Neutering Policies

NEUTERING CATS

We recommend that male and female cats are neutered at 4 months old.

​This is a safe age for a general anaesthetic and surgery and by this age kittens will have protection from their vaccination course.

SPAYING BITCHES

We recommend neutering of bitches at 6 months old before their first season.

This is a safe age for a general anaesthetic and surgery.

Removal of the ovaries stops reproductive cycles (“seasons”) and the risk of pyometra (uterine infection). Studies have shown that neutering before the first season virtually eliminates the risk of mammary cancer in later life. Even though the uterus remains, uterine cancer, especially malignancy is extremely rare. Studies also show that neutering at this stage does not increase the risk of developing urinary incontinence above those neutered after having seasons.

Our veterinary surgeons usually neuter bitches by ovariectomy, i.e. removal of the ovaries, though during surgery the veterinary surgeon may decide that removal of the uterus as well is best.

CASTRATION OF DOGS

Dog castration can reduce the incidence of some prostate disease and tumours around the anus, and can help with some behavioural problems by removing the source of testosterone (the testicles). Over-sexed behaviour, pining for bitches in season and aggression against other male dogs may all be helped.

The operation is best carried out when the dog has finished growing and this age depends on the size of the breed.

There is also an injectable implant which provides a temporary (6 – 12 month) “chemical” castration.

​We recommend that you discuss whether and when your dog should be castrated with one of our veterinary surgeons or senior nurses.

SPAYING OF FEMALE RABBITS

We recommend all female rabbits are spayed, whether they are kept with a male or not. This is because female rabbits are extremely prone to developing uterine tumours in middle and older age. Also they are less likely to fight with their companion rabbit if they are spayed. Female rabbits can become sexually mature at 4 months old; the best time to spay them is from 5 months old.

CASTRATING MALE RABBITS

Male rabbits can be castrated at 4 months old. We recommend neutering, obviously to prevent unwanted pregnancies if they are kept with a female rabbit, but also to prevent fighting and aggression with their companion. Castrated males also tend to make happier and friendlier pets.

NEUTERING OF FERRETS

In recent years surgical neutering of ferrets has been linked to the development of adrenal disease later in life, which can be a serious and life-limiting condition. For this reason we no longer recommend surgical neutering of ferrets. Fortunately there is a hormonal implant – Deslorelin – which can be used to ‘chemically neuter’ ferrets without the later adrenal effects. The implant lasts from 2-4 years, and then needs to be repeated. For ferrets that are already surgically neutered the implant can also be used to prevent further adrenal disease.