To desex or not to desex?

The question of whether or not you should desex your pet has become a popular point of discussion in recent years. Most vets will generally advise that it is the best option for all pets, however some breeders and a lot of internet sources are starting to voice different opinions. It is important that before making the decision you are educated and understand the arguments both for and against.

There are many different reasons, usually dependent on the species, that favour de-sexing pets. In a general sense the advantages of de-sexing your pet outweigh the disadvantages. We encourage male dogs to be de-sexed as it greatly reduces the risk of prostate cancer and aggressive behaviours such as urine marking, roaming and humping. For female dogs, de-sexing reduces the risk of mammary tumours and potentially prevents a Pyometra in larger dogs. A Pyometra is when the uterus fills with infection as a result of hormonal changes. It is commonly seen in older entire female dogs. It is an emergency surgery as without treatment it is fatal.

Female Ferrets will also get a pyometra if not de-sexed or used for breeding. It generally develops once they have been mated which is why they need to be de-sexed if being kept as pets. For cats, a big reason in favour of de-sexing is to stop unwanted litters. Cats are able to roam and breed from a very young age leaving many stray kittens and cats in need of shelters. Rabbits also live longer healthier lives if de-sexed. It reduces the risk of cancers, urinary tract infections and often results in a more friendly and happy bunny. There are many questions surrounding how often these conditions occur and if non de-sexed pets are truly at greater risk. While we do not see the extent of these conditions every week, this is because the majority of our pet patients have already been de-sexed at around 6 – 12 months of age.

However, in the last couple of months, our clinic has seen three pyometra’s, a severe case of mammary tumors and an older male dog we castrated in the hope to reduce his enlarged prostate. These numbers are fairly high for a small clinic like us and were easily preventable.

For more information on the benefits of de-sexing, talk to one of our friendly team during your next visit and do what’s best for your pet!