Surgical sterilisation of pets is important for reducing the number of unwanted litters.

What is sterilisation?

Sterilisation is a surgical procedure in which a part of your pet’s reproductive organ is removed to permanently stop it from reproducing. Sterilisation is done mostly on male and female dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

For male animals, the testicles are removed, and this procedure is commonly known as castration. The ovaries and uterus are generally removed in the female animal. Sterilisation is done by a licensed veterinarian under strict sterile conditions with the animal under general anaesthesia. Pet owners should consult their veterinarians to determine the appropriate age of sterilisation for individual cats and dogs.

Benefits of sterilisation

Through sterilisation, you are helping your pet to have a healthier life, as sterilised animals are less prone to certain diseases. Sterilisation may also help to reduce certain undesirable behaviours in your pet.

  • Sterilisation prevents unnecessary breeding and reduces the number of unwanted animals.
  • Sterilisation reduces the risk of certain cancers (mammary gland tumours, ovarian and uterine cancers) and womb infections (pyometra) in the female. Castration reduces the risk of testicular cancer in male pets, and incidence of prostate disease in male dogs.

Heat cycles will stop in sterilised females and so males will not be attracted. Castration in males will reduce the urge to roam and some undesirable sexual behaviours such as urine spraying.

Changes to your pet after sterilisation

Sterilisation might change your pet’s behaviour (e.g. males have less urge to roam and females do not go into heat). Sterilisation does not cause obesity. Owners are advised to give their pet appropriate amount of food and exercise to prevent obesity, regardless of their pet’s sterilisation status

In very few cases, an older sterilised pet may lose some control of its bladder or experience thinning of its body coat. These are not serious conditions and can be easily resolved with medication.

Common misconceptions about sterilisation

Sterilisation is a painful and dangerous surgery

Sterilisation is the most common surgery performed on animals. The risks are minimal if your pet is sterilised by a licensed veterinarian. Your pet will not feel any pain as the procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, and painkillers will be given by the veterinarian where required. Most pets recover quickly and are back to normal after 24 to 48 hours.

Sterilisation is costly

Sterilisation is a one-off procedure that will last your pet's lifetime. The cost of sterilisation is small compared to the cost of raising a litter of your pet's offspring.

Sterilisation can also be considered an investment, as sterilised pets are less prone to certain illnesses.