What is desexing?

Desexing or neutering your pet is a surgical procedure that prevents an animal from being able to reproduce.

This is the most frequent surgery performed by our team, and your pet is generally home by the evening of surgery. Refer to the anaesthesia page for more information about the anaesthetic for your pet.

The ideal age to desex your pet is at 6 months of age, before they start to reproduce, though pets are desexed at any age. 

We are one of the few veterinary hospitals in Sydney that offers laparoscopic desexing to our clients as an alternative to traditional desexing.

Laparoscopic desexing is performed with the use of an endoscopic camera and an instrument port to remove the ovaries and uterus in a minimally invasive way. We have also used this technique to remove undescended testicles that remain within the abdomen.

Why desexing your pet is important

1. Prevention of unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and will only add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are euthanised every day.

2. Prevention of testicular cancer and prostate disease in males. It can also help prevent pyometra (infection of the uterus) and mammary tumours (breast cancer) in females.

3. Stop the “heat” cycle in females that prepares them for mating, which is the time that males will attempt to mate with her. We frequently see animals who have accidentally mated which could have been prevented by desexing the animals before their first heat cycle (aka season). There may be a potential surcharge to desex an animal that is on-heat or pregnant as the surgery is more complex.

4. Decrease aggression towards humans and other animals, especially in males.

5. Being less prone to wander, especially in males.

6. Living a longer and healthier life.

7. Reduction of council registration fees. 

Common questions about desexing

“Should my female have one litter first?”
No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being spayed. Her risk of developing breast cancer also increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.

“Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?”

Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.

“Will it cause my pet to become fat?”
Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing, however, this is easily managed by adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.

“Is desexing painful?”
As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too. Your pet will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery.  In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

Desexing your pet

Before surgery:

  • Make a booking for your pet’s operation.
  • If required, wash your pet a few days before surgery as they are unable to be washed again until after the stitches are removed (10-14 days). We will wash your pet’s surgical area, though we do recommend that your pet is clean before undergoing surgery to minimise the chance of infection.
  • Do not give your pet food after 8pm the night before the operation and remove access to water after 7am on the day of surgery.
  • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function. We recommend this to every patient. See the anaesthesia page for more information.
  • The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.
  • Some pets will require intravenous fluid support during surgery.
  • To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief prior to desexing and some to take home for a few days after the procedure.

After Surgery:

  • Treat your pet as a human after a surgical procedure. Visit the anaesthesia page for more information.
  • Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery. Give ¼ of the pets’ daily portion every 4 hours, with a normal portion size after 12 hours.
  • Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.
  • Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions. Please contact us if you are having trouble medicating your pet as we may be able to provide you with a different solution. 
  • Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.
  • Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will resolve as this could lead to severe infection instead.
  • Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with life-threatening effects if left untreated.
  • Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches.
  • If your pet is too boisterous, we may provide you with medication to help to keep them calm. We can also provide a cage at the hospital for a short period after surgery whilst you set your home up to accommodate your recovering pet.