The Importance of Neutering your Pets

Ashman Jones recommends the neutering of all cats and dogs and in some circumstances other pets such as rabbits.

This is for a number of health and behavioural reasons, which are detailed below.

It is a sad fact that the number of puppies and kittens born every year is far greater than the number of good homes that can be found for them. As a result, thousands of healthy animals are destroyed and many unwanted dogs are left to fend for themselves. Having your cat or dog neutered will not only help to reduce those numbers, it is also one of the simplest,safest and most practical ways of safeguarding some aspects of your pet's health and welfare.

What is Neutering?

Neutering means to surgically prevent pets from reproducing. In males it is called castration and in females spaying.When a male is castrated, both testicles are removed which takes away the main source of the male hormone, testosterone.When a female is spayed, both the ovaries or the ovaries and the uterus are removed, which means the female is unable to fall pregnant.

Both operations are carried out under anaesthesia and because it involves surgery, they will be dispensed medication to prevent pain. Most animals are up and about in just a few hours after they have had their operations, but will remain sleepy for up to 24 hours.


As with all anaesthetic procedures we recommend that you starve your cat or dog 12 hours before, this is to avoid nausea and vomiting before, during and after the procedure.

We also recommend that after the operation dogs and bitches take it easy for 14 days. This means restricting them from running up/down stairs, jumping on/off furniture and to only have gentle lead walks 2/3 times daily, this helps the wound to heal.

When should my animal be neutered?

Cats can be castrated or spayed from 5 months old.

Male Dogs can be castrated from 6 months old.

Bitches can be spayed from 6 months old or 3 months after a season.*

* Some breeds will be advised to wait for their first season, please see below.

Why should I have my pet cat/dog spayed or castrated?


Castration reduces the risk of prostate enlargement and testicular tumours. If done at 6 months old it can also reduce many types of aggression. Castration can also help calm dogs and reduce the tendency for them to wander in search of bitches in heat. If left for longer than 12 months the procedure can sometimes be slightly less effective as testosterone has an imprinting effect on behaviour. We therefore recommend castration as soon as possible.

With bitches, early spaying can reduce chances of them contracting mammary tumours. The risk of malignant mammary tumours in dogs spayed after their first heat increases significantly. If an owner waits to spay their dog until after their second heat, the risk increases to 25%. Research has found that that the elimination or reduction of certain hormonal factors causes a reduction of mammary cancer in female dogs. Mammary tumours are most commonly found in un-spayed, middle-aged female dogs between the ages of 5 and 10 years. However, they can also be found in un-spayed dogs as young as 2 years in rare instances. These tumours are extremely unusual in dogs that have been spayed at an early age.

Spaying your bitch will also reduce the chance of her developing Pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus. If left untreated Pyometra can be a fatal condition. Spaying bitches also prevents phantom pregnancies.

We recommend certain dog breeds (listed below) have their first season as they are at greater risk of incontinence if spayed early. Breeds not to be spayed before first season include, Rough Collie, Boxer, Doberman, German Sheppard Dog, Old English Sheep Dog, Rottweiller, Setters, Spaniels and Weineraner.All other breeds can be spayed from 6 months provided they are toilet trained.


Castrating cats will make them less likely to wander in search of females in heat, less likely to fight with other males and also reduce the risk of them contracting Feline Aids and Leukaemia viruses. It can sometimes also stop them from spraying indoors to mark their territory.

Kittens can reach sexual maturity and breed from 4 months of age.  At Ashman Jones we follow the  Cats Protection League's advice to neuter all cats from the age of 4 months.  

When the female reaches sexual maturity at 4 months, they are at constant risk of becoming pregnant. Females will fall pregnant very quickly and easily! Like dogs, female cats are also prone to diseases like mammary cancer and Pyometra if not spayed.

If you have any other questions please do not hesitate to call and have a chat with one of our vets or nurses.