Keyhole Surgery

What is key-hole surgery?

Cinque Ports Vets are pleased to be able to offer our clients the option of key-hole (laparoscopic) surgery for routine bitch spays and other procedures where appropriate.

Key-hole spay involves the introduction of a camera and specialised instruments into the abdomen through two or three small incisions. Many of the traditional surgical procedures such as spaying can be now performed laparoscopically. Traditional surgery involves the removal of the ovaries and uterus (ovariohysterectomy) but laparoscopically generally only the ovaries are removed (ovariectomy).

The tissues are visualised under high magnification and blood vessels are cut and sealed using specialist equipment.

It is well established in human surgery that laparoscopic procedures provides quicker healing time and less post-operative complications than other methods. This is proven also in modern veterinary medicine.

The benefits of laparoscopy for our pets are similar and aim for a faster and more comfortable return to normal activity. One typical example is the young, very active bitch that is not likely to accept easily periods of complete rest from exercise post neutering.

After Key-hole surgery dogs will still need to be kept on the lead but the risk of damaging the surgical wounds (because of the small size) is greatly decreased.

Other procedures such as cryptorchid castration (retained testicle), gastropexy, cystoscopy (bladder examination) and organ biopsies can be performed in this way with increased level of safety for unwell patients and reduced discomfort.

Please contact our Rye branch if you would like more information or to discuss further.

Pyometra

What is a pyometra?

This is a potentially life threatening condition which requires immediate veterinary treatment.

Pyometra is an infection of the lining of the uterus which often occurs shortly after oestrus (heat or season). Following a normal oestrus, progesterone levels remain increased for 8-10 weeks to prepare the uterus lining for a potential pregnancy.
If pregnancy does not happen, the progesterone levels do not return to normal and the lining continues to thicken, forming cysts. These cysts produce fluid which creates the ideal environment for bacteria to develop.

The cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus, usually remains closed unless oestrus is occuring. While the cervix is open, bacteria which normally live in the vagina will enter the uterus. Normally these bacteria won’t survive, but in a thickened uterus with the ideal environment created for bacteria they will thrive. Due to the thickening of the uterus it is also unable to contract fully and expel the bacteria.

Pyometra can occur in any unneutered dog or cat. It is more commonly seen in middle aged to older dogs, although young dogs are also susceptible. It occurs rarely in cats.

Older dogs which have had many oestrus cycles without a pregnancy, have the perfect uterine wall to promote this disease. It usually occurs 4-8 weeks after oestrus.

Clinical signs

These can vary considerably so you should always seek veterinary treatment.

  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Lethargic
  • Temperature

If the cervix is open allowing drainage you will see a pussy, vulval discharge which is usually foul smelling. Your dog will often be continually cleaning her back end. This is called an open pyometra.

If the cervix is closed the pus continues to build up without draining causing the dog to become seriously ill, extremely quickly.

Diagnosis

A full clinical examination is performed by your veterinary surgeon. Pyometra is often suspected if the dog is not neutered, drinking more and has a vulval discharge, 4-8 weeks after oestrus. A blood sample may be collected and X-rays or an ultrasound scan may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment

The most recommended option for treatment is surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries- an ovariohysterectomy or spay. Depending on the severity of the infection, your dog may need to be stabilised first using intravenous fluids and antibiotics, prior to surgery. Although the surgery being performed is a neutering operation, the surgery is much more complicated due to the enlarged and weakened uterus. It must be removed without rupturing to prevent the pus from leaking into the abdomen. Additionally there is always an increased anaesthetic risk when the patient is unwell. This is one of the reasons why veterinary surgeons always recommend spaying your dog at an early age when they are young, fit and healthy!

Medical treatment for pyometra is possible using injections containing prostaglandins which reduce the progesterone levels. This causes the cervix to open and expel the pussy contents of the uterus. Medical treatment for pyometra can be expensive especially in large dogs. It is not always effective and surgery may still be necessary.

Medical treatment can be considered for young bitches from whom the owner would like to consider breeding from at subsequent seasons. It can also be considered for older bitches where general anaesthesia and surgery is considered inadvisable.

