Castration helps to reduce aggressiveness, unacceptable sexual behaviour and prevents accidental or indiscriminate breeding. For many family dogs, neutering will be advisable to ensure that the pet remains settled and compliant, especially during the times when there are growing children around. The character and temperament of a dog is dependent on genetic factors and upbringing, as well as the effect of the male hormone, testosterone.
The operation may not “calm” an excitable dog, but should help with forms of male aggression and dominance and with undesirable sexual behaviour. The improvements may not be as marked in some dogs, especially if the dog is mature when the operation is performed.
The operation will prevent the possibility of testicular cancer and reduce the chance of prostatic disease and peri-anal tumours. It can also help with a reduction is road traffic accidents, as dogs are less likely to stray.
Dogs can remain fertile for up to six weeks after the operation, so do keep your dog separate from any bitches that come into season during this time!
We generally prefer the dog to be old enough and big enough to cope with the stresses of coming in for surgery for the day, but not too mature that he has started showing the behaviours that we want to modify, so most dogs will be castrated between 6 months and 1 year of age. If the dog has one or both of his testicles retained in his abdomen, (rather than in the usual position within the scrotal sac), we usually wait until the dog is a year old, to see if the “missing” one appears! All dogs with retained testicles should be neutered as the testicles are prone to developing cancers. The problem can be inherited, so these dogs should not be used for breeding.
Castration is the surgical removal of the testicles (orchidectomy). The procedure involves a general anaesthetic and an incision is made just in front of the scrotal sac and both testicles removed, leaving the sac intact. Vasectomies are not usually performed since it is both sterilisation and removal of the male hormones that provide the behavioural and medical benefits of castration.
A post operation check will be carried out a few days after the operation, when there may be some swelling at the operation site and we remove the sutures after 10 days.