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Emergency Contact Numbers

During normal hours, call:

02920 621 511

Heath Vets Rhiwbina Surgery: 123-5 Heol-Y-Deri, Rhiwbina, Cardiff CF14 6UH

Outside normal hours, call: 02920 529 446

V.E.T.S. Emergency Clinic: 180/182 Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff CF14 1DL

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Neutering dogs and cats and rabbits involves removing the ovaries and womb from females (spaying) and the testicles from males (castrating). The surgery is done usually at around 6 months of age – ie before puberty. (4 months in rabbits) At this age, the patient has grown sufficiently to cope well with the surgery, yet has not become hormonally active, so the surgery is less major.

Neutering is performed for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it is generally accepted that neutered animals are on the whole healthier; a number of medical conditions related to the reproductive system are common in older animals of both sexes, and neutering prevents these.

Additionally, there may be behavioural or psychological benefits, and sometimes we recommend neutering for these reasons. For example, male cats often spray pungent smelling urine to mark their territory, which can be a serious problem if it is in your living room! Many male animals can be aggressive at times, and neutering reduces this. Females on heat can be noisy, restless, even distressed if not allowed out to mate. Lastly, neutering makes an animal easier to look after – for example they are less inclined to roam, more docile/affectionate, no mess during the oestrus cycle in bitches.

Admissions procedure

All neutering is carried out under general anaesthesia. Therefore dogs and cats must be deprived of food from about midnight the previous evening, and the water bowl removed first thing in the morning. Rabbits do not need to be starved as they are unable to vomit. Patients should be brought to the surgery between 8.15 and 9 am on the appointed day. Please bring cats and rabbits in secure baskets/cages. A consent form will have been prepared and the nurse will ask you to read and sign it. The form points out that all operations and anaesthetics carry small risks, which you accept. If you want to discuss any aspect of the operation, the nurse or a veterinary surgeon will be happy to help. You will probably be asked to telephone for a progress report at lunchtime; at this time we will arrange when your pet will be ready for collection.

After admission, your pet will be weighed to enable the dose of anaesthetic to be accurately calculated. He/she will then be settled into a comfortable hygienic kennel until shortly before the operation. When the vet is ready for the patient, he/she is taken to the Preparation Room, where the vet gives check over to make sure there are no unexpected problems. A pre-med (sedative) may be given, and then the patient is anaesthetised, and the operation performed in the operating theatre. Afterwards, patients are kept under close observation until they are able to walk. They are then returned to their kennels to complete their recovery.

Neutering: Cats

Tom Cats – In male cats, surgery is quite minor. Under a general anaesthetic, the scrotum is incised and the testicles are removed. There is no need for sutures. Patients are discharged the same day.

Queen Cats – In female cats, the operation is a little more major. An incision is made in the left flank of the patient, and the ovaries and uterus are located and removed after ligating the blood vessels to prevent haemorrhage. The wound is sutured in several layers, and you will probably see between one and three skin stitches, which need to be removed after 10 days.

Some pedigree cats are spayed via a midline incision in the belly. This prevents the patch of shaved fur being visible. In the “pointed” coat-colour breeds (eg Siamese), the fur initially grows back a dark colour, before being replaced at the next moult with normal coat colour. The operation is slightly more uncomfortable when performed this way, and takes a little longer, but some owners prefer it.

Queens can be spayed during the early stages of pregnancy with no noticeable effects. Later on, the operation is a bit more major, necessitating a midline incision. Pregnancy up to about 7 weeks can be terminated like this, and although it can be a little traumatic at this stage for the cat, it may be better than allowing a 7 month-old kitten to give birth to and rear 4 or 5 kittens herself.

Neutering: Dogs

Male dogs: Castration is relatively minor, although it is a bigger op than for cats. A single incision is made in front of the scrotum, the testicles are ligated and removed, and the incision sutured with one to three stitches which are removed 10 days later. This is a sensitive area in male dogs, and a few will lick incessantly at the operation site, causing problems. If this happens, a collar is used to protect to stitches until the incision has healed.

Bitches: The surgery for females is actually quite a major op (ask any lady who’s had a hysterectomy!) but most bitches recover very quickly. An incision on the belly is made, usually 1 to 3 inches in length, and the ovaries and womb are removed after ligating the blood vessels. The skin is usually sutured but sometimes tissue glue is used. As with male dogs, some individuals lick incessantly and are determined to remove the sutures, so a collar may be needed to protect until they are removed after 10 days.

Neutering Dogs FAQs

Neutering Rabbits

Bucks (Males): In male rabbits, an incision is made in the skin of the scrotum over a testicle. It is then removed from the scrotum, the blood vessels to it are ligated, and the testicle is removed. The incision is sutured. The same procedure is repeated for the second testicle.

Does (Females):  A common cause of death in old female rabbits is cancer of the womb. Spaying prevents this disease, and allows the doe to live a comfortable and happy life without the mood swings which often occur when she is in season. Does are spayed from about 4 months of age.

An incision is made on the belly behind the umbilicus. The ovaries and uterus are removed after carefully ligating the blood vessels, and the incision sutured in two or three layers. Rabbit tissues are much more delicate than dogs and cats, and we take great care to minimise tissue trauma. We always give painkillers after this surgery. Stitches are removed from the skin incision after 10 days.

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