Neutering advice from Clarendon Street Vets
February 21, 2023
The benefits of spaying and castrating pets (collectively known as ‘neutering’) are numerous and worthy of careful consideration by pet owners. With World Spay Day 2023 at the end of February, we think now is the perfect time to share our knowledge and advice.
Neutering may significantly increase your pets longevity, as it reduces the risk of certain tumours and life-threatening health conditions. It also reduces some hormone related aggressive and undesirable behaviours and of course eliminates the possibility of unplanned litters.
If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons of having your pet spayed (female) or castrated (male), please do get in touch with our 28 Clarendon Street team.
Companions, wellbeing, and neutering
You could consider neutering a contributory factor to your pet’s general wellbeing and happiness if you are considering getting them a companion. When thinking about having two pets there are a few things our vets suggest you consider in relation to neutering. These include,
- Are you having pets of the opposite sex, or will your pets encounter the opposite sex outside of your home?
- Do they need to be neutered to stop unwanted pregnancies?
- Do they need neutering for other health reasons?
- If paired with the same sex, are they more likely to fight?
Below are some of the most common pets we see in pairs, and what pet owners should be thinking about when considering a second pet for company.
Dogs are social animals, and they can be happy with just you for company or with a canine companion. Slow introductions are important when bringing a second dog into a home to avoid disagreements. Our Vet Patrick advises that if you are considering keeping a male and female, one will need to be neutered to prevent any unwanted pregnancies. Same sex pairing should be done slowly to ensure both are comfortable and happy with their partner. If introductions are done properly this should reduce any conflict.
Whilst cats can be social, they often prefer to live on their own. To maximise your chances of successfully introducing a partner you should make introductions slowly. This is especially important in a multi-cat household. Also, it is vital to ensure there are enough litter trays and food & water bowls, so that cats are not forced into close proximity if they would prefer a little space. The normal rule for litter trays is one of each per cat plus one extra. As with dogs, Patrick recommends neutering to prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduce any friction, and to enhance the health benefits mentioned earlier.
Rabbits are very social creatures and would always live with others in the wild. If you’re keeping a mixed pair at home, one or both will need to be neutered to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Rabbits can start to breed from 4 months old, and can have multiple litters in a season, so if you have a mixed sex pair do not delay neutering either or both! Two females are more likely to fight if living together so careful consideration on the sex is important. Although, like other pets, same sex couples can live happily together if they are introduced slowly.
Guinea are also very social but need to be neutered to live in an opposite sex pair. Two males are generally also at higher risk of fighting, so ideally having either two females or a male and a female would be best. Patrick advises potential owners that guinea pigs can mate from around 2 months old, and it is dangerous for a female to get pregnant after 8 months of age as by this age the bones of the pelvis have fused and she will almost certainly need a caesarean.
The neutering of Ferrets is a fairly complex topic and we would advise any client to have a chat with the vets before booking a procedure.
If a female ferret (or Jill) isn’t either neutered or mated she can suffer serious health problems. This is because female ferrets are induced ovulators. This means they need to mate to stimulate the ovaries to release eggs. If a Jill does not ovulate, she’ll continue to produce oestrogen and stay in season until mated. Remaining in season can cause many health problems, including alopecia (hair loss) and in extreme cases, death from oestrogen associated anaemia.
On the other hand, neutering male and female ferrets can lead to complications including the development of a hormonal condition called hyperadrenocorticism. This normally happens several years after neutering. So, if your ferrets have been neutered, they may still require ongoing hormone implants to prevent this. For male ferrets (or Hobs) vasectomy is another option. This prevents pregnancies without having such a major effects on hormone release, however it may not be as effective at preventing aggression behaviour between males.
Rats are very social animals that are often happiest in single sex or breeding pairs. Unneutered ‘entire’ males stand a good chance of fighting but as with other pets, having them neutered will reduce aggression, diminish health issues, and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Talk to our vets about neutering
If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons of neutering, especially if you’re thinking of getting a second ‘companion’ for an existing pet, then don’t hesitate to ask us for advice.