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Should I Get My Pet Desexed?

Health and Wellbeing

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General Advice


Based on the latest Companion Animals in New Zealand Report, Kiwis certainly love animals, with 74% of people with cats and 78% with dogs. Companion animals almost outnumber people in New Zealand, and although there is a high incidence of desexing among the NZ cat and dog population, it has declined since the 2015 companion animals report.

Desexing your dog and cat is part of the responsible ownership components in New Zealand, along with microchipping and registering your dog or cat. Desexing cats and dogs is a common surgical procedure that is done by vets to prevent them from reproducing. This helps with unwanted litters, overpopulation, homeless or neglected animals in New Zealand.

As well as unwanted litters, desexing your pet has other health benefits for your dog or cat. Contrary to many assumptions and myths, desexed animals live a long healthy life. Desexing your pet has an upfront cost, however, in most cases the benefits outway not getting them spayed or neutered, and often it will cost you less over your animal's lifetime.

We talk to our veterinary team about what is desexing, the general benefits of desexing your pet and debunking some myths.

General Benefits of Desexing Your Cat or Dog

Reproducing unwanted litters - rescues and shelters are overwhelmed, especially during puppy and kitten season
Prevents other common health issues or infections such as; uterine infections, testicular and ovarian tumors, testicular torsion, prostatic abscesses
Reduces the risk of developing certain cancers such as; mammary cancer, testicular cancer
No further heat cycles for females
Reducing wandering, roaming, and other nusiance behaviors
Continuing to live a healthy life

Debunking Myths About Desexing Cats and Dogs

Myth 1: Pets Should Have One Litter Before Being Desexed

There is no evidence to suggest pets benefit from having a litter before being desexed. In fact, there are a number of risks to your pet if she does have a litter that should be considered when making the decision to desex your pet.

These include potential problems with pregnancy and birthing difficulties. It is also better for your pet not to have a litter before being desexed, as her risk of developing mammary cancer significantly increases after her first litter. Desexing before their second heat actually reduces the risk of mammary cancer to almost zero.

Myth 2: There Are No Benefits to Desexing a Cat or Dog

Besides preventing unwanted pregnancy, desexing has many health benefits for our pets and can help them to lead a longer, healthier life.

For our female furry friends, undergoing the spaying procedure reduces the risk of mammary, ovarian, and uterine cancer. It also prevents pyometra (a uterus infection), a life-threatening condition that requires emergency surgery.

Myth 3: Desexing a Cat or Dog Is Expensive

The cost of desexing depends on the age, size, and whether you have a cat or a dog. While this procedure will cost you initially, it is actually less expensive than your pet's flea and worm prevention treatment if you spread it out over the span of their life.

By preventing pregnancy it will also undoubtedly save you money in the long run. Caring for a litter of kittens or puppies should your pet become pregnant can be costly when you add up the expenses of feeding them, vaccinating, microchipping, and checkups. Also, there's always the possibility of an emergency cesarean being needed if your pet develops complications delivering her litter.

It is also important to note a cheaper desexing fee is not necessarily better. It's always best to double-check the desexing fee is inclusive of intravenous fluids, pain relief, surgical recheck, and blood tests should they be needed.

If you are looking to add a furry companion to your family but are concerned about desexing costs, consider adopting an older pet that has already been desexed.

For the majority of pet owners, desexing is the right thing to do and is why it’s part of the responsible pet ownership components in New Zealand. There are some great benefits to both your individual pet and reducing unwanted litters, overpopulation, homeless or neglected animals in New Zealand.

Speak to your vet to seek further advice on the benefits of desexing, when to desex your pet, the procedure, recovery, and costs.

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Written by The


Written by The Team

A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.