Desexing is a common surgical procedure performed under a general anaesthetic by veterinarians. In female cats and dogs, the surgery is called spaying and involves removing the uterus and ovaries. In male cats and dogs, the surgery is called castration and involves removing both testicles. Desexing your pet not only prevents unwanted pregnancies, but it also offers several health and behavioural benefits for your pet. Learn about the recommended age for desexing, the surgery, and post-op care tips for your furry friend.
Recommended age for desexing
Cats are typically desexed between four and six months of age, or once they reach 2kg.
Dogs can be desexed at any age, however the ideal time depends on their breed, size, and health. Desexing prevents unwanted pregnancies, and female dogs that are desexed before their second heat have a significantly reduced risk of mammary cancer and uterine infection.
Smaller dog breeds are often desexed around six months before they reach sexual maturity. The exception is Dachshunds, where new evidence suggests waiting until 12 months of age reduces the risk of spinal disease later in life.
For large breed dogs greater than 20kg, evidence suggests that delaying desexing until maturity (over 12 months of age) may help protect against certain medical conditions. In giant breed dogs, this is often extended until 18-24 months when they reach skeletal maturity.
Talk to your vet to determine the optimal time to desex your pet. Every pet is unique, so it’s important to discuss your and your pet’s circumstances when making this decision.