Desexing: Everything you need to know

Desexing! Some people shiver at the thought of taking all the fun out of life…whoops, we mean making life so much easier and healthier! Desexing is very important to maintain good health for your pet. The only pets that don’t benefit from desexing are…actually, we can’t think of any.

Steps for Desexing

  • Choose a day by ringing us on 07 4161 1404
  • Give normal food the night before
  • Water overnight is OK
  • No food overnight
  • No breakfast
  • Come in between 9am and 10am (as arranged when making the appointment)
  • Sign a consent form & leave a contact number
  • You head off for the day, you pet has a fun day out at a wild party with lots of drugs (and can’t really remember what happens).
  • Pick up between 2 and 4pm
  • Go home with your pet, have dinner, do normal things together. Your pet should be back to normal and pain free at pick up. The sutures are all absorbable & under the surface of the skin, so there is no need to return for suture removal.
  • Check the surgery site once a day for a week, and contact us if there are any problems.

What Desexing Doesn’t Do

There is a bit of an old wives tale about pets being better if they are allowed to breed once, but it doesn’t add up. Most young animals are hyperactive and a bit stupid (like teenagers really) and they start to breed about the same time as they are settling down into well adjusted adults. If we take the breeding away…they still settle down into well adjusted adults. There are exceptions to every rule, some never settle down…but some that breed never settle down, either. On the whole we don’t think there is any truth to this persistent myth. Another one is that desexed animals put on weight. Well, yes, they can. It isn’t really to do with desexing though. It’s more to do with getting older, slowing down, stopping growing up and starting to grow out, not travelling miles chasing girls… If your pet puts on weight after being desexed then it’s time to have a talk about diet and exercise…just like people in their mid 20’s have to.

There are a few more things desexing won’t do.

  • Older males will still urinate by lifting their leg. The difference is that they will do so when they need to pee instead of every 5 seconds.
  • Desexing will stop dogs wandering for sexual reasons, but if they are wandering because your house is boooorrring and the house with lots of kids and other animals down the road is a fun place to be, they will follow the fun every time.
  • Desexing may help with aggression, particularly with males. It may not completely fix a problem, and aggression is a serious issue that usually needs professional help. Some aggression problems are significant enough euthanasia is required as attempting to fix the problem, including by desexing, is unsafe for other animals and people.

Benefits of desexing female cats:

  • No more calling for males every couple of weeks, driving the owners mad…
  • Queens in heat are escape artists. They make Houdini look like an amateur!
  • No unwanted litters of kittens!
  • No tom cats hanging around, piddling on your back door, car, letter box, house stumps, clothes line post, windows, flyscreens, outside tables, inside the house (if they can possibly get in)….

Benefits of desexing male cats:

  • They stay home more
  • Their urine loses that incredible pungent, offensive tom cat smell that lasts forever
  • They are more affectionate
  • They don’t fight other cats nearly so much
  • Less chance of coming to a sticky end while out chasing girls
  • Less broken teeth and abscesses from fighting other toms over queens in heat.
  • Considerably less risk of contracting life endangering viruses like Cat Aids (FIV) and Feline Leukeamia Virus (FeLV) from fighting.

Benefits of desexing male dogs:

  • They don’t try to escape and wander off finding girls on Friday and Saturday nights (and any other day ending in “Y”)
  • They don’t have this irresistible urge to pee on everything they sniff
  • They don’t behave as aggressively to other dogs
  • They will still be just as good a guard dog at night
  • They don’t get prostate problems later in life.
  • Great for weight loss (Dad joke alert)…they are two stone lighter!

Benefits of desexing female dogs:

  • No coming into heat! Unless you have lived with a bitch in heat it is impossible to comprehend how significant this event is. For two weeks bitches in heat will drip blood, smell funky, lick themselves continually, try to escape and find a male…
  • No males hanging around peeing on everything
  • No unwanted litters of pups to feed, worm, microchip, give away to friends you don’t want…
  • No big dangly teats forever after…OK, that’s just a looks thing, but why do we bother brushing our hair every day then?
  • No risk of uterus infections. These can be life threatening and require emergency surgery.
  • Mammary cancer risk is greatly reduced. Females desexed before they come into heat have the same probability of mammary cancer as males. Mammary cancers (breast cancers) are very common in older bitches that have bred.

