July 26th, 2023

The whys and wherefores of small mammal neutering

This informative webinar, sponsored by Burgess PetCare, provides an in-depth look at the various aspects of small mammal neutering, from the smallest animals to rabbits and some unusual creatures. Dr. John covers surgical principles, anaesthesia, and hospital care to make the process safer and more effective for everyone. Additionally, the webinar explores the ethical considerations surrounding sterilisation and whether surgery is always the best solution. 

The presentation begins by outlining the potential risks associated with neutering, such as anaesthesia, pain, surgical complications, and obesity. Dr. John explains why it is important to castrate some animals, such as those with retained testicles that may develop into tumours. However, there are some alternatives to neutering, such as separating animals into sex groups or using hormonal control. It is important to consider the specific needs of each animal and ensure the chosen option is safe and effective. For example, rabbits typically do not run well in groups and can become aggressive, making sex separation a risky choice. Hormonal treatment with deslorelin implants is common, but may not be as effective for rabbits and guinea pigs. 

Dr. John then explains the benefits of neutering, such as birth control and prevention of diseases like uterine adenocarcinoma and pyometra. It is essential to discuss the potential for obesity and to monitor the animal's diet and body condition after surgery. For males, neutering can occur as soon as the testicles are visible or if there are any issues present. For females, neutering is recommended between 4-5 months of age for rabbits and less than 8 weeks for rats. 

The webinar covers the surgical steps involved in neutering, including catheterisation, anaesthesia, analgesia, peri-op, and the importance of performing the procedure as quickly as possible to minimise the time under anaesthesia. Possible complications and their management are also discussed. For example, guinea pigs may react negatively to a scrotal approach, which Dr. John avoids, while rabbits may undergo scrotal castration. 

The final section of the webinar focuses on OVH and OVE procedures, including the species in which they are used and the specific techniques involved. The webinar concludes by summarising the key aspects of small mammal neutering, including the medical and surgical aspects, alternatives to surgery, and the welfare of the animals. 

Overall, this webinar provides valuable insights into small mammal neutering and highlights the importance of careful consideration and implementation of this crucial aspect of animal welfare. 

The whys and wherefores of small mammal neutering

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