Desexings - Regular dog/cat desexing

Small Animals

  • Whilst desexing your pet is considered a ‘routine’ surgery, this does not mean we reduce our surgical standards. For females especially, desexing is classed as abdominal surgery, and therefore is considered high risk.
  • Our extensive one on one anaesthetic monitoring, pre anaesthesia blood testing, pain relief protocols, intravenous fluids, intradermal suture options are all considered essential; however, we aim to cater for all budget types and can be discuss these when scheduling surgery.

Pre anaesthesia blood testing

  • This type of blood test is recommended prior to any surgery. This blood test will provide an indication of your pet’s general health prior to the administration of an anaesthetic, and the medications that may be dispensed after. If your pet is deemed fit for surgery, these values will provide a base line in case future blood tests are required if you pet becomes unwell. If your pet is deemed unfit for its surgical procedure following this blood test, then the Veterinarian will phone to discuss options.

Intravenous Fluids

  • During anaesthesia there are always fluctuations in both heart rate and blood pressure, which, in most cases, is kept to a minimum. Occasionally, in sick, old or during long procedures with blood loss, low blood pressure can occur which may result in organ damage. Intravenous fluids can be used during the anaesthetic to help maintain blood volume and therefore increase blood pressure, as well as keeping the animal hydrated, also reducing the risk of organ damage. Intravenous fluids also assist in moving the anaesthetic through the body quicker, improving recovery time.
  • Any senior animal undertaking anaesthetics are highly recommended to be on fluids (especially cats), sick animals, animals with chronic disease/ or those on long term medications, and any animals undertaking long procedures (Inc. speys) as these may involve blood loss.


  • Microchipping is now a legal requirement for dogs and cats in South Australia. If your pet is not already microchipped, this may be a good time to do so.
  • Microchips are the best way to ensure that a pet can be returned safely if he/she decide to go wandering or if they are stolen. The microchip is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades and contains a unique code that is read by a special scanner. The code can then be checked against a nationwide database to find the pets owners’ name, address and telephone number.


  • Tattoos can be given at no cost as a means of identification. There are two tattoos that can only be given whilst under an anaesthetic. These include desexing and microchipping. Occasionally, microchips can move around under the skin once implanted, and therefore can be tricky to find. A microchip tattoo will identify that your pet has a microchip, making it clear for any Veterinary clinic or council that this pet has an owner. Female dogs/cats are also tricky to identify if they are desexed or not, which is why we offer a desexing tattoo. These tattoos are placed in each ear.

Intradermal Sutures or Bucket Collar

  • We recommend all pets go home with a bucket collar, as pets will often try to chew, lick or scratch at their sutures/suture site. This can lead to infection and breakdown of the surgical site, which can in return be costly. If you do not wish to purchase a bucket collar you will need to provide your own at time of pick up.
  • Alternatively, you can opt for your pet to receive Intradermal Sutures. This is a newer method of suturing both the inner and outer layers of muscle and skin internally, meaning there will be no visible sutures that can sometimes irritate the skin. This type of suture is also slowly dissolvable, meaning that no sutures will require removal. Even though your pet won’t have any sutures to chew or scratch at, if they lick at their surgical site, they may introduce bacteria from their mouth into the surgery site. This can cause a secondary infection and may cause the surgical site to breakdown. This is why we still recommend a bucket collar for when you are not able to monitor your pet.

Dogs come into heat (or “season”) twice a year. Females that are not speyed (desexed) are not fertile at any other times – only for a week or two during each heat cycle. The first heat can occur as early as 6 months (especially for small dog breeds) or as late as 1.5 years (especially in large dogs). It is impossible to predict when exactly your female will start her first heat. Speying a dog during a heat cycle can be performed, but it can increase the chances of complications. During the heat cycle and for up to 6 weeks after, there are increased estrogen hormone levels in the body. This causes the uterus to swell and may make the location of the ovaries difficult. Additionally, during this period there is increased blood supply to the reproductive tract. This can lead to excessive bleeding during surgery which can cause very serious complications. So – yes, theoretically it is possible. However, the increased chances for complications and additional costs involved should make every owner carefully consider if it is necessary to spey the female during her heat.

If your pet comes on heat with in the 6 weeks prior to her desexing appointment please call us to discussion your options further, if you would like to proceed with desexing we will need prior notice to ensure we have booked out the appropriate surgery time for your pet.

What is a gastropexy?

A gastropexy is a surgical procedure performed to prevent Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), commonly called torsion or bloat. GDV is a life-threatening condition where the stomach flips or twists, trapping air and gases in the stomach. Circulation to the spleen and stomach are cut off, causing the dog to go into shock and, if untreated, die. During a gastropexy, the stomach is attached to the abdominal wall, so that it is unable to twist.

What does a preventive gastropexy mean?

Today, it has become more common practice to perform a preventive gastropexy. This does not keep the stomach from bloating (filling up with gas and air) but it will prevent the stomach from twisting and cutting off circulation, thereby avoiding a life-threatening situation. There are certain “at-risk” breeds for GDV. These include (but are not limited to) Great Danes, Boxers, Irish Setters, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles, Rottweilers, Labradors, and various other giant-breed or deep-chested dogs.

The preventive surgery can be performed at a young age and can be combined with other procedures (i.e. desexing). This can reduce the number of times your pet is anesthetised. If your female dog is undergoing a routine spey, an abdominal incision is already created and therefore a traditional gastropexy can be performed at the same time.

Please speak to us if this is something you are interested in or if you would like any further information.