Research on the Effects of Spaying and Neutering

by | Dog Breeding, Dog Health

There is a growing body of research showing that the decision regarding spaying and neutering dogs is not the straightforward one often presented to dog and puppy owners. For some breeds, whether and when to spay and neuter is a simple decision because the surgery has little effect on the dog’s health or lifespan. But in other breeds, spaying and neutering are not the innocuous surgeries once thought. To help you determine if and when you should spay or neuter your dog, here is a collection of research on the long-term effects of these surgeries, as well as information some of the conditions complicated by a dog’s status, from breast or mammary cancer to incontinence. Hope you find this valuable.

One important note: there are now several recent (2020) publications that show that mammary cancer rates, though higher in intact bitches, fall far, far short of the 25% threatened by many vets. Ben and Lynnette Hart’s 2020 paper show it to be highly variable but usually less than 6%. For example, intact Australian Cattle Dogs had no cases of mammary cancer while 8% of bitches spayed between 2 and 8 years had mammary cancer. In beagles and Bernese Mountain Dogs, no spayed or intact bitches had mammary cancer.

In comparison, rates of other cancers, such as hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumors, were increased in some breeds like golden retrievers up to 17%, in Irish Wolfhounds to 25%! Owners must consider that spaying (and neutering) may increase the risk of untreatable cancers like hemangio even if it lowers the rate of the more treatable mammary cancer. Spaying and neutering also have a highly variable effect on the development of joint disease, pyometria, and urinary incontinence depending upon breed.

Our recommendation is that owners take time to understand how these dramatic surgeries affect their breed and how they may affect their dog’s adult temperament before making the decision to spay or neuter.

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RESEARCH ADDRESSING AGE- AND BREED-SPECIFIC SPAY/NEUTER RECOMMENDATIONS

 

WATCH GOOD DOG’S WEBINAR ON SPAY/NEUTER WITH LEADING VET EXPERTS

Listen to world-renowned leading canine behaviorist and co-creator of C-BARQ, Dr. James Serpell, and veterinary specialist, Vet of the Year, Dr. Chris Zink, DVM, discuss recent research on the effects of early spay/neuter on our dogs’ health, behavior and more. Watch the webinar here.

 

 

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