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Desexing myths debunked


Desexing – the laws have changed and you have questions. Here are five common myths about desexing and why it just makes sense.

There’s a lot of information floating around out there about the best ways to care for pets, but it can be hard to tell fact from fiction, especially when it comes to having your pet desexed.

Trust me, I’ve heard them all. “My pet will get fat”, “His behaviour will change”, “I can’t take away his manhood”, “It’s too expensive”, “My pets too little”…..

Well, here’s the blunt truth….. Desexed pets live longer! If you could make a decision, that could ensure your pet has the opportunity to live as long a life as possible, wouldn’t you want to do it?

Still not convinced? Need more ‘proof’? Here’s the scoop on five common myths about desexing and why the surgery just makes good sense – for you and your pet.

So here is the TRUTH About Desexing:

Myth: My pet should experience a heat or the joys of parenthood before undergoing the big snip

Truth: The good news is, there is no scientific evidence that suggests it’s better to allow a pet to have a cycle or become a parent before desexing. Why is that good news? Because it’s a heckuva lot easier to live with a desexed pet. Desexed females won’t have a heat cycle, eliminating the likelihood that they will leave bloodstains on your favourite white pants or your newly upholstered sofa, and desexed males are less likely to take off down the road in search of a little action.

There are huge health benefits to desexing your pet as well: Dogs who are desexed before their first heat have a significantly reduced risk of breast cancer. There’s also no chance at all of a severe and sometimes-deadly uterine infection called pyometra, and it essentially eliminates the risk of developing uterine or ovarian cancer. In the same way, desexing male dogs eliminates testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostate problems. And, of course, choosing to desex your pet means you won’t run the risk of contributing to canine or feline overpopulation in your community.

Myth: My pet’s behaviour will change

Truth: This myth can actually be true — but, typically, the changes will be for the better. desexing can smooth out fluctuations in your pet’s behaviour, making it more consistent and pleasant. Females will likely dodge the irritability caused by hormonal changes that occur during heat cycles and may be less prone to pick fights with other dogs. A desexed female usually won’t urinate in your home or at the front door to let surrounding males know she’s “available”, or yowl nonstop to alert every male in the vicinity that she’s ready for a hookup.

We’re not being sexist here: Undesexed male cats and dogs have their own set of hormonally charged, unattractive behaviours — roaming, mounting, urine marking and fighting with other males — that will most likely decrease after desexing. Of course, desexing isn’t a quick fix for all behavioural problems; you’ll still need to work on specific issues with your pet.

Myth: My pet will get fat

Truth: Maybe, but whether your pet puts on the pounds is strictly up to you. The age at which pets are desexed is typically the time their growth slows and they would normally begin to put on weight anyway.

The good news is that weight gain is not inevitable after the desexing surgery. Managing your dog’s diet and exercise is the key to keeping them slim and trim. In most cases, it’s best to measure the food instead of free feeding, don’t feed high-calorie puppy food beyond 5 or 6 months of age, and experiment to determine the best amount for your pet, instead of going by the one-size-fits-all recommendation on the bag or can. It’s okay to give more or less depending on your dog’s individual needs, which are based on breed, activity level and size. When in doubt, ask us to recommend a food and feeding amount that are appropriate for your pet.

Myth: My pet is too young to be desexed

Truth: In many cases, younger is better. Some young animals can reach sexual maturity as early as 4 months of age. With cats, especially, desexing sooner can prevent unwanted litters. Young dogs and cats can be better able to handle the surgery. Younger pets may come out of anaesthesia more smoothly and recover more quickly with less bleeding and pain. That said, some large and giant breeds can benefit from a longer wait before desexing surgery. Talk to us about the best age for your particular breed.

Myth: Desexing surgery is expensive

Truth: Not necessarily. I’m not going to lie, the cost varies depending on whether your pet is a cat or a dog, small or large, young or old or the practice you visit. The surgery is usually less expensive for smaller and younger animals. But here’s some truth – it is a ONCE OFF procedure, it’s a hell of a lot less expensive when you compare it to the cost (think a couple thousand dollars) of a potential Caesarean section if your pet has trouble delivering a litter, or the cost of feeding and caring for pups or kittens and paying for their veterinary checkups, vaccines and deworming before they can be placed in new homes. If money is an issue:

  • Plan for the procedure in advance, put money away weekly so you don’t have to worry about it when the time comes
  • Adopt a pet from a shelter, their fee includes desexing
  • You may be eligible for a low-cost desexing program – do some research
  • Talk to us about the options. We offer VetPay and ZipMoney for your convenience also.


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Pets Health is a full service animal hospital with clinics located in Hilton and O’Halloran Hill. We are dedicated to helping you keep your best mate happy and healthy through each stage of their life with compassionate and reassuring veterinary care.

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O’Halloran Hill Vet Centre

123 Main South Road
O’Halloran Hill, SA 5158

Hilton Vet Centre

142 Sir Donald Bradman Drive
Hilton, SA 5033