In this article, sterilisation either means spaying for female cats and dogs or neutering for male cats and dogs. Spaying, also referred to as an ovariohysterectomy (OVH), is the complete removal of the female reproductive tract whereas neutering, also referred to as castration or an orchidectomy, is the removal of the testicles.
We at Vet Hospital Port Shepstone recommend early sterilisations. This makes dogs and cats less inclined to roam and prevents them from having unwanted offspring. Less roaming reduces the chances of being hit by a motor vehicle or getting involved in fights with other animals.
In dogs, early sterilisation also prevents the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (such as TVTs) and in cats, it prevents bite-related conditions such as Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV), Feline AIDS and bite-related abscesses.
In dogs, neutering often stops territorial marking and significantly reduces the incidence of prostate problems. In tomcats, it prevents spraying and bullying of other cats.
Female dogs spayed early cannot develop uterine and ovarian tumours, life-threatening uterine infections (pyometra) and have much less chance of developing mammary cancers.
We at Vet Hospital Port Shepstone also promote sterilising dogs with a history of Demodectic mange and other gene-related conditions.
The risk of sterilisation-related problems is much lower than the risk of problems when pets are not sterilised.
The best age to sterilise your dog or cat is between five and six months of age. This allows them to be strong enough to cope with anaesthesia, but they have not had their first heat cycle or reached puberty yet.
What we do at Vet Hospital Port Shepstone
- Male and female sterilisations are done under general anaesthesia. We use the safest possible anaesthetics to ensure the lowest complication rates. At Vet Hospital Port Shepstone, sterilisations are done by a well-trained, experienced veterinarian. These procedures are done in a dedicated, fully-equipped, sterile surgical operation theatre.
- Before the operation, each animal undergoes a pre-anaesthetic examination to eliminate obvious underlying interfering diseases.
- At Vet Hospital Port Shepstone, all animals are given pain killers before, during and after the operation (included in the total cost).
- Certification of sterilisation through the pet’s vaccination history card.
- For very small dogs and all cats, we also make use of incubator facilities to ensure optimal recovery times.
The elective sterilisation procedure
- Only healthy animals will be electively sterilised.
- Because we do dozens of these operations every month, telephonic or office bookings at our hospital at least one day in advance are essential. We do sterilisations on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
- Breakfast should be withheld the morning of the operation.
- Pets should be admitted to the hospital between 08:00 and 10:00. If all goes well, he/she will be discharged between 16:00 and 18:00 on the same day. Some pets might need to stay for the night.
- Pets should be accompanied by their official vaccination history card.
- A staff member will inform you of the progress after the operation. Also refer to the Vet Hospital Port Shepstone Standard Operating Procedures for additional information.
- Dogs are only discharged when they reach full consciousness and are able to walk.
- All dogs and cats should be treated for fleas at least two days before the operation, otherwise, if necessary, he/she will be treated at the owner’s cost before the operation.
- Owners will get full written and oral discharge instructions for each case.
- Dogs and cats should be kept quiet and isolated the evening after the operation.
- Some dogs or cats will refuse to eat the evening of the operation. Full activity and appetite will return by the next morning.
- Wound monitoring – the operation wound should be kept clean and dry and dogs and cats should be monitored for stitch licking and biting. In the case where dogs and cats are licking their wounds, a protective Buster collar is advised.
- Spayed dogs and cats and neutered dogs will need stitches to be removed two weeks from the operation. We remove the stitches at no additional charge. Neutered cats have no stitches after the operation.
- Administration of prescribed post-operative pain killers.
For more information on pet sterilisations, please refer to the following articles: