CASTRATIONS AND STERILIZATIONS OF DOGS AND CATS
In Poland, females and males are most often subjected to castration procedures, i.e. removal of reproductive organs.
In the case of females, we remove the uterus with the ovaries (ovariohysterectomy), and in males, both testicles (orchidectomy).
Colloquially, these procedures are called castration in males and sterilization in females.
It is safe to perform the procedure after four months (dogs and cats).
It happens when sex hormones cease to be essential for the growth of the animal.
The exception is dogs of giant and fast-growing breeds, where bone growth ends between the 18th and 24th months of life.
In cats, it is recommended to perform the castration procedure before the animal begins to mark the territory (approx. the 6-7th month of life, but not earlier than in the 4th month of life).
In the case of crypts, i.e. males in which one or both testicles have not to move into the scrotum, ultrasound diagnostics should be performed before the procedure, which allows to locate the retained testicle (groin/abdominal cavity) and to plan of the procedure.
During internal castration, both gonads are removed due to the high risk of neoplasia creation in both organs.
The procedure is performed at the earliest after the 4th month of life.
The optimal time is before or after the first oestrus, significantly reducing the risk of mammary gland cancers.
The exception is dogs of giant and fast-growing breeds, which should be treated at the end of growth, i.e. the 18-24th month.
Most often, bitches are castrated about 2-3 months after the first oestrus, and cats about the 6th month of life, i.e. before the occurrence of oestrus.
CASTRATIONS AND STERILIZATIONS OF RABBITS
The rabbit does not have typical oestrus, so it is constantly ready for reproduction.
If we do not plan to breed, it is worth opting for a castration procedure, i.e. removal of the uterus and ovaries.
It prevents unwanted pregnancy and diseases of the reproductive system, i.e. pyometra or tumours of the mammary glands and reduces aggressive behaviour of females.
The procedure is performed under total anaesthesia, remembering that rabbits are not fasting before castration due to their physiology!
After the procedure, the rabbit receives a postoperative garment that will protect the wound until it is fully healed, i.e. about ten days.
Sterilization can be performed from the 6th month of life when the vaccination and deworming schedule of the pet has been completed.
It is worth making an appointment for a qualifying visit before we decide on the procedure.
Castration of rabbits is a frequently performed procedure.
Thanks to that, it can reduce males’ libido and reduce aggression and persistent sexual behaviour. In addition, after castration, urine and faeces smell less intense, which is very important for our comfort.
The periprocedural time has the same course as in females.
There are several ways to induce reversible infertility in females and males on the veterinary market.
These are the so-called chemical castrations, which have extensive applications.
In males, we can introduce an implant with a substance that inhibits the activity of the genitals (deslorelin).
The effect is obtained for about six months.
This solution is used in animals with behavioural disorders and in therapies for treating certain hormone-dependent diseases.
In the case of bitches and female cats, we can use hormonal injection or tablet therapy. However, they are connected with a high risk of complications (pyometra, mammary gland cancer).
It would be best if you decided on this form of contraception after advising the veterinarian will present all the pros and cons of the therapy.
SETTING THE MATING DATE
Determining the optimal mating date increases the bitch’s chance of getting pregnant. Several methods are used for the assessment at once:
- vaginal smear test (result in few minutes, on-site in Saskavet),
- testing the level of progesterone in the blood (usually performed every 24-48 hours),
- vaginoscopy consists of a visual assessment of changes within the
Based on these tests, we can determine the exact day conception should occur. Our offer also includes the possibility of insemination.
At Saskavet, we inseminate bitches with fresh and chilled semen.
Before insemination, we assess the quality of sperm microscopically and then introduce them into the female’s reproductive tract.
In the case of chilled semen, the procedure is the same.
Thanks to semen quality control, the insemination procedure has a better chance of success.
MICROSCOPIC EVALUATION OF SPERM
Our Clinic performs it on the spot – it is recommended both before insemination and planned to mate.
The examination consists of 2 parts:
- direct microscopic assessment, in which we examine sperm motility and viability,
- staining of the collected semen, e. cytology that allows for assessment of the morphology of sperm and detects their structure defects.
Sperm quality assessment is crucial for mating to have the best chance of success!
Any abnormalities detected during the examination direct the male for further diagnosis and treatment.
DIAGNOSTICS AND TREATMENT OF INFERTILITY
At Saskavet, we will deal with comprehensive diagnostics of the causes of infertility and propose optimal therapy and, if possible, a solution to the problem.
There is an ultrasound scanner and a laboratory where we conduct semen quality assessments.
Before deciding about the reproduction of your bitch or queen, you should prepare for it properly, preferably under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Before a female gets pregnant for the first time, she should have blood tests and swabs from the genital tract to exclude the presence of the herpes virus, mycoplasma and chlamydia.
An adequately prepared female dog/cat should also be dewormed, as some parasites can be transmitted through the milk and intrauterine.
During the inspection (at 3-week intervals), the doctor will assess the size of the litter and monitor the development of foetuses and the health of the female.
A vet will also assess the possibilities of conducting natural birth and, if necessary, set the optimal date for a caesarean section.
During regular ultrasound examinations, we also perform fetal biometry (fetometry) – on its basis, it is determined the expected date of birth (more information below).
