Neutering is a surgical procedure which removes the reproductive organs and stops your pet from being able to breed. You may also hear it referred to as spaying (females), castrating (males), gelding (male horses only), sterilising, fixing or dressing. The operation is performed by a vet under general anaesthetic. Your pet will normally be able to recover at home.
What are the benefits of neutering?
Neutering your pet can have numerous benefits for your pet's wellbeing, the broader animal community and for you as a responsible owner.
Prevents unwanted litters: One of the main reasons for neutering is to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Neutering is the best way to maintain a sustainable pet population and reduce the number of abandoned animals ending up in rescue centres. Providing veterinary treatment for pregnant pets and their offspring can be expensive and their care can be demanding.
Behavioural benefits: Neutering can sometimes contribute to behavioural improvements in some male animals. It can reduce competition with other males, unwanted mating behaviours, roaming behaviours and territorial marking in male cats (spraying urine to mark territory). If you are experiencing behaviour issues with your pet, you can contact us for support, or find an accredited behaviourist through the Animal Behaviour and Training Council.
Health benefits: Neutering may reduce the risk of certain diseases and conditions, such as cancers and prostate problems. It also prevents birth defects caused by inbreeding.
Prevents females from coming into season: Unspayed animals can bleed for up to three weeks whilst they are in season. This attracts attention and unwanted behaviours from males and can be distressing and frustrating for females.
Lowers risk of theft: Sadly, pet theft is often linked to illegal breeding so neutering your pet makes them less desirable to criminals.
We neuter cats and dogs as standard before rehoming, subject to veterinary advice.
If the animal is too young to be neutered before leaving our care, the owner will be issued with a voucher to have the procedure carried out at a later date. This is included in the rehoming fee.
Although we don’t neuter rabbits before rehoming, we would advise owners to have the procedure carried out as it can prevent reproductive diseases in does (females) and can significantly help when bonding pairs.
Female horses and small pets like Guinea pigs and ferrets are not routinely neutered. However, your vet will be able to advise the best options for your pet depending on their species, lifestyle and health.
When should I get my pet neutered?
Neutering should be done as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to advise when to have your pet neutered as this varies depending on species, size and age. In cats this is commonly now four months old.
You do not need to wait until your pet has had a litter before getting them neutered. Animals do not feel ‘broody’ and will not miss their ability to have offspring.
Neutering appointments can fill up quickly so we recommend booking in with your vet far in advance.
How much does neutering cost?
Neutering costs vary from practice to practice and will depend on the sex, size and weight of your pet as well as the area you live in. Your vet will be able to give you an accurate price.
If you need help with the cost of neutering your pet, check if you are eligible for our low-cost neutering scheme (Glasgow area only). Other organisations, such as the PDSA and Cats Protection, also offer financial assistance. Your vet may be able to provide further advice and support.
Please be aware that pet insurance does not cover the cost of neutering.
How do I care for my pet after the operation?
It’s important to follow your vet’s post-surgery care instructions. Your pet may still be feeling the effects of the anaesthetic and can be more lethargic or clumsy than usual.
Some pets will be very hungry and others won’t feel like eating at all. Offer small portions and monitor for any signs of sickness.
Ensure your pet has a quiet and comfortable place to recover and avoid excessive physical activity during the healing process.
Monitor them for any significant behavioural changes and check the affected area regularly for any redness, swelling or discharge.
If you have any concerns about how their wounds are healing, contact your vet immediately.