Your veterinary surgeon will discuss the best course of treatment for your pet. If you do not seek any treatment for your pet suffering from a pyometra the outcome will potentially be fatal.

Obesity and Weight Management

With nearly 50% of our pet population clinically assessed as being overweight or obese, it is more important than ever to monitor how much and what type of food we feed our pets.

There are many reasons attributing to our pets becoming overweight and occasionally this can be down to medical reasons but as with humans the most common reason is overeating-consuming more calories than they actually need and use!

Several factors can make it more likely that your pet will become overweight including lack of exercise, overfeeding during their growth period (increasing the number of fat cells the body produces), their breed, age and whether they have been neutered. Neutered animals require up to a 30% reduction in their daily feeding requirements as their energy needs decrease dramatically after neutering.

Although an overweight pet may seem extra cuddly to you, being overweight can lead to serious health problems including:

  • Joint and mobility problems-including cruciate disease and arthritis
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • FLUTD in cats-Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disorder
  • Decreased quality and length of life

How do I know if my pet is overweight?

Often pet owners do not realise their pet has gained a few grammes or kilos as you are used to seeing them every day and don’t notice the changes. Your veterinary surgeon will usually notice any changes in your pet’s weight at their annual booster appointment and this can be a good time to address any issues there may be about your pet’s weight. Being even a few kilos overweight can cause vital body organs to become encased in fat, reducing their ability to function considerably.

Many studies have been carried out on overweight pets with Royal Canin at The University of Liverpool. They perform special scans called DEXA scans (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry). These analyse the animal’s body composition including the amount of fat present.

In a healthy pet you should be able to comfortably see and feel their ribs and waistline. You may have noticed subtle changes such as reluctance to play or exercise as much which can all be indications of being overweight.

At Cinque Ports Vets we will happily check your pets’ weight and offer any help and advice needed at our Weight Clubs. We will also help you assess your pet using a Body Condition Score Chart like the example below. A healthy pet should score 4-5/9.

How can I help my pet lose weight?

The first step would be attending one of our weight clubs to establish how much weight your pet would need to lose. If your pet is only slightly overweight a simple reduction in your pet’s everyday diet or treats and an increase in their exercise and activity levels may be all that is required.

If however your pet has a substantial amount of weight to lose your veterinary surgeon or nurse may recommend a change in their diet to a prescription calorie controlled diet. Your veterinary nurse will calculate a tailor made weight loss program to help your pet lose weight. Depending on the amount of weight to lose this can take from 12 weeks to 12 months. It is very important for the health of your pet that they lose weight safely and slowly to ensure that they only lose fat tissue instead of muscle mass.  It is helpful to attend the club every 2-3 weeks so your veterinary nurse can assess this. It is not advisable to drastically reduce your pet’s usual food as this reduces the amount of nutrients they receive and can affect their health.

Once your pet has successfully lost weight they will be put on a weight maintenance program to help ensure that the weight doesn’t come back! Unfortunately your pet will always be prone to gaining weight easily if their diet isn’t strictly controlled but your veterinary nurse can help and advise on which feeding regime will most suit your pet after their diet.

Tips for exercising your dog

  • Regular and appropriate exercise is vital for maintaining your dog’s health and is especially important for weight loss. If your pet is overweight it is important to introduce extra exercise slowly. Begin with their usual exercise and try adding an extra 5 minutes. If your pet copes well with this increase for a week or so you can try increasing to the next level.
  • Overweight dogs with joint disorders will probably find uneven and hilly walks uncomfortable and too strenuous. If it becomes difficult to increase their exercise, hydrotherapy can be helpful.
  • Make sure you play with your dog and their favourite toy for at least 5 minutes every day.
  • Use treat toys to make your dog work harder for their food but remember to make sure the food is taken from their daily allowance.

