Neutering or desexing is a surgical procedure to prevent your pet being able to reproduce. It is very common and is generally safe. Pets are usually home by the evening on the day of surgery. In female pets it is often referred to as spaying. In male pets it is often called castration. The optimum time to desex a pet is between the ages of 4 to 6 months. However, it is quite safe to desex older pets and it is recommended that pets be desexed for a number of reasons:

  • Prevention of unwanted litters
  • Prevention of prostrate disease or testicular cancer in male animals
  • Prevention of pyometra (uterine infection) in females
  • Causing the “heat cycle” in females to stop
  • Reduced risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) in female animals
  • Less inclination to wander (especially in males)
  • Decreased aggression (especially in males)
  • Improved health and potentially a longer life for the pet
  • Reduction of council registration fees

Desexing may result in a less aggressive and calmer pet but will not affect the general personality of your pet. While the hormone changes after desexing may cause a slowing of the pet’s metabolism, weight gain can be minimized by adequate exercise and adjusted feeding. Your pet will still be protective of their territory and will display their guarding instincts.

It is recommended that female animals especially are spayed before they go through their first heat. There is a reduced risk of breast cancer if they are spayed prior to the beginning of their first cycle. Pets do not need to have a litter to develop a nurturing instinct.
While there will be some tenderness after your pet is desexed, they usually recover quickly after this type of surgery. They will receive pain relief before and after surgery. They will also be given pain relief medication to take at home for a few days. While some animals may be a little calmer for a few days, most will be back to normal very soon.

Before and After Surgery


  • Make a booking for your pet for the desexing
  • Wash dogs the day prior to surgery as they cannot be washed until stitches are removed
  • Do not feed after 10pm on the day before and no water after 8am the next morning
  • Expect a thorough examination which may include blood tests before surgery
  • If an IV is needed during surgery, your vet will usually discuss this prior to the operation
  • Your pet will be administered pain relief before and after the surgery


  • Try and keep your pet calm and comfortable until the anaesthesia have worn off completely
  • At home, try and keep them calm and relaxed to allow for healing
  • Offer small amounts of food and water on the night after surgery
  • Ensure they have a clean bed and general environment to avoid infection
  • Administer medication as per instructions
  • Check the incision twice daily for disruption or infection (discharge, bleeding, redness, swelling etc.)
  • Contact your vet immediately if there are any issues as they may not resolve on their own
  • Prevent licking or chewing on the wound as this can have serious repercussions (fit a cone if needed)
  • Return to the vet for removal of stitches and check-up on the date required.