Very interesting article about neutering, it seems we shouldn't be doing it

(31 Posts)
MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 26-Jul-15 12:15:15

Here from The Labrador Site

It says that there is more evidence to suggest that neutering and spaying is in fact bad for a dogs health and is more likely to lead to worse behaviour.

We had our old spaniel neutered at three as he began to show signs of aggression towards me when I was pregnant. Afterwards his behaviour improved and he was back to normal but his coat grew thick and coarse and we struggled with his weight. He died last year at the age of eleven of a liver tumour. He was about the average age for a working cocker but the latest studies on neutering suggest that it increases the risk of cancer. Bit late to worry about it now but did we increase his risk?

Monty, our new lab boy, is only five months old but I had assumed that when he got to about two years we'd think about having him done. Purely because of the previous assumptions about improving his health, reducing any behavioural problems, etc. Reading the article though makes me wonder why, if he's not showing any behavioural problems at the time, would I bother? Do people still do it because of widely held beliefs or do they actually bother to read up on it first?

I guess I wait and see nearer the time and do a bit more research but it's certainly food for thought.

SquirrelChaser Sun 26-Jul-15 12:20:10

Unless you plan on breeding from them, all dogs should be neutered. I have had many dogs and all have been neutered. One died at 18.5yo, the last one was 16yo. All my dogs have been healthy and happy and, more to the point, they haven't added to the vast population of dogs which need a good home. It is incredibly irresponsible to leave dogs un-neutered unless you can guarantee 100% that they will never ever be out of your direct control - so never leave it off the lead. Even the best trained dogs will head for a bitch in heat.

MeganTrainer Sun 26-Jul-15 12:27:22

Spaying and neutering is unfortunately still often touted as a cure all for behaviour problems.

It's also often done far too early.

As for illnesses - some are more prevalent in intact dogs but there are also cancers that are more likely in a neutered animal. It's not as simple as it seems, health-wise.

My next dog will more than likely end up neutered but not necessarily and not until he's at least a year old.

LimeJellyHead Sun 26-Jul-15 12:29:33

I know the jury is out on the boys but bitches must be neutered. Pyometra and mammary cancer are the two biggest reasons aside from pregnancy.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 26-Jul-15 12:30:06

It's a very interesting article isn't it? I'd like to see a bit more of the studies that show cancer to be more prevalent in neutered dogs though. I'm going to keep an open mind I think.

Toomuch2young Sun 26-Jul-15 12:34:58

I haven't read the article yet but am a veterinary nurse who works with an orthopaedic surgeon and have taken a great deal of interest in this. I definitely think that bitches should be spayed. Without a doubt. But leave medium to large breeds until after the second season, and all breeds after the first season. Early neutrring of larger breeds can affect growth plate closure time.
The risk of mammary tumours and pyometras - where the uterus gets infected and needs an emergency spay which is quickly life threatening are real and very common risks.
However with male dogs it is not as clear cut. Without a doubt if you cannot ensure your dog will not mate then it will need to be neutered to avoid contributing to the over population crisis.
However from a health and behaviour point of view I don't agree males are best off being castrated. Lots of studies to show increase risk of disease to neutered males.
Labradors are so prone to osteoarthritis/ hip and elbow dysphasia and the risk of weight gain to them when neutered is a real problem on their joints.
I certainly wouldnt be in a rush to neuter your boy unless you can't guarantee you can ensure he won't mate.

Toomuch2young Sun 26-Jul-15 12:39:37

And as an aside one of my dogs is a nervous rescue. If I had neutered him I think his behaviour problems would of exacerbated! He literally needed all the testerone he could get! He is now a well rounded happy and confident friendly dog, a world away from the growling hiding bundle that came to me am so glad I ignored the people telling me castrsting would sort the behaviour out it would of been awful and he would of been stuck in that fearful state.
He has never had any sexual urges, unlike one of my neutered rescues who goes for cushions and teddies on a regular basis!!

