It is better to have your pets sterilised to avoid unwanted pregnancies, especially if you are not a registered breeder. Intact males roam to find females who have come into season, which then increases their risk of coming into contact with other animals who may carry parasites and/or infectious diseases. Intact males often injure themselves trying to get to females who are in season. If they are roaming the streets, they may even be involved in a car accident, which can be fatal.
Dogs and cats who have not been sterilised have a higher risk of developing cancer as they get older – males can get testicular or prostatic cancer and females can get mammary or ovarian tumours or severe uterine infections, which can be fatal. The risk of your dog developing these problems is dramatically decreased by having them sterilised at a young age.
Routinely, dogs and cats are sterilised when they are six months old. Older animals can be safely sterilised, but the risks involved become greater as they get older. Many veterinary practices recommend that a pre-anaesthetic blood test is done before an older pet is put under anaesthetic to ensure that there is no underlying internal problem that may increase the pet’s risk.
Dr Amanda Haechler, veterinarian