Improve your pet’s health and avoid those unwanted surprises

The decision to spay or neuter your pet is very important; it could be the best decision you make for your pet’s long-term welfare. At Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital we believe neutering is financially sensible and the most responsible action to take if you don’t intend to breed from your pet.

Not only will you avoid unwanted litters (they can be a handful to say the least), the straightforward procedure can also prevent certain illnesses and behaviour.


We recommend that bitches are spayed from 6 months of age (under 20kg dog), whilst we recommend to delay the procedure until they are 12-18 months old for dogs that are 20-50kg. For breeds that are over 50kg we recommend to delay spaying until they are 18-24 months old. This is to allow the dogs to be fully grown, as maturity and growth is much slower in the larger breed dogs.  

There appears to be a slightly increased risk in large and giant breed dogs, of early neutering leading to increased risks of cancers and cruciate disease. However, there is no established “best age” to neuter and this timing needs to be discussed with the owner of a pet on an individual basis. As a guideline, the age of puberty (so natural growth has finished and the growth plates have closed) can be used: 

Very anxious dogs (especially when showing aggression out of fear) should be neutered later in life, i.e. well after reaching puberty, as neutering can worsen this anxiety. 

The ones who are under a year old may be done before the first season. If your dog has started to have seasons, then we delay the procedure for 3-4 months to let the blood vessels and hormones settle down again.  

Unneutered bitches are at increased risk of mammary tumours, and may go on to develop pyometra, a potentially fatal uterine infection.

Introducing LAP SPAYS….
We are thrilled to now offer ‘lap spays’, also known as ‘keyhole spay’ or ‘keyhole neutering’ for bitches. Lap spays are becoming increasingly popular as the advantages over a traditional spay procedure, become better understood.
Why choose a lap spay over a traditional spay procedure?
A traditional spay procedure is technically called an “open ovariohysterectomy”. In this procedure, an incision is made along the bitch’s midline, usually 8-20cm in length (depending on her size). The Veterinary Surgeon will then remove the uterus and both ovaries, before the muscle and skin layers are stitched together.
During a lap spay, instead of one large incision, there will be 2 very small incisions around half a centimetre across. Your Vet will use one of these to pass a camera through so they are able to see to complete the procedure, and the other for the special laparoscopic instruments. Using these, the ovaries are removed and the uterus is left in place. The small incisions are then closed and due to their size, usually only needing a single internal stitch on each.
– Due to the smaller wounds, there is a significantly lower chance of infection
– Your pet will also experience less pain due to the small incision sizes and ‘neater’ surgery
– As a lap spay requires a less invasive procedure, your pet’s recovery will be quicker
Are there any disadvantages?
There are no disadvantages of a Lap spay compared to a traditional spay, other than it will take a little longer and generally due to the specialist equipment and training required, tends to be a little more expensive.


Male dogs are best castrated from six and nine months of age, depending on breed. 

We would recommend for dogs of 20-50kg to be neutered around 12-18 months, and for breeds over 50kg to be neutered at 18-24 months.  After this age they can be castrated at any time.

Unneutered males are at greater risk of developing prostatic disease and anal tumours, as well as testicular tumours, and as such, we recommend castration of all male dogs not intended for breeding purposes. 

Very anxious dogs (especially when showing aggression out of fear) should be neutered later in life, i.e. well after reaching puberty, as neutering can worsen this anxiety. 


We recommend that male and female cats are neutered from four months of age, to help reduce the huge problem of unwanted and unplanned litters. This is especially important in homes with kittens of the opposite sex, as breeding can and will occur even if they are related! We have also joined the Cat’s Protection Kitten Neutering Database (KiND), and will neuter feral or at-risk cats from as early as eight weeks of age to ensure that these cats get neutered.


We recommend the neutering of all rabbits at four to five months of age. They make much better pets after neutering, and unneutered females are very prone to phantom pregnancy and uterine carcinomas.

For more information on neutering, or to book an appointment with a member of our veterinary team, please call 01325 380111 or email Stanhope Park Veterinary Hospital at