Tips for exercising your cat

  • Make sure your cat’s indoor environment has plenty of toys and activities, allowing natural behaviour such as climbing or hunting. Activity centres can be useful as this provides exercise opportunities even when you are out.
  • Buy a few extra cat toys- make sure you rotate them every few days as cats easily lose interest. 
  • Playing with your cat using a fishing toy or a feather tickle stick are great ways of encouraging exercise and your cat will benefit from spending time with you.  Cats are designed to have short bursts of energy so playtime only needs to last a few minutes each session.
  • Use see through treat balls (cats need to see the kibble to encourage play) to make your cat work harder for their food and try moving their feeding bowls to unusual locations to make them search for their meals.
  • Groom your cat- this is great for circulation and their coat.
  • Remember table scraps are inappropriate for pets-especially those on a weight loss program!
  • Tasty low calorie treats are available from your veterinary practice. Educ treats are less than 3 kcal per treat and are suitable for both puppies and adult dogs. These are an ideal substitute for your pet’s usual snack.

Take a look at this list of unhealthy snacks given to pets and what they mean in human terms.

Human Equivalent

Number of hamburgers

Number of chocolate bars (50g)

Snacks fed to a 10kg dog

1 small plain biscuit

1

1

1 slice of buttered toast

1

1

30g (1oz) cheddar cheese

1.5

1.5

Snacks fed to a 4.5kg cat

1 crisp

0.5 0.5

30g (1oz) cheddar cheese

3.5

4

1 cup of milk 4.5

5

Real weight loss success stories

Many pet owners have taken the step of helping their pets to lose weight successfully, along with the help of Cinque Ports Vets.

Echo Murkin

Echo is a 13 year old neutered, female Cairn Terrier. Following an investigation which included blood tests and X-rays, she was diagnosed with emphysema. Echo had been persistently coughing with considerable breathing difficulties and at the time she weighed 13kg with a Body Condition Score of 8/9.
After discussion with her owner alongside starting medication, a weight loss plan was introduced. Echo was started on Royal Canin Obesity diet to be divided into two meals a day along with a dental chew. No other treats or table scraps were allowed!
Although Echo was unable to undertake vigorous exercise due to her condition, she was exercised on a daily basis. She regularly attended the weight management club and continued with her prescription diet.
Her symptoms have completely resolved and Echo now has a perfect Body Condition Score of 4/9 and weighs 9.9kg!

 
Useful links:
www.royalcanin.co.uk/downloads/vetlibrary/obese_and_overweight_pets_advice.PDF

Useful books:
Caring for an overweight cat by Andrea Harvey and Samantha Taylor

Dog And Cat Neutering Post Operative Care

These instructions have been prepared to help you with your pet’s recovery.

They will have had a general anaesthetic and hair may have been clipped from one or more of their legs. If a pre- anaesthetic blood test was performed, hair may have also been clipped in their neck region. The operation site will also have been clipped to enable us to prepare the site with maximum sterility.

Modern anaesthetics normally wear off within a few hours of a procedure, however you may notice that their eyes appear red or that they shun the light. This effect can last for up to 48 hours and is due to the pre-medication injections. They may also seem a little unsteady or drowsy and have a slight cough. This is because a tube is passed into their throat to maintain their anaesthetic and airway.

We recommend keeping them warm and quiet overnight and allow them to toilet in the garden on a lead. Following an anaesthetic they will require a light meal in the evening with water offered as normal.

During the procedure your pet will have received a pain killer injection and/or an antibiotic injection where required.  Further medication may have been prescribed to give at home and it is extremely important that you follow the instructions on the medication label. If you believe they are uncomfortable or have any questions regarding the medication, please contact us to discuss the situation.

It is extremely important that your pet does not lick or interfere with the surgical wound. This can cause an infection or their wound to break down and a Buster Collar may be required to prevent this. A period of lead exercise or confinement indoors will be required for up to 10 days following the procedure.

Following a neutering procedure, weight gain can be a common side effect. Your veterinary nurse will be able to advise on your pet’s diet and the best way to prevent this.

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions at your post operative appointment.

If you are at all concerned about your pet please contact us as soon as possible.

Neutering Your Female Cat -Spay

What is spaying?

