Castration of Dogs and Cats
by Roger Ross DVM

What: Also known as neutering.   Also known as brain surgery.  This surgery removes the testicles from the scrotum, there-by removing the major source of testosterone as well as the ability to make sperm.

When: Shelters frequently castrate kittens and puppies as early as 8 weeks old, but the very best time is after puppy or kitten vaccines have been completed, after the young pet's immune system is working well, but before sexual puberty. 

That means the best time is between 4 and 6 months of age for both male kittens and puppies. 

Castrating pets older than this is fine too but it may not be in time to prevent unwanted male behavior such as marking, roaming, and fighting.

The advantages are pretty straight forward; castrated dogs are much less likely to spend half their day lifting their leg on everything, much less likely to roam, and much less interested in fighting.  And it means that there will be many fewer unwanted litters being destroyed at the county shelter.  They can't breed.

The disadvantages are also straight forward; castrated dogs can't breed if that's your intention, are more likely to get fat, and might not put on as much muscle mass.

Castration is a very simple, quick, easy, and inexpensive surgery and unlike with human men, there doesn't seem to be any emotional or psychological loss involved. 

Nonetheless, even simple surgeries require pre-anesthetic precautions, pain management, anesthesia, trained staff, facilities, monitoring, and follow up care.

Here's what to expect at most veterinary clinics:

At least some of the following will be recommended in addition to the actual anesthesia and surgery:

Arrival on an empty stomach to prevent vomiting during the surgery.  Usually this means no solid food after midnight the day before surgery.

Pre-anesthetic and pre-surgical exam to make sure there aren't any bad surprises like fever, infections, dehydration, or heavy parasitism. 

Up to date vaccine status is a requirement prior to routine surgeries at many clinics.

Consent Form:  Anesthesia and surgery is serious business.  A responsible adult will be asked to sign a consent form designed to inform you that of course there are some risks and expenses involved.  Consent forms are also designed as talking points for required or optional options such as;

Pre-anesthetic blood work to help ensure that kidneys, liver, protein levels, sugar levels, and red blood cell levels are all safely normal.

Pre-surgical pain management

Bathing and/or parasite control may be required if your pet is filthy or covered in fleas or ticks.  Capstar is often used for this problem.

Pre-anesthetic sedation to calm, improve muscle relaxation, smooth induction and reduce the total amount of anesthesia needed.

Vets with very high surgical standards will recommend IV fluids on the grounds that there should be an open IV line for emergency medications ANYTIME a patient is under anesthesia.  Castration on young and healthy cats and dogs though, is a very minor and quick surgery, so most vets don't routinely give IV fluids to keep the cost down.

Anesthesia: usually done with less expensive combinations of injectable anesthetics which are appropriate for such short procedures.  But other vets insist on gas anesthesia, oxygen therapy, and an anesthesiologist for all sugeries big or small.  Of course, this is much more expensive and therefore not common.  Most vets are very practical people.

Close and careful patient monitoring:  this may simply involve the experienced surgeon being watchful and paying attention to the patients respiratory pattern, muscle relaxation, sensitivity, mucus membrane color, and pulse before, during and after the surgery.  Other vets may use sophisticated, digital monitoring equipment that tracts pulse, resp rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, and even provides continuous EKG.

Surgical Prep:  hair is removed and the area cleaned and sterilized as best as possible

The Surgical Procedure: the testicles are removed from the scrotum, blood vessels are ligated, and in dogs, the small incision we make is sutured. 

Some wackos want prosthetic testicular implants put in to replace the removed testicles.  Some vets will do this.

Extra pain medication or Anesthetic Reversing Agents may be needed in some cases.  Every patient is different.

Your vet will probably offer to do additional procedures while your pet is anesthetized for the castration such as:

Extraction of retained baby teeth, ear cleaning, toe nail trimming, and other minor requests

Dewclaw removal (Dogs)

Fluoride treatment

Polymer dental enamel sealants

Recovery and post surgery:  Your vet and his or her staff will have a system for closely watching your pet until it's recovered from anesthesia. 

Pain medication may be dispensed.

Don't overfeed the first day you take your pet home.

Encourage rest for a few days

Follow up recheck if there are any problems

Suture removal for dogs 10-14 days after the surgery

On This Page:

What to expect when it's time to castrate your pet

Also; a little trivia about "Cowboy Caviar",
"Tendergroins", and "Rocky Mountain Oysters"

On other pages
about surgery:

Our introductory page about surgery

Considerations BEFORE Surgery

Post Op Considerations

Spays (Ovariohysterectomies) in Dogs, Cats, and Other Pets

C Sections

Declawing Cats

Ear Cropping


Cancer and Mass Removal

Fracture Repair

Abdominal Surgery

Hernia Surgery

Using the Omentum

Soft Tissue Surgery

Descenting Ferrets, Skunks etc

About the Treatment of Injuries, Abscess', ETC

"Brain Surgery"

and some recipes for cooking testicles

Home        How we treat different medical problems in pets; What to Expect        FoxNest Hospital       About our No Kill Shelter       
The History of Veterinary Medicine         The Human-Animal Bond    
There is a complete site map at the bottom of this page
Website Directory

Home    The Human-Animal Bond     The History of Veterinary Medicine    About our No Kill Shelter     The FoxNest Veterinary Hospital     

"What To Expect When You Go To The Vet"
if your pet should have a problem with ...

