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Neutering Your Dog or Cat

Randy Walker DVM

About Neutering...

Neutering is the common term for surgical removal testicles in the male dog or cat. This is a commonly performed procedure.

What Are The Benefits Of Neutering The Male Dog Or Cat?

The main advantages of neutering the pet are that this lessens the tendency toward aggression and roaming (especially when around females in season). Neutering also helps to reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies in the pet population. Another benefit of neutering is that it greatly decreases the incidence and severity of prostate problems and eliminates diseases of the testicles (such as testicular cancer). Also, neutering greatly decreases the tendency to "spray" or ''mark territory" with urine. This is very beneficial, especially in Tom cats.

Briefly, How Is The Neuter Operation Performed In The Male Dog?

First the patient is placed under a mild general anesthesia. Then, using strict sterile technique, an incision is made in the area just in front of the scrotum and both testicles are removed through this incision while taking care to ligate (meaning to ''tie-off'') all of the blood vessels. Then the incision is sutured using dissolvable sutures placed just under the skin. Once the patient is fully awake and mobile they are free to go home. Since only dissolvable sutures are used in this operation, the patient does not need to return for suture removal.

Briefly, How Is The Neuter Operation Performed In The Male Cat?

First the patient is placed under a mild general anesthesia. Then, using strict sterile technique, two incisions are made in the scrotum and each testicle is removed while taking care to ligate (meaning to tie-off") all of the blood vessels. No skin sutures are used in the cat neuter operation and once the patient is fully awake and mobile they are ready to go home.

What Is The Recommended After Care For The Neutered Pet?

Activity should be restricted for a few days after surgery. The patient should be discouraged (especially dogs) from licking or chewing at the surgery site. It sometimes helps to replace the cat's normal litter with shredded paper for a few days. Also, it is common for the scrotum of the cat to swell some for a couple of days after surgery and this is usually no cause for alarm.

How Old Should My Dog Or Cat Be Before Neutering?

I personally believe the neuter should he performed after the patient is 6 months old.

Why Is It Best To Wait Until The Pet Is 6 Months Old Before Neutering?

I believe it's best to wait until the patient is 6 months old before neutering because if the neuter is performed before this time there can be problems with the permanent teeth coming in properly and also problems with proper bone growth. After the permanent teeth have all come in (which is usually 6 months in both cats and dogs) the patient is old enough to be neutered. Another reason I prefer to wait until 6 months of age before the neuter is performed is because at this age we are dealing with a more mature system (liver, spleen, heart, etc.) which is better able to handle anesthetics. Also, I believe that if Tom cats are neutered too young (before 6 months) they can have more problems with Feline Urologic Syndrome (FUS) which is a common urinary tract problem of male cats.

Will My Dog Or Cat Become Overweight After Neutering?

After neutering, some pets do tend to put on weight. If this is the case we should control the pet's weight by reducing food intake, switching to a higher fiber/lower calorie food, and increasing exercise (in dogs). It should be noted that although we do see a tendency to become overweight, we also see many neutered males who are normal weight or thin depending on their individual metabolism. Just because a dog or cat has been neutered does not automatically mean that he will gain weight. Another interesting point is that, of the neutered pets who put on weight, most of them become overweight due to a combination of several factors (including a high fat diet, sedentary lifestyle, overeating, etc.) and not just because they have been neutered. 

- Randy Walker DVM
Sun Lakes Animal Clinic
May 16,2004

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened."
- Anatole France, 1921 Nobel Prize Speech -

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