Dr KG Umesh (MVSc, MSc (UK)) is a Postgraduate in Clinical Medicine. He is working for WALTHAM as Regional Associate for South Asia.
Q: My cats are two and three years old. What is the best age to neuter and are there any side effects in terms of health?
– Ayush, Delhi
Dr K G Umesh: Spaying/castration is an irreversible means by which a cat is rendered sterile. Spaying at a young age prevents mammary cancer and neutering at any age prevents unwanted kittens, noisy heat cycles, roaming, fighting and possibly even urine marking in the house. The procedure entails complete removal of the uterus and ovaries in females and testicles in males. Surgery is preceded by a fasting period and requires general anaesthesia and hospitalisation. However, most hospitals/clinics discharge cats the same day as surgery. Complications are unusual/rare but may include post surgical haemorrhage or infection. Postoperative care includes restriction of exercise for a week, protection of the incision from contaminants, and daily monitoring of the incision for inflammation or discharge. The incision must stay dry and suture removal is usually performed 7-10 days after surgery. There are also hospitals/clinics, which conduct spaying with Keyhole or Laparoscopy methods, with minimum invasive surgery and on out-patient basis. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what exactly is involved with the operation and also on the best time for it to be performed. The traditional age for spaying is six months. However, the last few years has brought us a great deal of research into ‘early’ spaying and we now know that there is no problem with spaying as early as eight weeks of age.