UserManualRequired Sun 26-Jul-15 12:51:28

1 in 3 dogs will die from cancer, same as people, neutered or not. I've read all the studies and am on the fence. It certainly seems to be the case that the neutering of certain breeds can have negative health consequences. However you have to weigh that up against the consequences of not neutering. Would you be happy to never be able to walk your dog off leash? An unneutered male can smell a bitch in heat a mile off and could take off in pursuit possibly resulting in unwanted puppies and causing road accidents for example or perhaps getting hit by a car.
Many veterinary practice's are reliant on income from routine/preventative treatment such as vaccinating and neutering, if the majority of owners stopped neutering their pets that would push up prices for consultations etc which may prevent owners from seeking medical treatment when their pets need it resulting in suffering.
There's no easy answer really but there is a lot more to consider than the health costs/benefits.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 26-Jul-15 12:54:05

Toomuch I think I'm leaning towards that school of thought. Obviously I don't know what he's going to be like around a bitch in season as he's not very old yet, although in theory the bitch shouldn't be out if it's in season but that's another issue.

I would suspect that the majority of unwanted puppies in the dogs homes are more to do with back yard breeders than accidental matings though.

pigsDOfly Sun 26-Jul-15 13:03:02

It is food for thought, and if I had a male dog I'm not sure how I'd feel about neutering it but I have a small female dog and there is no way I would leave her entire as I'm not planning on breeding her.

My reasons for having her spayed were several, having met people who's dogs have been through these things: I didn't want to risk breast cancer in later life (not sure if that's what it's called in dogs), pyometra, cervical cancer, I didn't want to put my bitch through the ups and downs of being in season, witness this with my daughter's dog, and phantom pregnancy can make a bitch very sad and stressed, yes, I know it's only a couple of times a year and won't necessarily happen. And yes tbh I don't want my bitch dribbling blood all over my house. But my main reason was the risk of unwanted pregnancy.

The writer of the article does rather gloss over quite a few things, I think, one being the very real problem of entire males trying to get to entire in-season bitches. Had a friend who's normally very well behaved, very road savy entire male would just completely lose the plot if he smelled a female in season. I've seen her grab him just in time when he was about to run from a park and across the road to get to a particular female. All his normally perfect behaviour and training would just go out the window as she called and called him back while he just bolted in pursuit of his 'goal'.

Had a 'park acquaintance' who's dog was killed when he ran right across a pretty large park and into the path of a car; the female was safe in her secure garden and the owner of the male dog thought he was safe running in a large park.

Ultimately, I think you have to make the decision based on your individual circumstances. I don't think there's been enough research done yet to convince me it's a good idea to keep a pet dog unneutered.

toboldlygo Sun 26-Jul-15 13:22:58

My thoughts are exactly the same as Toomuch, I also work in the veterinary industry and have a dog who has had orthopaedic surgery so I've taken an interest in the latest research. I would still default to spaying a bitch but my dogs will remain entire until they give me cause otherwise.

ender Sun 26-Jul-15 13:37:09

This information has been around for ages.
When I got my lab puppy (now 5 yrs old) I read all the info and decided not to have him castrated unless there was a good reason. He was fine until 3 yrs old when he met a bitch in season. He'd met them before but this time he went completely OTT, I was shocked at the change in him, he was desperate to get to her. Took ages to get him home and he spent the next 24 hrs whining and trying to escape, couldn't walk him. He was really miserable. So he was castrated and within a few days was back to normal and no problems since.
I think everyone has to make up their own minds based on their situation.

Lokibuddyboo Sun 26-Jul-15 14:04:49

I agree with ender that everyone should make up their own minds based on their individual situation.
I would definitely spay if I had a female I was not going to breed but I have only ever had male dogs my previous were not neutered the last living till 16 yrs old as I never had need to neuter him.
My current dog is neutered and was done at 11 months old due to his constant marking in the house which stopped immediately after he was neutered.

ender Sun 26-Jul-15 14:35:04

Although the evidence seems to show there are health benefits in leaving a male dog intact, there must be an increased risk of dog being injured or killed.
It was sheer luck that we were away from roads and dog was on a lead the first time he reacted to a bitch in season. If we'd been walking along a pavement he could easily have caught me off guard and escaped into traffic.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sun 26-Jul-15 14:41:23

I agree with toomuch and i wouldnt necessarily have a male dog castrated, I'd play it by ear and keep an open mind.

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Sun 26-Jul-15 14:54:35

I have to say that our old boy never showed any interest in running off after a bitch in heat. He was three and a half when we had him done. We hadn't planned to though. He was from a good bloodline and we were offered a lot of money for him when he was young as he was such a lovely example of the breed and was also a bloody good gun dog. Obviously we wouldn't have bred from a dog ourselves, we knew nothing about it, and he was unproven.

