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All you need to know about neutering

Neutering is a routinely performed operation, which stops dogs and cats producing offspring by surgically removing their reproductive organs under general anaesthetic. At Cedar Grove Vets, we can offer your pet a less invasive neutering surgery: lap surgery.

In males it is called Castration and in females it is called Spaying. For males and females, the operation is usually managed as a day procedure and often your pet will be able to return home the same evening as long as they are fully recovered from the anaesthetic.

Why should you neuter your pet?

There are many good reasons for this:

1. Primarily, it decreases the number of unwanted puppies and litters being born. Rescue shelters have many dogs and cats in urgent need of homes due to un-planned pregnancies, and sadly, many of these have been abandoned. 

2. There are proven health benefits for your pet.

  • In males, diseases of the prostate gland and testicles including cancer can be reduced or eliminated.
  • In females, the same applies to diseases and cancers of the ovaries breast tissue and womb.
  • It also helps reduce the risk of diseases transmitted through fighting or other contact, e.g. feline Leukaemia of feline Infectious Virus.

3. Neutering reduces unwanted behaviour such as territorial aggression, fighting, mounting and the unpredictability of the animal when they are ‘in heat’ or can sense a female in heat in the neighbourhood. 

  • Female dogs may experience phantom pregnancies and jealously, guard ‘substitute’ puppies. Female cats may roll and cry is if in pain.
  • Males may become territorial, mark their areas by inappropriate urination, fight and become destructive due to extreme frustration.
  • Both males and females may be more prone to straying, in a desperate attempt to find a mate and sadly this can lead to the animal becoming lost or even injured.

4. Financially, people often underestimate the cost of having a litter of puppies or kittens. There may be complications during pregnancy, including the possible need for a caesarean section, the cost of additional feeding for the mother and new born plus veterinary medications etc.


People sometimes feel it is unnatural or unkind not to let their pet have a litter. In reality, pets that are neutered early do not ‘miss’ the experience, and there is a good case for arguing that it may be more unkind to keep your pet “entire” or un-neutered and deny them the strong hormonally driven behaviour that nature drives them to try to express. Remember that although dogs and cats have been domesticated for many hundreds of years, there is a strong primal urge to reproduce, and we see many animals presented with behavioural or medical problems that could so easily have been prevented by neutering.

And think about it from you and your family’s point of view also – the hassle of a female coming into season for 3 weeks every six months. A female cat crying every 3 weeks during the mating season and attracting all the stray tomcats in the area to your garden. Your male cat spraying strong urine in your house and getting into many fights. Your dog breaking out of the back garden and going missing in pursuit of a female.

All in all, neutering encourages calmer, more predictable behaviour, making your dog a more balanced, healthy family pet. It doesn’t change their ‘spirit’ and pets need not become obese after the operation (another common concern) if you adjust their diet and exercise accordingly.

Vets and nurses at Cedar Grove are only too happy to discuss any concerns you may have about weight gain, personality changes, or the surgical procedure itself, so please do ask us.

Laparoscopic spays

What are they, and are they worth it?

You’ve decided to get your beloved four-legged friend spayed. You’ve read up on the reduced incidence of mammary tumours, prevention of ovarian and uterine carcinomas, and prevention of pregnancy. You’ve stocked up on diet food in preparation for her change in hormones possibly making her a bit more “cuddly”. You’ve discussed with us about how we will reduce the risks of anaesthesia. You are SET. You are ready. But hold on. You’ve just heard about “lap spays”. Now what?

Laparoscopic spays, also known as keyhole spays, or lap-spays, are a type of spay where minimally invasive techniques are used to see the internal structures of the abdomen. A small incision is made, and a laparoscope (tiny camera) is inserted; this gives vets visual access to the abdomen. Other small incisions may then be made to manoeuvre instruments for the actual procedure.

  • Smaller incisions for faster recovery
  • Less invasive surgery reduces risks

What should I be aware of?

“Going under”: As with all anaesthesia, there are associated risks from affecting the cardiovascular system. Healthy bitches can undergo general anaesthesia without complications, but it is advisable to get a pre-anaesthetic blood tests to detect any abnormal functioning in the liver, for example, and to have a full clinical exam to assess cardiovascular health.

Fewer doggy bags: Sounds great! In reality, being fasted and the use of some pain medications (opioids) can slow gut transit, resulting in constipation. Contact us if you have concerns about reduced bowel movement following surgery.

Nibble nibble – but not on her kibble… Dogs will often explore their surgical sites by licking and scratching. Any interference with the wound will delay wound healing. Vets and nurses are skilled at appropriate bandaging techniques to make the wound doggy tongue-proof. If she is very persistent, you may need to help of the “buster collar” or, as it is referred to in the film “Up”: “the cone of shame”. If there is bleeding or discharge from the wound, contact us immediately. Risks of delayed wound healing or wound infection are greatly reduced in lap-spays, however.

Pain: Lap-spays, as aforementioned, are less painful than traditional surgical techniques, which is comforting for you, rewarding for us, and beneficial to our patients. We will work to optimise a method of pain-control to work for your dog, ensuring your peace of mind and her happiness. Signs of pain to look out for are:

  • Facial expressions; a tragic facial expression or uncharacteristic anger (lip curling, for example) especially when the wound is approached, can be signs of pain.
  • Licking, biting and obsessing at the wound.
  • Restlessness, hesitancy to lie down.
  • Panting. 

So, what’s the verdict?

Overall, lap-spays have faster and more comfortable recovery. Although it requires great skill, the improved visualisation of the abdomen can make it a “safer” procedure. To conclude, lap-spays seem to be living up to the hype!