This operation involves removal of the entire uterus (womb) and ovaries via an incision usually made on your cat’s left flank or midline into their abdomen. Your cat will be admitted as a ‘day patient’ and following a pre-operative check by your veterinary surgeon, she will be given a pre-medication and analgesic (pain killing) injection prior to her general anaesthetic. After surgery and following her recovery from the anaesthetic she will be ready to go home later the same day. You will be given full discharge instructions on how best to care for your cat after surgery and she will be checked by your veterinary nurse 3 days later to ensure the wound is healing. If there are any sutures present these will be removed 10 days later. While the operation is more complicated than castration, it is still a routine procedure and their recovery is usually fairly quick.

What are the advantages of spaying?

Spaying has a number of advantages especially if performed between 4-6 months of age.

Unwanted kittens-Most obviously spaying prevents unwanted litters. There are thousands of unwanted kittens and cats that need homes due to irresponsible owners who do not neuter their cats.

Behavioural-Cats are ‘spontaneous ovulators’ which means your cat will only ovulate (release her eggs) if she is mated. If she comes into season and is not mated she will come back into season every couple of weeks until she is. Due to physiological and behavioural patterns she will try to seek out male cats and may attempt to escape from the house in an attempt to do this. She will also attract male cats into the area. During her season she will be ‘calling’ and displaying unsociable behaviour which is often loud, persistent crying and rolling around on the floor.

Prevent spread of diseases- Mating and fighting can also spread diseases like FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus) which can be fatal.                                                                                                     

Medical-Spaying prevents the chance of infection of their uterus (pyometra) and greatly reduces the incidence of mammary (breast) cancer.

Are there any disadvantages?

The operation carries a small risk associated with general anaesthesia. Your cat will be assessed prior to surgery to ensure she is fit and well for the procedure, and full instructions will be given when she goes home to minimise the chances of a problem occurring with the wound.

It is a common fallacy that a neutered cat will become fat and lazy. They may have a decreased activity level following neutering, which in turn causes weight gain IF your cat continues to be fed the same amount of food as before they were neutered. Neutered pets can require up to a 30% reduction in their feeding requirements. This is due to no longer utilising energy in to reproduction.This extra energy may then be stored as excess body fat instead.
After your cat is neutered, we recommend moving her onto a neutered cat food. Royal Canin have developed a competitively priced, veterinary exclusive pet food which is high in protein and low in fat to help combat against any weight gain. Your veterinary nurse will be able to advise you on the best feeding regime for your cat.

Royal Canin also have an S/O Index with their food which is an abbreviation for struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. The S/O Index indicates that the food helps provide a urinary environment unfavourable to the development of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.

These crystals can cause blockages in male cats due to their narrow, long urethra. In females blockages are less of a problem but can still occur.

Click on the video below to find out more about why you should neuter your cat.

Useful links:
www.royalcanin.co.uk

Neutering Your Male Cat – Castration

What is castration?

The operation involves surgical removal of both testicles via two small incisions in your cat’s scrotal sacs. It is a straightforward operation performed under general anaesthesia. Your cat will be admitted as a ‘day patient’ and following a pre-operative check by your veterinary surgeon, he will be given a pre-medication and analgesic (pain killing) injection prior to his general anaesthetic. After surgery and following his recovery from the anaesthetic he will be ready to go home later the same day. You will be given full discharge instructions on how best to care for your cat after surgery. We usually don’t need to recheck your cat after castration unless you have any concerns. There aren’t any sutures to worry about and the wounds heal over very quickly as long as there is no interference with the area!

What are the advantages of castration?

Castration has a number of advantages especially if performed between 4-6 months of age.

Unwanted kittens– Most obviously castration prevents unwanted litters. There are thousands of unwanted kittens and cats that need homes due to irresponsible owners who do not neuter their cats.   

Behavioural problems– Unneutered male cats or ‘tom cats’ can also develop a number of unwanted characteristics. For example they may become territorial and start spraying urine to mark areas, often in the house.  By puberty their urine has often developed a very strong smell and is extremely difficult to remove.  If they are allowed to venture outside they will start to stray further from home and come into contact with other cats. This is likely to lead to cat fights which result in wounds which can become infected and abscessed. Unneutered males also tend to be prone to being involved in road traffic accidents especially at night as they are out and about marking their territory and looking for females.

