The importance of desexing

Desexing is one of the more common and routine procedures your pet will have through a vet clinic, but that does not make it any less important.  We provide routine cat desexing and dog desexing as well as rabbit and guinea pig desexing.  The team at Pet Society Vet are also experienced in mature pet desexing procedures or more complicated cases.  Ask to book a consultation to discuss your pet’s individual needs.

Some people ask what the difference between desexing and sterilisation is. It is most common practice to use the term desexing when we are referring to removal of the reproductive organs. Whereas sterilisation is a procedure that renders the reproductive system non-functional, but may leave the organs within the body. Though the latter may sound attractive, this is not what we recommend as there are many other health benefits of desexing over sterilisation. These include reduction of mammary cancer, testicular disease and cancer, prostatic disease and pyometra (a potentially fatal infection of the uterus). All of these diseases can still occur in the same rate in a sterilised dog or cat as a non-sterilised pet, whereas desexing at the optimal age can greatly reduce these health risks.

A growing area of interest around the topic of dog desexing is when to desex your dog for optimal health. It is currently legislated in South Australia to have all male and female dogs desexed by the age of 6 months unless you, as the owner, are a registered breeder. There are some cases where a medical exemption may be provided for dogs where delaying the desexing age is of benefit to their long-term health. Recent studies have shown that some large breed dogs may have reduced joint disease risk if they are desexed after skeletal development is complete, which can occur between 12- 18 months of age. We still need to consider the individual circumstances and the health risks presented in dogs that are not desexed or are desexed at a mature age, some of which have been mentioned above.

As with many health needs this is something that we encourage you to discuss based on you and your pet’s individual needs through a consultation with your vet.

For cat desexing we recommend desexing by 6months of age. Many cats can be safely desexed younger than 6 months old and is based more on their body weight and health rather than their age. This is why kittens from rescue groups or some breeders will be desexed before rehoming. We support this and can provide cat desexing at a younger age on a case by case basis. Please chat with our team about what might need to be considered for your pet.