Neutering a degu

As long as it’s possible to avoid neutering, you should do so. Even though many vets consider operating on such a small animal normal by now, it always bears certain risks due to the anaesthesia – we’ve often heard of cases in which the animals didn’t survive. Sometimes you can’t avoid neutering, though – for example if you’ve accidentally bought a male and a female and don’t want any babies.

Practically, neutering means the operative removal of the testicles in a male degu, while spaying means the removal of the ovaries in a female animal.

Having a degu spayed is way too dangerous given the position of the ovaries, so it's not suggested. Many vets refuse to do it as well. Neutering is easier and therefore not as risky and straining. Take care that your degu is under as little strain as possible on the way to the vet, as well as on the way home. The operation is done under anaesthesia.

After the operation, you should keep the degu in a separate cage lined with clean kitchen towels so that the wound won’t get infected because of bedding or dirt in it. Provide a red-light lamp (but leave a few spots your degu can retreat to) or a hot water bottle and see to that he’s under no strain. Should the wound still get infected, bleed or should the degu still behave apathetically a few days after the operation, please contact your vet! Sometimes abscesses may occur after operations. After 1-2 weeks you can carefully examine the inguinal region. If you feel a knob there, you should see the vet again. Some abscesses heal on their own while others need treatment.

PLEASE NOTE: A newly neutered degu shouldn’t be put back in with a female right away! Degus “store” sperm and will stay fertile for some time – experiences vary from 10 days to 6 weeks!

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