monitor your pal for any signs that they’re not feeling well (you’ll receive specific instructions after the spay so you know what to look for).
- Your veterinarian may also instruct you to place a cold pack on the incision site a few times over the first 24 hours after surgery
It’s important to monitor your pal after their neuter, but fortunately, complications and problems are rare. More than likely, your pup or kitty will be full of energy soon, and the hardest part of recovery will be encouraging them to rest when all they want to do is get back to playtime.
Soon enough, your little one will be back to all their normal activities, and set up for a lifetime of health benefits and spending quality time with you.