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Desexing your pet: how you can help your dog or cat live a longer, happier life

20 July 2017


Did you know that desexed cats and dogs generally become better companions and live longer, healthier lives?

Desexing your pet not only reduces the number of unwanted dogs and cats that find themselves homeless, in shelters or in pounds, it also reduces the risk of your dog or cat getting cancer or other diseases of the reproductive organs.

It’s a fact that animals who are desexed are less likely to get diseases and certain illnesses such as mammary cancer and uterine infections in females and prostate problems in males than those animals that aren’t desexed.

Maroondah Councillor Mike Symon said ensuring your pets are desexed goes hand-in-hand with responsible pet ownership.

“My family and I are proud dog owners. But sadly, thousands of healthy and unwanted animals are put to sleep each year in Victoria because not enough homes can be found for them,” said Cr Symon.

“Having your pet desexed also helps to reduce behavioural problems, such as roaming and aggression, particularly in males,” he said.

July is National Desexing Month, with Maroondah pet owners being encouraged to have their cat or dog desexed before registering their pet.

State legislation requires that all dogs and cats must be registered with Council by the age of three months. Registration renewals are due on 10 April each year.

Council provides a discount on pet registration fees for dogs and cats that have been desexed.

Cr Symon said dog owners can save as much as $90 on their pet’s registration fee, while cat owners can save $71 if their animal has already been desexed at the time of registering.

“Cats and dogs are able to start their reproductive lives at a very young age, and throughout their lifetime can potentially deliver many litters of kittens or puppies. It’s for this reason that we encourage pet owners to do the responsible thing and talk to their local vet about how soon they can have their pet desexed,” he said.

“Ownership of a pet costs much more than simply the purchase price because they must be fed, registered, vaccinated, desexed, microchipped, confined, trained, exercised and may even need ongoing veterinary care,” Cr Symon said.

“Even if you’re planning on going on holiday, many kennels and catteries refuse to take dogs and cats who aren’t desexed, while others may charge more to do so,” Cr Symon added.

What is involved in desexing an animal?


Desexing a dog or a cat (also known as spaying in females and neutering in males) is a quick operation performed under general anaesthetic. It usually only takes a few days for your pet to recover and return to their normal, energetic selves.

Older dogs can also be desexed. In fact, the risk of certain diseases increases with age, so desexing is even more important in older dogs. Although, always speak to your vet before making this decision.

In general, pets can be safely desexed from three months of age. Talk to your vet about the best age to desex your pet.

Financial assistance to desex animals

Council can assist Pensioners/Concession Card holders in obtaining a discount for the cost of desexing their cat or dog by a local vet.

Desexing vouchers are available from Council’s Customer Services Centres, but be sure to check that your vet is a participant in the program. The voucher must be presented to the vet at the time of admission of your dog or cat for desexing. (Please note that a maximum of two vouchers will be issued to each household).

For more information on desexing your pet, visit http://www.maroondah.vic.gov.au/180.aspx. For details on animal registrations and discounted fees, go to http://www.maroondah.vic.gov.au/AnimalRegFees.aspx or contact Council on 1300 88 22 33.

Did you know?

According to the RSPCA, just one female dog and her offspring can produce about 20,000 puppies in five years, while a female cat and her offspring can produce 20,000 kittens in just two years.

Having your dog or cat desexed means your pet won’t add to this number and you will be doing your part as a responsible pet owner by reducing the number of unwanted puppies and kittens.

De-sexing myths, debunked:

  • De-sexing early will reduce the chance of animals developing aggression problems, roaming, inappropriate urination and inappropriate mating behaviour. It will not affect the dog’s overall personality, or make them less active or lazy
  • De-sexing does not cause weight gain
  • De-sexing is not expensive compared to the costs of caring for and feeding new litters, or the lifetime costs involved in keeping an animal
  • Females do not need to have one litter in order to have a fulfilling life

The case for desexing:

  • A desexed male will never develop testicular cancer
  • Desexed female dogs will be free of uterine and ovarian cancers and be much less likely to develop mammary tumours
  • Desexing reduces the incidence of prostate problems in males
  • Dogs that are desexed early avoid learning adult behaviours such as fighting for territory, excessive urine marking and aggression
  • Scientific studies clearly show that desexed animals live longer on average than those that haven’t been desexed

It’s never too late to desex


There is no ‘best before’ age for either male or female. In fact, the risk of certain diseases increases with age, so desexing is even more important in older dogs.

In the hands of a competent veterinarian, most senior dogs (approximately seven years of age) can be safely spayed or neutered. Age alone, without an overall assessment of the senior dog’s health, should not be used to rule out the surgery.

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