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Castration in Cats

By: Dr. David Diamond

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Castration (orchiectomy) is a surgical procedure in which the testicles are removed from the body. It is performed most commonly to make pets unable to breed, thus helping to control pet overpopulation.

Castration may also be indicated for:

  • Some behavior problems
  • Certain types of prostate disease
  • Tumors in the testicles
  • Some metabolic disorders
  • Other types of tumors, such as those affected by testosterone

    Castration is also recommended for pets in which one (or both) testicles failed to descend into the scrotum to minimize the chance for future problems (such as tumor development) associated with the tumors being in the abdomen, rather than in the scrotum.

    Veterinary Care

    Most castrations are performed on young healthy animals, and extensive pre-operative work-up is not usually necessary. Pre-operative evaluation usually involves a thorough physical examination and may include blood tests. When the castration is being performed in older animals and for reasons other than to prevent reproduction, additional diagnostic tests may be necessary to exclude concurrent diseases and to minimize the risk of anesthesia in these patients.

    Both testicles are removed through a single incision located just in front of the scrotum in cats. Some veterinarians use sutures to close the skin incision, while others use absorbable sutures beneath the surface.

    Home Care

    Keep your pet quiet and indoors for approximatley two weeks after he returns home from the hospital to allow him to heal. Do not allow him to be excessively active and prevent him from "rough-housing."

    Monitor the incision daily for signs of redness, swelling or discharge. Do not allow your pet to lick or chew at the incision. If you find it is impossible to stop your pet from doing this, you should obtain an "Elizabethan" collar that is placed around the neck to prevent access to the incision.

    Skin sutures, if present, will be removed in 10 to 14 days. If the castration was performed for reasons other than to prevent reproduction, further treatment and/or monitoring may be necessary.

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