What is neutering?
A neutering operation is a surgery to prevent your pet from breeding. Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and even pet rats and mice can be neutered. In a male animal, neutering involves surgical removal of the testicles and in a female dog it involves removal of her ovaries and womb (an oavariohysterectomy).
In a male dog this is also known as castration. In a female dog this is also known as spaying.
Why should I neuter my female dog?
- To reduce the risk of mammary cancers and ovarian / womb cancers
- To eliminate the risk of womb infections (pyometra) which are common in middle aged and older females
- To prevent phantom or false pregnancies - these can be quite distressing for the owner and the dog.
- To avoid the risk of difficult labours or Caesarian sections
Benefits for the owner of neutering a female dog
- To prevent her having unwanted puppies or kittens which can sometimes be difficult to get homes for.
- To prevent her coming into heat - this can be messy for indoor dogs
- To avoid unwelcome male visitors - you could have a number of potential male canine suitors sitting on your doorstep when you bitch is in heat.
- To prevent her from roaming when she is in heat - this can be dangerous if you live close to roads
- To prevent her from urinating excessively to scent mark
- The license fee is cheaper.
Should I let my bitch have a litter?
Only if you are sure of getting good homes for the pups and are happy to accept the risks that go along with breeding. It is anectodally said that letting the bitch have a litter can calm her and there is some evidence that suggests that having a litter reduces the risk of womb infections later.
Why should I neuter my male dog?
- To stop him roaming the countryside looking for females in heat
- To stop him jumping up on my leg - this mounting behaviour can be embarrassing especially if there are visitors of children around.
- To eliminate the risk of testicular cancer
- To reduce the risk of prostate disease
- To stop him scent marking around the house or lifting his leg against every lamp post when you are out walking
- To reduce aggression towards other dogs and people
- To calm him and reduce boisterous behaviour
- To stop him licking his privates so much!
Is there any downside to neutering my dog?
- Surgery always carries a risk but with modern facilities this risk is minimal
- Aggressive females may become more aggressive after neutering
- Some dogs may gain weight but with the correct diet and exercise routine this risk is avoided
- In some breeds, neutering the female too early can increase the risk of urinary incontinence - for Labradors, Springer Spaniels, Rottweilers, Old English Sheepdogs and their crosses, we recommend neutering after the first heat.
- In some giant breeds, neutering too early can increase the risk of cruciate disease
- Some studies suggest an increased risk of some types of cancers such as bladder cancer and bone cancer
- Your dog's coat can become fluffier - some show people do not like this.
You, the owner, have to weigh up the risks against the benefits but most veterinary professionals and canine charities agree that the benefits outweight the risks by far. The Guide Dog Association routinely have guide dogs neutered.
The vets at All Creatures will talk you throughly through the neutering decision and guide you as to the best options for your breed and their lifestyle and the correct timing of the operation. Do not let anyone ever insist that you must neuter your dog. Once the operation is carried out it is irreversible even if you decide you want to breed your pet later.
If your dog or bitch gets neutered, you need to advise the Kennel Club to obtain a permission to show letter.
Are there any non surgical options to stop dogs breeding?
Yes - Suprelorin TM A simple injectable implant which can neuter your male dog for at least 6-12 months. This is reversible if you wish to breed your dog later. There is also an injection available which can end your dog's heat quickly or postpone her heat.
What happens if my bitch gets pregnant or gets caught by mistake?
There is a series of 2 injections 24 hours apart which will end the pregnancy - this can be adminstered up to day 42 of pregnancy although we recommend to give it after the heat is finished and preferably before day 22 of pregancy for best effect. You have to make the decision as to whether or not you think this is right for your pet. If your bitch is in late pregnancy it is better to let her have the pups.
What is the cost of neutering my dog?
In general, neutering a male is around 50% of the cost of neutering a female. Prices can range from £60 to £200 depending on the sex, size and condition of the dog.
At All Creatures in Limavady, we offer our customers a free unpressured pre-neutering examination to sound out your pet's heart, make sure your pet is fit for the surgery, get the correct weight and to discuss the costing options properly. Sometimes your pet may have to lose weight before we would be comfortable carrying out the anesthesia and surgery - we stock a fabulous slimming diet which can restore an overweight pet to an ideal weight sometimes as quickly as two months If your pet is registered in our Healthy Pets Club, there is an additional 10% off the operation.
We also operate a low cost subsidised neutering scheme through the Dogs Trust. If you are in receipt of a means tested benefit, the operation can be done for a lower cost of around £35. Ask our receptionists to organise this for you - you will need to bring proof of means tested benefit.
DID YOU KNOW? - we accept neutering vouchers from all rescue centres, no exceptions.
Some dogs are at higher risk of haemorrhaging during surgery. If you have any of the following breeds, ask the team at All Creatures about checking your dog for a clotting problem - this is a simple blood check which should be carried out at least a week before the surgery.....
German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, Standard poodles, Shetland sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers
These breeds can have a clotting problem called Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD).
