De-sexing of the male dog is a common surgical procedure routinely performed at Veterinary clinics and Hospitals. Each year at Karingal Veterinary Hospital hundreds of male dogs are de-sexed. Despite this procedure being commonplace many owners are actually unaware of all the reasons we de-sex male dogs and exactly what happens when they are admitted to the Hospital for the surgery. De-sexing of the male dog is known by several different names. These include castration, neutering or the more correct scientific term of orchiectomy.
What are the advantages of desexing?
There are a number of important reasons why this surgical procedure is performed:
No unwanted puppies. Each year thousands of unwanted dogs and puppies are put to sleep at pounds and shelters throughout Australia. You can help reduce this problem by de-sexing your dog if you do not want to breed with him.
Reduced incidence of prostate problems. Prostatic cancer, prostatic enlargement, infections of the prostate and formation of cysts within the prostate are all common occurrences in male dogs that have not been castrated. All these conditions are almost never seen in dogs that have been de-sexed.
Elimination of testicular cancer. Castrating a male dog means completely removing the testicles. This obviously makes it impossible for your dog to develop testicular cancer later in life.
Prevention and treatment of certain behavioural conditions. Entire male dogs (i.e. male dogs that have not been castrated) have a much higher incidence of certain behavioural conditions. These include inappropriate urination or marking, dominance aggression, fighting between dogs, territorial aggression, escaping, roaming and inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Prevention and treatment of certain behavioural conditions. Entire male dogs (i.e. male dogs that have not been castrated) have a much higher incidence of certain behavioural conditions. These include inappropriate urination or marking, dominance aggression, fighting between dogs, territorial aggression, escaping, roaming and inappropriate sexual behaviour. A de-sexed dog is a lot cheaper to register with the local council if it is not microchipped.
What are the disadvantages of desexing? There is only really one reason for not de-sexing your male dog and that is if you wish to use him for breeding. Once your dog is castrated he is rendered infertile for the remainder of his life. As a result he will never be able to sire any puppies.
Are there any alternatives to de-sexing? In certain circumstances it may be that an owner of a male dog wishes to have some of the benefits of surgically castrating but without it permanent effects. This may be to prevent a male dog from getting a female dog pregnant or seeing if castration will improve the dogs behaviour. Chemical castration is available in the form of an implant. These implants are injected under the skin and last either 6 or 12 months. Once they wear off the dog returns to normal fertility and acts as a normal entire male dog.
Will de-sexing affect my dog's temperament? De-sexing male dogs early enough will reduce the chance of the dog developing aggression problems, roaming, inappropriate urination and inappropriate mating behaviour. It will not affect the dog's overall personality.
Will my dog put on weight after he is de-sexed? It is a common comment by owner's of de-sexed male dogs that "my dog put on weight after he was castrated". After the testicles of a dog are removed his metabolic rate will decrease slightly. This is due the absence of the hormone, testosterone. This reduction in metabolic rate means that the dog does not need to consume as much food as before the surgery to provide adequate amounts of energy. To avoid weight gain after castration, the amount fed to the dog should be reduced. If you are at all concerned about your dog's weight then please consult one of the staff for advice.
At what age should I have my dog de-sexed? At Karingal Veterinary Hospital we recommend that most dogs that are not going to be used for breeding should be de-sexed by 6 months of age. The exception to this is in large and giant breed dogs. These breeds can be prone to a genetic condition called hip dysplasia resulting in their hip joints not forming properly. We recommend that dogs of predisposed breeds be de-sexed at 4 to 5 months of age because we can screen their hips for hip dysplasia and perform a surgical procedure to correct the problem. Once these puppies are 5 months or older the procedure cannot be performed and the puppy will likely go on to develop hip dysplasia. Please speak to a Veterinarian for more information about de-sexing your large or giant breed dog or hip dysplasia.
Castration - What actually happens? Castrating dogs is a common procedure performed in veterinary facilities every day. Because of this fact it is often trivialised as being routine surgery when in reality there is no such thing as routine surgery! We take great care in all aspects of your pets procedure and recommend additional items such a pre-anaesthetic blood testing and intra-operative intravenous fluids to minimise the risk of the anaesthetic. We recommend that your dog be examined by a Veterinarian 2-3 days prior to the scheduled surgery. This allows a full clinical examination to be performed, any additional procedures to be discussed (e.g. Nail trim, microchip etc.), blood samples to be drawn for pre-anaesthetic testing and of course any questions or concerns you may have to be discussed. On the morning of your dogs admission to the Hospital he will again be given a clinical examination before a premedication injection is given. This injection contains both a sedative and powerful pain relief. At the time of the procedure an intravenous catheter is placed in one of the veins of his leg and if you have elected to provide intravenous fluids these are connected at this time. An intravenous anaesthetic is administered through the catheter and a tube is placed into his airway, secured in place and connected to an anaesthetic machine for the duration of the surgery. This machine delivers oxygen and anaesthetic gas to keep him asleep during the procedure. Respiration, heart rate, the amount of oxygen in the dogs blood and body temperature are monitored by several sophisticated pieces of equipment throughout the anaesthetic. A Veterinary nurse will clip and scrub an area of skin positioned between the dogs penis and scrotum with antiseptic solution. Once prepared the Veterinarian will place a sterile drape over the area and an incision is made in the skin. One testicle is exposed through this incision and its large blood supply is clamped, tied off with absorbable suture material and cut. A similar procedure is performed on the ductus deferens (the tube that carries the sperm from the testicle to the penis). Finally the ligament that holds the testicle in its place in the scrotum is cut. The same steps are carried out on the other testicle. Therefore in dogs we totally remove both testicles. Absorbable suture material is then used to stitch up the subcutaneous tissue followed by the final layer of stitches in the skin. A tattoo is placed in the dogs left ear to show that he has been de-sexed and an injection of a pain killer/ant-inflammatory is given. The anaesthetic gas is turned off and he is allowed to recover. Finally the breathing tube is removed and he is placed back into his kennel to make a full recovery from the general anaesthetic. At the time of discharge you are provided with a Sterilisation Certificate, an informative personalised handout that details your pets surgery and post-operative instructions and additional pain relief to be given to your dog over the coming few days.
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