Spaying protects pets from serious infection
World Spay Day has just passed – an international event that encourages cat owners to get their pets neutered. PDSA vet Nurse, Nina Downing, said that for female cats, spaying prevents or reduces the risk of several life-threatening illnesses, including cancer of the womb and ovaries, as well as pyometra, a very serious and potentially fatal womb infection.
She added: “For male cats, neutering can reduce their instinct to roam and fight other cats, which in turn reduces their chance of exposure to nasty injuries or diseases such as FIV (the feline version of HIV).
"Neutering can also help stop male cats from spraying indoors – which is not only unpleasant to have to deal with, but urine marking can also be very smelly, which owners really wouldn’t want in the house!”
Despite the benefits, the 2022 PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report found that more than 1.2 million cats in the UK remain un-neutered.
So PDSA has put together a myth-busting list for some of the common reasons given:
Myth: my cat needs to have a season before she can be neutered.
Reality: this is untrue – female cats don’t need to have a season first and can be spayed from four months old, as they can become sexually mature soon after this age.
Myth: my cat should have a litter first before being spayed.
Reality: this is unnecessary – there is no need for a cat to have a litter before being neutered as there is no emotional benefit to this.
Myth: there’s no need for my pet to suffer invasive and unnecessary surgery.
Reality: Neutering is a routine operation carried out by vets on a daily basis. For female cats the operation lasts around 20 minutes, while for male cats it is under 10 minutes. Your cat will be given pain relief to keep them comfortable and the vast majority of pets will be able to go home the same day and recover very quickly.
Myth: I have an indoor cat so there’s no risk of pregnancy.
Reality: cats can be very determined and frequently do get into (or out of) houses despite their owner’s best efforts. This is even more likely if a cat is in season. There are important health benefits that your cat will benefit from when neutered, as pregnancy is not the only risk when they remain intact.
PDSA is the UK’s largest vet charity providing a vital service for pets across the UK whose owners struggle to afford treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Visit www.pdsa.org.uk website, which helps reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information.
Pet expert shows how to care for your furry friend
Dear PDSA vet, my cat, Elsa, is being neutered next week. I usually look after my grandchildren on the day she is due home. Will she be okay around them? Thanks, Pat.
Hi Pat, Elsa will need peace and quiet after surgery. If you can arrange for someone else to have your grandchildren, or make sure Elsa has her own space to recover away from them, that would be ideal. Make sure she has familiar bedding, so she feels relaxed. If Elsa wants to sit next to you on the sofa, carefully lift her up, making sure you support her back end, so she doesn’t stretch or pull anything - then down again when she is ready.
Dear PDSA vet, I have started noticing blood in my dog’s stool. Should I be worried? Thanks, Tanya.
Hi Tanya, seeing blood in your dog’s stool can be worrying. There can be many possible causes, ranging from an upset tummy or new medication to more serious conditions, so you should book an appointment with your vet. Take a sample or photograph of what’s been passed, so they can take a closer look. Let your vet know of any other symptoms such as vomiting, pale gums, low energy, eating or drinking less than usual, bruising or being unsteady on their feet.
Dear PDSA vet, my cat Snowbell is always itching, especially around her face, ears and neck. Could she have developed an allergy? She’s 2. Thanks, Lucy.
Hi Lucy, just like people, cats can develop allergies. However, your vet will want to check Snowbell over first, to make sure that she does not have any pesky parasites like fleas. Once this has been ruled out then your vet may want to do some investigations and they’ll ask lots of questions, which may point them in the direction of what’s causing the problem. Sadly, an exact cause of the allergy may never be identified and the best that can be achieved is control of the condition. Your vet may consider her food too, especially if you’ve recently changed to a new diet.
Dear PDSA vet, my rabbit Thumper has stopped eating his food the past few days. Should I change his diet or get him seen by the vet? Thanks, Jake
Hi Jake, please arrange for Thumper to be seen by your vet today, as it’s a real concern if rabbits stop eating. Unlike many other pets, who can cope with occasionally missing a meal, rabbits need to eat hay or growing grass all the time to keep their guts moving. Rabbits can suffer with gut stasis which is a serious and life threatening condition where their guts slow right down and stop moving food along their insides. Thumper may have stopped eating due to dental disease, stress or something else.
Don’t delay and have Thumper seen by your vet.