Vets in Teddington offer advice on which pets need neutering and why
February 7, 2023
The benefits of spaying and castrating pets, or collectively known as ‘neutering’, are numerous and worthy of careful consideration by pet owners. With World Spay Day 2023 at the end of February, we think now is the perfect time to share our knowledge and advice on this subject.
Our Teddington veterinary surgeons advise that a potentially longer life, removing the risk of certain tumours and life-threatening health conditions, reducing some aggressive and undesirable behaviours, and the elimination of unwanted pregnancies are just a few of the general benefits.
If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons of having your pet spayed (female) or castrated (male), please do get in touch with our Stanley Road team.
Get neutering advice
Companions, wellbeing, and neutering
You could consider neutering a contributory factor to your pet’s general wellbeing and happiness if you are considering getting them a companion. When thinking about having two pets there are a few things our vets suggest you consider in relation to having one or both neutered. These include,
- Are you having pets of the opposite sex, or will your pets encounter the opposite sex outside of your home?
- Do they need to be neutered to stop unwanted pregnancies?
- Do they need neutering for other health reasons?
- If paired with the same sex, are they more likely to fight?
Below are some of the most common pets we see in pairs, and what pet owners should be thinking about (including our spaying and castration advice) when considering a second pet for company.
Dogs are social animals, and they can be happy with just you for company or with a canine companion. Slow introductions are important when bringing a second dog into a home to avoid disagreements. Our Head Vet Darren advises that if you are considering keeping a male and female, one will need to be neutered to prevent any unwanted pregnancies. Same sex pairing should be done slowly to ensure both are comfortable and happy with their partner. If introductions are done properly this should reduce any conflicts.
Whilst cats can be social, they often prefer to live on their own. To maximise your chances of successfully introducing a partner you should make introductions slowly. This is especially important in a multi-cat household. Also, it is vital to ensure there are enough litter trays and food & water bowls. Normally the rule is one of each per cat. As with dogs, Darren recommends neutering to prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduce any friction, and to enhance the health benefits mentioned at the head of this article.
Rabbits are very social creatures and would always live with others in the wild. If you’re keeping a mixed pair at home, one or both will need to be neutered to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Two females are more likely to fight if living together so careful consideration on the sex is important. Although, like other pets, same sex couples can live happily together if they are introduced slowly.
Guinea pigs are like rabbits in that they are very social but need to be neutered to live in an opposite sex pair. Two males are generally also at higher risk of fighting, so ideally having either two females or a male and a female would be best. Darren advises that wannabe owners should be aware that guinea pigs can mate from around 2 months old, and it is dangerous for a female to get pregnant after 7 months of age as she will almost certainly need a caesarean.
Ferrets have the most interesting story when it comes to neutering. In case you didn’t know, a male ferret is known as a ‘Hob’, a male ferret who had a Vasectomy is known as a ‘Hoblet’, and a castrated male ferret is known as a ‘Hobble’.
Female ferrets are interesting when it comes to their needs around mating and neutering. According to Darren, this is mostly because if a female ferret isn’t neutered, she can suffer catastrophic health complications.
Female ferrets, known as ‘Jills’, are what we call ‘induced ovulators’. This means they need to mate to stimulate the ovaries to release eggs. If a Jill does not ovulate, she’ll continue to produce estrogen and stay in season until mated. Remaining in season can cause many health problems, including alopecia (hair loss) and in extreme cases, death from estrogen associated anemia.
On the other hand, neutering male and female ferrets can lead to complications including the development of a hormonal condition called hyperadrenocorticism. This normally happens several years after neutering. So, if your ferrets have been neutered, Darren advises that appropriate monitoring and early detection and treatment are vital in managing symptoms should they arise.
That said, neutering is still the best way to stop females from being in season and to reduce aggression in males. There is also a female hormone injection that may help in some cases – talk to Darren or any of our Stanley Road vets for more advice – contact us.
Finally, rats. Rats are very social animals that are often happiest in single sex or breeding pairs. Unneutered ‘entire’ males stand a good chance of fighting but as with other pets, having them neutered will reduce aggression, diminish health issues, and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
Talk to our vets about neutering
If you’d like to discuss the pros and cons of neutering, especially if you’re thinking of getting a second ‘companion’ for an existing pet, then don’t hesitate to ask us for advice.
Get neutering advice