Desexing your Male Dog
Why should I have my dog castrated?
Castration is advised for all male dogs that are kept as pets. Aside from reducing the numbers of unwanted puppies, there are many very good behavioural and medical reasons to castrate (remove the testicles from) male dogs.
What are the advantages?
Eliminates risk of Testicular Tumours: Several different tumour types can occur, most of which are not noticed until the dog reaches 5 or more years of age. Castrated dogs are not at risk from testicular cancer.
Fewer Hernias: Perineal hernias are far more common in older, uncastrated male dogs. Although not well understood testosterone and other hormones appear to relax or weaken the muscles near the anus and when the dog strains to defecate or urinate, the weakened muscles break down further and the abdominal organs and fat bulge out under the skin. Left untreated, these organs may become damaged, obstructed or die from loss of blood supply. Owners may also see signs of constipation as the hernia interferes with the ability to pass out droppings.
Decreased Incidence of Perianal Tumours: Perianal tumours occur near the anus and their growth is stimulated by the hormone testosterone. Perianal tumours and hernias are very rare in dogs castrated at 7 to 8-months of age.
Fewer Prostate Problems: Prostatic disease is very common in entire male dogs. Early castration significantly reduces the risk of prostate infections (which is the most common problem) and eliminates benign prostatic enlargement.
Decreased Aggression: Castrated dogs tend to be less aggressive. Castration is most effective at decreasing aggressive tendencies if it is done before one year of age. The degree to which castration suppresses aggression varies between animals (as there are genetic issues to consider) and the age at which it is performed.
Decreased Roaming: Castrated dogs tend to be less distressed if confined and roam less when there are female dogs on heat. Castrated dogs appear to be less responsive to airborne chemical attractants (pheromones) that are released by the female dog when she is on heat. Pheromones can travel great distances through the air.
What are the disadvantages?
Most of the perceived disadvantages of castration are false. The most common myths are that the dog will become fat, characterless, and useless as a guard dog.
Obesity is the result of overfeeding. By regulating a dog’s diet and caloric intake, you can prevent obesity in castrated or intact males.
Castration doesn’t cause a change in personality, guarding instincts, intelligence, playfulness or affection. Changes in these areas are more often due to aging, training and fitness.
When should the operation be performed?
We recommend that castration be performed at 5 to 6 months of age. Castration can be done later however some medical and behavioural problems may remain unresolved.
Are there any dangers associated with the operation?
Castration is considered a major operation and requires general anaesthesia. With our modern anaesthetics and monitoring equipment, the risk of a complication is extremely low.
What happens when I leave my dog for this procedure?
Your pet will be examined and pre-anaesthetic blood tests may be performed. If everything is acceptable, your pet will be placed on a gas anaesthetic – this allows for accurate monitoring, anaesthetic and oxygen delivery.
The surgical area is clipped and prepared with an antibacterial scrub solution. The testicles are removed through a small incision in front of the scrotum. Absorbable sutures may be used that do not require removal or external sutures may be placed that require removal by the veterinarian.
Are there any post-operative precautions I should take?
Rest and restriction of activity are important aspects of post-operative care. Most dogs can resume normal activity five to ten days after surgery. Until then the dog should have only on-lead walks.