Pets and neutering: keeping your four-legged friend safe
Today (Tuesday 23 February) marks World Spay Day, an international event to raise awareness of the importance of neutering our pets.
Neutering is an operation performed by a vet to remove the reproductive organs – for females this is referred to as spaying and involves removing the ovaries and often the womb. In males, this involves removing the testicles, and is known as castration.
This prevents unplanned litters and has important health benefits for your pet, explains PDSA Vet Anna Ewers Clark. “Spaying prevents or reduces the risk of life-threatening illnesses, including womb, mammary (breast) and ovary cancers, and pyometra – a potentially deadly womb infection.
“Castration prevents illnesses such as testicular cancer. In dogs, it also reduces the risk of prostate disease. In cats, castration can reduce the instinct to roam and fight other cats, which in turn reduces their exposure to nasty injuries and diseases such as FIV. It can also help with the smell of their urine!
“For rabbits, neutering reduces fighting due to hormones and prevents unplanned litters. This allows them to have companionship, which is vital for them to be happy and healthy.
“Some people worry about neutering and there are lots of myths about the procedure. If you’re concerned or you have questions it’s important to speak to your vet – they will have a lot of experience with neutering and can let you know what’s right for your pet.”
It’s important to get your pet neutered if possible, but if you’re unable to, PDSA offers their advice for keeping pets safe.
Anna says: “If you have an unneutered female dog, while she is in season keep her separate from all unneutered male dogs and on the lead during walks. After each season, you should monitor for signs of pyometra and false pregnancy.
“If you have an unneutered male dog, keep him away from any unneutered females in season, be careful around other entire male dogs (aggression is slightly more likely), and monitor for any signs of a problem with his penis or testicles.”
“For unneutered cats, it’s essential to keep your kitten or cat indoors until they are neutered – unneutered kittens can get pregnant from as young as four months old, and are at a higher risk of being injured or attacked by other cats. You should also keep male and female unneutered cats apart once they are 4 months old, even if they are related.”
For more information about neutering, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/neutering.
PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk