To castrate or not to castrate?

(25 Posts)
SistersOfPercy Wed 04-Jun-14 15:37:38

I've always had boy dogs and our previous boys were all castrated around 6 months old, but they were humping and generally being typical boy dogs.

Murphy is 7 months now. He's a Scottie Dog, incredibly well behaved, laid back (we are yet to hear him growl) and no humping whatsoever. Both DH and I expressed our surprise that neither of us have ever seen him hump anything at all.
With this in mind, and the fact that he's such a good little pup already, for the first time I'm questioning whether to have him castrated or not.

I know there are benefits with having the castration, but I realise there are also benefits with not having it as well.

Any advice?

Lilcamper Wed 04-Jun-14 15:46:56

Recent research is showing the health benefits of keeping them intact is outweighing getting them castrated. Do you research.

www.angryvet.com/spaying-and-neutering/

lljkk Wed 04-Jun-14 15:48:29

There are very strong feelings about this. I think I agree about do the research & figure out what you expect to gain by castrating and if you do castrate, when is the best time to achieve those benefits. I know I wouldn't hesitate, but it's your decision.

noddingoff Wed 04-Jun-14 15:48:46

I have a bitch so can't comment from personal ownership experience, but if he's not fighting with other male dogs and running off looking for bitches in heat, I'd probably leave him entire as there'll be less of a battle to keep him at a healthy bodyweight. As a vet I reckon I see more problems related to weight (contributes to cruciate problems, pancreatitis etc) than the presence of testicles (could count on one hand the numbers of malignant testicular tumours I've seen; enlarged prostate and benign anal tumours more common but easily dealable-with, see the odd perineal hernia but again, fixable usually). I realise that this is skewed a bit by the fact that I see quite a lot more castrated males than entire ones though.

SistersOfPercy Wed 04-Jun-14 16:06:44

He isn't let offlead (I have a 100ft lead for our fields as there are fox holes etc and frankly I don't trust him) and our garden is secure so he won't be running off after bitches. His weight is perfect and that was something else I'd considered. Our last Scott was castrated and he was always on the portly side.

I'll read the links and do some more research then. I've always had it drummed into me that dogs should be castrated but at present I'm struggling to see any benefit of that for him.

Thanks
flowers

soddinghormones Wed 04-Jun-14 19:33:41

We had dpup done at just short of 8 months but that was a) because he was humping everything in sight, b) because he was being attacked by other male dogs, c) his recall was going to pot, d) he'd started marking everywhere and e) because we were going on holiday and were leaving him with his fab dogwalker who will only board neutered dogs over 8 months

We knew we weren't going to breed from him, he's not a large breed and I watch his weight like a hawk

In less than a month the humping, marking, fighting had disappeared and his recall was spot on again

It was absolutely the right decision for us but in your circumstances if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

GobblersKnob Wed 04-Jun-14 19:53:36

Agree with the 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', I have a four year old boy who is entire and I have never had the slightest problem with him, he is very un-macho and even wees like a girl ;)

My last boy I had neutered at 14 months and he went from being a relatively confident, sociable boy, to being very dog aggressive and generally fearful in lots of situations, despite him being well trained and well socialized, I deeply regretted having it done.

SpicyPear Wed 04-Jun-14 20:28:21

My understanding of the current evidence is that in the absence of a behavioural reason to do and where there is as low as possible risk of accidental mating, it is best not to do it. You can keep it under review.

LEMmingaround Wed 04-Jun-14 20:31:15

I have two dogs. One entire male. One castrated that was a rescue - guess which one can't be let off lead due to dog aggression?

LEMmingaround Wed 04-Jun-14 20:32:24

My only advice is to do it young if you do it.

SistersOfPercy Thu 05-Jun-14 09:58:17

He has no access to bitches, in fact the only bitch in our area was recently done herself. No chance of accidental mating at all. As I said he won't be offlead, he's a small terrier in a field full of rabbits and foxes. I just don't trust him at all to be offlead and I'd prefer to keep him on a long line. He's fine with other dogs as well and bounces around the fields with a Doberman from down the road and a greyhound. He's a sociable little thing.

LEM having read the link upthread to the vets site they suggest:

The best compromise, if any of these things is too much to deal with, would be to spay and neuter at a minimum of one year if not two years of age. Allow your pet to reach full maturation and reach adulthood before considering surgery

I think I'm going to go along with the 'if it aint broke' advice for now. That coupled with the vet recommendations to wait should give us a good idea of how he will turn out when he's fully mature.

LtEveDallas Thu 05-Jun-14 10:16:37

A bitch I would get done at 6 months, a dog at 12-18 months.

I see too many Mutts in shelters and dying in pounds due to accidental matings to not neuter. Any determined dog or bitch will get out if they can.

The Husky next door was kept entire. He broke through (as in smashed his body through) the fence at the bottom of his garden to get to a female in heat 2 streets away. 7 puppies from that mating, 5 of which were sold, 2 appeared in my local rescue a few months later. My neighbours still haven't neutered him. He broke into our garden as well and whilst I cannot prove it, I'm pretty sure he is the reason one of DDs rabbits keeled over and died. Once he worked out how to get out he keeps trying again.

Your choice, but I wouldn't pay that much attention to the AngryVet website. He supports showing and breeding, and regularly states that the 'happiest bitches are the ones that have had a litter' despite the US killing thousands of shelter dogs a day.

Lilcamper Thu 05-Jun-14 10:24:17

What about an academic study? As the OP said, her dog is on a long line when they are out and there are no unspayed bitches in her area. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Uni study on neutering health affects.

LtEveDallas Thu 05-Jun-14 10:53:34

OP said her dog was a Scottie.

