As a dog owner, it’s important to understand all the facets of your pet’s well-being. One such aspect is desexing, also known as spaying or neutering. It is a procedure that aims to prevent your furry friend from breeding. In this blog, we will discuss the various aspects of desexing to provide you with a better understanding of the procedure.
Desexing refers to the surgical removal of reproductive organs in dogs. For males (neutering), it involves the removal of the testicles, while for females (spaying), it means removing the ovaries and uterus.
Why is Desexing Done?
- Reduced Risk of Certain Types of Cancers: For males, neutering diminishes the likelihood of prostate and testicular cancer. For females, spaying decreases the chances of ovarian and mammary cancer.
- Reduced Risk of Urinary Infection: Dogs that have been desexed are less likely to suffer from urinary infections.
- Animal Population Control: Desexing is a responsible way to help manage the dog population by limiting the number of puppies born.
- Behavioural Improvement: Desexing can help address behavioural issues. For example, desexed male dogs are often less aggressive towards other dogs, reducing the risk of fights and injuries.
- Increased Overall Lifespan: This is likely due to reduced cancer risks, fewer fights resulting from behavioural issues and a generally healthier lifestyle.
When to Desex Dogs
Early-age desexing is often recommended, which is between eight weeks and four months. But your veterinarian may suggest waiting until after the dog has reached sexual maturity, considering factors like breed, size and overall health. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian about the optimal time for desexing your dog.
Prior to the surgery, your veterinarian may perform a health check to ensure your dog is fit for the procedure. They might ask you to restrict your dog’s food and water intake before the surgery.
What Happens During the Recovery Period?
- Post-Surgery Behaviour: It’s normal for dogs to be drowsy and show less interest in food for 24 hours following the procedure. Your veterinarian will provide pain relief to ease any discomfort.
- Activity Levels: For the first few days, limit your dog’s physical activities to prevent strain on the surgical site. You may take them for light, leash-guided walks, but always consult your veterinarian.
- Monitoring the Surgical Site: During the recovery period, which typically lasts between 10 and 14 days, closely monitor your dog for signs of infection around the site, such as redness, swelling or discharge.
- Behavioural Changes: Watch for changes in your pet’s behaviour, such as loss of appetite, lethargy or distress. These could indicate potential complications.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Desexing involves risks, such as reactions to anaesthesia or post-operative infections. However, these risks are generally low and can be managed by veterinarians.
Long-term side effects can include weight gain and hormonal imbalances. Regular check-ups and a balanced diet can help manage these issues.
Common Myth about Desexing
There’s a commonly held belief that desexing can lead to weight gain in dogs. While desexed dogs may have slightly lower energy requirements, weight gain is usually more related to overfeeding and lack of exercise than the desexing process.