Background: Neutering cats and dogs is the most common elective procedure undertaken in small animal practice. Neutering is often at the request of an owner but may be carried out on unowned animals as a policy decision in a charity practice, or as a life-saving intervention in cases such as testicular torsion or pyometra. Considerations influencing the decision to neuter include owner, animal and veterinary factors.
Aim of the article: Here, we consider the timing of the procedure, the risks and benefits and technicalities of performing prepubertal gonadectomy in the dog and cat. Traditionally, cats and dogs are neutered from six months old; in contrast, prepubertal neutering is defined as ovariectomy/ovariohysterectomy or castration at six to 16 weeks of age in both species. It should be noted that large dog breeds may not reach puberty for many months after this period.
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