Prevent spread of diseases– Mating and fighting can also spread diseases like FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus) which can be fatal.                                                                                                      

Medical-Normally cats have two testicles present in their scrotal sac by the time they are neutered but it is not uncommon to have retained testicles (cryptorchidism). This is a condition where by one or both of the testicles have failed to move into the scrotum and are still in your cat’s groin or abdomen. When the testicles are retained they are at a higher temperature than in the scrotum. This leads to infertility and an increased likelihood of the testicle becoming cancerous. Removal of the testicle(s) is therefore still recommended but the operation may be a bit more complicated as the abdomen may need to be entered.

Are there any disadvantages?

The operation carries a small risk associated with general anaesthesia. Your cat will be assessed prior to surgery to ensure he is fit and well for the procedure, and full instructions will be given when he goes home to minimise the chances of a problem occurring with the wound.

It is a common fallacy that a neutered cat will become fat and lazy. They may have a decreased activity level following neutering, which in turn causes weight gain IF your cat continues to be fed the same amount of food as before they were neutered. Neutered pets can require up to a 30% reduction in their feeding requirements. This is due to no longer utilising energy in to reproduction.This extra energy may then be stored as excess body fat instead.

After your cat is neutered, we recommend moving him onto a neutered cat food. Royal Canin have developed a competitively priced, veterinary exclusive pet food which is high in protein and low in fat to help combat against any weight gain. Your veterinary nurse will be able to advise you on the best feeding regime for your cat.

Royal Canin also have an S/O Index with their food which is an abbreviation for struvite and calcium oxalate crystals. The S/O Index indicates that the food helps provide a urinary environment unfavourable to the development of struvite and calcium oxalate crystals.

These are crystals which can form in your cat’s urine creating urinary problems. The crystals can eventually cause a ‘plug’ or blockage in your male cat’s urethra. It only takes a few crystals to block as the urethra is very narrow and only has a small opening. This is a potentially fatal condition and will result in death if your cat is not treated due to the urinary toxins building up in the system. This will cause kidney failure in a matter of days or their bladder will eventually burst.

Click on the video below to find out more about why you should neuter your cat.

Useful website:
www.royalcanin.co.uk

False Pregnancy

Pseudopregnancy is commonly called false or phantom pregnancy.

It is a condition which affects pets after their oestrus cycle (heat or season). The symptoms can occur whether they have been mated or not.

The clinical signs mimic the symptoms of a real pregnancy and can include:

  • Enlarged mammary glands (with or without milk production)
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fluid retention
  • Vomiting
  • Behavioural changes are often noticed as well and these can include:
  • Nesting
  • Mothering behaviour
  • Aggression
  • Protecting and guarding soft toys

Following an oestrus cycle, hormones are produced to prepare the uterus for pregnancy regardless of whether there is a pregnancy or not.

If there is a pregnancy, the hormones will carry on being produced until just before birth. If there is no pregnancy, hormone levels start to decline. As this happens, the hormones can send signals to the body which mimic pregnancy and stimulate mammary gland development.

If the symptoms are relatively mild, treatment will not be required and symptoms should subside within 2-3weeks.

It can be helpful to remove any toys that your dog may be trying to ‘mother’ and deter her from nesting. Also discourage licking of her abdomen area as this can stimulate the mammary glands and prolong lactation.

If the clinical signs or behavioural changes are causing illness or distress to your pet, your veterinary surgeon will prescribe the necessary treatment depending on the symptoms.

Neutering is required to prevent further recurrences. This should only be performed once all the signs of a pseudopregnancy have resolved.

Caring For Your Kitten

1.Feeding:
From weaning age we recommend feeding a complete and balanced good quality kitten food until your kitten is at least six months of age. After this your cat can move onto an adult food to continue their optimum development. We recommend the Royal Canin range which is available from the veterinary practice and we will be happy to advise you on a suitable diet for your cat throughout their life. The food is specifically designed to provide the correct levels of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals for a growing kitten. The diets are fully balanced but always ensure there is a constant supply of drinking water available.