Abscesses, wounds, and injuries

Arthritis, Lameness, Fractures, and Ligament Injuries
To include Femoral Head Removal, Hip Dysplasia, Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries, Panosteitis, Radiographic Demonstrations, Disc Disease, and Bone Surgery

Bladder, Urinary Tract, & Kidney Problems

Blood Diseases, Anemias etc
Strokes, Vascular Diseases, Anemias, DVT, DIC, Blood Parasites, Rat Poison, & Bleeding disorders

Cancer, Masses, Lumps and Bumps

Cardiology  Heart disease in Cats, Cardiac Hypertrophy, Valvular disease, Cardiac Insufficiency, Congestive Heart Failure, Heartworm Disease, and a little history about the milestones in treating heart disease

Cats: general information page and directory of diseases and problems specific to cats including vaccine recommendations, leukemia, feline viral infections, feline upper respiratory disease and cats that just aren't feeling well.

Dentistry and problems of the mouth and throat

Dermatology: Skin problems including allergies, rashes, bacterial infections, and itching. Hair Loss, Yeast Infections, Hormonal Problems


Ear Infections and Other Ear Problems

Eye Problems  and Ophthalmic Diseases

Exotics:  Pocket Pets, Rabbits, Hamsters etc

Fleas, Ticks, and other parasite problems

Heart disease; Cardiac diseases, vascular diseases, stroke, & heartworms

Hormone Diseases: Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Cushing's Disease or Hypercortisolism, Addison's disease or Hypocortisolism, Pancreatitis, obesity as a disease

Infectious Diseases  Colds, Distemper, Parvo, Leptospirosis, Bruceellosis, Panleukopenia, Feline AIDS, Leukemia, Hepatitis, Kennel Cough, Ringworm, Rabies, FIP, Canine Herpes, Toxic Shock Syndrome, & More

Intestinal problems: diarrhea, constipation, torsion, indigestion, and gas. Also pancreatitis, vomiting, esophagitis, colitis, parvo and other types of dysentery

Kidney Disease

Liver Diseases     

Metabolic Diseases: Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Cushing's Disease or Hypercortisolism, Addison's disease or Hypocortisolism, Pancreatitis, obesity as a disease

Neural Problems and Diseases: Epilepsy, Rabies, Distemper, FIP, Paralysis, Tetanus, Seizures, Disc Disease, Toxoplasmosis & others

Obesity; new information and about Pfizer's new FDA approved treatment


Parasite Problems Fleas, Ticks, Heartworms, Intestinal Worms, Mosquitos, Lice, Mites, and other welfare recipients

Poisons  Snakes, Insects, household chemicals, plants, and foods that might poison your pet

Respiratory Diseases

Senior Pet Page: Geriatric Medicine

Skeletal-Muscular Problems Arthritis, Fractures, ACL, Ligament Injuries, Disc Disease, Pannus, and many other problems of the bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments

Skin Problems: allergies, rashes, bacterial infections, and itching. Hair Loss, Yeast Infections, Hormonal Problems

Surgery: Spays, Castrations, Testicle Recipes, Soft Tissue Surgery, Hard Tissue Surgery (Bones), C- Sections, Declawing, Tumor Removal and Cancer Surgery

Wounds, punctures, injuries, and abscesses

Urinary Tract Diseases and Problems

Other Topics on This Site

The Human-Animal Bond

History of Veterinary Medicine; lots of interesting stuff    

Zoonotics: Diseases, worms, and parasites people get from pets.

Lab Tests and what they tell us

Medications/Pharmacy Page

Nutrition & Diets
Includes information about Prescription diets used to treat disease, and a discussion about the pet food industry

Reproduction, breeding, & rearing information
Includes information about feline and canine heat or estrus, breeding, C-Sections, pyometra or Infected Uterus, dystocia, no milk, mastitis, & brucellosis
Also newborn care, undescended testicles, and alternative to spaying and castration

Vaccine and other preventive health recommendations

WildLife Page:  Taking care of baby bunnies, squirrels, and birds.  A very funny story about beavers, and other misc information

Our Dog Page:  a directory of problems of concern in dogs including parvovirus, distemper, canine herpes, and other diseases

Veterinary Pet Insurance

Testicle Recipes:

Anything that walks, swims, crawls, or flies can be eaten. It just takes an open mind and a willing stomach.

Rocky Mountains oysters   also known as

Prairie oysters,
Montana tendergroins, cowboy caviar,
swinging beef,
and calf fries

What are Rocky Mountain oysters?

They are the testicles of the bull calves that are removed to keep them from fighting each other and to help them put on weight.

When the calves are branded, the testicles are cut off and thrown in a bucket of water.

They are then peeled, washed, rolled in flour and pepper, and fried in a pan. They are considered to be quite a delicacy.

Like other organ meats, testicles may be cooked in a variety of ways – deep-fried whole, cut into broad, thin slices, or marinated.

Eating animal genitalia dates back to ancient Roman times, when it was believed that eating a healthy animal’s organ might correct some ailment in the corresponding human organ of the male person eating it.

Because of this belief, the practice continues to the present day, especially in Asia, where animal genitalia are considered an aphrodisiac.

And, of course, everybody knows that Viagra is made from pig testicles. 


The rugged folks of the Rocky Mountain region are not squeamish. Testicle festivals are held every spring and fall in Montana. These festivals can be very rowdy and may not be the best place to bring your children.

If you can’t get to a festival, many restaurants and bars in Montana, Idaho, and Kansas serve Rocky Mountain oysters all year long and with less fanfare.