Surgical desexing of cats is typically carried out after six months of age (Mature Age Desexing, MAD); between 4–6 months (Traditional Age Desexing, TAD); or before four months (EarlyAge Desexing, EAD). We complemented existing surveys of veterinarians’ acceptance of EAD with online and face-to-face surveys, to ascertain the preferred desexing ages for cats and rationale of 957 Australian veterinarians, veterinary nurses, veterinary science students, and veterinary nursing students. A complementary survey of 299 veterinary practice websites across Australia documented any information provided about desexing cats. The most common reason for preferred desexing ages was reducing stray cat populations (30%); 78% of these respondents chose ages aligning with EAD. Vet nurses and nursing students were more conservative than vets or vet students, preferring to desex cats >4 months. Perceived anaesthetic risk was a major motivation, especially for nurses 5 years’ experience. Across 299 urban practices in Australian capital cities, 55% of surveyed websites provided no information about desexing cats or listed desexing without explaining why it was necessary, or when to perform it. Increasingly, Australian legislatures mandate desexing of cats by three months of age, so the practices of some current/future veterinary professionals do not match changing legislation.
Crawford, M.H., Calver C.M. (2019) Attitudes and practices of Australian veterinary professionals and students towards early age desexing of cats Animals 9, 2. doi:10.3390/ani9010002