To neuter or not to neuter...

(37 Posts)
quazi Thu 10-Jan-13 10:34:30

Hi all, we have a lab dog who is nearly eight months old. He is a great dog, very placid despite his breed and excellent with other dogs. My dh is keen to have him done, I'm not so sure. Any advice / experiences much appreciated!

thegriffon Thu 10-Jan-13 12:20:47

vet recommended waiting till my lab was fully grown, ie around 18 months. Then advice changed to not neutering if everything OK, so he's 2 now, still entire and a lovely calm dog with no problems. Lots of discussion on recent thread

quazi Thu 10-Jan-13 12:27:49

Thanks thegriffon, had a quick look for anything recent but didn't see that, thanks for linking!

LtEveDallas Thu 10-Jan-13 12:32:16

Neuter, neuter, neuter.

Always neuter.

Neuter him now. Its better for him and its better for all the dogs dying in Pounds and Rescues.

Please neuter.

Callisto Thu 10-Jan-13 13:00:28

I can't think of a single reason why you wouldn't neuter. Or why you would wait until 18 months/2 years or whenever.

As Eve says, just have a quick look at all of the unwanted dogs in rescues online and then ask yourself if you really want to be responsible for a litter of unwanted pups.

thegriffon Thu 10-Jan-13 14:21:47

Callisto, there are health reasons not to castrate male dogs, perhaps more relevant for larger breeds. See link to previous discussion.

LtEveDallas Thu 10-Jan-13 16:10:52

thegriffon,

The health risks are unproved and currently under investigation - there are no scientifically sound peer reviewed sources as yet.

Large breeds, especially Rotties and Greys have always had higher than average instances of bone cancers (I lost RottDog in Nov to bone cancer) and there is a train of thought that early neutering can add to the risk. However no studies have been going long enough as yet to confirm.

There is also a train of thought that unneutered males, and males neutered later in life are more suceptible to testicular cancers. Again, not yet scientifically sound or peer reviewed.

It is also noted that the most likely dog to be in a road accident is an entire male who has escaped seeking out an female on heat. My friends collie managed to leap a 6 foot fence to do just that, thankfully he was OK, unlike the Rottie he impregnated who had a terrible whelping experience.

In the case of OPs Labrador I would repeat neuter, neuter, neuter. There were 27 thousand labradors registered last year...no need for any more.

tabulahrasa Thu 10-Jan-13 17:13:35

Like I said on the other thread, I'm leaving my boy until he's finished growing...there could be a slight risk that neutering before the joint plates have finished growing an cause joint issues...he's a large breed dog who might already have a joint problem (we're currently waiting to hear back from an orthopedic specialist).

But, he's only walked on lead (because of the limping) and can't get out of my garden and I'm also prepared to whip off his pompoms at short notice if it proves necessary for any reason before he's finished growing.

Please neuter.

Look at all the unwanted dogs in rescue as a result of not neutering.

My brothers dog went through the front window to get at a bitch on heat outside. Through the actual window.

We have a dog at the rescue where I volunteer that dislocated his owners shoulder twice trying to get at a bitch in heat whilst on a lead. On the second occasion he managed to get away, ran into the road after her, was hit by a slow moving car and has broken legs.

Please neuter the dog. I cannot think of one single reason not to.

Another one here who thinks the benefits of neutering outweigh the risks, although like most other posters with large breed dogs, I'm very mindful of the risks of neutering too early (which is a slightly different argument).

There may be a slightly increased risk of cancer, but against that I'd weigh the much more likely risks of escaping to get at a bitch, the RTAs mentioned above, and the risk of theft. Labs are puppy farmed extensively in Wales and ROI, along with "doodles" and a good lab male who is fully loaded would be very valuable. The risk of death in a pound is also very real. In Wales for instance around 10% of dogs who enter the stray dog system are PTS by Councils, but this figure masks some horrendous variations with some Councils killing around 16% of all dogs. And sadly Labs do end up as strays sometimes.

Extensive spay/neuter programmes have repeatedly been proven by academic studies to reduce shelter populations, both in the USA and here, and have led to steady reductions in the numbers of stray dogs in the system and particularly the numbers killed by Councils. Supporting spay/neuter programmes in overseas countries is one of the most cost effective ways of helping animal welfare, much more so than paying hundreds to import one single animal.

tabulahrasa Thu 10-Jan-13 17:41:31

Oh and that's not my advice as to what you should do, just what I'm doing and why...I've had pets for nearly 25 years that were mine and not just my parents, the only ones that stayed unneutered were rodents or fish, lol.

