Reasons to desex your pet

  1. Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.

  2. Your spayed female won't go into heat. While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!

  3. Your male dog won't want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
  4. Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, unneutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering. 

  5. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet fat. Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.

  6. It is highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your unneutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!

  7. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.

  8. Your pet doesn't need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way. 
  9. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

For every person that is born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born.

Pet overpopulation is a big problem. As these statistics show, in order to help keep up with the current flood of puppies and kittens, every person would have to own two dogs and six cats at all times.

A household of five would have to harbor 10 dogs and 30 cats! Adoption alone is obviously not the answer. Desexing is. Please spey or castrate your pets.

All pets should be desexed for many reasons:

FEMALES (Speying = Ovariohysterectomy)
  • Prevents signs of oestrus (heat).
  • Prevents blood stains on the carpet from the heat cycle.
  • Decreases surplus of puppies and kittens.
  • Decreases the chance of developing mammary (breast) cancer later in life
  • Decreases the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life.
MALES (Castration)
  • Decreases the desire to roam the neighborhood.
  • Decreases aggression -- less chance of Cat AIDS infection and vet bills from fights
  • Decreases incidence of prostate and peri-anal cancers later in life.
  • Prevents testicular tumours
  • Prevents Tom Cat spraying and marking furniture and walls.

Desexing Facts

  • Speying does NOT cause a pet to get fat or lazy. This comes from overfeeding or lack of exercise.
  • Personalities are NOT altered by speying. Personalities do NOT fully develop until two years of age. Aggressiveness and viciousness are not the result of surgery. Guard dogs will still remain protective. Your pet's personalities will ONLY get better!
  • Surgical risk is very slight due to modern anaesthesia and techniques, but there is ALWAYS some SMALL risk when an anaesthetic is used.
  • It is much easier on the pet to be speyed before going through a heat cycle, due to the smaller size of the reproductive tract.
  • The best age to spay or neuter pets is 4-6 months of age.
  • Surgery is performed painlessly while your pet is under general anaesthesia. Post-surgical pain is treated aggressively at the UQ Veterinary Medical Centre. Most pets go home the same day surgery is performed.

The procedure itself

Ever wonder what happens when your pet is desexed? 

 The night before... Animals scheduled to be desexed should be confined by their owners the night before - you would be surprised how many cats 'disappear' on the day they're due to go to the vet! Give them their evening meal, but take away their food at 8.00pm. Leave water with them, but remove it first thing in the morning.


Your pet will be admitted between 8.00am and 8.30am on the morning of his/her surgery. Allow 10-15 minutes to complete the paperwork for the admission process. You will be asked at admission about pre-anaesthetic blood tests. We recommend that all animals undergoing anaesthesia have some blood tests performed beforehand. Our in-house lab allows testing to be done in under 15 minutes. These tests allow us to "expect the unexpected". It is rare to find anything wrong in young animals, but we have detected congenital liver and kidney disease in some animals as young as 3 months.

Please ensure at admission that you specify the best contact telephone number to get you on during the day of your pet’s surgery, whether it is a mobile, work or home number. It is important that we be able to contact you at any time throughout the day to discuss your pet’s condition. 

If there is anything additional your pet requires that you would like performed at the time of desexing eg. Microchipping, nail clipping, etc, please make your wishes known at admission.

Preparation for surgery

Once your pet has been admitted, an intravenous catheter will be placed in the front leg (this is the shaved area you will see when you take your pet home). If required blood will be collected at that time and blood tests run through. After interpreting the blood results, the veterinarian will administer a combination of a sedative and a painkiller. (Research has proved that pain relief works best if given before any painful procedure is performed.) Once your pet is heavily sedated and relaxed, an intravenous anaesthetic is administered via the IV catheter. When anaesthetised, your pet is intubated (a tube is placed in his/her trachea) and attached to an anaesthetic machine that delivers oxygen and isoflurane, an anaesthetic gas. Your pet is also started on intravenous fluids (these fluids maintain your pet's blood pressure while anaesthetised).
The surgical area is then clipped, cleaned and sterilised while the vet is scrubbing up. Your pet is also attached to a pulse oximeter - a machine that gives a constant reading on pulse rate and blood oxygen concentrations - and an ECG. Your pet's blood pressure is also monitored throughout the procedure. Most importantly, a trained vet nurse is constantly with your pet, overseeing the monitors and ensuring your pet's safety.

The surgery itself

Once everything is ready to start the surgery, the veterinarian covers the surgical area with sterile drapes and opens a sterile instrument kit. Speying is a complete ovariohysterectomy i.e. the surgeon opens the abdomen and locates the uterus and both ovaries. The ligament and blood vessels between the ovaries and the kidneys are clamped and ligated (tied off). Depending on the size of your pet, this ligation may be done with suture material or stainless steel clips (haemoclips). The base of the uterus is then similarly clamped and ligated. The entire uterus and both ovaries are then removed. The abdomen is then closed with 3 layers of sutures - one in the muscle, the next in the fat under the skin, and then the skin itself.

Castration of dogs is performed by removing both testicles through a small incision just in front of the scrotum. The entire testicle is clamped, ligated and removed - it is not a vasectomy! Once the testicles have been removed, the skin and subcutaneous fat are closed with 2 layers of sutures. Cats are done slightly differently - a small incision is made over each testicle, the testicle is removed and then the skin incision is left open to heal.

After the surgery

Once the surgeon has finished closing the skin, the anaesthetic gas is turned off. (Your pet remains on oxygen and fluids until nearly awake.) While still anaesthetised your pet is tattooed in the left ear with a green circle with a line through it. This tattoo is recognised all over Australia as a symbol of a desexed animal. Another painkilling injection is thenadministered - this one lasts for 24 hours. So your pet has received pain relief before and after the surgery.

In most case, before your pet recovers consciousness an Elizabethan collar (a 'bucket') is placed over his/her head to prevent him/her chewing at the skin sutures or licking the wound. Contrary to popular belief, a dog or cat licking its wound does not speed recovery - it simply infects the wound and can lead to wound breakdown.

Once your pet's surgery is complete, he or she will be taken to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for recovery. Your pet is regularly monitored during the recovery period. Once awake enough your pet will be offered food and water. 

Discharge and aftercare

Most pets will be sufficiently recovered to go home between 4.00pm and 6.00pm the same day. If we feel your pet is not ready to go home for any reason, we will call you .

Once your pet is home they can usually eat a small meal. They should be kept quiet and rested for a few days, and should not go for any walks or runs till the sutures are removed - no matter how good they feel! You will be given written discharge instructions that lists possible complications. If you see any problems developing at all, contact  us immediately.

Our goal is to make desexing as safe and pain-free as possible. We find that the techniques we currently use give us our best results - we rarely find pets are frightened to come back to the VMC after desexing - a common experience in clinics that do not use as much pain relief and fluid therapy.

Desexings are performed on weekdays only. We need appointments to be made several days in advance - this can be done simply by calling the Surgery during normal business hours. Our staff will be more than happy to give you an estimate of the costs at that time - fees are determined by whether your pet is a dog or cat, male or female, young or older, fat or thin, pregnant or not pregnant, in season or not.