Updated: Mar 6, 2019

Neutering can help prevent illnesses and some unwanted behaviours. Neutering is the general term used for the surgical removal of the reproductive organs.

The Big Snip

Some people baulk at the idea of having their pet neutered, but did you know that neutering can reduce or even eliminate the risk of several potentially life-threatening diseases, saving your pet’s life and you in vet bills?

What is a 'Spay'?

A spay (or ‘ovariohysterectomy’) is the surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus through an incision in the abdominal wall. It requires a full anaesthesia and generally requires a day stay in hospital. With pain relief on board the girls are usually back in action the next day and completely healed within 2 weeks.

Why Spay?

First and foremost, spaying completely eliminates the risk of unwanted or unnecessary litters. Not only is this good for the individual, as complications arising from pregnancy can be life threatening, often requiring expensive surgical intervention and expensive bills, but also relieves the already heavy population of unwanted pets already looking for homes.

Mammary cancers (breast cancers) in cats and dogs are a very real threat and can be fatal in 90% of cats and 45% of dogs. A female dog spayed before her first season has a much lower chance of developing cancer, compared to bitch spayed after her 3rd season or never spayed at all. A ‘Pyometra’ is an infection of the uterus that is life threatening and often requires urgent (and expensive) surgical treatment.

Commonly it affects older bitches and usually occurs about 3 weeks after their last season. Untreated, it can quickly become fatal. This can also affect cats.Spaying also eliminates ‘seasons’ in dogs, where they bleed for up to several weeks and a female cat calling for a mate all hours of the night when she is in season becomes a thing of the past. Several other diseases can be complicated by hormones, so spaying is definitely a good idea in all cases.

What about the Boys?

Castration involves the surgical removal of both testicles. It has been proven to reduce sexual aggression in both cats and dogs, reducing or eliminates wandering (e.g., no more looking for ladies!) and can prevent several disorders of the prostate (e.g. life threatening cancers). It reduces fighting and wandering behaviours in tom cats, reducing the risk of them contracting diseases such as Feline AIDS, which are transmitted sexually or through bite wounds. The undesirable habit of urine spraying in Tom Cats is also reduced or completely eliminated.

Are they at Risk?

Spaying and castrating are generally safe procedures in the hands of a good surgeon and well managed anaesthesia. Post-operative pain and bleeding can easily managed with appropriate relief. Older animals are generally a higher risk, so it is a good idea to have some blood work done to screen for any potential problems before anaesthesia.


Spaying or castrating your dog at or just before puberty (and before the first season) reduces or completely eliminates the risk of several diseases that can be fatal to your pet. A one off operation and one off cost early on could literally save your pet’s life, and you thousands of pounds in the long run.

If you would like to have your pet neutered, or would like to discuss the pros and cons of the operation further, call Otter Vets to make an appointment.

If you have any queries, please give us a call or pop in and speak to one our members to staff who are always happy to help.