2.Vaccination:
This consists of a course of two vaccinations– one which is given at 8-9 weeks of age and the second which is given at 12 weeks. These protect against Feline Influenza, Feline Infectious Enteritis and Feline Leukaemia. To maintain your cat’s immunity against these diseases (which in some cases can be fatal) a yearly booster is required. We will send you a reminder when it is due but please make sure you keep their vaccination certificate in a safe place and make a note on the calendar when it is due!

3.Worming and Flea Control:
This  is necessary  for all  cats  throughout  their  life  not just when they are kittens. They should be wormed with a veterinary supplied broad spectrum multiwormer. Often supermarket and pet-shop wormers will only treat one or two types of worms so will not always be effective. Your kitten should be wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks and then once every 3 months thereafter. There are spot on treatments available for easy administration as well as tablets. To help you remember we will send you a reminder when the next dose is due!
We advise regular treatment for fleas all year round to prevent infestations. This is easily achieved by using a treatment available from the veterinary practice. Please feel free to ask for advice on the products which best suit your kitten’s situation.

4.Microchipping:
This is an extremely important way of identifying your kitten should they ever go missing. It is a permanent form of identification, which is especially important if your cat does not wear a collar or ID tag. A small microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is inserted in the excess skin of your kitten’s neck. This chip contains a unique number which is read by using a scanner. This number is registered along with your contact details with the microchip database. It is important to inform the database if your details change. All stray animals are scanned and on reading the chip, the database would be contacted and you would be reunited with your cat as quickly as possible. Without this permanent method of identification your cat may not be traced back to you and may even be re-homed.

5.Neutering:
Our policy is to neuter both male and female cats from 4-6 months of age before they become sexually mature. This significantly reduces the number of unwanted litters and helps to eliminate medical and behavioural problems associated with entire male and female cats. Once your cat has been neutered you may need to reduce the amount of food they require as it is quite common for neutered cats to gain a little weight due to the change in hormones. There is a diet lower in calories available for neutered cats at the veterinary practice and we will be happy to advise you.

6.Dental Care:
We clean our teeth several times a day and have regular check ups with a dentist. Imagine what our mouths would be like if we didn’t- Cats are no exception! It is important to develop a dental care regime for your kitten at an early age, which you can continue throughout their life. The gold standard of dental care is to brush your kitten’s teeth once a day (usually at bedtime) with a special cat toothbrush and toothpaste.  Human formulas are not suitable as they require rinsing. Cat toothpastes are available in a range of flavours and your cat will probably regard it as a treat! These kits and other dental products, including  dental biscuits are available from the veterinary practice. We will be happy to advise you on the most suitable products for your kitten.

7.Pet Healthcare Plan:
Cinque Ports Vets Pet Healthcare Plan enables you to pay monthly for your preventative veterinary treatments. We all want to use the best products available for our pets and at Cinque Ports Vets we want to make preventative healthcare easy and affordable to help give you and your pets the best care possible. You also receive an overall saving on your pets’ vaccinations, healthcheck, worming and flea treatment as well as many other discounts as a reward for joining our scheme. The plan is available for dogs, cats and rabbits from any age and the monthly payment plan will be dependent on the bodyweight of your pet. Please see Pet Healthcare Plan or contact us for more information. Please be aware this is not an insurance policy but a preventative healthcare plan to help spread the cost of routine treatments which insurance does not cover.

8.Insurance:
Pet insurance is an essential requirement to help cover the cost of unexpected veterinary fees. Accidents can happen especially with inquisitive kittens! These can be expensive but being insured means you can have peace of mind. There are a variety of policies available to suit you and your budget and it is always important to read the small print!

9. House Training:
Most kittens will now have a good basic understanding of appropriate toileting behaviour. Their litter tray should be placed in a quiet corner of a room. A covered litter tray may be preferable to your kitten if they are shy and may be more inclined to use a private area. It is normal for your kitten to have accidents but it is important to remember not to tell them off. A variety of litter and litter trays are available. If you are concerned please feel free to ask for advice.


