The BSAVA strongly recommends that the neutering of companion animals should be considered for reasons of population control and the prevention of unwanted litters.
The decision as to whether to neuter the individual animal for medical or behavioural reasons needs to consider factors such as species, sex, breed and age of the animal as well as current and future health status. Veterinary advice should always be sought regarding the risks and benefits in individual cases.
There are now several options regarding the timing and methods of neutering and these options should be discussed between the owner and veterinary surgeon when making decisions for an individual animal.
The BSAVA strongly supports the practice of neutering cats (castration of males (tom cats) and ovariectomy or ovariohysterectomy (spaying) of females (queens)) for the over-riding reason of preventing unwanted kittens, thus removing the problems associated with finding homes or increasing the stray population.
Additional benefits of neutering cats include:
The BSAVA is a member of the Cat Group and supports the policy of pre-pubertal neutering (i.e at 4 months of age or older rather than at the traditional 6 months of age or older).
In some circumstances, neutering earlier than 4 months’ old may be deemed desirable after careful assessment of the relative risks and benefits both to the cat and to the general management of the cat population. When neutering cats less than 8 weeks of age, sufficient and due regard should be made of the physiological immaturity of the cat.
The BSAVA recommends that neutering of dogs (castration of males and ovariectomy or ovariohysterectomy of females) should be considered in the following circumstances:
Before neutering for reasons of undesirable behaviour it is important to consult a veterinary surgeon or animal behaviourist to ascertain the role of sexual hormones in the development and maintenance of the behaviour The BSAVA does not have a specific view on pre-pubertal neutering in dogs but does not support the practice of routinely neutering dogs under the age of 4 months.
The BSAVA recommends that all non-breeding rabbits should be neutered (ovario-hysterectomy and castration, respectively, for females and males) soon after they attain sexual maturity. The exact age varies with respect to breed, ranging from 4-6 months and up to 9 months in giant breeds.
Benefits of neutering include:
The BSAVA recommends that, as a general principal, alternatives to surgical neutering should be recommended in ferrets, but that options and potential risks and benefits should be explained and discussed with owners to choose the best solution for the individual ferret and the owners’ particular situation and requirements.
The Cat Group
Berman E. Lab Anim Sci. 1974 Dec;24(6):929-31
BSAVA Council as Policy Statement No. 25 (Castration of dogs) 1999 updated 2006
BSAVA Council as Policy Statement No. 29 (Neutering of cats) 1999. Updated 2006
Neutering of rabbits Approved by BSAVA council 2007.
BSAVA Council as Policy Statement No. 24 (Spaying of bitches) 1999 updated 2006
Latest Update Scientific Committee 2020
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