We leave dog castration much to an owner's choice as to whether to have this done.
Castration is the removal of both testicles, usually through a single cut just in front of the scrotum. This is done under a general anaesthetic and requires your dog to stay with us for the day. Dissolvable stitches are commonly used. It is a superficial procedure and although we recommend lead restriction for 1 week, some activity in unlikely to cause harm.
Timing of Castration
We recommend castration be performed after 1 year of age to allow maturation. However, if inappropriate behaviour occurs before this, we recommend castration at the earliest opportunity to prevent persistence of such behaviour after castration.
Reasons for castration
Breeding control - a castrated dog cannot sire puppies. You may wish to have your dog castrated to prevent inappropriate breeding with other dogs in the household. Please note, a dog can still sire puppies for up to 6 weeks following castration with residual sperm in the vas deferens.
Behavioural - castration is good at controlling aggression towards other male dogs, straying to track down bitches in season and inappropriate sexual behaviour. It is not a 'cure-all' for behaviour problems and some of the behaviour it is good at controlling can persists once it has been learned if castration is performed after it becomes established. Although it can calm a dog down, it will not always have this effect.
Medical - A castrated dog will not suffer from testicular tumours, many forms of prostate disease. It also reduces the incidence of perineal hernia and anal adenomas (a benign anal growth). Many of these problems can be solved by castration at the time of occurrence and testicular tumours in dogs are mostly benign. Castration does not prevent prostatic cancer.
Retained testicles - If one or both of your dog's testicles have not descended to the scrotum, they have a high risk of the most aggressive form of testicular cancer. We recommend retained testicles be removed, often with full castration.
Side Effects and Risks
Weight gain - A castrated dog needs less food than an entire one and activity levels sometimes fall following castration. If feeding is not adjusted appropriately, weight gain can result.
Behavioural changes - The behavioural effects are often desirable. Some dogs will be less energetic and active following castration, which can be undesirable if you want an active dog.
Anaesthetic risks - There are risks of complications with any surgery. This is a minor procedure and with modern anaesthetic techniques the risks are very small.
Hair coat changes - Some individuals may show some hair coat changes. For example, many Spaniels develop longer hair when castrated.
Wound complications - The majority of wound complications are caused by excessive licking of the wound and can result in soreness or even wound breakdown. Should you do pay much attention to the area following surgery then contact the surgery to obtain an Elizabethan collar to prevent further licking.