10. Grooming:
Handling your kitten regularly will improve their confidence and your relationship with your kitten. This allows you to look in their ears, check their teeth, open their mouth and examine their paws with ease which will become very important later on in life if medication is required for any problems. Grooming your kitten regularly (on a daily basis if long haired) will prevent their coat becoming matted and allow you to check for any problems.

Neutering Your Male Dog – Castration

What is castration?

The operation involves surgical removal of both testicles via an incision in front of your dog’s scrotum. It is a straightforward operation performed under general anaesthesia.  Your dog will be admitted as a ‘day patient’ and following a pre-operative check by your veterinary surgeon, he will be given a pre-medication and analgesic (pain killing) injection prior to his general anaesthetic. After surgery and following his recovery from the anaesthetic he will be ready to go home later the same day. You will be given full discharge instructions on how best to care for your dog after surgery and he will be checked by your veterinary nurse 3 days later to ensure the wound is healing. If there are any sutures present these will be removed 10 days later. Your dog will go home with some pain relief medication for a few days and a Buster collar if required to prevent any interfering with their wound.

What are the advantages of castration?

Medical – Male dogs are prone to several medical conditions.  Enlargement of the prostate, testicular tumours and certain types of anal tumours are relatively common in older entire dogs.  Removal of the testicles minimises the chances of there being problems in later life.

Retained testicles (cryptorchidism) – This is a condition where by one or both of the testicles have failed to move into the scrotum and are still in your dog’s groin or abdomen.  If the testicles have not descended by the time your dog is 8 months old they are probably unlikely to move any further. When the testicles are retained they are at a higher temperature than in the scrotum. This leads to infertility and an increased likelihood of the testicle becoming cancerous. Removal of the testicle(s) is therefore still recommended but the operation may be a bit more complicated as the abdomen may need to be entered.

Unwanted puppies – Thousands of unwanted dogs are destroyed every year due to ‘accidental matings’.  Being responsible for your dog’s actions will greatly reduce the stray dog problem in this country.

Behavioural problems – Once a dog has reached puberty at about six months they may start showing male characteristics such as mounting or aggression.  This sort of behaviour is generally considered antisocial and unacceptable.   Certain behavioural problems such as dominance, aggression, urine marking and roaming may be improved with castration.  However castration should not be looked at as ‘the answer’ to all bad behaviour and will not stop a dog being ‘bouncy’ for example.  Also while hormones are responsible for some behaviour initially, your dog may continue with these behavioural problems out of habit. If you are unsure of whether castration will help in your dog’s situation you should consult your veterinary surgeon to discuss the problem.

Are there any disadvantages?

The operation carries a small risk associated with general anaesthesia.  Your dog will be assessed prior to surgery to ensure he is fit and well for the procedure, and full instructions will be given when he goes home to minimise the chances of a problem occurring with the wound.

It is a common fallacy that a neutered dog will become fat and lazy. They may have a decreased activity level following neutering, which in turn causes weight gain IF your dog continues to be fed the same amount of food as before they were neutered. Neutered pets can require up to a 30% reduction in their feeding requirements. This is due to no longer utilising energy in to reproduction. This extra energy may then be stored as excess body fat instead.

After your dog is neutered, we recommend moving him onto a neutered dog food. Royal Canin have developed a competitively priced, veterinary exclusive pet food, Royal Canin VetCare Nutrition range. This food is high in protein and low in fat to help combat against any weight gain. Your veterinary nurse will be able to advise you on the best feeding regime for your dog.

When to castrate?

The best time for castration is 6 – 12 months of age (depending on breed) at the onset of puberty although adult dogs can be castrated at any age.

Are there any alternatives?

There are two non-surgical options which can be used for temporary effects:

One is an implant given by injection which blocks the production of hormones suspending the fertility of sexually mature male dogs for a minimum of 6 months. The other is an anti-male hormone injection. Two injections may be required and its effect is short lived (3 – 4 weeks).  There can be side effects and your dog would need to have a health check so it is important that you discuss these options further with your veterinary surgeon if you require more information.

Useful links:
www.royalcanin.co.uk