Desexing a pet is also known as castration (males), spay (females), sterilization, neuter, or getting fixed. This usually happens around 4-6 months for dogs and cats, or 3-4 months of age for rabbits. There are various reasons that we recommend desexing a pet, often for either health or behavioural reasons.
Desexing males is often done to prevent aggressive behaviour, especially in rabbits and some breeds of dogs. It also reduces the risk of wandering, and eliminates the problem of unwanted babies! Castrated male dogs are at a much lower risk of prostate problems and at zero risk of testicular cancer. Castrated cats do not have the very smelly urine of tomcats, and are less likely to spray around the house.
Desexing females is most often done to prevent unwanted babies. But did you know that spaying dogs before their first heat reduces the risk of mammary cancer by 95%! Also, spayed rabbits eliminates the risk of uterine cancer (a very common cancer in older female rabbits).
The risks of desexing mainly focus around increased weight gain. A desexed dog usually needs less food than an intact dog. Also, some spayed dogs can be at a higher risk of developing urine leakage at an older age, which responds well to hormone pills.
If you are not planning on breeding from your pet, you should really consider getting it desexed. Your pet will thank you!