Information on Neutering
When it concerns neutering I am of the opinion a dog or a bitch should NOT be neutered until they are at least 18mths old. I also believe bitches MUST have two seasons before they are spayed. Normally the first season is at roughly a year of age, however they can be as early as 5 months old. It is important you allow your dog to develop before you consider neutering, which is why I advise they need to be 18 months old. You must wait 3 months after the season for the timing to be just right. So the operation is performed halfway between the six monthly cycle (most bitches have a season every 6 months but they can vary to four monthly cycles). Spaying too early can prevent the bitch from developing appropriately but not only that you DO risk having the operation carried out at what could potentially be a very risky time. If she is about to come into season at the time of the operation, the uterus will be very friable (which means it will tear easily) therefore putting the bitch under unnecessary risk whilst having the procedure carried out. I personally am totally against early neutering.
If you decide you are not going to neuter, I would suggest it is a good idea to have your bitch spayed at the age of seven to prevent the risk of pyometra.
Before you make the decision to neuter your dog, you should consider the following information:-
The pros in neutering the bitch are in preventing unwanted pregnancy and reducing the risk of mammary tumours in bitches, it prevents a bitch from suffering from a life threatening condition called a pyometra. Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas and also removes the small risk of uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers.
The pros in neutering male dogs are in reducing the risk of prostate disorders, removing the risk of testicular cancer, but it also will help reduce perianal fistulas and possibly help reduce diabetes too.
The age of the dog is of great significance when considering neutering your dog or bitch. If done before puberty in the bitch then it is more likely they will suffer from a recessed vulva, vaginitis and vaginal dermatitis. If a dog or a bitch is neutered before they are a year old they are more likely to suffer from bone cancer so timing is very important. A growing dog needs its hormones to develop properly. The hormones assist with the closing of the growth plates (at the top and bottom of his bones). Whilst the dog is growing the growth plates are spongey and fragile. At the age of 12 months the growth plates start to close and harden. The hormones play a role in closing the growth plates.
Other factors to consider when neutering a male dog is that it could increase the risk of hypothryoidism, obesity, urinary tract cancers and prostate cancer.
Other factors to consider when neutering a bitch is it will increase the risk of splenic tumours, cardiac haemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism, urinary spay incontinence, obesity, urinary tract tumours.
Neutering dogs and bitches clearly is beneficial in preventing unwanted puppies and preventing some varieties of cancers. Guidance must be sought regarding timing and the associated risks in neutering early.
What to expect when you have the operation done:-
You will be advised to starve your dog before the operation, usually removing food the night before at approx 7-8pm and taking the water up last thing at night. (some vets vary on the timing of when to remove the water). It is important to withhold the food as when under anaesthetic the risk of vomiting up food is increased and therefore your dog could choke on the undigested food.
On arrival at the vets you will have to sign a consent form. Your dog will be given a premed to make your dog a little sleepy. Not only does it help keep your dog calm whilst he or she is waiting for the procedure but it also will reduce the anaesthetic required.
When you pick up your dog later that day (usually in the afternoon) he/she should be able to walk, though may be a little wobbly. You may need to support your dog with a towel when you take him/her out for a wee.
Your dog is likely to be sleepy for the evening and maybe a little tender. Some dogs will be particularly whiny and vocal whilst the anaesthetic works its way through the system. This will wear off as time goes on. Normally additional painkillers are not required, however if you are concerned at how your dog is coping then you must phone your vet for advice.
You must keep your dog quiet whilst the stitches are in. The stitches remain in for approximately 8-10days. You will need to check with your vet if they have used dissolvable stitches or if the stitches need to be removed. If the stitches become stretched then this could cause wound irritation, inflammation and then infection, wound breakdown. If your dog is likely to chew the stitches, you can ask for a buster collar or put a t-shirt on your dog to cover the wound. (though do not cover the wound so that you cannot check it easily – ie. Do NOT use a bandage!)
Feeding after the operation – a light meal of chicken and rice, then continue with usual food the following day.
Exercise to be reduced or on a lead depending on the personality of your dog – if he/she is a complete lunatic then you would be better of letting the dog having a quiet off lead walk rather than allowing him/her to become a demented loon at the end of a lead which could also create damage to the woundsite.
If the wound becomes swollen or is oozing either blood or clear fluid then you must seek the advice of the vet who carried out the procedure.
If you have any doubts or concerns you must phone your vet for advice. All vets have to have a 24hour service.