Last Updated on February 27, 2021 by Dogs Vets
What is Neutering or castration?
Neutering is a well-known surgical procedure performed to prevent or stop female and male dogs from reproducing. In males (dogs), the testicles are removed – this is the main source of the hormone testosterone, so the level of this hormone decreases after surgery. In females (bitches), the standard procedure is to remove the ovaries and uterus (womb) – this means that your dog will no longer be able to get pregnant or have seasons.
At some pet vets practices, dog spays can also be performed via keyhole surgery. This involves making three small incisions and removing only the ovaries in a camera-guided procedure. There is no evidence of increased risk with this method. Because the incisions are very small, many dogs recover more quickly from a keyhole approach.
In all cases, neutering is done under general anesthesia. Your dog will come into the office in the morning, stay for the day to have the surgery, and in most cases will be reunited with you the same day. Although all surgical procedures carry some risk, neutering is the most common procedure in our veterinary practice, and the techniques are very safe.
How long does the recovery take?
Although all surgical procedures can be uncomfortable, recovery from neutering is usually very quick. In the vast majority of cases, dogs are up and about within a few hours of the procedure and are also given pain medication for the procedure itself and throughout recovery, if needed.
Some dogs may be subjected to about a day after the procedure, but many dog owners report that keeping their dog calm and rested is the biggest challenge!
The time it takes for the surgical site to fully heal is usually less than ten days. Keeping the area clean and making sure your dog can’t lick the area can help this natural healing process happen as quickly as possible.
The benefits of neutering for your dog
Reduced risk of cancer. Of course, with neutered dogs, the risk of cancer of the ovaries or testicles is completely eliminated. However, did you know that for female dogs that are spayed at a young age, the procedure significantly reduces the risk of developing breast cancer?
- Removes the risk of uterine infection. In female dogs, infection of the uterus (called pyometra) is a serious risk.
- The vast majority of cases require surgical treatment, and the infection can be fatal. Spaying completely eliminates the risk of your dog developing pyometra.
- In males, neutering significantly reduces the risk of prostate disease.
- Neutering helps reduce the drive to roam. Especially in male dogs, this drive can lead to traffic accidents and losses. Reducing this drive will protect your dog.
- Removes the risk of unwanted puppies. This is important not only for the puppies themselves. Pregnancy is a risk to your dog and can also come at a high financial cost.
- Removes the risk of phantom pregnancy. A phantom pregnancy, while not life-threatening, can alter your dog’s behavior, and a persistent or recurring phantom pregnancy may need veterinary attention to stop and can potentially lead to other medical problems.
The advantages for you
No worries about pregnancy. An unwanted pregnancy can be a big emotional and financial worry, with the added stress of having to find homes for the puppies, which some breeds can have in a litter over ten, and the most commonly reported in the UK was 24!
No Seasons. A female dog in her season can be quite messy as she can produce blood for a number of weeks. This can be difficult in a home environment.
No suitors. If you have either a male who can smell a female in heat, or a dog in heat himself, you must be getting in the way of a very strong biological urge. Dogs of both sexes are more likely to stray when hormones are in the air, and male dogs in particular can get very creative in their escape methods.
Less humping. Although this can become a learned behavior and therefore neutering is not a cure, dogs with less hormonal drive are less likely to express affection by humping other dogs, inanimate objects like toys, or even your leg!
There are also many thousands of unwanted dogs in the UK alone. Neutering your dog to eliminate the risk of unwanted pregnancy is a great step towards keeping the number of rescue dogs as low as possible.
When should I have my dog neutered?
Neutering can be done from 6 months of age. However, your veterinarian will take into account your pets breed and adult weight and discuss the options available to you.
In some cases, veterinarians may recommend allowing a female dog to have her first season before spaying. By delaying spaying, some behaviors that may be controlled by testosterone may be learned and therefore more difficult to eradicate. Spaying bitches after their third season also reduces the protective effect against mammary cancer.
Will my dog’s personality change?
Your dog’s personality will not change, but some more extreme behaviors that can be fueled by hormones, such as aggression, territory marking and humping, may decrease. In many cases of behavior problems, neutering is an early step toward resolution.
Can Neutering make my dog get fat?
After neutering, your dog’s caloric needs will decrease. Neutering does not directly cause weight gain. However, if your pet is eating the same daily calories before and after the procedure, he may gain additional pounds.
