Canine Neutering

It is beneficial to both owner and the pet to consider neutering. The largest reason for neutering dogs is population control and we would advise any owner wishing to breed their dog to think this through thoroughly.

Unfortunately, it is a very sad statistic that a dog is destroyed every hour in this country due to the lack of safe homes. There are also many other health and behavioural benefits to neutering pets, however these should be discussed with a vet to help you make an informed decision

Spaying a Female dog- ovariohysterectomy:

What are the advantages?

  • She can no longer have puppies.
  • She no longer come into season, so doesn’t need confining every 6 months, and no mess.
  • She cannot have false pregnancies long term. Although, they may have one final one just around being spayed as the hormone levels change.
  • The risk of mammary and other hormone-dependant tumours have been shown to be reduced if a bitch is spayed before 18 months of age.

What are the disadvantages?

  • She requires a general anaesthetic, and however fit she is, there is always some risk. And there will be some post op care required. 
  • Some breeds are prone to coat changes, such as Irish Setters and spaniels. The coat becomes more fluffy and can lose its shine. Often owners make sure they are trimmed more to compensate.
  • Once neutered, her metabolic rate goes down by up to 30%. If you feed her the same, then weight gain follows with time. This does not need to happen if you adjust her feeding and diet. She can remain slim and trim. 

Urinary incontinence is a common finding in older bitches across the board. It has been thought to be related to having been spayed. However in more recent studies, it has been found that there is not a statistical difference between the spayed and non-spayed groups. However as we have more spayed females nowadays in our local population, you will obviously numerically find more of these leak urine when older. We have a number of effective medications that can be used if this occurs. Also keeping your dog slim will help with her ability to hold her urine successfully.

Bitches are usually spayed approximately 2-3 months after their first season.

Castrating a Male Dog

What are the advantages?

  • He can no longer father puppies. But please note, he is not sterile from day one, it can take a few weeks more.
  • He cannot develop testicular cancers.
  • Prostate problems are much less likely.
  • Certain types of tumours associated with the prostate and around the tail-base or anus are much less likely.
  • Certain types of hernia are much less likely.
  • In younger dogs, male hormone driven behaviour is likely to fade, such as mounting or marking. However, in older dogs, the changes in behaviour are less marked as it has become more learnt and ingrained, rather than being reliant on the hormones.

Castration is not necessarily the answer to having a quieter dog. You may find they pay a bit more attention to you at training, so the training is more effective, but it won’t help on its own.

Many aggressive dogs will NOT be helped by castrating them, as aggression is frequently due to fear rather than out and out dominance or territorialism.

What are the disadvantages?

  • He requires a general anaesthetic, and however fit he is, there is always some risk. And there will be some post op care required.
  • Some breeds are prone to coat changes, such as Irish Setters and spaniels. The coat becomes more fluffy and can lose its shine. Often owners make sure they are trimmed more to compensate.
  • Once neutered, his metabolic rate goes down by up to 30%. If you feed him the same, then weight gain follows with time. This does not need to happen if you adjust his feeding and diet. He can remain slim and trim. 

What is involved in the operation?

Telephone your nearest surgery to arrange a date for the operation. You will need to withhold food from midnight the previous evening, but leave water down until 8am.

Pre-op check: We need to be sure that your dog is fit and well to have a general anaesthetic. This check up is either done on the day, at the same time as a previous vaccination or examination, or at an appointment (usually) on the operation day. We also need to check that female dogs are not showing any signs of a false pregnancy (although this can sometimes start up a short time after the operation).

After admittance that morning (you will be given the time when you book), your dog will be given a pre-med injection which is a combination of pain relief and sedation, so they can settle down and relax.  The operation will take place under a general anaesthetic, but I’m afraid we cannot give you a precise time. Male dogs have their testicles (+/- scrotum) removed, and depending on the technique used, there may or may not be stitches visible. Female dogs have their ovaries and uterus (womb) removed, and do have visible stitches, the dogs are closely monitored during the operation and on recovery, making sure they remain warm and comfortable. Once recovered, we send them home with additional painkillers for the next few days.

Micro chipping: Neutering is an ideal time to microchip your dog whilst asleep.

After the operation: At home, they need to be kept indoors, and given a light meal such as fish or chicken, or a good ‘recovery food’ such as Hills I/D which you can purchased from the surgeries.

You may also wish to purchase a collar ( traditional cone or modern ‘doughnut’) to prevent your pet interfering with their wounds.

A few days later, they will have a post-op check. Any stitches are removed by our nurses about 10-14 days from their operation.  In the meanwhile they must remain on a lead if outside: boys without visible sutures- for a week; girls and boys with stitches- until their stitches are removed. It is essential that they do not leap around or interfere/lick their stitches or wounds.

You will be given all this information when they go home.

If you have any worries, you can contact your nearest surgery. At night time, you should ring the main Solihull surgery on 0121 705 3044.

Long term: their metabolic rate will go down by up to 30%, so you will need to watch their weight.

In time, moving to a diet that is made for neutered adults is a good idea and helps to avoid excess weight, obesity and the problem this can bring. These include Hills Vet essential and other life stage diets.

What nursing care will be required?

On the evening of the operation your pet will probably still be a bit sleepy but should be back to their usual self the following day. Anaesthetics can cause a sensitive stomach, so it is important to feed a small light bland meal of either Hills I/D or home-cooked chicken breast or white fish with rice or pasta and some water to drink. It is also important to keep them warm and quiet this evening to aid their recovery.

It is important that their exercise is limited until the sutures are removed, this is in order to restrict tension on the wound and avoid the risk of bruising, swelling or possibly rupture. Therefore we ask all patients are only allowed short lead walks and are not allowed to run around the house/garden or up/down stairs and that they don’t jump on/off furniture. It is important that they don’t continually lick and disturb the wound as this can inhibit healing. If this becomes a problem a protective Elizabethan collar or ‘doughnut’ can be purchased from the surgery. For smaller dogs, a child’s ‘babygrow’ or swimsuit may be useful.

We will ask you to bring them back for a post-operative check, usually with a nurse,  3-7 days after the operation to check how the wound is healing. Then again in 10-14 days after surgery to have any sutures removed.

Why do we neuter (castrate) dogs?

Early castrated stops the risk of testicular disease and reduces the risk of prostatic conditions later in life. It also avoids the risk of unplanned pregnancies and can also be useful for some behavioural problems particularly roaming and some forms aggression and antisocial behaviours. However, castration should not be seen as a cure for every behavioural problem, if you would like your dog castrated for behavioural reasons please contact your nearest “branch” and discuss this with one of our vets first.