If you would like to know more about the specifics of desexing why not give us a ring to talk about it? We’d love to hear from you.

Why choose Gayndah Veterinary Surgery for your pet’s desexing?

We pride ourselves at Gayndah Veterinary Surgery on the quality of our desexing work. There are so many little things that make the difference between an OK job and a great job. We think these things are important enough to get them right every time.

  • Getting stressed animals sedated quickly. We don’t like seeing your pets running around and around in their cage, blood pressure through the roof, worrying about what’s happening and what’s coming next. Unfortunately we can’t let them out of the cage for their own safety, but we can give them drugs to make the world take a step back… If we think your pet is going to be upset about sitting in a cage for a bit we’ll often take the time to get them a sedative as soon as you bring them in.
  • We use anaesthetic drugs that are either short acting, or can be reversed if needed. Gone are the days of clients ringing us at 10pm saying, “You desexed my dog today and he hasn’t moved yet…is this ok?” We like to send pets home in the same condition they came… including being properly awake and pain free.
  • The best surgeries are done with the least damage to the body. We are very careful with handling body tissues to prevent bruising. We like to use fine forceps to prevent crushing the tissues we have to manipulate.
  • We tie off internal blood vessels so that they don’t leak. Period. The discharge instructions say “Keep your pet quiet for the next few days…” but we know they are going to jump off the roof, chase the postman & run through the house bouncing off every piece of furniture that afternoon. So we do the job well enough to be able to get a good night’s sleep ourselves!
  • We understand the difference between ligating and suturing. Ligating is putting a tie around a blood vessel to stop it leaking, and it has to be TIGHT. Suturing is using a piece of string to stitch tissues back together and needs to be STRONG, but not necessarily tight. Tight sutures cause a pulling sensation, pain & discomfort, swelling and scarring. Sutures only need to be tight enough to get the tissues touching, no more. Sometime we will even leave them looser than that, to allow for a little bit of swelling. Sadly many surgeons (including most human doctors) pull their sutures too tight, and a few hours later the swelling has caused unnecessary pressure on the wound.
  • We use a skin closure technique called intra-dermal sutures (technically should be called sub-dermal sutures, if we are being accurate). These sutures are made using absorbable suture material buried underneath the surface of the skin, pulling the skin edges together from below. There are significant advantages to this.
    • There are no holes in the skin being held open with foreign material (sutures) to allow infection into the wound
    • The wound is sealed as soon as the scab dries
    • There is no need to make another trip back to the vet a week later just to get the stitches out
    • There is nothing for the animal to pull at with their teeth
    • There is nothing outside the skin to catch on clothes, buttons, etc.
    • We avoid stimulating the skin nerves with suture material.
    • There is less scarring.
    • There are a couple of downsides to using these buried sutures. They take a little bit more time to place, especially when a surgeon first starts using them. It also takes a bit of practice to learn how to get them neat and achieve the best possible appearance on the external skin. Once the technique is mastered, it is not much slower than placing external (traditional) type sutures.
    • The other downside is the cost of materials. We like using a suture called Vicryl Plus. It contains an antibacterial which helps prevent wound infections. It is expensive compared to some other suture materials but the results are fantastic! Some vets used to offer intra-dermal sutures with an extra charge, but we decided to make sure every surgery was done to the best of our ability.
  • We give all our patients multi-modal pain relief. Back in the bad old days vets could often be heard saying “Desexings don’t need pain relief!” As time passed and we learnt more about pain we realised that pain relief is a vital part of good surgical practice. Once upon a time a lot of vets were offering a 24 hour injection of anti-inflammatory as an “add on at extra cost” to a desexing surgery. We made the decision to build the cost of such pain relief into the price of our desexings and make sure every pet received the best possible care.
  • We are happy to tailor our pain relief protocol for individual patients. Some dogs are “sensitive little souls” and think the world has ended when they walk on a prickle. Others will fly around knocking everything over and on top of themselves, and they just don’t feel it. We aim to keep everyone comfortable, and very occasionally we will see a pet that just needs that little bit extra after a surgery. In fact, owners of such pets will often bring the additional pain relief drugs back in a few days, as they were not needed after the first 24 hours.
  • Having sutures under the skin, minimal bruising and good pain control means that pets don’t lick at the area. This avoids “lick rash” and we can send them home without wearing one of those horrible “cones of shame” to bang into the furniture and the back of your legs for the next week.