For every person that is born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born. Pet overpopulation is a big problem. As these statistics show, in order to help keep up with the current flood of puppies and kittens, every person would have to own two dogs and six cats at all times. A household of five would have to harbor 10 dogs and 30 cats! Adoption alone is obviously not the answer. Desexing is. Please spey or castrate your pets.

All pets should be desexed for many reasons:

Females (Speying)

  • Prevents signs of oestrus (heat).
  • Prevents blood stains on the carpet from the heat cycle.
  • Decreases surplus of puppies and kittens.
  • Decreases the chance of developing mammary (breast) cancer later in life
  • Decreases the chance of cystic ovaries and uterine infections later in life.


Males (Castration)

  • Decreases the desire to roam the neighborhood.
  • Decreases aggression — less chance of Cat AIDS infection and vet bills from fights
  • Decreases incidence of prostate and peri-anal cancers later in life.
  • Prevents testicular tumours
  • Prevents Tom Cat spraying and marking furniture and walls.

Desexing Facts

  • Speying does NOT cause a pet to get fat or lazy. This comes from overfeeding or lack of exercise.
  • Personalities are NOT altered by speying. Personalities do NOT fully develop until two years of age. Aggressiveness and viciousness are not the result of surgery. Guard dogs will still remain protective. Your pet’s personalities will ONLY get better!
  • Surgical risk is very slight due to modern anaesthesia and techniques, but there is ALWAYS some SMALL risk when an anaesthetic is used.
  • It is much easier on the pet to be speyed before going through a heat cycle, due to the smaller size of the reproductive tract.
  • The best age to spay or neuter pets is 4-6 months of age.
  • Surgery is performed painlessly while your pet is under general anaesthesia. Post-surgical pain is treated aggressively at Hamilton Vetcare. Most pets go home the same day surgery is performed.

The process

The night before

Animals scheduled to be desexed should be confined by their owners the night before – you would be surprised how many cats ‘disappear’ on the day they’re due to go to the vet! Give them their evening meal, but take away their food at 8.00pm. Leave water with them, but remove it first thing in the morning.


Your pet will be admitted between 8.00am and 9am on the morning of his/her surgery. Allow 10 minutes to complete the paperwork for the admission process. You will be asked at admission about pre-anaesthetic blood tests. We recommend that all animals undergoing anaesthesia have some blood tests performed beforehand. Our in-house lab allows testing to be done in under 10 minutes. These tests allow us to “expect the unexpected”. It is rare to find anything wrong in young animals, but we have detected congenital liver and kidney disease in some animals as young as 3 months.

Please ensure at admission that you specify the best contact telephone number to get you on during the day of your pet’s surgery, whether it is a mobile, work or home number. It is important that we be able to contact you at any time throughout the day to discuss your pet’s condition.

If there is anything additional your pet requires that you would like performed at the time of desexing eg. Microchipping, nail clipping, etc, please make your wishes known at admission.

Preparation for surgery

Once your pet has been admitted, an intravenous catheter will be placed in the front leg (this is the shaved area you will see when you take your pet home). If required blood will be collected at that time and blood tests run through. After interpreting the blood results, the veterinarian will administer a combination of a sedative and a painkiller. (Research has proved that pain relief works best if given before any painful procedure is performed.) Once your pet is heavily sedated and relaxed, an intravenous anaesthetic is administered via the IV catheter. When anaesthetised, your pet is intubated (a tube is placed in his/her trachea) and attached to an anaesthetic machine that delivers oxygen and isoflurane, an anaesthetic gas. Your pet is also started on intravenous fluids (these fluids maintain your pet’s blood pressure while anaesthetised).

The surgical area is then clipped, cleaned and sterilised while the vet is scrubbing up. Your pet is also attached to a pulse oximeter – a machine that gives a constant reading on pulse rate and blood oxygen concentrations – and an ECG. Your pet’s blood pressure is also monitored throughout the procedure. Most importantly, a trained vet nurse is constantly with your pet, overseeing the monitors and ensuring your pet’s safety.

The surgery

Once everything is ready to start the surgery, the veterinarian covers the surgical area with sterile drapes and opens a sterile instrument kit. Speying is a complete ovariohysterectomy i.e. the surgeon opens the abdomen and locates the uterus and both ovaries. The ligament and blood vessels between the ovaries and the kidneys are clamped and ligated (tied off). Depending on the size of your pet, this ligation may be done with suture material or stainless steel clips (haemoclips). The base of the uterus is then similarly clamped and ligated. The entire uterus and both ovaries are then removed. The abdomen is then closed with 3 layers of sutures – one in the muscle, the next in the fat under the skin, and then the skin itself.

Castration of dogs is performed by removing both testicles through a small incision just in front of the scrotum. The entire testicle is clamped, ligated and removed – it is not a vasectomy! Once the testicles have been removed, the skin and subcutaneous fat are closed with 2 layers of sutures. Cats are done slightly differently – a small incision is made over each testicle, the testicle is removed and then the skin incision is left open to heal.