Chances are very good that your first visit with a veterinarian and your new puppy will involve The Discussion.  That discussion involves, ” When shall we schedule spaying/neutering your dog?”   Very few vets will back off from the issue until you either schedule the procedure, or take a stand.  It’s ingrained in their medical school training/indoctrination.  You will have to make a decision.

It has been my observation that many dog-owners hesitate at first when asked about this operation.  Some express doubt.  ALL have questions.  What’s the scoop behind spaying/neutering?  What are the positives?  What are the negatives?  What’s True, and what’s blatheringly False from the politically correct?  I hope to provide some plain language council here, free of the long-winded and technical.  Hopefully I can arm you with the questions you need to answer to make a decision that benefits your dog, not someones opinion.

Up front,  I’ll tell you that while I am not a breeder, I am a very determined “Bloodline Preservationist.”  My long-range plans are to breed the dogs that I own and care for, and to provide  Limited and Selective Stud Work to outcrossed dogs that have passed a veritable minefield of approval in health, temperament, and quality.  The bloodline I have chosen, were carefully and thoughtfully developed by a professional breeder at Omorrow German Shepherds by the name of Rhonda Sellers.  My research has traced and found this pedigree to be something extraordinary, something to be preserved.  But this is not my primary reason for my stand on Spaying/Neutering.

Understand, I will never breed an inferior dog, or one that has nothing to offer the betterment of the breed.  Nor will I allow such a dog to be bred.  My feelings about spaying/neutering are not really applicable to the dogs of that sort.  But when a dog has something to add to the breed, it should be kept intact.

Let me address this issue from the viewpoint of a pet-owner that has a puppy, or has adopted a rescue dog.  How do you decide whether or not to Spay or Neuter?  Here are some positives and negatives to consider:

When talking to you about the Health impact of Spay/Neuter, Health Risks, are seldom brought up by Veterinarians.  These will be central to this post.  Note that I am not at this time addressing the “population control” aspects at this time.

There are no truly compelling reasons to neuter a male dog, save those given by activists, or those with monetary gain at risk.  The widely varied problems associated with Neutering actually exceed the benefits implied.  To be fair, the positives include: It virtually nullifies the risk of testicular cancer.  No testicles, no cancer, simple.  But what you’re not being told, is that the actual chances of testicular cancer in dogs is only about 1%.  (Yes, ONE PERCENT)

It may also reduce chances of some prostate disorders,perianal fistulas, and perhaps even diabetes.  But these are rare occurrences on rare ailments, with questionable studies used to fabricate something positive on the side of the Pro-Neuter lobby.

Conversely, some of the proven risks of Neutering are as follows:

Increased risks of Bone Cancer in large and medium size dogs.  This is a hormonal causative.  Bone cancer has very poor survival rates.

The risk of Hypothyroidism is Tripled in its possibility.  Many symptoms can be traced to this problem.

Prostate Cancer is given a  X 4 greater chance of developing.  Again due to hormonal obstruction or depletion.

Bone density and joint problems are exacerbated by neutering.

Adverse Reaction to certain vaccinations are also worsened by neutering.

 

As For Spaying in the female, the positives are greatly unbalanced when compared to the negatives.  Positives include:  Reduced risk of Mammary cancers if performed before 2.5 years of age.

It removes opportunity for uterine, cervical, and ovarian cancers, which only about 5% will ever suffer from in any case.

On the Negative Side:   Bone Cancer chances are nearly tripled.

Sarcomas of the heart, lungs, and spleen are greatly increased in chance and severity.

Obesity can become chronic and debilitating.

Recession of gender specific organs is also increased, such as in recessed vulva’s.  Vaginitis also becomes more common, as well as Vaginal dermatitis.

Here too, vaccination reactions can be become more frequent and pronounced.

It would seem that many risks are apparent for these surgical procedures.  Complications during the surgeries can also be fatal.  Anesthesia is rarely found to be a “Good” idea to even the healthiest dogs.  Reactions are common.  INflammatory complications can also lead to poor health, expensive, long-term medications, and bleeding.  However, in light of truth, Death from post-operative complications are very rare.

 

There are some very extensive studies published academically, and on the internet that reveal the risks.  On objective reading of them reveals no real reason medically, to have these performed on your dog.  Using a web-browser can reveal these studies under “Complications of Spay/Neutering of Canines”.  Read them for yourself, but have your dogs well-being in mind.

 

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Comments
  1. Meghan says:

    I hadn’t given much thought to the issue of s/n until I got my Rottweiler a year ago. I bought him from a very reputable breeder who took the time to educate me on the benefits of owning an intact dog. While most breeders will require you to s/n a pet quality puppy before giving you the registration information, my breeder left it up to me if I wanted to neuter him or not as long as it was not done before 18 months. This is my first time owning an intact animal and I have seen a profound difference in his physical development when compared to other pets I have owned that are not intact. I have another male that was fixed in early puppy-hood (before I acquired him as a rescue) and even though his muscle development is good and his health excellent he still does not have the mass and bone density that he should have as a male dog.

    It has really been eye-opening to discover all the benefits of leaving dogs intact. My only concern is for those people who are not responsible owners. In my opinion, irresponsible owners encompass the vast majority of the pet owning public. I definitely believe that s/n should be at the discretion of the owner however most owners are simply not responsible enough to own an intact animal. This seems to be a problem mostly in the US as I know that most people in Europe do not s/n and they don’t have the same issues with irresponsible breeding that we seem to have. I’m not sure how you deal with this issue but I think that for the most part it is good to encourage the average pet owner to fix their animals.

  2. Therese says:

    We are on our 4th and last rescue/shelter dog because of their policy of mandatory spay/neuter, pediatric s/n when possible. The previous 3 died from hard to treat cancers that are listed as possible eventual effects of s/n. The dogs we owned before our adventures in rescue/sheltering remained intact their entire lives and lived MUCH longer – and never produced a litter – not even when we owned intact males and females at the same time.

    Our current dog is from a rescue through a shelter. We adopted her in extremely poor condition because I saw greatness in her. She was intact at the time and we promised to spay when we got her healthy. Rescue/Shelter gave us 30 days and refused to accept any of our vet’s medical deferrals. When the rescue threatened to come “repossess” her, we went to “visit” out of state friends until she was healthy enough to spay and finished with her heat. (There is zero reason to spay an otherwise healthy dog just because she’s in heat.) We enjoyed a long vacation until such time as our vet of 22 years felt it was medically appropriate to spay her.

    Unfortunately, I am afraid that this dog will succumb to cancer because we were required to spay her or give her up. At least this time we have pet insurance.

    But, it was SO stressful that we will never again consider a rescue or shelter dog. We are already researching breeders so we know where to go when we are ready.

  3. honorthedog says:

    It’s amazing how much misinformation there is out there. When I got my dog Jackie, I was constantly bombarded by vets telling me that she needed to be spayed. For some reason that just didn’t feel right to me, so I continually diverted those discussions until I did my own research that confirmed what I felt. Now I go to a vet who doesn’t believe in spaying/neutering, who was actually glad to hear that she was still whole and had not been spayed. Everyone has to make their own choice, but people should have all the information before making that choice. Unfortunately that is often not the case, so I’m glad you are talking about it here.

  4. Julia Rothe says:

    This post is so timely! Just purchased a 2.5 year old German Working Lines male and we had a first Vet visit. Neutering was recommended to prevent prostate cancer and were told there are risks of bleeding and a need for the dog to remain in a cone and “quiet” for 7 days. Thanks for directing us to studies that will help us make a more informed decision.