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Desexing your dog or puppy

What is desexing?

When a dog is surgically desexed, their reproductive system is removed while they are under a general anaesthetic. Desexing of females (also known as speying - sometimes spelt spaying , or an ovariohysterectomy) involves removing the ovaries and uterus. Desexing of males (also known as castration or neutering) involves the removal of both testicles.

Why your dog needs to be desexed

In females, desexing your dog prevents unwanted pregnancies, and automatically stops their cycles and the associated bleeding and unwanted attention from male dogs that result in pregnancy. Castration in male dogs helps to reduce some behavioural related issues, like aggression problems and wandering instincts. Desexing your male dog is a protective measure against them becoming lost as it reduces their hormonal drive to stray from home in search of a mate. In addition, male urine can smell particularly strong and pungent, and desexing usually prevents this unpleasant odour.

Pelican Waters Vet highly recommend that you have your dog desexed. This will provide your dog with many health benefits and also prevent more unplanned puppies from ending up in animal shelters. While it is not a legal offence in the other Australian states, in the ACT and SA, it is mandatory for you to desex your dog by the time it is 6 months old.

Medical benefits of desexing your dog

Female (Speying)

  • reduces the risk of mammary tumours

  • eliminates the risk of tumours in the ovaries and uterus

  • prevents other medical conditions such as pyometra (infection of the uterus)

Male (Neutering)

  • reduces the risk of prostatic diseases

  • reduces the risk of perianal tumours

  • eliminates the risk of testicular cancers

At what age should my dog be desexed?

The right age for desexing your dog can vary depending on their breed and size. Historically, the recommended age for desexing a dog is six months. However, at Pelican Waters Vet we know that each of our patients is unique. Our veterinary team will take into consideration everything that’s special about your dog before giving any recommendations.

What you should know about surgery at Pelican Waters Vet

The goal of any surgery at Pelican Waters Vet is to minimise anxiety for your pet, perform a safe procedure, and eliminate pain during and after surgery. With this in mind, here are a few things you should know about surgery at Pelican Waters Vet…

  • pre-anaesthetic test – in high risk animals, a blood test can be performed to ensure kidney, liver, blood cells, and electrolytes are within the reference ranges

  • fluid therapy – intravenous fluids can be given to support blood pressure and organ function

  • pain relief – provided before and during surgery, and as take-home medication

  • gas anaesthesia – provided via a special tube placed into the airway

  • sterile surgery – like human hospitals, we maintain a sterile operating theatre

  • monitoring – our dedicated nursing team monitor your pet before, during and after surgery


Apart from the Northern Territory, microchipping is legally required in Australia. This is a non-invasive, safe way of identifying your dog for life should they ever become lost. Now is a great time to consider microchipping (if not done already), since your dog is already under a general anaesthetic.

Your day

We are often asked whether or not a pet parent should stay at home to care for a pet after surgery. Generally, pets make a speedy recovery after routine procedures, so staying at home with them is not necessary (as long as they have somewhere warm, comfortable, and clean to rest). However, if you are considering making special plans to be with your pet, we suggest you take the day after surgery off rather than the day of surgery.

Your pet’s day


After dinner on the night before surgery, remember to withhold all food from your dog. Having an empty stomach when they are anaesthetised reduces the risk that your dog will vomit and aspirate this into their lungs. Please ensure water is present until they arrive at the clinic.

At Pelican Waters Vet

Once your pet has been admitted, we will perform a health check and administer a sedative to help your pet relax. After surgery, your pet will recover in a warm, comfortable and quiet environment. Your pet will be treated as if they are our own. Not only will our veterinary nurse continue to monitor them throughout the recovery process, they will also give your pet the attention (and cuddles) they deserve.

If you would like to book your pet in to discuss desexing or any other matters, please follow this link

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