When it comes to taking care of a new pet, there’s a long list of things to do. You need to prepare pet food, pet accessories, bring them for their vaccinations, get them health insurance and have your cat or dog spayed or neutered.
In this guide, we’ll explain the differences between spaying and neutering, why they are important, the costs and potential risks, and give you some tips on taking care of your pet after the procedure.
What is the difference between spaying and neutering?
Spaying and neutering both refer to the surgical sterilisation of an animal, such as a dog or cat.
Spaying is the process of removing the reproductive organs of a female animal while neutering removes the testicles of a male animal.
Spaying applies to females whereas the term neutering usually applies to males, but can also sometimes be used for females. (sometimes the terms are being used interchangeably)
Common myths and misconceptions about spaying and neutering
1. It is cruel to spay or neuter my pet
This is not true. Your pet will be under anaesthesia and won't feel any pain during the surgery. They may also be given medication to alleviate any pain or discomfort afterwards.
Unlike humans, pets do not have the “desire” to become a parent. Spaying or neutering will help them to avoid having to go through the breeding process. It’s also a way to protect your pet as it will reduce their risks of developing severe health problems.
2. Spaying or neutering is expensive and not worth it
Again, this is not necessarily true. Think of it this way: spaying or neutering carries a one-time fee that is relatively small when you consider the major benefits it brings.
It's a small price to pay to ensure the health of your pet. In fact, you might save more money in the long term by preventing potential health issues. Plus, it is cheaper compared to the cost of providing for a newborn litter.
Besides, you could also opt for spaying and neutering subsidy programs. An example is Spaying It Forward, a neutering subsidy program for strays in Ipoh. The program focuses on spaying female stray dogs and they will bear half of the surgery cost.
3. I need to spay or neuter my pets to sign up for pet insurance
Spaying or neutering your pet is not a requirement for Oyen Pet Insurance, although it is highly recommended. Do note that spaying or neutering costs are not claimable under pet insurance as they are considered preventative treatments.
Why should I spay or neuter my pet?
Spaying or neutering provides great benefits for you, your pet, and the community. It reduces harmful health risks to your pet and eliminates undesirable behaviour, bringing you a more peaceful environment.
Here are some benefits of spaying or neutering your dog or cat:
- Animals who have been spayed or neutered typically become less aggressive as they lack the mating instinct. You can expect less fighting, roaming, and marking of territory.
- Spaying females reduces the risk of breast cancer and pyometra
- Neutering males reduces risk of testicular cancer and prostate problems
- Spaying or neutering prevents the birth of unwanted litters, helping to reduce overpopulation of strays and shelter animals.
- Spaying females prevents heat cycles, and helps to avoid yowling, unpredictable behaviour, and bloody vaginal discharge.
When should I spay or neuter my pet?
Cats: Usually between 2 to 5 months old
Dogs: Typically before puberty, between 6 and 9 months, but can be as young as 8 weeks if approved by the vet.
These timings are general recommendations and it is always best to consult your vet, who will be able to more accurately determine the best time depending on your pet’s breed, age, and health condition.
If you have an older pet who is past the recommended time frame, it is still possible (and recommended!) to have them spayed or neutered.
Generally, it is safe to do it as long as they do not have any health issues that can prevent them from being administered anaesthesia. The vet will likely need to do some blood work, and they’ll be able to advise you on the best course of action for your pet.
It is also recommended that your pet is fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the surgery to prevent common illnesses.
If you are interested in microchipping your pet, it would be good to do it during the spaying or neutering process as the pet would be under anaesthesia.
How much does spaying or neutering cost in Malaysia?
Cats: Spaying typically costs between RM150-200 and neutering costs between RM100-150
Dogs: Spaying or neutering could cost anywhere from RM300-800, depending on the breed and size.
These prices are more applicable to the Klang Valley area, but they may vary across different vets, locations, and circumstances. We suggest calling your vet clinic of choice in advance to get a proper quote on the costs involved.
Do note that these are only the surgery costs, so be prepared to fork out a little more if your pet requires an overnight stay at the clinic.
What are the risks of spaying or neutering?
Just like any medical surgery, spaying and neutering carry some risks. However, the overall likelihood of surgical complications is very low. While they are considered major surgical procedures, they are also the most common surgeries for cats and dogs.
After the surgery, you may notice a change in your pet’s behaviour and eating habits. Their energy expenditure will decrease while their appetite will increase. Thus, pets are at a high risk of developing obesity and subsequent health issues after being spayed or neutered.
Make sure to keep track of your pet’s calorie intake and encourage them to be active. It is important to note that spaying or neutering does not directly cause obesity. Overeating and lack of exercise are the main causes, which can be easily prevented with your intervention.
Overall, the benefits of spaying or neutering your dog or cat still greatly outweigh the risks.
Where can I spay or neuter my pet in Malaysia?
Some animal shelters or rescue organisations may also offer spaying and neutering services.
How do I care for my pet after spaying or neutering?
Depending on your pet's age, size, and health, they may need to stay under observation at the vet clinic for several hours or days. Do restrict your pet's activity for 7 to 14 days after surgery depending on your vet's recommendations.
Pets typically take between 10 to 14 days to heal from their spay or neuter surgery. During the beginning of their recovery period, you can expect your pet to be less active and have a lack of appetite.
Here are some ways you can help with their recovery:
- Keep your pet calm. Pets should stay indoors and avoid excessive running, jumping or playing.
- Monitor the surgery site at least once a day. Ensure that it is not bleeding, swollen or licked at. If you see something amiss, bring them to the vet immediately.
- Give your pet bland food for the first few meals. Your pet’s stomach may be a little sensitive after the operation.
- Use a recovery collar or cone. This is to prevent your pet from licking or picking at the surgery site.
- Give your fur baby some love! Your pet has done well and deserves some extra attention.
The spaying or neutering process may initially seem daunting, but we hope this guide helped you to understand that it doesn’t have to be.
Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best things you can do to protect them and give back to the animal community.
Another way to protect your fur baby is to sign up for pet insurance. Find out everything you need to know about Oyen Pet Insurance in this guide.
To learn more about Oyen Pet Insurance, check out https://www.oyen.my/