• Bakers Hill Veterinary Hospital
  • (08) 9574 1061
  • 4609 Great Eastern Highway, Bakers Hill

Sterilisation or ‘Desexing’

Deciding whether or not to have your pet desexed or sterilised is a big decision and one we do not expect you to necessarily take lightly. However, at Bakers Hill Veterinary Hospital, we firmly believe that sterilisation is not only good for your pet’s health, it is essential if you want to avoid certain health risks and/or potential behavioural problems. From our point of view, it is also a significant surgical procedure that requires a high level of care and skill.

For the most part, pets live a healthy and event free life, and sterilisation might be the most significant surgical procedure they will have.  In male pets it is commonly referred to as “castration”, and in female pets as “spaying”.Generally your pet is home by the evening of surgery.

Here are some of the reasons why we believe sterilisation is good for your pet:

  • Dramatically reduces the risk of mammary tumours in female cats and dogs

  • Significantly reduces the risk of prostatic problems, very common in older, unsterilised male dogs

  • Removes the risk of life-threatening intra-uterine infections, very common in older, unsterilised female dogs

  • Reduces the risk of peri-anal hernias in male dogs

  • Reduces the risk of peri-anal tumours

  • Removes the risk of other cancers eg testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, etc.

  • Prevents unwanted pregnancies, risky birthing experiences and expensive emergency (or elective) caesareans sections

  • Prevents unwanted litters, which can be very costly, and may add to the already overwhelming number of stray animals that are put down each year

  • Improves your pet’s safety as there is less wandering, less risk of getting into a road accident, less risk of fighting, etc.

  • Reduces some of the unwanted testosterone driven behaviours such as aggression, territory marking and roaming

  • Reduces the risk of contracting and/or spreading diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)

Generally your pet will live a longer and healthier life if desexed and your council rates will be much reduced!

Common questions we get about desexing

“Will desexing affect my pet’s personality?”

Your pet will retain their pre-operation personality, possibly with the added bonus of being calmer and less aggressive.

“Should my female have one litter first?”

No – it is actually better for her not to have any litters before being spayed.Her risk of developing breast cancer increases if she is allowed to go through her first heat.

“Will it cause my pet to become fat?”

Your pet’s metabolism may be slowed due to hormonal changes after desexing,however this is easily managed with adjusting feeding and ensuring adequate exercise. There is no reason a desexed pet cannot be maintained at a normal weight.

“Is desexing painful?”

As with all surgery, there is some tenderness immediately after the procedure, but most pets will recover very quickly. We administer pain relief prior to surgery and after surgery too.Your pet will be discharged with a short course of pain relief medication to take at home for the first few days after the surgery.  In many cases, your pet will likely need some encouragement to take it easy!

“Will my dog lose its “guard dog”instinct?”

No, your dog will be just as protective of their territory as before the surgery.

The most common age to desex your pet is between 4 and 6 months, however they are never too old to be desexed.

What to do before and after surgery

Before surgery:

  • Make a booking for your pets operation.

  • If your pet is a dog, wash them the day before surgery as they are unable to be washed after until the stitches are removed.

  • Do not give your pet food after 10pm the night before the operation and do not give them any water after 8am on the day of surgery.

  • A blood test may be performed prior to surgery to check vital organ function.

  • The vet will perform a thorough physical examination before administering an anaesthetic.

  •  Some pets will require intravenous fluid support during surgery. This will be discussed with you prior to the procedure.

  • To ensure your pet is as comfortable as possible, all pets receive pain relief prior to desexing and to take home for a few days after the procedure.

After Surgery:

  • Keep your pet restrained and quiet as the effects of anaesthetic can take some time to wear off completely.

  • Keeping them quiet is also essential to allow the wound to heal.

  • Food and water should be limited to small portions only on the night after surgery.

  • Follow any dietary instructions that the vet has provided.

  • Ensure all post-surgical medications (if any) are administered as per the label instructions.

  • Ensure your pet’s rest area is clean to avoid infection.

  • Check the incision at least twice daily for any signs of infection or disruption (eg. bleeding, swelling, redness or discharge). Contact the vet immediately if these symptoms appear. Do not wait to see if they will spontaneously resolve.

  • Prevent your pet from licking or chewing the wound. Special cone-shaped collars assist with this problem. A single chew can remove the careful stitching with disastrous effects.

  • Ensure you return to us on time for routine post-operative check-ups and removal of stitches.

What happens whilst your pet is with us?

The goals of any surgery your pet will ever have with us is to:

  1. absolutely minimise any anxiety for your pet
  2. to perform a safe surgical procedure with a fast recovery
  3. to eliminate pain both during and after surgery

Our sterilisation or desexing surgeries are no different to the way in which we approach any other surgery at our hospital, and measures are taken (and included in the price) to ensure that the above 3 things are going to be achieved when your pet has their desexing operation with us. This means that your pet will have:

  • Gentle handling and stress relief strategies applied in hospital

  • An IV catheter (IV cannula) placed prior to be anaethetised

  • A pre-operation sedative that includes pain relief

  • A blood cell count and total blood solids count performed prior to the sedative

  • IV fluids during the operateion and, if needed, before

  • Adequate pain relief during the surgery so as to minimise anaesthetic depth

  • A dedicated anaesthetic nurse

  • State of the art monitoring during the anaesthetic

  • A dedicated recovery nurse

  • Pain relief to go home with

If you have any concerns before or after your pet has been desexed, please call us immediately to discuss.