What are the castration and sterilization
Castration and sterilization of cats
When they talk about castration and sterilization, many people think that they castrate cats, but they sterilize cats; that is, there is a gender difference. But it’s not. Castration and sterilization are two different operations.
Sterilization is an operation that creates a mechanical barrier that prevents the release of germ cells. In males, the vas deferens are tied with unique surgical material containing spermatozoa release. In females, the horns of the uterus are bandaged with a special surgical cloth, resulting in a barrier to the release of eggs. At the same time, the sex glands themselves are not removed, and they continue to function. After such an operation, cats cannot have offspring but retain the ability to mate. They will continue to exhibit sexual behavior (i.e., cats may mark, fight for territory, and so on, and cats will continue to heat).
Castration is a surgical operation in which the sex glands are removed: the testes in males, the uterus, and ovaries in females. As a result of this procedure, the production of sex hormones in the body stops. Animals cease to show sexual behavior and lose the ability to mate and give birth to offspring.
What are the methods of castration of cats
There are two main methods of castration – surgical and chemical.
Surgical castration is the most common method. With this method, the testicles are removed surgically. The operation is performed under general anesthesia.
With open castration, both testes are removed from the cat, making an incision on the skin of the scrotum and the testis membrane. In this case, the skin is not sutured.
In closed castration, an incision is made in the skin, and both testes are also removed, but there is a risk of internal bleeding. Therefore, most doctors operate openly.
The chemical method of castration consists of introducing hormonal preparations based on megestrol acetate into the animal’s body. This method gives a temporary effect; the effect of the drug on the body of cats has not been thoroughly studied. But this avoids surgical intervention and possible complications associated with this procedure.
Also, for temporary suppression of reproductive function, animals can be injected with an implant containing deslorelin as an active ingredient. Preparing prolonged action means slowly and gradually releasing the drug’s active substance into the animal’s body. After about a month and a half, the cat’s sexual desire disappears, and the effect lasts up to one year. At the end of the validity period, the procedure must be repeated. This method is not very widespread since the cost of the implant is relatively high, and the effect is temporary.
What are the methods of castration of cats
It’s, like cats, undergo castration and sterilization – two different procedures. But for everyone, the phrase “neutering a cat” is more familiar, although it implies the complete removal of the reproductive organs, that is, castration. Just like in cats, two methods of castration can be distinguished – surgical and chemical.
Surgical castration can be complete when all reproductive system organs are removed- the ovary and the uterus. If only the ovaries are removed, we are talking about partial castration.
Laparotomy is a method in which an incision is made in the abdominal wall, the uterus and ovaries are removed, and sutures are applied. That is, it is a full-fledged surgical operation.
Laparoscopy is an endoscopic method. This method uses several small incisions in the abdominal wall, through which special instruments are inserted. During this procedure, the organs of the reproductive system are also completely removed. This technology makes this surgical operation more gentle for the cat than laparotomy.
What are the pros and cons of these methods
Both conventional and laparoscopic sterilization/castration are performed under general anesthesia. The risks associated with both procedures are the same. Suppose the animal has problems with the cardiovascular or respiratory systems. In that case, the risk of anesthesia during laparoscopic surgery is slightly higher since, during the operation, the work of the heart and respiratory organs becomes more difficult.
Both operations require deep anesthesia and good anesthesia. In general, both processes are short in time. After anesthesia, the cat recovers within a few hours. Complete recovery from anesthesia occurs within a day. After a conventional operation, one large suture is applied to the incision in the abdominal wall, which can cause discomfort to the animal. After laparoscopy, 2-3 small incisions remain, either sutured with one suture, or the doctor treats them with special glue, which lasts for a week.
After the operation, the cat should wear a blanket or collar until the stitches are removed, or the incisions heal.
Laparoscopic sterilization requires special equipment and a specialist who knows how to work on it. Laparoscopic sterilization of cats is more expensive. This method of sterilization is considered more gentle and safe for the animal.
Now let’s talk about the chemical castration of cats.
Chemical castration is a method in which a hormonal drug is introduced into an animal’s body, which leads to the suppression of sexual desire.