If you feed a diet specifically designed for neutered pets or slightly lower your dog’s daily calories while monitoring his weight, your dog will remain healthy and slim after the procedure.
How much does neutering cost?
The cost of neutering varies depending on the size of your dog, type of procedure, and additional recommendations from your veterinarian. Speaking directly with your veterinarian is the best way to get an estimated price for your dog.
Neutering procedures can range from $35 to $250 depending on the breed and age of your dog, where you live, and the type of veterinary clinic you visit. If your dog has pre-existing conditions, the price may increase.
Cost of neutering dogs in Bristol.
Going to the Bristol Channel, neutering a male dog weighing less than 10 kg at Zetland Vets in Bristol costs £142.50. There are five weight bands with Zetlands, with prices rising to £197.50 for a male weighing more than 50 kg.
For females, a one-time spay costs £210 for a dog under 10 kg. Prices for a dog weighing over 50kg rise to £285. Again, there are five weight bands for female dogs.
Dog neutered Streatham, London
Norbury vets near Streatham represented the London area in our research.
They charge between £130 and £230 for a neuter and between £185 and £315 for a spay.
They do not segment prices by weight when providing information over the phone. Instead, you will need to visit the vet, who will calculate a price after consultation.
Always Keep in mind that prices vary by the veterinary practice you visit.
See also: What dogs are hypoallergenic?
Laparoscopic (keyhole) dog spays.
If your dog has been offered a laparoscopic bitch spay, much of the same advice applies as for a standard open surgery, including preoperative preparation and time of day.
- The difference between an open and a laparoscopic spay.
- In a standard open surgery, a complete ovariohysterectomy is performed – the ovaries and uterus are removed.
- In a laparoscopic procedure, only the ovaries are removed.
- In an open surgery, a single large incision is made.
- In laparoscopic surgery, three separate small incisions are made.
A laparoscopic spay has several advantages over a traditional open spay:
- There may be less postoperative pain.
- There are fewer stitches, both internal and external.
- This can mean a quicker return to normal exercise levels once you are signed out by your veterinarian.
Because the incisions are smaller, there is less risk of postoperative complications with the incisions as well as less trauma to the tissue.
There is some discussion about the disadvantages of a laparoscopic spay:
- Because the uterus stays in, there is still a possibility of uterine cancer.
- There is still a small risk of developing a uterine infection called pyometra later in life.
However, pyometras are usually caused by hormonal changes that are prevented by removal of the ovaries. Therefore, this potential disadvantage is discussed.
Does pet insurance cover neutering?
Pet insurance does not typically cover routine or preventative procedures such as spaying or neutering.
However, if the procedure is recommended by a veterinarian as an essential treatment for another health problem, Bought By Many may consider a claim for it.
If complications arise during your dog’s routine spay/neuter procedure, Bought By Many pet insurance may cover the cost of veterinary care caused by the complication.
Dogs Trust helps with spay/neuter
The Dogs Trust runs a program where you can qualify for veterinary care costs if you are eligible for benefits and your dog is an eligible breed.
You can visit the Dogs Trust website for more information.
Find out the average cost of dog insurance and what affects this in: How much does dog insurance cost?
Common neutering objections:
“My dog won’t be able to hunt as well.”
Neutering does not affect your dog’s hunting ability or instinct. In fact, your dog will be less distracted by other dogs and better able to concentrate on the job at hand.
“Changing makes them fat and lazy.”
Overeating makes dogs fat and lazy without spaying or neutering. There are many overweight intact dogs out there. Your dog will be healthy and live longer if he is modified.
“I want my children to experience the miracle of birth, and puppies are so much fun” or “We want to keep a puppy”.
Pregnancy is not risk-free. Are you willing to risk losing the mother dog? Are you willing to do the work to find a responsible home for each puppy she produces?
If the new pet parents find they can’t keep their puppy, are you willing to take it back and find a new home?
A dog is a big responsibility. A litter of dogs multiplies that responsibility and work. Thousands of dogs and puppies are euthanized every year.
“My dog is too old.”
Your dog is almost never too old for spay/neuter surgery. Unless your veterinarian finds a health reason to avoid surgery, have it done. You can always combine the procedure with another, such as to clean teeth, to reduce your pet’s downtime and possibly lower the cost.
Most vets and charities recommend having your dog neutered. Although it is not cheap, it is a responsible procedure.
We recommend that you speak with your veterinarian before proceeding so that you are fully aware of the benefits and risks.
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