• New guidelines call for vets to shift approach to desexing pets

    July 9, 2024


    This National Pet Desexing Month we take a look at the new pet desexing guidelines that are drastically changing the way vets are encouraged to approach the topic with owners.

    Golden retriever puppy looking at camera for Animal Friendly Life article on National Pet Desexing Month

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    As July marks National Pet Desexing Month, the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has unveiled its new Global Guidelines on Reproduction Control, calling for a significant shift in the approach to desexing pets.

    These guidelines call for veterinarians to move away from the traditional routine of desexing owned animals and ensure that pet owners are fully informed about their options.

    Owners to be told the alternatives to desexing

    The Global Guidelines, published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice, are the first of their kind and aim to support veterinarians in making science-based decisions that prioritise animal welfare and the human-animal bond.

    The guidelines cover both surgical and non-surgical methods of reproduction control, evaluating the health benefits and potential drawbacks of each approach. They also look into the ethical considerations surrounding these practices.

    “For many years, the default advice has been to desex dogs and cats routinely,” Professor Stefano Romagnoli, Chair of WSAVA’s Reproduction Control Committee says.

    “However, emerging scientific evidence shows that this may not always be in the best interest of the animals.

    “We now understand that gonadectomy can sometimes negatively impact an animal’s health, and in some cases, late castration can increase the risk of prostatic carcinoma rather than prevent it.”

    Should I desex my dog or cat? Importance of vets keeping owners informed about options to desexing pets

    The guidelines stress the importance of veterinarians updating their knowledge and dedicating more time to advising pet owners.

    This includes discussing the benefits, risks, and side effects of both surgical and non-surgical options tailored to the specific needs of each animal. Every decision should be made while considering factors such as breed, age, and behavioural issues.

    While the guidelines acknowledge that the desexing of shelter animals presents different considerations due to the need to secure new homes, they provide tailored recommendations for these situations as well.

    The overarching goal is to set global standards for companion animal veterinary care, ensuring that veterinarians worldwide have access to the latest resources and knowledge.

    “We hope these guidelines will serve as a valuable resource and catalyst for change in reproduction control practices globally,” Professor Romagnoli adds.

    Global Guidelines, RCC Chair Professor Stefano Romagnoli Says owners should be told the alternatives to desexing
    Global Guidelines, RCC Chair Professor Stefano Romagnoli (Image supplied)

    What is the World Small Animal Veterinary Association?

    The WSAVA, representing over 200,000 veterinarians through its 113 member associations, continues to enhance clinical care standards for companion animals.

    Their efforts include developing Global Guidelines in key areas such as pain management, nutrition, and vaccination, alongside campaigning for issues affecting their members.

    For National Pet Desexing Month, these new guidelines are shifting veterinary care and practice and focus on the importance of informed decision-making in pet care.

    For more detailed information and to access the guidelines, visit the WSAVA website.



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