My beautiful Rottie is a lovely old man now at 10 years old (and 10 is old for a Rottweiler) and apart from some arthritis setting in he is a happy lad.
He is entire.
He is a lovely, healthy, happy dog
He has never impregnated a female and made any unwanted puppies.
Why was he never castrated?
His mental/emotional wellbeing and his physical health are too important to me to do that to him.
I am not a vet but I am a bit of a dog geek, dogs are my job so I want to know about everything that can, and does affect our dogs, so I did my research.
I have read a lot, and I mean a lot, of research into the effects of castration/spaying and here is a synopsis of the research on the affects on dogs health. See we don’t just learn how to teach dogs to sit and lie down, we learn about the anatomy, physiology and neurology of dogs as well as training and behaviour stuff; because these things can all affect behaviour – we learn about the whole dog.
Removing a hormone producing organ affects the entire body, other hormone producing organs have to work harder to pick up the slack and once your dog is spayed or neutered his/her system will struggle for the rest of their life to create and maintain a healthy hormone balance.
Think about it …
In human females the removal of the uterus and ovaries at a young age (early forties and younger) may increase the risk of a heart attack, stroke, the chances of experiencing an earlier menopause. Hysterectomy has also been associated with urinary problems, such as increased frequency of urination, incontinence, fistula, and urinary tract infections and hormone deficiencies . https://www.nwhn.org/hysterectomy/ Women who undergo hysterectomy will experience greater gradual bone mineral loss than women with an intact uterus and have an increased risk of osteoporosis.
So why do we think removing sex organs doesn’t affect other mammals like our dogs?
All the research papers this is based on are available at www.fairydogmother.co.uk/research-zone/ for you to read if you want to learn more.
Here goes, and this is scary shit
I’ll start with the pros of castration and spaying dogs
• Removal of the testes eliminates the very small risk (<1%) of death from testicular cancer
• It reduces the risk of perianal fissures
• Reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders.
That’s it – no other known health benefits.
Female dogs are more complicated:
• If done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumors in female dogs
• Nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
• Reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
• Uterine/cervical tumors are rare in dogs, spaying removes the very small risk (≤0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors
Now some of the Cons
check out my research zone for more detailed information
Neutering significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) – a common cancer in medium and large breed dogs with a poor prognosis. In a study in Rottweilers spayed/neutered before one year of age there is a 28.4% (males) and 25.1% (females) risk of developing osteosarcoma
Neutered dogs have a three fold increased risk of hypothyroidism compared to intact dogs. Hyperthyroidism affects behaviour and can cause aggression along with Hyperactivity, Weight loss, Increased appetite, Unkempt appearance, Poor body condition, Vomiting, diarrhea,, Increased thirst (polydipsia), Increased urine (polyuria), Rapid breathing (tachypnea), Difficulty breathing (dyspnea), Heart murmur; rapid heart rate; particularly an abnormal heart beat known as a “gallop rhythm”
Hemangiosarcoma is a common cancer in dogs . It is a major cause of death in some breeds, such as Salukis, French Bulldogs, Irish Water Spaniels, Flat Coated Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Afghan Hounds, English Setters, Scottish Terrier, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and German Shepherd Dogs.
In a controlled study, spayed females were found to have a 2.2 times higher risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma compared to intact females. A retrospective study of cardiac hemangiosarcoma risk factors found a >5 times greater risk in spayed female dogs compared to intact female dogs and a 1.6 times higher risk in neutered male dogs compared to intact male dogs.
Being obese and/or overweight is associated with a host of health problems in dogs. A study found that spay/neuter dogs were 1.6 (females) or 3.0 (males) times more likely to be obese than intact dogs, and 1.2 (females) or 1.5 (males) times more likely to be overweight than intact dogs
Urinary Tract Cancer (Bladder and Urethra Cancers)
A study found that spay/neuter dogs were two times more likely to develop lower urinary tract tumors (bladder or urethra) compared to intact dogs. These tumors are nearly always malignant, but are rare, accounting for less than 1% of canine tumors
Urinary incontinence is common in spayed female dogs, which can occur soon after spay surgery or after a delay of up to several years. If a dog is spayed before her bladder is fully developed, weak bladder muscles may start to leak in middle age. The incidence rate in various studies is 4-20% for spayed females compared to only 0.3% in intact females.
Spay/neuter of immature dogs delays the closure of the growth plates in bones that are still growing, causing those bones to end up significantly longer than in intact dogs. The growth plates in various bones close at different times, spay/neuter that is done after some growth plates have closed but before other growth plates have closed might result in a dog with unnatural proportions, possibly impacting performance and long term durability of the joints
Cranial cruciate ligament rupture
Spay/neuter is associated with a two fold increased risk of cranial cruciate ligament rupture
A study by the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine showed that both male and female dogs neutered at an early age were more prone to hip dysplasia.
Spay/neuter before 5 1⁄2 months of age is associated with a 70% increased aged-adjusted risk of hip dysplasia compared to dogs spayed/neutered after 5 1⁄2 months of age
Compared to intact dogs, spayed/neutered dogs were found to have a 3.1 fold higher risk of patellar luxation
Adverse Vaccine Reactions
A retrospective cohort study of adverse vaccine reactions in dogs was conducted, which included allergic reactions, hives, anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, cardiovascular shock, and sudden death. Adverse reactions were 30% more likely in spayed females than intact females, and 27% more likely in neutered males than intact males
Geriatric Cognitive Impairment
Neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs are at increased risk of progressing from mild to severe geriatric cognitive impairment compared to intact male dogs
There is one paper that specifically studies Vizslas and the health impacts of spay/neuter, particularly juvenile spay/neuter.
3.5x higher incidences of Mast Cell cancer in male & female dogs, regardless of age of neuter.
9x greater incidence of Hamangiosarcoma in neutered females, regardless of age of dog at the time of neuter.
4.3x higher incidence in Lymphoma in both neutered males and females, indpendent of age at the time of neuter.
6.5x higher incidence of all cancers combined in neutered female, 3.6x higher incidence of all cancers in neutered males.
So, how can we prevent unwanted pregnancies and huge numbers of dogs in rescue without causing so much harm to our wonderful, much loved dogs?
This is what we currently perform on dogs:
Ovariohysterectomy: spaying is the complete removal of the female reproductive tract. This is the two ovaries, oviducts, uterine horns, and the uterus.
Castration: The operation involves the removal of both testicles by cutting through the skin and through various layers which cover the testicles. The blood vessels and the spermatic cord are tied carefully before cutting, allowing removal of the testicle.
There are alternatives that mean the dogs hormones are left intact
Hysterectomy: The uterus is removed, but the ovaries remain. Seasonal bleeding does not occur.
Tubal Ligation: The oviducts are isolated during surgery and then cut and tied off. This prevents the ova from coming in contact with sperm cells or passing into the horns of the uterus. The dog will still have seasonal bleeding but will be unable to fall pregnant.
Male Dogs: Vasectomy: The scrotum is cut open and the two vas deferens tubes are cut. The two ends of the tubes are tied, stitched, or sealed.
With these procedures the hormones continue to be released to the rest of the body.
Both these operations are less invasive and are also far less stressful and dangerous. They leave the dogs hormones intact and allow the dogs to live a happy and hopefully healthy life. There is one problem however, our vets don’t offer up this procedure as an option, it is apparently not taught in vet school and there won’t be any change to that stance in the foreseeable future unless more people start asking for it, then it may happen. That needs to change and quickly.