Why don’t doctors recommend this method? From the owner’s point of view, giving the cat a pill or drops is much easier and cheaper. And to do the operation is more complex and expensive. But veterinarians know that hormonal drugs have a terrible effect on the animal’s body. With regular use of hormonal medications, a cat can develop polycystic ovaries, purulent uterus (pyometra) inflammation, and an increased risk of cancer of the mammary glands, ovaries, and uterus.
Moreover, inflammation of the uterus can develop even after a single dose of a hormonal drug. And such a situation will require an urgent surgical intervention, which many owners want to avoid. But in this case, it will no longer be the routine sterilization/castration but an operation according to indications, where both the risks and the cost will be much higher.
Ways of sterilization of cats
Sterilization is a method in which a mechanical barrier is created to exit germ cells, but all the functions of sexual behavior are preserved. In this case, the animal is capable of mating but cannot have offspring.
In cats, the spermatic cords are tied up; as a result, spermatozoa do not come out, and the animal becomes incapable of fertilization. At the same time, the gonads are preserved, the production of hormones does not stop, and, accordingly, sexual behavior is maintained; the cat marks even after the operation, can arrange “concerts” and rush out into the street, fight with other cats or show aggression.
Cats have their fallopian tubes tied. As a result of this procedure, the cat cannot have offspring. But her leaks don’t stop. She will also walk every 3-4 months, demand a cat, and may even mark or show aggression. In addition, such animals retain or even increase the risk of developing pathologies of the organs of the reproductive system (polycystic ovaries, purulent inflammation of the uterus, neoplasms of the mammary glands, uterus, and ovaries).
Why castrate or sterilize cats
Our pets do not live in their natural habitat. They do not need to get their food, fight for survival with other individuals, and by all means, continue the race. Therefore, if you do not have a breeding animal, you should not knit it. If you are not sure you will be able to adopt all the kittens your cat will give birth to, you do not need to get offspring from her.
During sexual hunting, animals become more aggressive, and their behavior changes; they can scream, mark territory, and spoil furniture and other objects. In addition, animals experience discomfort from the inability to realize their instincts. If you live in a private home, then there is a high risk that your cat will fight for territory, get hurt in a fight, or get some infection. And if you live in the city, your pet may decide to go out for a walk through the window. This can lead to severe injury and even death.
Many years of experience in observing cats and cats by veterinarians around the world have shown that sterilized/neutered animals live longer. Therefore, if you wish your pet a long healthy life, it is recommended to castrate it promptly. This will help you, and he will avoid a lot of problems.
At what age should a cat be spayed?
Puberty in females occurs at the age of 6-7 months. Full maturation and body formation in males end by 7-9 months. Therefore, it is recommended to castrate/neuter animals from 7 months of age.
What are the advantages of early sterilization? According to statistics, the risk of developing breast cancer is minimized when a cat is castrated/sterilized before the first estrus. The later this operation is carried out, the higher the risks. By and large, there are no age restrictions for castration/sterilization. This operation can be performed at any age, starting from 7 months. In Europe, earlier sterilization is carried out, starting from 4 months. Often breeders give kittens already castrated/sterilized. This is done to prevent uncontrolled breeding.
Sterilization at an older age (5 years and older) carries higher risks associated with anesthesia. Therefore, such animals are recommended to conduct a preoperative examination.
The optimal time for castration of a cat is 7-9 months. By this time, his body is fully formed. In this case, it is desirable to carry out the procedure before the cat starts marking. Even changing the hormonal background after castration does not always solve the problem if it has become a habit for him. As a rule, this problem disappears after the operation. After the process (as long as the level of sex hormones in the blood is maintained), the cat may continue to behave like an uncastrated cat, but this disappears with time. Too early castration is not recommended since sex hormones affect the growth and development of the body. Castration is performed in older animals, but the risks of anesthesia should be taken into account, and a complete preoperative examination should be carried out. The animal should be prepared for the upcoming procedure.
How to prepare an animal for castration/ sterilization
Any surgical intervention (if we are talking about a planned procedure) is performed on a healthy animal. If you are planning to spay or neuter a cat or cat, prepare the animal as follows:
It is not recommended to carry out preventive vaccinations less than three weeks before surgery. Any manipulation under anesthesia depresses the immune system, so it is better to vaccinate the animal in advance to have a solid immunity to viral infections by the time of the operation.
