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Neutering Your Pet

Some helpful info

Neutering is a routine operation performed by the Veterinary Surgeon to remove your pet's reproductive organs. The operation makes your pet unable to reproduce and stops the production of hormones responsible for their sexual behaviour.

What It Involves:


In male cats, the testes are removed through a small incision in the scrotum. Stitches are not required in the skin.

In female cats, the operation is performed through a small incision in the flank or the underside of the abdomen. Both ovaries are removed, along with the uterus.


In male dogs, the procedure involves making an incision in the front of the scrotum to remove the testes.

In female dogs, an incision is made in the abdomen to locate and remove the ovaries and uterus. 

Why Do It?

Neutering will prevent the possibility of a life-threatening uterine infection called a pyometra (currently 1 in 3 unneutered bitches will develop this infection later on in life) and decrease the chance of mammary cancer (if spayed before their first season, the risk of mammary cancer is less than 0.1%).

There will be no further seasons and no unwanted litters of puppies or kittens. Neutering will also eliminate false pregnancies. Any male attention will stop.

Intact males can develop prostate enlargement and testicular cancer. Statistics show that neutered male cats tend to live longer than male cats that are not neutered as they are less likely to roam, reducing the risk of road traffic accidents and getting diseases such as FIV (feline AIDS).

Neutering can modify antisocial behaviour in males such as urine marking, roaming and aggression. However, if neutering an older pet, the behaviour may be well established and so neutering may need to be combined with pet behaviour therapy. You may find that your pet is calmer and more affectionate.

Any Disadvantages?

As with all surgical procedures, there is always a small risk of complication; however, your pet will be closely monitored both during its operation and on recovery. Occasional surgical complications, such as swelling or wound breakdown, can also occur which is why it is important for your pet to wear an Elizabethan collar and for you to check the wound once home, twice daily, and to bring your pet back for a post-op check 3 days after his/her operation.

It is a common misconception that neutering your pet will make them fat. This is untrue; however, removal of the sex hormones will normally lead to a slower metabolic rate and so there is more chance that your pet will gain weight. You may find, therefore, that you will need to reduce his/her daily allowance of food.

Occasionally, urinary incontinence can be encountered in older, neutered bitches. The female sex hormone oestrogen plays a part in keeping the sphincters tight and therefore retaining urine in the bladder. After a bitch has been neutered, levels of oestrogen are lower and this can lead to Sphincter Mechanism Incompetence (SMI), which is the most common cause of urinary incontinence in female dogs. Urinary incontinence is, however, manageable with medication, so the potential for developing SMI does not outweigh the benefits of neutering.

Commitment of Time and Money

Many people want their pet to have "just one litter", not knowing that there is a lot of care involved with a litter of puppies or kittens:

  • The mother needs special food and care
  • Extra food and care for the litter
  • Risk of emergency caesarean surgery if there are problems in birthing (emergency fee, surgery cost, hospitalisation)
  • Vet visits for vaccines, microchipping and worming treatment before the puppies or kittens go to their new home
  • Potential extra care needed if the mother rejects any babies (such as bottle feeding every 2 hours, including through the night, for 3-4 weeks)
  • Risk of death of the bitch/queen