We've still got at least a year and a half before we seriously start to consider whether to neuter Monty or not. If there's no behavioural problems and the health risks outweigh the benefits, I don't think we'll bother just yet.

mrslaughan Sun 26-Jul-15 20:47:15

We have an intact male who won't be castrated. What I would say, is if you have a intact make you need to socialise him around other intact makes. It's actually easy as all you have to do is take him to a ring craft class - but as so many of the population are neutered it's important- I think- that they meet other entire makes as a matter of course.
Having said any problems I have had have been nurtured makes having a go at him.

insanityscatching Mon 27-Jul-15 14:35:43

We haven't had Eric neutered,it's something I thought I would do but hasn't seemed necessary. He's friendly and sociable with everything and for now it just seems like an unnecessary anaesthetic.

BallyGoBackwards Mon 27-Jul-15 21:05:44

My dog is being neutered in the morning. I feel (hope) it is right for him. He is only 8 months but already I have had a fair few incidents of aggressive behaviour with other dogs. I also had two times when I had trouble getting him under control while around females. I ended up having to carry him home on one occasion as he was so intent on following the female (as my husband sang "farewell my summer love"). In the last week he has taken to cocking his leg indoors. At the moment he is going between myself and DH trying to hump us....

I am not saying neutering with solve everything but Im hoping it will help. It feels like I am bringing a lamb to slaughter sad

Wish us luck!!

basildonbond Tue 28-Jul-15 11:30:00

We live in a very densely-doggy area of London (very near lots of wide open spaces so ideal in many ways) but there are also busy roads so the consequences of my dog running off after a bitch in heat could be devastating.

Because there are so many dogs around (and quite a few clueless owners - eg the woman taking her boxer bitch puppy on an off-lead walk in the middle of the morning during the most fertile part of her season the other day...) my dog needs to be able to get on with all sorts. Before he was neutered (at 10.5 months, not a large breed so growth plates fused) it was as if he had a big target sign above his head saying "entire male, please have a go at me"..

He was such a confident, happy little puppy but the constant attacks from other males were starting to have an effect. He'd also started humping obsessively and marking indoors - thankfully only rarely but I didn't want it to become a habit.

Any of those things individually we could have dealt with, but together and taking into account where we live neutering was the best option. The humping and marking stopped straight away and the aggression from other dogs dropped dramatically during the next month. Because he wasn't getting picked on so much his confidence levels started to rise and while he will never be a bolshy dog as his preferred tactic is always avoidance, he will tell another dog to bog off if they're really getting in his face.

basildonbond Tue 28-Jul-15 11:32:35

oh and he's certainly not put on any weight - on the contrary he's very active and we struggle to keep him from getting too thin

MsAdorabelleDearheartVonLipwig Tue 28-Jul-15 11:47:31

It's really individual isn't it? It worked for us too with our old boy, except for the weight gain.

We were on a shoot once and one of the elderly guns thought he was being terribly witty when he said both me and the dog ought to go to weight watchers. hmm

We don't see that many other dogs, except when we go to the beach. It had crossed my mind that Monty may attract attention if he is entire. I guess we'll see how it goes. It wouldn't be happening for another year and a half at least anyway.

BallyGoBackwards Tue 28-Jul-15 11:55:23

basil Our situation is almost the same. Lots of interaction with other dogs while out for walks. Glad to hear the indoor marking and humping stopped instantly.

I am living on my nerves today. Felt awful dropping him off. He is getting micro-chipped and also having two baby teeth removed. My poor baby will be very sore later.

basildonbond Tue 28-Jul-15 13:57:01

good luck bally I'm sure he'll be fine - it is an extremely routine operation for vets so exceptionally unlikely that anything will go wrong

ddog was very sleepy when he got home but I was unprepared for the crying the next day - he sobbed from the moment he woke up till about 4pm - it was very quiet and utterly heartbreaking ... At about 4 he took himself into his crate and conked out for 3 hours and when he woke up he was his perky self again

BallyGoBackwards Tue 28-Jul-15 15:52:10

Thanks basildon. I wont be shellshocked now if my little fella is the same. Waiting to hear from vet as to when I can collect him.

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