Neutering your pet cat
Somewhat similar to neutering dogs,the benefits of neutering female cats include preventing unwanted litters of kittens - a female cat can have 2-3 litters in a year. It will also prevent heats which can be quite distressing for owners to see as the female cat's behaviour can change dramatically. Neutering a male cat will reduce fighting, roaming and spraying - unneutered male cats will spray urine around the house - this smell is very difficult to remove. Through bite wounds,unneutered cats are at a much higher risk of picking up serious disease such as abscesses, Feline Leukamia and Feline Aids.
Ask the All Creatures team about low cost cat neutering - the operation can range in cost from £30- £60, but if you are in receipt of means tested benefits, we operate a subsidised cat neutering scheme through the Cats Protection League (CPL) for only £5.
DID YOU KNOW? At All Creatures, we will only carry out a midline neuter on your female cat. It is safer for your cat then flank (side) neutering with less post operative pain and there is no undesirable large shave mark down the side of your cat.
DID YOU KNOW? We offer a trapping service for feral colonies with free neutering through the Cats Protection League. We accept cat neutering vouchers from all rescue shelters - no exceptions.
Neutering pet rabbits
Male and female rabbits are neutered to prevent spraying urine and to calm them. Neutered rabbits make much nicer pets and can also have a companion without the risk of any unwanted baby rabbits. Female rabbits can be aggressive and bite owners - neutering them will stop this, as well as eliminating the risk of ovarian and womb cancers. We neuter rabbits at around 4-6 months of age. At All Creatures we have safe gas anaethesia suitable for rabbits. Rabbits generally do not get fasted before their operation.
So what happens on the big day?
We know and understand that you may worry about the operation so here are a few guidelines about out routine neutering procedure....
- Please make sure your pet is fasted from around 8pm the evening before (do not fast rabbits) but allow water up until the morning of the operation.
- Please make sure your pet's coat is clean to reduce the risk of infection
- Please make sure your cat has had access to a litter tray and that your dog has had a short walk to empty his / her bladder and bowels.
- On arrival the nurse will carry out any pre-operative checks. We may recommend a routine blood screen to check your pet's internal health before the operation - this is particularly important in older pets. There may be other health issues which may require attention during the operation such as microchipping, nail clipping, ear cleaning, scent gland emptying, hernia repairs or teeth cleaning. Please remind the nurse if there is anything else you thing may need doing.
- You will then be asked to sign a consent form which gives us permission to carry out the operation, act in your pet's best interest if you are unavailable and to show that you understand the risks involved, however minimal. Don't forget to leave a contact number with the nurse in case we need to speak to you about anything through the day.
- So then the nurse will get your pet settled in - we have nice cosy warm kennel facilities with a separate quiet ward for feline patients.
- Before the operation, a premed is administered to settle your pet and to relieve pain. During your pet's anaesthetic, all their vital signs are monitored including blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, oxygen levels and carbon dioxide levels. This allows us to detect any problems very early. A qualfied nurse records these details right through out your pet's operation.
- During the surgery we use diathermy which provides a very clean wound with little or no bleeding. At the end of the operation, the vet may place some stitches along your pet's wound - some of our vets use internal sutures with nothing to see on the surface - there is no right or wrong here - just the individual vet's preference.
- Your pet's recovery is closely monitored by the vets and nurses, making sure they are kept nice and warm and as comfortable as possible. Additional pain relief is administered as required. Our nurses at All Creatures love to provide lots of TLC to recovering pets.
- Cats and male dogs are allowed to go home the same day but for female dogs we strongly recommend an overnight stay to allow complete rest, monitoring and a speedier recovery after this more major operation. Our nursing staff live on site allowing monitoring through the night also. The nurse will go through the aftercare instructions with you when your pet is allowed to go home
- After the operation, we recommend light feeding with special recovery foods and drinks for a few days. Your pet will need complete rest for around 3 days after the operation and then only short lead walks for a week or so until the stitches come out at around 10 days after the operation. We provide an Elizabethan collar routinely to prevent your pet from licking the wound. The nurse will help you schedule an appointment for the post operative check and suture removal if necessary. These appointments are usually with the nurse.
- Ask about our great range of post neutering foods for your pet - these are designed to prevent undesirable weight gain in the months and years after the operation.
- Our prices include the pre operative checks, the safest anaesthesia available, high quality surgical materials, antibiotics and pain relief, electronic and nurse monitoring, post operative monitoring, overnight hospitalisation and the follow up checks and suture removal.
Why you should have your pet neutered at All Creatures, Limavady?
- Benefit from our ethical, independent advice in helping you make the correct decisions
- With over 20 years of experience and 1000s of neuters performed, we've seen just about everything in the book
- Thorough pre- neutering checks
- Fair pricing and access to subsidised neutering schemes
- State of the art monitoring and anaesthetic equipment allow the safest surgery
- Minimal tissue trauma through modern surgical techniques including diathermy.
- Well trained nursing staff to monitor all aspects of your pet's anaesthesia and recovery
- The most comfortable environment possible for your pet - heat pads and underfloor heating keep your pet snug
- We're always just at the end of the phone 24/7 to discuss any aftercare.
- Because we care, we provide the best quality pre and post operative pain relief.