If the pet lives in a country house and walks freely on the street, it is also desirable to carry out treatment for worms. Helminths in an animal’s body also weaken the immune system.
Suppose the cat is at risk for heart disease (British, Scottish, Maine Coon, Sphynx, Bengal, etc.). In that case, it is recommended to conduct a preoperative examination of the cardiovascular system (visit a cardiologist and perform echocardiography). This will reveal the presence of hidden pathologies and assess the risks of anesthesia for your pet. He may need additional medical preparation.
If your pet is over five years old or has a chronic disease, a comprehensive examination is recommended to avoid complications during anesthesia. It will be necessary to do a general and biochemical blood test to evaluate the work of internal organs, consult a cardiologist and conduct echocardiography to assess the functioning of the cardiovascular system. Doctors will first recommend treatment and prepare the animal for the upcoming operation if the pet has abnormalities.
It is not recommended to perform surgery on cats during estrus. During this period, they are more excitable, tolerate anesthesia worse, and have an increased risk of bleeding.
With the introduction of certain drugs for anesthesia in an animal, vomiting may occur. If vomit enters the respiratory tract, serious complications can develop. Therefore, it is necessary to maintain a starvation diet for 8-10 hours before the operation.
Suppose your cat does not respond well to changes in the environment and experiences a lot of stress when visiting the clinic. In that case, doctors may recommend giving her sedatives a few days before or immediately before the procedure. Also, some clinics have such a service as castration or sterilization of a cat/cat at home.
Anesthesia for castration/ sterilization of cats
Many owners of cats and cats postpone castration/sterilization surgery because they are afraid of anesthesia. Is anesthesia as terrible as the owners think, or can you do without it?
Any operation, even the simplest, is accompanied by pain. In response to pain, the body produces several biologically active substances that affect the entire body. If the animal does not receive adequate anesthesia during the operation, this can lead to the development of chronic pain syndrome. Therefore, it is impossible to do without anesthesia!
The task of doctors is not just to immobilize the patient to carry out specific manipulations with him but to provide adequate anesthesia.
What types of anesthesia exist
There is total intravenous anesthesia (drugs are administered intravenously), inhalation anesthesia (the drug enters through the respiratory tract), and epidural anesthesia (this is a type of local anesthesia when the drug is injected into the spinal canal under the membranes of the spinal cord).
In modern veterinary medicine, in most cases, a combination of various methods of anesthesia is used. This allows the doctor to act on pain at different levels (for example, at the central nervous system level and locally), thus providing better pain relief. The combination of other drugs allows you to reduce the volume of various components of anesthesia. Often, when a combination of drugs is administered, they enhance the effect of each other.
Before introducing an animal to anesthesia, preparatory preparations are usually used first so the animal can more easily endure anesthesia. As a rule, a sedative is administered, calming the animal down and relaxing.
For central anesthesia, drugs of various groups are used; these are sleeping pills, painkillers, and muscle relaxants (relaxing muscles).
It is believed that inhalation (gas) anesthesia is more gentle, but it is not always possible to use gas anesthesia in its pure form. Gas enters the body through the respiratory tract; the animal must enter the endotracheal tube. You can use masks, but in this case, the gas consumption will increase significantly, and not only the patient but the entire operating team will breathe gas. She must be given anesthesia to insert an endotracheal tube into a cat. No conscious animal would allow a line to be inserted into its trachea. Therefore, a combination of intravenous and inhalation anesthesia is used. This will enable you to reduce the number of intravenous drugs. Inhalation anesthesia provides deep sleep throughout the operation; its effect stops shortly after the gas supply is stopped.
During abdominal and pelvic cavity operations, epidural anesthesia is often used. This is a type of local anesthesia in which the drug directly affects the nervous tissue. A local anesthetic is injected into the spinal canal under the membranes of the spinal cord. In this case, there is a “temporary shutdown” of the nerves going to the organs of the abdominal and pelvic cavity. For epidural anesthesia, the animal must also be immobilized and relaxed since it must be fixed in a particular position, and the procedure can cause pain. Therefore, the combination of intravenous and epidural anesthesia also allows for achieving better anesthesia of the surgical area and reduces the number of drugs for anesthesia.
