No matter where you live, the decision to spay or neuter your dog isn’t a light one. In recent years scores of evidence has advocated for and against desexing your dog, especially if your pup is under 6 months old. Desexing surgery is marginally more expensive in Australia than in the United States, with the average price about $146.19 AUD ($100 USD) more. Females are spayed, which is the equivalent of a hysterectomy in humans, and it costs a little more than a male neuter, which is the same as a castration. Here’s what to expect if you decide to follow through with the operation in the Outback.
The Importance of Spaying/Neutering Your Pet
Most animal shelters in the U.S. and Australia automatically spay or neuter your pet before they’re adopted. This procedure has been enthusiastically adopted in both countries as a way to control the animal population and reduce the number of homeless animals.
If you don’t have a rescue, you may opt to spay or neuter your pet to prevent reproductive cancers such as prostate cancer or ovarian cancer. Since the neuter surgery eliminates male reproductive hormones such as testosterone, castration may also decrease territorial behaviors such as barking and aggression. Owners of female dogs may want to spay their girls to reduce their risk of mammary cancer and not worry about dealing with a doggie menstrual cycle.
Spaying and neutering are both irreversible procedures, however, so it’s important to realize your dog will never be able to produce a litter. This is why it’s important to fully think through the pros and cons before you commit.
How Much Does Spay/Neuter Surgery Cost?
Spay surgery for dogs costs about $438.57 AUD ($300 USD) on average in Australia, which is comparable to the United States, which ranges between $292.38-$584.76 AUD ($200-$400 USD). However, while you probably won’t ever pay more than $730.96 AUD ($500 USD) in the U.S. for a spay, the procedure may cost as much as $877.15 AUD ($600 USD) in Australia for an extra-large breed such as a Great Dane.
A small breed spay can be even cheaper than average, and there are low-cost ways to have your dog spayed, such as using government vouchers or even seeing if your nearby animal shelter offers a discount spay program. In general, spays are more expensive than neuters because they’re more invasive since they internally remove the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
A neuter is much simpler and cheaper. Typically, this surgery costs around $263.14 AUD ($180 USD), but no more than $730.96 AUD ($500 USD) for a very large dog. Unlike spaying, neutering isn’t usually an invasive surgery since it just removes the testicles from the scrotum. The only exception is if the procedure is performed on a young pup whose testicles haven’t descended. This becomes a more invasive internal surgery that’s also more expensive, with an estimated $146.19 AUD ($100 USD) additional fee.
In Australia, you may qualify for a low-income discount offered by the National Desexing Network. Additionally, July is National Desex month, so many veterinary clinics offer their own discounts during that time to encourage sterilization.
Additional Costs to Anticipate
The cost of spay or neuter surgery includes preoperative blood work, anesthesia, and the surgery itself. You’ll need to invest in an E-collar or a cone for your dog to wear in the days following surgery, as well as arrange a sitter if you can’t stay home with your dog for the next week or two following surgery. You’ll need to keep a close eye on them, making sure their stitches don’t tear and their incision site remains clean to prevent infection.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Spay/Neuter Surgery?
Most pet insurance policies won’t cover spay/neuter surgery since desexing is a planned procedure, not an emergency or illness. However, a few companies may offer a spay/neuter allotment in their wellness plan that will pay for some or all of it. If you already have pet insurance, call them to ask if spay/neuter is included in your plan. Otherwise, you can make sure to include a wellness policy when you sign up for pet insurance to make sure you’re covered. Of course, since desexing is a one-time, planned procedure, you might decide it’s worth it just to save up and save your wellness allotment for another event you’re not anticipating.
The cost to desex your dog in Australia depends on the vet clinic, the individual dog, and whether it’s a spay or neuter. Generally, spays are more expensive than neuters because they’re more invasive, but neutering a male whose balls haven’t dropped can match the price since it’s a more complicated surgery. Since dog sterilization is irreversible, it’s important to fully research the procedure before you decide so that you can make the right choice for your pup, at the right time.
Featured Image Credit: Kamil Macniak. Shutterstock