We answer your commonly asked questions about neutering
Can my pet eat normally after being neutered?
We would normally recommend a recovery or intestinal diet after surgery. These tend to be palatable to encourage them to eat, bland as not to upset their gastrointestinal system (which can be a little sensitive after an anaesthetic) and contains the right nutrition to aid healing.
Can neutering change my pet’s behaviour?
- Neutering tom cats can reduce the risk of roaming, urine spraying and aggression.
- Neutering females will stop the cats coming into heat so will eliminate the behaviours associated with this i.e. excessive vocalisation, rolling and even roaming to find a mate
We like to aim for male dogs to reach maturity before castration but if there are no issues with nervous behaviour towards other dogs, people or new environments castration can be done from 6months. It can help reduce reduce urine marking and humping (although this can be due to excitement). Castration can help with some behavioural problems but is not always the answer so we recommend an appointment with our vets or behaviourist to discuss fully. There is always the option for chemical castration in behaviour cases to see if castration will help.
Bitch spaying will eliminate them coming into season and any problems related to this i.e. prevent the risk of phantom/false pregnancies. Spaying early has no effect on behaviour unless there is in-house dog to dog aggression and spaying will make this worse
Neutering your rabbit can limit aggression and stop urine spraying
How long after neutering before we can take our dog out for walks?
We would usually advise that you keep your dog rested for 24-48 hours post surgery with just gentle exercise in the garden. After this we would then advise short lead walks until they are seen for their post op check.
What are the risks of neutering?
There is always a risk with a general anaesthetic but your pets will be given a full health check on the day of admission and they will be fully monitored throughout the procedure by our qualified nurses. We have all the latest monitoring equipment very similar to human hospitals that check oxygen levels, ECG and blood pressure to name a few.
With any surgical procedures there is a risk of bleeding and infection but this is closely monitored and all our surgeons are experienced.
Will my pet put on weight after neutering?
It is a myth that pets will put on weight after neutering. They will have a reduced energy requirement making them more prone to weight gain but this is easily managed by having them on the correct diet and with regular exercise
Will my pet need to wear a buster collar after surgery?
This depends on how much they lick at the wound. We like to keep licking at a minimum to prevent post-operative infections. There are other options available to the traditional plastic collar such as medical shirts and inflatable collars
Do you do neutering at the weekends?
We do not do routine surgeries i.e. neutering at the weekends as we have a reduced number of staff available and we need to be able to deal with any emergency cases. Neutering procedures are carried out Monday to Friday at our main hospital and at some of our practice.
From what age can my pet be neutered?
From 4 months in both males and females
Males can be neutered from 6 months as long as there are no behavioural problems but in some cases we try to aim to neuter at 12 months to ensure they have reached sexual maturity.
We recommen neutering bitches pre-season. This is usually at 5-6 months (in larger breeds we would often advise waiting until 12 months of age)
Rabbits can be neutered from 4 months in both males and females
How long will my pet be in the hospital for?
All neuterings are carried out as day cases. They are usually admitted from 7.30 to 9am on the day of the surgery and they are usually ready for discharge after 3.30pm. Once back in the recovery ward after their surgery you will receive a call from our nursing team or vets to advise that the procedure has been completed and confirm your discharge time
Why does my pet need to be admitted so early before surgery?
We like to have our patients admitted before 9am to give them time to settle in the kennel prior to their procedure and also to allow time for their pre meds to take affect prior to surgery. It also enables us to plan the procedures that are in for the day when we know they have all been admitted.
How much does neutering cost?
The current cost of neutering does vary and is dependent on weight of the patient for routine neuterings
- Cat castrate £43.68
- Cat spay £52.42
- Dog castrate <40kg £128.95
- Dog castrate >40kg £162.24
- Bitch spay 0-9kg £133.94
- Bitch spay 10-24kg £158.50
- Bitch spay 25-40kg £180.96
- Bitch spay >40kg £199.68
The cost is higher if the surgery is not routine i.e. if the testicle in a dog have not descended fully or they may be pregnant.
