Castrating your Dog

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Please arrive between 8.30am & 9am
Please toilet your pet prior to arrival.

Castration is the removal of the testicles. The operation is a one off procedure and is not reversible. Once your dog has been castrated he will never be able to father puppies. The normal dog has two testicles situated in the scrotal sac. It is not uncommon, however, for one or both testicles to fail to migrate down into the sac during early life. This is known as cryptorchidism. Sometimes, the testicles can be felt in the groin or occasionally, they are fully within the abdomen.  Dogs that are cryptorchid should not be bred from.

When should I castrate my dog?

We feel that the ideal time to castrate a dog is at five to six months old, although adult dogs can be castrated at any time.

What are the advantages?

Reduction of dominance related behaviour. Many entire dogs cause problems through being overly dominant in the family hierarchy. Being castrated usually lowers the dog’s rank in the family pecking order.

Reduction in vagrancy. Some entire dogs have a tenancy to wander and be a nuisance to neighbours, especially if there is a local bitch in heat.

Reduction in excesses of sex linked behaviour. Many entire dogs can become a nuisance and embarrassment with excessive mounting behaviour. Whilst many grow out of the behaviour as they mature and others are trained out of it by their owners, some are left mounting family members, visitors and furniture. Castration usually reduces this problem to a minimum.

Some entire dogs become very disturbed by local bitches in season and although the might not have the opportunity to wander, they can be a problem with howling at night and going off their food.

Prevention and treatment of testicular cancer. Testicular cancer is common in the older dog. When the testicles are in the scrotum, we can feel the vast majority of tumours without difficulty and we would recommend castration be done fairly quickly. Fortunately most forms of testicular cancer if diagnosed early are not life threatening and surgery is usually curative.

In cryptorchid dogs, there is a higher incidence of cancer in the retained testicle.  When in the groin, we can usually still feel if there are any problems. An abdominal testicle, however, would have to be greatly enlarged before it could be felt. Some believe that dogs with abdominal testicles should, at least, have the affected testicle removed when young to prevent cancer in later life. If your dog is cryptorchid, we shall discuss this with you.

Prevention and treatment of male hormone linked diseases is another common reason for castration. Diseases helped or prevented by castration include, certain anal tumours, perineal hernia (hernia around the anus) and prostatic enlargement.

What are the disadvantages?

Castration, although a routine procedure for small animal veterinary surgeons, involves a general anaesthetic. A small number of animals have problems with anaesthetics, the operation itself and with post operative haemorrhage. This can result from too much activity, dislodging one of the internal blood vessel ties. Surgical experience & good nursing help and careful supervision does reduce the risk but that risk cannot be totally eliminated.

There is a higher proportion of overweight castrated dogs compared to their entire counterparts. There is no doubt that a castrated dog requires less food for a given weight and activity level. We suggest reducing the amount fed by 10-15% immediately after stitches out. It is easier to increase the food for dogs that lose a little weight than to diet those who have become overweight.

Energy requirements of neutered animals goes up by 30-35% within 24hours of their operation, making them want to eat more – no reason for this has been discovered yet, which is why we advise reducing their food straight away.

With proper management, there is no reason for any weight gain as a result of castration.

The consent form

We shall ask you, or an authorised adult, for written permission to perform the operation on your pet. We make time to guide you through the consent form so that we can explain any terms that you do not understand or are worried about.

We ask you to come in before the date of operation, so we can ensure you fully understand the consent form and give you time to ask any questions you may have.  You may request a financial estimate at this appointment, either printed or verbal.

The operation

All pets undergoing surgery at A+G Vets have an analgesic (painkiller) as part of their premeditation, so that they are more comfortable and therefore less frightened when they wake up.

We allocate each pet an individual kennel. The kennels are warm and sound insulated and each has a lightweight polyester fleece for warmth and comfort. All animals are within sight of the nursing team, allowing prompt intervention, if required.

Pre-Anaesthetic Blood Sample

Some problems cannot be determined by physical examination alone and we have the facility to perform a pre anaesthetic blood screen to determine whether there is damage to the liver or kidney function. We have a modern blood analyser and results are available within 15 minutes, allowing any adjustments to be made in the anaesthetic protocol.   We would strongly recommend this for older patients or ones who have a pre-existing illness.

Fluid Therapy

As is routine in human hospitals, we can provide intravenous fluid support (a drip) for our patients. We believe this benefits all pets and allows them to make a stronger and speedier recovery.  Although all patients would benefit from this, we would strongly recommend this for older patients or ones with a pre-existing illness.

Care of surgical wounds

Wounds do not normally require any attention except for you preventing your pet licking excessively at the wound, or removing the stitches. We provide a clear, plastic buster collar and we would recommend that your pet wears it at all times. We have to make a charge for re suturing wounds, often involving another anaesthetic, if stitches have been lost as a result of a lack of supervision.

We also recommend lead exercise only, for a minimum of ten days, until the stitches are removed.  Over-exercise will lead to a fluid filled swelling around the wound, which may require to be drained.

Stitches out

We normally remove stitches after ten days, although we may advise that they stay in longer, depending on the size or position of the wound. Occasionally, there may be a need for intra-dermal sutures – these are dissolving sutures and do not need to be removed.  We may also use a special tissue glue which does not need to be removed, as it will disappear naturally over time.

Contact us if you are worried.  

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