Long-term outcome of gonadectomy performed at an early age or traditional age in cats

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000 Dec 1;217(11):1661-5. doi: 10.2460/javma.2000.217.1661.


Objective: To determine long-term results and complications of gonadectomy performed at an early age (prepubertal) or at the traditional age in cats.

Design: Cohort study.

Animals: 263 cats from animal shelters.

Procedure: Cats that underwent gonadectomy were allotted to 2 groups on the basis of estimated age at surgery (traditional age, > or = 24 weeks old; prepubertal, < 24 weeks old). Adoptive owner information was obtained from shelter records, and telephone interviews were conducted with owners to determine physical or behavioral problems observed in the cats after adoption. Follow-up information was obtained from attending veterinarians for cats with complex problems or when owners were uncertain regarding the exact nature of their cat's problem.

Results: Compared with traditional-age gonadectomy, prepubertal gonadectomy did not result in an increased incidence of infectious disease, behavioral problems, or problems associated with any body system during a median follow-up period of 37 months. Additionally, the rate of retention in the original adoptive household was the same for cats that underwent prepubertal gonadectomy as those that underwent traditional-age gonadectomy.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Prepubertal gonadectomy may be performed safely in cats without concern for increased incidence of physical or behavioral problems for at least a 3-year period after gonadectomy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adoption
  • Age Factors
  • Animal Welfare*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / physiology
  • Animals, Domestic / psychology
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cats / physiology
  • Cats / psychology
  • Cats / surgery*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy / methods
  • Orchiectomy / veterinary*
  • Ovariectomy / methods
  • Ovariectomy / veterinary*
  • Sexual Maturation*