Today I will be talking about the different methods of neutering, some myths that surround it and important things to know before sending your boy off to the vet. For a more in depth look at what the neutering day and recovery looked like, check out my other post here where I shared my experience with Ink’s neuter.
Methods of neutering
There are two types of neutering: pom on and pom off. Pom on is where the vet removes just the testicles and leaves the scrotum. Pom off is where they remove the whole scrotum. This is what my vet did for my male. This method may be better if you have a glider who is SMing (self mutilating) because of hormones, as it can reduce the amount of hormones in their bodies.
For the actual surgery, having it done with a laser gives a significantly shorter healing time and reduces the risks of post surgery SM. However, laser surgery can be very expensive and not all vets do it. Having it done the traditional way isn’t bad at all, it just requires a little more vigilance on your part and a longer healing time for the gliders.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your vet about their methods on neutering! Ask a lot of questions and get them to explain the whole process to you. If you aren’t confident in their level of care, go somewhere else! There is no shame in that.
Why Pain Meds & E-Jackets Are Important
The biggest risk and concern with neutering is self-mutilation. When gliders are in pain, they will attack whatever they think is hurting them – even if it’s themselves. When they chew on their own bodies, that causes more pain, they chew harder and it’s a never ending cycle. Administering pain meds frequently is essential to lowering the risk of SM. Your vet should send you home with pain meds.
That is also why e-collar/e-jackets are so important. It keeps them from being able to get at the incision sight. Your vet should put an e-collar on them before they wake from the anesthesia. You should have an e-collar or e-jacket at home. I prefer the e-jackets as they more “natural” for the gliders and they fight it so much less than the e-collar. You can buy e-jackets from the amazing Denise Rainwater.
Opinions and Myths
There are several opinions on what to do after a neuter. Some people say to keep the males separated from the females for a few days. I personally chose not to do this for one main reason: Ink is incredibly bonded with Dreamer. Yiska and Ilona have been together most of their life, but their bond is nothing like Ink and Dreamer’s. I knew that being separated from Dreamer for days would stress Ink out so much. So I put them together again and just kept a close eye on both of them to make sure that Dreamer didn’t try to groom/mess with his incision sight.
Another reason that people are told to keep the male separated from any females is the idea that males can get the females pregnant again for two weeks to a month after the neuter. That’s a complete myth. First of all, the sperm only have a lifespan of 72 hours. And second, the testicles are completely removed at the time of the surgery. The reason that this myth has come about is because females can keep fertilized embryos in stasis for six months to a year, which means you can actually end up with joeys far after the males have been neutered. People don’t realize this and think that the neuter was unsuccessful.
Another debatable topic is whether or not to keep the wheel in the cage. Some people will remove it for three days just to be safe. I decided not to for one main reason: the wheel is a major stress reliever for my gliders. If Ink is running on the wheel, he won’t be thinking about the surgery. It will keep him distracted. I’m also trying to limit stress on Dreamer. She loves the wheel and gets so stressed and agitated without it. I just didn’t want to change their routine and take away their favorite toy. But this is totally a matter of opinion. If you want to take the wheel out to be safe, go ahead.
Risks of Neutering
Like all surgeries, there are risks that are involved in neutering and your pet being put under anesthesia. But the biggest risk is post-neuter SM. The risk of that can be lowered significantly if the proper precautions are taken – pain meds and e-collar/e-jackets.
If you have concerns about the process itself, talk to your vet.
Why should you have your male neutered?
The biggest reason: to prevent inbreeding. Since the gene pool is so small, inbreeding is a real possibility – even if you get gliders from opposite sides of the USA. You HAVE to have lineage if you want to breed. Neutering prevents unwanted pregnancies.
Two intact males who live together – even brothers – is a recipe for disaster. They may get along fine for a while, then hit puberty and become incredibly aggressive and fight to the death. If you add a female, there will be immense fighting over her and possibly inbreeding.
Neutering will reduce much of the hormones and the smells that are often related to unneutered males. If you have males who give females mating wounds from aggressive mating, the neutering should help to reduce some of that. If SM is caused from hormones, it will help reduce that.
In some cases, neutered males become sweeter and gentler after neutering. My male was incredibly sweet before he was neutered, so I didn’t notice much change in his personality afterward.
If you want more information, THIS is a great page that shares a lot of information.
To hear more about my experience with glider neutering, see this post here.