I was at one point with this puppy planning on having him done before now in fact (he's just turned 6 months) but because he's been lame for just over a month and two sets of x-rays haven't shed any light on why he is lame - I'm being overly paranoid about it. Which is why I'm currently leaving it.

I neutered my cocker/springer at 6 months. He recovered very quickly and has no interest in the laydeees. My vet said it was fine to neuter at that age. I neutered him to make sure he didn't create more mini versions of himself, and also to make him less attractive to thieves.

Booboostoo Thu 10-Jan-13 18:26:46

Please neuter him. Aside from all the other very good reasons to do so, if he does develop any behavioural issues such as dog aggression, territory guarding, etc. associated with entire dogs, it will by then be too late and you will have to deal with a problem rather than avoiding one. His character as an adult dog will not be the same as his character now, especially if he is kept entire.

wriggletto Thu 10-Jan-13 19:02:33

I have a large breed dog, and had him neutered at 18 months, when he'd finished growing, for all the reasons above - to prevent any unwanted pups, to stop him running off after bitches in heat, and to make him less attractive to pedigree dog thieves. I cried all the way back from the vets, but he still loves everyone just as much as he did before. He just never humps them

Nigglenaggle Thu 10-Jan-13 21:53:31

I am going to differ from the crowd and say if you are a responsible owner in control of your dog, you don't need to have him neutered. There are health benefits of course, but only two conditions that can't be fixed by neutering him if he gets them, both are rare: prostatic abscesses and prostate cancer. Prostatic abscesses are more common in entire dogs, prostate cancer in neutered dogs. There are some dogs which need to be neutered because they are dominant, or chase the ladies and jump through windows or similar. Or hump innappropriately...

Actually many cases of aggression are nervous aggression and many behaviourists feel they are made worse by neutering.

The situation is completely different for bitches, who are likely to become seriously ill in mid to old age if left entire.

Nigglenaggle Thu 10-Jan-13 21:55:21

Should read 'but of the conditions associated with male dogs, only two can't be fixed by neutering him if he gets them'

quazi Fri 11-Jan-13 07:32:10

Thanks all, lots of food for thought here.

TwoFacedCows Fri 11-Jan-13 08:41:50

My dogs are not neutered. They are 5 & 6. I am responsible and put my dogs on a lead if we see another dog, until i am sure it is a girl or a neutered male. Or even another unneutered male who they get on with.

Both of my dogs have excellent recall and there have been many times that dogs will then come up to my (on leads) dogs and start a fight, because the owner has not got his/ her unneutered dog under control.

My dogs are very well behaved, but they will occasionally meet a neutered male, and they confuse him with a 'hot' female and try to get up to all manner of fun! blush

multipoodles Fri 11-Jan-13 09:35:20

Nigglenaggle excellent sensible post. LIKE very much. All this nueter nueter business gives vets income then behaviourists mope up the aftermath. Sex hormones are responsible for much more than sex, growth and maturity and especially confidence are affected by neutering.

OP before making any hasty decisions read this

www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf

From the article..

On the positive side, neutering male dogs

• eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer
• reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders
• reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
• may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)

On the negative side, neutering male dogs

• if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis.
• increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6
• triples the risk of hypothyroidism
• increases the risk of progressive geriatric cognitive impairment
• triples the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
• quadruples the small risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer
• doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract cancers
• increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
• increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations

If you plan on allowing your dog to roam the streets and shag all these bitches in season that everyone seeing roaming about then nueter. If you are a sensible dog owner then hold tight do your research, particularly on your breed then make an informed and educated decision. Good luck smile

higgle Fri 11-Jan-13 09:40:05

This week Many Tears have had a litter of the most beautiful setter/golden retriever cross puppies and their lovely mother on the site - rescued from the pound where they were all due to be PTS. There was a also a greyhound family - Mother, Father and pups saved by West of England GR before Christmas in the same situation. I didn't count the puppies but that must be around 10 new homes needed just for those two litters. I know there are always difficult issues to resolve when it is your dog but while the homing situation is as it is really important all dogs are neutered.

GobblersSparklyExplodingKnob Fri 11-Jan-13 09:49:09

My behaviourist and trainer (highly qualified, well known, well repected/published) is very against automatic neutering purely for the bahavioural problems it can cause. I know many, many, many people with entire males including myself, none to my knowledge have ever accidently fathered a litter.

My last dog was neutered at 14 months and it ruined him, he went from a relatively confident (with hindsight, very slightly nervous) happy go lucky boy, into a dog agressive, nervy, unpredictable nightmare. I would never neuter a male dog without very good reason.

A look at the Dogslost website is sobering reading, and should be part of your research. You will see masses of responsible owners desperate for the return of much loved pets.

