Albion Park & Gerringong

Albion Park Vet

To Desex or Not to Desex?

That is the question.

There are a number of things to consider when deciding if and when to get your pet desexed.

Health benefits of desexing

• Prevents unwanted pregnancy.

• Prevents uterine cancer, ovarian cancer and pyometra (a life-threating infection of the uterus) in females.

• Reduces the risk of mammary (breast) cancer in females.

• Reduces the risk of prostate, urinary tract and testicular diseases in males.

Behavioural benefits of desexing

• Less cleaning! You won’t have to deal with female dogs bleeding while on heat.

• Reduces “needy” and vocal behaviour of female cats when on heat.

• Reduces territorial marking/spraying behaviours in males.

• Reduces the urge of males to seek out females on heat (which can lead to escaping).

• Reduces aggressive behaviour between males.

Disadvantages of desexing

• Desexing can slow down the metabolism, which can lead to weight gain, however this can be avoided by feeding a balanced diet.

• Female dogs have an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence, particularly in large breeds.

Desexing age

As a general rule, we recommend that dogs and cats are desexed between 5-6 months of age. But there are some exceptions to that rule:

• It’s recommended that you delay desexing of large breed dogs (dogs that will be 20kg or more when fully grown) until they are 12-18 months old. This is to allow their bones to grow appropriately.

There has also been some limited new research around delaying desexing for some other breeds due to potential risk of certain cancers if desexed early. These include Cocker Spaniels, male Boston Terriers, male Miniature Poodles and female Shih Tzus.

• Councils require cats to be desexed by 4 months of age. If you delay desexing (unless it’s medically necessary) or do not desex your cat, you will be required to pay an annual permit fee. 

• Councils require dogs to be desexed by 6 months of age, unless there is a medical reason not to do so. If you choose not to desex your dog, you will pay a higher Council registration fee. If we recommend delaying desexing due to breed/health concerns, we can provide you with a letter for the Council so that you aren’t charged the additional registration fee.

As with everything, the decision to desex is about balancing the risks and benefits. If you’re unsure or would like more information about desexing, we’re here to help.