From your link: An important point to make is that the results of this study, being breed-specific, with regard to the effects of early and late neutering cannot be extrapolated to other breeds, or dogs in general. Because of breed-specific vulnerabilities, certain diseases being affected by neutering in Golden Retrievers may not occur in other breeds. By the same token, different joint disorders or cancers may be increased in likelihood in a different breed. A full understanding of the disease conditions affected by neutering across an array of different breeds will require several more breed-specific studies

LtEveDallas Thu 05-Jun-14 11:01:28

All I am saying is that the risk of accidental matings and the resultant offspring is more of an issue for me. I know that NO dog can be considered 100% perfect, 100% healthy, 100% trained. Some male dogs will go absolutely batty trying to get to a female in heat, damaging property, themselves and putting themselves and others in danger if they escape - so for me those dangers are greater than the risk of them getting cancers that actually, they could get anyway.

One entire male dog could sire up to 2500 puppies in one year. Of course that isn't going to happen, but theoretically it could. That's an awful lot of dead dogs.

It's a personal opinion, important for me and my friends that work in and around rescue, but then we probably see the results more than the Average Joe, so it effects our feelings on the subject.

I'm not slagging anyone off, or stamping my feet at the OP, I just think it is something that she should consider.

Lilcamper Thu 05-Jun-14 11:06:47

There was a point to that link but I had to rush out. The study was done on Golden Retrievers and afaik it is the only one that has been done so we don't know what the affects could be on other breeds.

How can we know it won't increase the chances of health problems common in smaller dogs like luxating patellas?

SpicyPear Thu 05-Jun-14 11:22:38

LtEve I'm involved in rescue and used to share your view. However, dogs with fear issues also regularly end up in rescue. When I heard a very well educated and respected behaviourist (also involved in rescue) say she no longer supports neutering of males in all cases, it caused me to reappraise my view. There is a lot evidence for the negative behavioural ramifications of castration in some dogs. I now see it as more of a balancing act and in the OP's circumstances would almost certainly not neuter.

Babesh Thu 05-Jun-14 11:26:33

My rescue came with tackle and we kept them on, the only problem we have ever had is that the odd other make dog who has theirs as well has a go at him. He isn't bothered by them or bitches or anything other than food and walks.

SistersOfPercy Thu 05-Jun-14 14:41:08

My concern is based on past experience. I had a Westie and a Scottie previously. The Westie (Bob) was a humper and was castrated around 7 months. He became literally the laziest dog in the world. Whilst he never suffered from weight problems he was quiet, withdrawn and generally kept himself to himself. Prior to the castration he'd been progressing normally. Did it cause it? Who knows? Maybe his personality was always going to be that way. He died at the reasonably decent age of 14.

The Scott on the otherhand was as mad as a box of frogs from the off. We'd gone ahead with the castration in the hope it would calm him a bit. It made no difference whatsoever other than causing him to put weight on and he remained 'energetic' until we lost him at 9 through liver disease.

Murphy is a wonderful mix of the two previous dogs (we joke actually that we seem to have the scott and westie rolled into one, especially as Murph has a wheaten 'spot' on his tail). He's obedient, loving, extremely friendly, picks up training very quickly and yet can happily enjoy quiet time too. I'm scared that going ahead with a castration will change his personality so I do want to weigh up all the pros and cons this time.

AllQuietOnThePippisFront Thu 05-Jun-14 15:11:27

Dear op, we had the same concerns. Our lab is very placid and calm. Did show no sign of aggression or any humping till very recently, one and a half, so we left him. The vet herself suggested we do it around the year mark unless signs of aggression were shown. We decided to keep him entire. However a couple of months ago he started being obsessed with bitches and would not be so good on recall etc, his priority to sniff and hump. We've had him done two weeks ago. A more controllable dog but still himself.

On the other hand my neighbour had a male spaniel that never showed any interest in any other dog nor mating.

I'll leave it until he becomes an issue and untill you are sure of your decision.

I persona lly do not believe in the earliest the better.

SistersOfPercy Thu 05-Jun-14 15:50:35

AllQuiet he's 7 and a half months now and I am inclined to wait I think and see how he goes.
He's friendly with many local dogs (all dogs actually, there is only one bitch on our street and she was recently spayed) and has never shown any aggression at all. Other than play attacking a toy we have never yet heard him growl or grump.

Of course there is still time for him to change as he continues to mature and it might be something I need to revisit further down the line, but for now I think I'm going to leave him as he is and see what happens.

AllQuietOnThePippisFront Thu 05-Jun-14 17:40:20

Mine never showed any aggression: even the hens bullied him. It was more the fact that his hormones kicked in and was very horny (shall we say) with certain dog. It had become a bit stressful ti walk him as you never knew whether he'd listen and come back. Plus the fact that for these reasons he could not go out with the dogwalker anymore did swing it for me - as much as I love him I do need a life!

AllQuietOnThePippisFront Thu 05-Jun-14 17:42:08

Btw his personality has not changed at all, nor his energy level. He is exactly the same (husnad disagrees on this point grin.

affafantoosh Fri 06-Jun-14 22:34:11

As a vet with an interest in behaviour, I now advise my clients only to castrate male dogs if there's a solid behavioural reason to do so. There rarely is. My advice may be different if I was working in an inner city and dealing with high numbers of dogs being bred inappropriately. By in the case of dogs owned by responsible owners, the risks of negative effects from neutering (both physical and behavioural) significantly outweigh the benefits.

Ludoole Sat 07-Jun-14 00:09:03

I had to have my yorkie castrated at 8 months, due to the fact that when he started humping his penis wouldnt retract. There was no way I was going to keep putting ky jelly on and manually retracting... hekeptlooking--at--me--and--made--me--feel--like--a--pervert hmm

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