Birth difficulties can occur at any stage of labour. When should you seek urgent medical attention?
- the break in birthing lasts longer than 2 hours,
- when the fetus is trapped or partially protrudes from the genital tract (more than 10 minutes),
- birthing contractions have lasted for 2 hours, but the bitch/ female cat has not yet given birth to any single baby,
- there is severe pain manifested by howling, barking, squeaking, persistent licking/biting of the vulvar area,
- there has occurred an untypical flow from the birth canal (dark green or bloody), and the female has still not given birth to any single baby.
The delivery method of pregnancy should be agreed upon with the attending doctor. There are medical indications for surgical delivery without attempting a natural birth.
Caesarean section is nothing more than birthing by incision of the abdominal wall and uterus by a veterinarian.
This is an operation for which bitch must be anaesthetized.
After removing the newborns from the uterus and drying them, they go to the incubator, where they wait for the end of the operation until the mother comes back to full consciousness.
The date of the caesarean section will be determined based on the measurements conducted during pregnancy and the date of mating.
It is necessary to properly prepare the bitch/queen cat for the procedure, both nutritionally (about 6 hours before the food is taken away) and technically, i.e. we must thoroughly wash the nipples and the vulva area.
Remember that dogs of brachycephalic and miniature breeds are predisposed to perinatal complications, so each pregnancy must be under constant medical supervision.
FETAL BIOMETRY (FETOMETRY)
It is a test involving the measurement of selected anatomical structures, the growth of individual parts of the fetal body and the determination of their growth rate.
Biometrics is used to determine the expected delivery date and helps determine the optimal date of the caesarean section when it is necessary to deliver the pregnancy surgically.
There are three main measurements used in dog fetometry:
- ICC, e. the internal diameter of the chorionic cavity,
- BP – biparietal diameter,
- DPTV – diameter of the intercerebral-telencephalic
In cats, the above measurements are also used to determine the birthing date, but examination is still being conducted to adapt them to this species.
We perform litter inspections of recently born puppies and kittens.
We establish a calendar of deworming, vaccinations and other necessary prophylactic treatments for the mother and her offspring until the babies leave for new homes.
We also carry out official inspections of litter, which are necessary to obtain a pedigree.
If there is a risk of unwanted conception, it is possible to interrupt the pregnancy.
The veterinarian, depending on the circumstances and health condition of the bitch or queen, will determine the appropriate procedure with you.
A vet will suggest a safe method if it is necessary to abort the pregnancy.
THE MOST COMMON DISEASES OF THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
It usually occurs long before the first oestrus and is called juvenile vaginitis. Symptoms of the disease may be poorly marked and limited to licking the genital area only.
Vaginitis is diagnosed by vaginoscopy and vaginal cytology. Both tests can be done on-site at Saskavet.
- Pyometra (EPC)
Endometritis–pyometra-complex is considered a life-threatening condition. Unfortunately, it is a disease that can develop for a long time without specific symptoms.
The disease can occur in two varieties:
- Open pyometra, when the cervix is open, the fluid collected in the uterus lumen finds a free outlet through the vagina.
The carer can then observe a disturbing discharge from the genital tract,
- Closed pyometra when the cervix is Fluid accumulates in the uterine cavity and causes the bitch/queen condition to deteriorate gradually.
It is more challenging to diagnose.
What should every guardian of a non-neutered bitch/queen pay attention to?
- decrease in appetite,
- drinking more water,
- the expanding outline of the abdomen,
- excessive interest in the vulvar area,
- bloody/ purulent and bloody/ milky flow from the
These symptoms can be alarming, so don’t delay your visit to the veterinarian! Time plays a key role here for further treatment!
During the visit, the veterinarian will perform an ultrasound examination, during which he will confirm or exclude the presence of fluid in the lumen of the uterus.
Pyometra is treated surgically by performing castration (ovariohysterectomy). Owing to its effectiveness, it is the method of the first choice.
Pharmacological treatment is allowed in bitches intended for reproduction (breeding), but such therapy may be associated with a high risk of failure and does not protect against the recurrence of the disease.
- Tumours of the mammary gland
Nodular lesions within the mammary gland may occur in castrated and uncastrated bitches/queens. Unfortunately, tumours appearing in this organ are most often malignant (especially in cats) and quickly metastasize.
- Testicular and prostate tumours
Every older (over the 7-8th year of life) unneutered male is at risk of having testicular or prostate neoplasia.
Diagnosis is made using ultrasound, which can be performed during an internal medicine visit. During the examination, the veterinarian evaluates both the testicles and the prostate.
Depending on the test result, he may refer the animal for further diagnostics or recommend a check- up.
Prostate tumours can also occur in neutered males. This organ is assessed during each routine ultrasound examination. Therefore, it is worth performing it on our seniors.
- Inflammation and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia of the prostate (BPH)
These are conditions that are most common in older, unneutered dogs. These diseases develop slowly, without visible symptoms, and are often accompanied by cystitis.
What should we pay attention to?
- soreness in the lower abdomen,
- ineffective pressure on faecal
- more frequent urination/dropping, haematuria
- lack of acceptance of touch in the lower abdomen,
In such situations, it will be necessary to visit the outpatient Clinic and start diagnostics based on ultrasound examination and urine and semen analysis.