CQUniversity’s Head of Course for Animal Studies and Veterinarian Camilla Thomas has used ‘World Spay Day’ to urge pet owners to have their pets desexed, not only to reduce the number of puppies and kittens ending up in shelters or euthanised, but to ensure their pet has a happy and healthy life.
Launched in 1995, World Spay Day is celebrated annually on the fourth Tuesday of February (28 February in 2023) and aims to encourage people to save animal lives by spaying and neutering companion animals and feral cats.
Dr Thomas outlined the procedures veterinarians perform when desexing or neutering a cat or dog, what age the desexing can take place and how to help the animal recover from the procedure.
“Essentially desexing means preventing a male or female animal from being able to produce offspring. Veterinarians perform this procedure surgically while your pet is under a general anaesthetic in a sterile surgical theatre,” she said.
“Desexing actively reduces the number of unwanted pets that are often surrendered to shelters or euthanised. More importantly, it can help to enhance the health of the individual pet by preventing certain health conditions and diseases.”
Dr Thomas said in females, desexing prevents uterine infections, reduces the occurrence of mammary cancer and reduces the risk of emergency medical conditions that may arise from giving birth. In males, it reduces certain diseases of the prostate and can prevent testicular cancer.
“It may also help alleviate certain undesirable behavioural issues in both sexes, for example, spraying and marking in male cats and dogs, roaming and aggression,” she said.
She added that post-procedure recovery was important for the animal.
“In most cases, the pet is given pain control during and for a few days after the surgery,” she said.
“Post-operatively it is recommended that the pet be confined for 1-3 days, and have limited activity for 7-14 days, during which time they should be monitored carefully and the incision kept clean and dry.
“The vet should be contacted immediately if there are any questions or concerns about the pet’s health or the surgical site.”
She said in the majority of desexing cases, confinement to a quiet room with a soft, clean bed will be sufficient. Restricted activity would entail not allowing the animal to run, jump or perform any other strenuous activity. During the first week she suggested short walks on a leash only for the purposes of toilet needs.
She said people looking to enter the veterinary field should consider studying the Certificate II in Animal Care course.
“The Certificate II in Animal Care is offered at CQU currently has 80 students studying the course,” she said.
“It is an excellent choice for students who wish to pursue a career working in the animal care and management industry where care for animals is provided.
“It forms the basis for further study in a Certificate III in Animal Care Services and is in addition an entry requirement for Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.”
CQU will be offering the Certificate III in Animal Care Services in late 2023/early 2024, with plans to introduce the Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing and Diploma in Veterinary Nursing soon after.
To find out more about World Spay Day visit https://www.hsvma.org/world_spay_day