Neutering of all male and female dogs should be considered if you do not intend to breed with them.
The procedure will be carried out under general anaesthetic and recovery is generally quick with sutures being removed after 10 days.
The majority of bitches will commence having seasons at between 7 and 12 months and will continue to have a season every 6 months thereafter for the rest of her life.
A season lasts around 21 days, during which time she will have a bloody discharge and will also release pheremones, making her “attractive” to males. She is fertile only for a short period during this season.
As the ovaries and uterus are removed at spaying there are no “seasons” to contend with and she cannot become pregnant.
Hormone changes after a season can lead to a false (or phantom) pregnancy, which can cause physical changes with swollen teats and milk production as well as behavioural changes such as nesting or mothering behaviour, and also cause a poor appetite. This will not occur in a spayed bitch.
Infections of the uterus (womb) known as Pyometra can be life threatening in an entire bitch. Spaying similarly avoids ovarian cancer.
Mammary cancer is greatly reduced in a spayed bitch, especially if done at an early age.
Weight gain. This is only a problem in the breeds that tend to put on weight even if left entire. By following a sensible feeding and exercise regime this need not be a problem.
An increased incidence of incontinence occurs in spayed bitches. This can be successfully managed by medication.
The majority of dogs become sexually mature between 6 and 12 months of age. The increased testosterone levels will cause behavioural changes in the dog. This will cause them to mark their territory (i.e. with urine) frequently.
The increased sexuality may cause them to attempt to mount objects and people as well as other dogs. It may also cause them to stray away from home, actively seeking other females. It may, in a few dogs, cause increased aggression towards other dogs and people.
Preventing unwanted pregnancies elsewhere.
The removal of the testicles will prevent the occurrence of testicular cancer, prostatic problems and also the occurrence of anal adenomas (growths which develop around the anus).
It will greatly assist in the management and prevention of behavioural problems as described above.
Weight gain must also be considered in those dog breeds prone to weight gain.
Routinely, we recommend bitches are spayed 3 months after their first season and that dogs are castrated around 9 months of age.
However, please seek advice from your veterinary surgeon or veterinary nurse – neutering can be considered at any age.
Similarly, if you are thinking of breeding from your bitch or dog, please seek advice. It is not something to be undertaken lightly.
Should you wish to discuss any of these issues in more detail, please consult your veterinary surgeon.