These fees do not include pain relief to go home with (this works out at £15-23 depending on species/size), recovery diet or collars.
Can my bitch be spayed whilst she is in season?
We do not advise spaying while your bitch is in season, due to the increased risk of bleeding during surgery. You will have to be careful while they are in season to minimise the chance of meeting and mating with an entire dog and unwanted pregnancies. We would then spay 2-3 months after finishing the season.
Can I spay my pet if they are already pregnant?
Spaying whilst pregnant in all species comes with a higher risk due to an increased blood supply to the uterus so this would really be done on a case basis after discussion with the owner.
Is my pet still fertile for a while after being neutered?
- Males – males of all species can remain fertile for up to 6 weeks post castration.
- Females – females will no longer be able to have litters as soon as they have been spayed
Are dissolvable stitches used?
We will usually use all internal dissolvable stitches in male and female dogs and female cats. We would still advise that they come in for a post op check to ensure that the wound has healed. Male cats do not require sutures but again a post op check is advised.
How much does a phantom pregnancy effect when my dog can be neutered?
A hormonal imbalance is usually the cause of a phantom pregnancy in bitches. It is a condition where a non-pregnant female dog shows symptoms of pregnancy, lactation or nursing without actually being pregnant. It is a condition that can be self-limiting but if the signs are severe medical treatment is available.
We would wait for the signs of phantom pregnancy to be fully resolved before we would then spay the bitch, which can take up to one month. Spaying is recommended to prevent the recurrence of phantom pregnancies
When we say ‘three months post season’ is it from the beginning or when the season finishes?
We would advise spaying 3 months after the end of a season as dogs will usually have a season every 6 months. This means we are spaying mid cycle to minimise risks.
Does my pet have to be vaccinated to be neutered?
It is advisable that dogs and cats are vaccinated when they come into be neutered as they will be in a hospital environment. Vaccinations help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
Should my pet have a season before being neutered?
Your pet does not need to have a season before spaying and in the cases of bitches there are a lot of health benefits to spaying pre season e.g. reduction in the chance of mammary tumours.
In some larger and giant breeds we may recommend they are over a year old before we spay them so this would usually mean they have had one season.
Should my pet have a litter before neutering?
There is no need for your pet to have a litter before being neutered. There are no physical or mental advantages for a bitch having a litter prior to spaying. It is one of the common myths that they should have a litter.
Is there an age limit for neutering?
There is no upper age limit for neutering but the risks of a general anaesthetic do increase as animals get older due to potential underlying problems. It is advised on each individual case as there are risks in unneutered older animals i.e. pyometra and testicular tumours.
Should the wound be flat post operation? What if there is a lump?
The wound should be flat post surgery although there can be some minor swelling. We would always recommend a check of the wound if any change is noted after discharge.
How long post op will my dog need lead walks?
We would advise lead walks for at least a week after surgery or until they have been signed off at their post op check.
What if my pet suffers vomiting and diarrhoea on Loxicom? Is there an alternative pain killer? Do I have to pay again for the extra pain relief?
It would normally be recommended that loxicom is stopped if there is any signs of vomiting or diarrhoea. There are alternative pain killers available if your pet still seems in discomfort. A consult or talking to a vet would be recommended.
Does my pet NEED a post op check especially if they have had dissolvable stitches?
The post op check is for assessing the wound not just removing stitches so we do advise a check even if there are no stitches to remove. This is to enable us to assess that the wound has healed and advise you on your dog’s return to exercise.
Do you offer neuters at every practice?
Neuterings at present are carried out at Pride Veterinary Centre, Park Farm, Shelton Lock, Oakwood and Hilton.
What are the normal expected after effects post neutering? What should I look out for if my pet needs an earlier recheck?
It would normally be expected for your pet to be a little quiet for a few days post general anaesthetic but they should be more or less back to normal within 24-48 hours.
Things to look out for would be:
- Any swelling, redness or discharge from the wound
- Excessive licking
- Not wanting to eat or drink
- Not passing urine or faeces
- Vomiting or diarrhoea.
If you are worried, it is best to speak to a vet or nurse on the phone or book an appointment.
Can my pet have a lap spay if they have had a season?
Yes they can have a lap spay if they have had a season but the timing of the procedure is the same for a normal spay i.e. 3 months after the season.
Are the testes always removed?
Yes the testes are always removed in a castration as we want to eliminate the affects of testosterone (male hormone) as well as making them sterile.
Is there a visible wound site in a castration?
There will be a small incision just in front of the scrotum in males dogs, cats will have a small incision over each testicle.
Can cats be neutered anytime i.e. mid pregnancy?
We can neuter cats at any time but when they are pregnant there are increased risks involved so these would need to be discussed with you individually.
Does a lap spay prevent Pyometra?
Yes a lap spay will prevent a pyometra as the ovaries are removed. It is the ovaries that produce the hormones that are thought to influence the occurrence of pyometra.
What is the major benefit of a lap spay?
The major benefit of a lap spay is a faster return to activity vs the conventional spay. This is due to smaller wounds that are required to insert the camera and equipment. This could be beneficial to working or agility dogs.
As it is less invasive there is evidence that there is a lower level of post operative pain but all our bitch spays are given adequate pain relief.
Other procedures can be carried out at the same time for example in larger breed/deep chested dogs that are at risk of a twisted stomach (GDV) a gastropexy (attaching the stomach to the body wall) can be done, which can prevent this life threatening condition. This however can also be done during routine surgery.
There is also questionable benefit in lap spay vs conventional surgery in dogs under 10kgs
What is the difference between a lap spay and a “normal” spay?
The main difference between a lap spay vs conventional ‘open’ surgery is the incisions. In a lap spay the patient will have two or three 1-1.5cm incisions to allow the camera and instruments. In the conventional surgery a single longer incision is made into the abdomen. The size of this is dependant on the size of the dogs.
In both procedures it is usual just to remove the ovaries. The clipping of the fur will be similar for both procedures. It is worth considering that with a lap spay owners are always informed of the chance of converting to routine open surgery if it is not possible to visualise the ovaries.
Do you chemically castrate dogs?
Chemical castration is available for dogs by either injections or implants. These can be used to assess if castration can help with behavioural problems or if castration will benefit some medical conditions i.e. enlarged prostate gland.
They can also be used if there is too high a risk of general anaesthetic for routine surgery but you still want the benefits of castration or if you potentially want to breed from a dog later and have multi dog households.
The length of time that these work for are variable depending on what product is used.
Is there a lap spay type alternative for male dogs?
If a dogs testicles are retained in the abdomen it is possible to remove these laparoscopically. If both testicles are descended fully there is no alternative procedure.
Can cats they have a lap spay?
There is questionable benefit in performing a lap spay in cats due to the size of the incisions that are made in laproscopic surgery being similar to conventional surgery.
When are ferrets neutered?
We neuter ferrets from about 6 months onwards. This is advised in females unless they have a vasectomised Hob or are going to be mated (females need to be mated to bring them out of heat to prevent medical problems).
Neutering in ferrets (both male and female) can lead to hormonal problems so it is best for a pre op consult with a vet to discuss the pros and cons
When are rabbits neutered?
We neuter rabbits both males and females from 4 months of age
When are Guinea Pigs neutered? How old do they need to be?
We normally neuter guinea pigs from 4 months but it is worth remembering that males can be fertile before this age so care needs to be taken if they are housed with females (even if related).
What are the major benefits of all neutering?
The major benefit of neutering is to prevent unwanted litters. It also prevents the inconvenience and upset of seasons in female bitches and cats.
There are many health benefits including prevention of certain tumours i.e. mammary, uterine or testicular, prevention of uterine infections and reduction in prostatic disease.
What is the latest my pet can be fed prior to surgery?
We usually recommend starving from about 10pm the night prior to surgery but they can have access to fresh water through the night.
Do I need to take my dog out for a walk before admission?
We would suggest you take them for a short walk to enable them to empty their bladder and bowels before admission. Please try to keep them clean as this reduces the time needed to prepare them for surgery.