And yet again, it seems to be open season on vets hmm Seeing, what most vets charge for neutering, I really can't believe that it is a particularly profitable operation (unlike breeding litters of pups for sale as untaxed income).

LtEveDallas Fri 11-Jan-13 10:44:39

Multipoodles - that article is 5 years old. Do you have any current, scientifically proven, peer reviewed studies to back up your post?

LtEveDallas Fri 11-Jan-13 10:48:30

Seeing, what most vets charge for neutering, I really can't believe that it is a particularly profitable operation (unlike breeding litters of pups for sale as untaxed income)

Yes Scuttlebutter, my Vets (unfortunately the most expensive in my area - but I do think the best) charge £50 for a male castration and £70 for female spaying. Hardly going to make millions from that now are they? Whereas the 'back of an envelope stuck in the post office window has [sic] 'Jackapoos' for sale for "ONLY £250 EACH - 6 AVAILABLE" sad

multipoodles Fri 11-Jan-13 12:32:58

Of course nuetering isn't expensive, it's all the other lifetime diseases that vets will treat that are the big money! Vets, like doctors don't make money on healthy patients!

LtEveDallas Fri 11-Jan-13 13:35:09

it's all the other lifetime diseases that vets will treat that are the big money

That some dogs will get with or without neutering.... so what on earth is your point?

OwlLady Fri 11-Jan-13 13:52:26

£70 for spaying, wow! My vet costs £250

I still don't understand why people wouldn't get their dog spayed or neutered though whether it's costly or not

thegriffon Fri 11-Jan-13 14:36:53

OwlLady - my 2 year old lab hasn't been castrated yet, nothing to do with cost. He's well trained and never run off or humped other dogs (although neutered dogs often try to hump him he's not bothered by this and has perfected a sideways role so they fall off smile). I haven't ruled out castration but so far there seem to be more risks than benefits

shoutymcshoutsmum Fri 11-Jan-13 17:51:46

I got my pup neutered at 11 months. Whilst it may just coincide with him growing older, his marking of trees etc has reduced by 99% and he is much calmer. I also prefer how he looks without his giant dangly bits!

LtEveDallas Fri 11-Jan-13 18:10:38

That article is about early neutering thegriffon, not neutering. A dog that has gone through puberty (12 months to 2 years, breed dependant) is at no more risk than an entire dog.

thegriffon Fri 11-Jan-13 18:53:20

LtEveDallas - the vet told me risks of cruciate ligament rupture and bone cancer (for labs) are greatest if neutered early but there's still a risk after neutering at any age this seems to support his theory although doesn't state when the dogs were neutered.
I know it's not clear cut, that's why I'd prefer to wait until it is.

LtEveDallas Fri 11-Jan-13 19:52:56

Your choice griffon, but 3.8% - is that really a big risk?

I wonder what the percentage is of entire Labradors being stolen, or what percentage are run over? What percentage escape going after in-season females? Oh and what percentage father unwanted litters that end up in rescue?

THIS study (from the same source as yours above) shows that Labs are predisposed to ACL injuries, male or female, neutere or not. Labs have always been at risk (darn dogs) smile

MrsTucky Fri 11-Jan-13 20:39:12

I'd say neuter every time. Mine always have been.

Bowlersarm Fri 11-Jan-13 20:45:34

Our lab boy isn't neutered. We have had few problems with him. Sometimes he looks for a bit of trouble with unknown males we come across but he's so eager to please us he's by our side as soon as we need him to be

Nigglenaggle Sun 13-Jan-13 20:19:02

Multipoodles your poor vet probably wishes that you trusted them more as they try to give you a good service for the best price they can manage. Vets don't go around sprinkling fairy dust to make your animals sick. Spaying a bitch, which is major surgery, charged out 'properly' would be around £300-400 (depending on area (which affects rent and overheads)). However vets want you to neuter because its healthier for your animal. It is far more profitable sorting out womb infections and mammary cancer. But vets actually want your animal to be healthy, that is why they became vets. (For males neutering its a more controversial issue as this thread shows).

This article illustrates the continuing rise in dog thefts. A neutered dog is of much less value to thieves.

TataClaire Mon 14-Jan-13 01:06:58

I left my boy because I showed him and he had to be entire for this, but if I had the choice again I would definitely neuter. I have gone for plan B as I left it so late, he now has an implant called Suprelorin which he has put in roughly every year, it chemically castrates him, so after a couple of weeks of initially slightly more randy behaviour than usual, he calms right down, stops humping and marking every single gate post he comes across and acts like a neutered dog, with the benefit of his coat staying the same as though he were unneutered (he's a big coated breed and neutering can often make their coats harder to manage). Just another option to consider. Less permanent and no surgery.

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