Fat-CatIt is true! When we neuter pets we prevent unwanted pups and kittens and a range of antisocial behaviours and smells.

But we also create eunuchs, and a changed hormonal state that increases the risk of becoming obese. Neutering doubles the risk of obesity in dogs, and increases the risk of obesity in cats by a whopping 340%. That happens in two ways: the appetite goes up and the energy requirements go down.

In cats the effect is most dramatic in males. Their appetite goes up 26% after neutering, while their energy requirements drop by 28%. In female cats those numbers are 18% and 33% respectively. The effect of this is that just 6 months after neutering, adult males have gained weight by 17.6% and females by 9.3%.



You also have some responsibility! What should you do?

fat-dogOur post-operative care notes give general advice about the diet and amounts you should feed your cat after neutering. In general for cats you need to decrease their calorie intake by 30% after neutering to maintain their ideal weight.Our veterinary nurses will give you specific advice to match your pets needs.

What about dogs?
Neutered dogs also need about 30% less calories as adults. However they are often neutered at about 6 months of age when they are still growing. For these pets the calorie restriction should be modest, about 5%, and increase this percentage as they near their mature size at 10-12 months, so that they will end up being fed about 30% less than the recommended amount for their weight.

We do have a special range of diets designed to meet the needs of pets post-neutering. These taste really good, are highly digestible so wastes are minimised, are complete and balanced foods, and formulated so your pets can comfortably maintain their ideal weights.


Does neutering cause other problems?

This simple question has now got complex answers and they are not the same for dogs and cats, for young and old and for different breeds.

Early neutering is an important urban animal management tool for animal shelters like the SPCA. Most owners of a young female kitten will want the assurance that their kitten won’t deliver a litter of kittens by having her neutered before puberty (4.5 – 6 months). There is a benefit in bone development by delaying neutering till 10 – 12 months and owners of male kittens can make this choice with little risk of the tom cat problems of pungent urine spray marking and roaming for sex.

In dogs the issue is much more complex. As well as the bone development issues some large scale studies in breeds like the Vizsla and the Golden Retriever suggest a significant increased risk of some cancers in puppies which are neutered at an early age. It is usually much easier to manage the risks around unwanted pregnancy in females, or roaming by males in dogs than in cats.

What should you do?

We don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” recommendation for dogs, and even cats. Discuss your situation with us if you are considering neutering your pet and we’ll help you make the best choice for you and your pet.