During anesthesia, the animal is under constant supervision and control of an anesthesiologist. The doctor controls the physical condition, focusing on some parameters, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygenation (oxygen level in the blood), and the presence of various reflexes. With the help of introducing a particular drug, the doctor controls the depth of anesthesia. Also, if necessary, the anesthesiologist monitors the animal’s recovery from anesthesia, conducts infusion therapy (dropper), and injects drugs to speed up the animal’s recovery from anesthesia.
When performing castration/sterilization at home, the risk of anesthesia and postoperative complications increases significantly. Why is it so?
As a rule, when operating at home, anesthesia is administered intramuscularly. Calculation of anesthesia is made “by eye” since the exact weight of the animal is not always known. With intramuscular administration of the drug, it is more difficult to control the depth and duration of anesthesia. If the drug dose is miscalculated, this can lead to respiratory arrest. Resuscitation at home is almost impossible. The clinic has all the necessary equipment and trained staff for this.
Suppose the dose of anesthesia is too high. In that case, this can lead to a sharp drop in pressure, deterioration of the blood supply to the internal organs, particularly the kidneys, and as a result, the development of kidney failure or other complications over time.
Castration and sterilization of a cat
When operating at home, the necessary rules of sterility are not observed. Therefore, there is a higher risk of developing postoperative complications, such as suppuration in the area of the surgical suture, the formation of adhesions in the abdominal cavity, and the development of peritonitis or sepsis.
It is unlikely that an operation at home will cost much less than at a clinic. But at the same time, you put the life and health of your pet at risk to a much greater extent.
Castration of animal care castration/ sterilization nutrition after castration/ sterilization
Complete recovery from anesthesia after surgery occurs within a day. Therefore, it is advisable not to leave the pet alone during this period. Usually, the animal, after the operation, is given to the owners already fully awake. But during the day, the cat can periodically fall asleep and wake up, not fully coordinate its movements, so it is recommended to limit its activities and not to allow jumping on high surfaces, as it may fall. In addition, dynamic loads and movements do not contribute to the healing of sutures.
Special blankets or collars are put on cats and cats to protect surgical sutures and prevent the licking of postoperative wounds.
The pet may experience discomfort due to the presence of a blanket and collar, while its behavior may change significantly. Some cats refuse to move around in a blanket and lie down all the time, or they may actively try to remove it, walk backward, and so on. The presence of a collar can also cause significant inconvenience. The collar makes it difficult to navigate space; the animal can touch corners and have difficulty eating and drinking. Therefore, at first, it is desirable to be nearby and help your pet.
In the case of castration of a cat, stitches are not applied, and after the operation, a collar is put on for 2-3 days to allow the surgical wound to heal. If the collar is not put on, the cat will begin to lick the injuries, leading to severe swelling and inflammation. The healing time will increase significantly. A collar can be uncomfortable for your cat but avoids post-surgery complications.
Cats after abdominal or laparoscopic surgery are put on a protective blanket. This prevents her from licking the seams or puncturing sites. The veil is removed after the removal of the sutures, 7-10 days after the operation. If the animal pulls the blanket and licks the seams, this can lead to inflammation and swelling in the seam area. In the worst case, the seam after the operation may disperse. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the cat wears a blanket for the entire period until the stitches are removed.
If your animal is at risk for heart disease, it is at higher risk of post-anesthesia complications such as pulmonary edema. As a rule, doctors recommend more closely monitoring the pet for the next few days. In this case, you should pay attention to the general condition and monitor the respiratory rate. If the animal has become more lethargic, you have noticed a change in the color of the tongue and mucous membranes (pale or cyanotic), the cat or cat is breathing heavily and often (especially if the animal breathes in the stomach); this is a reason to contact the clinic urgently. Pulmonary edema is a life-threatening condition; if the pet is not provided timely assistance, he may die.
Nutrition after castration
As you know, animals, after castration/sterilization, are more prone to weight gain. Also, in cats, after castration, the risk of developing urolithiasis increases, and being overweight plays a vital role in this.