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  1. #1
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    Default Study: Spay and Neutered dogs live longer on average.

    From Sep 2013 Dog Fancy blurb:

    Researchers from Univ. of GA analyzed 40,000+ death records from the Veterinary Medical Database from 1984-2004. Sterilized dogs averaged 9.4 years and non sterilized averaged 7.9 years.

    ***********************************************
    My own experience over 40 years has been that the early speuters lived longer than the ones done later (in my case 3+ for older vs. 6-8 mos. for early ones) with all but one reaching teens. The Schipperkes outlived them all (the youngest died of heart failure at 14), then most of the mixed breeds with the other purebreds coming in last. The outliers for both groups were a mutt who died from cancer at 11 and a greyhound who died of multiple organ failure (he was huge and just wore out) at 13.

    The ever diminishing gene pools for purebreds is probably a big culprit for the increasing cancer rates in purebreds.
    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

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  2. #2
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    I am sure this study is fascinating and showed many things.

    My only objection with this observation is that there are huge confounding variables between people who *might* get their animal spayed or neutered, and people who don't (for whatever reason.)

    If you could control for those variables, I would be more interested in the outcome. But if one of the typical reasons an owner keeps their dog intact is "I can't be bothered to pay for it"...it confounds the whole study.

    If you had two groups of owners who provided equal care to both groups of dogs (intact v. altered), it would be really great. If not...so many potentially confounding variables, you could draw so many (potentially inaccurate) conclusions.


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  3. #3
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    These dogs were referred to a teaching hospital, so in all likelihood they didn't lack veterinary care and their owners weren't cheap.



  4. #4
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    Did they break it out by dogs and b$tches? I had read it was true for the females but not the males (statistically).
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  5. #5
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    People sometimes go to teaching hospitals because they're closer, because they can be cheaper- too many different reasons to be able to say all the animals that went were well cared for. My dog is not neutered and he is and always has been up to date on vaccinations, worming, eats a high quality grain free food. I would doubt that if you go into the deep, dark back country of GA (the teaching hospital state) that a large percentage of the un-neutered dogs that live there could say the same. Alot of people don't make a conscious decision to not neuter, they just don't because it's cheaper.....the same reason they might feed Dad's dog food or skip on shots every few years etc etc..... I agree that it's a huge unknown, uncontrolled variable.
    Kerri



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasjordan View Post
    People sometimes go to teaching hospitals because they're closer, because they can be cheaper- too many different reasons to be able to say all the animals that went were well cared for. My dog is not neutered and he is and always has been up to date on vaccinations, worming, eats a high quality grain free food. I would doubt that if you go into the deep, dark back country of GA (the teaching hospital state) that a large percentage of the un-neutered dogs that live there could say the same. Alot of people don't make a conscious decision to not neuter, they just don't because it's cheaper.....the same reason they might feed Dad's dog food or skip on shots every few years etc etc..... I agree that it's a huge unknown, uncontrolled variable.
    Not really, anyone that has been for decades involved in the dog world and vets that get to treat them all their lives kind of have an idea what is going on, get to see several generations of all kinds of dogs managed all kinds of ways.

    Everyone I have talked to with much experience with dogs agrees that, as a rule of thumb, neutering before puberty is still the best advice for most dog owners out there.

    Sure, there are exceptions to that, but those should be exceptions, not the new PC way to insist everyone now change to not spaying or spaying later.

    It is good that finally someone did conduct studies and it did show it is so.


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  7. #7
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    There's a lot of variables to be controlled. The same breed dog, from the same parents, born at the same time under the same conditions, then owned by one owner, living in the same environment, eating the same food, same exercise, same treats etc. If one dog is spayed and not the other, and the spayed dog lived longer than the other dog, then maybe it could be said that spaying contributes to a longer life. Those are big maybes.
    I' like to know who funded the study.


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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    I am sure this study is fascinating and showed many things.

    My only objection with this observation is that there are huge confounding variables between people who *might* get their animal spayed or neutered, and people who don't (for whatever reason.)

    If you could control for those variables, I would be more interested in the outcome. But if one of the typical reasons an owner keeps their dog intact is "I can't be bothered to pay for it"...it confounds the whole study.

    If you had two groups of owners who provided equal care to both groups of dogs (intact v. altered), it would be really great. If not...so many potentially confounding variables, you could draw so many (potentially inaccurate) conclusions.
    This is exactly what I was going to write. Correlation does NOT equal causation!
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  9. #9
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    This is a study where lumping all dogs together is not particularly informative. I would really like to see the results broken down by breed, as each breed may have a different constellation of health issues whis may be differentially affected by s/n...at different ages. And mixes broken down, at least by size.

    This is clearly not a "One size fits all" phenomenon....big mistake, to think there is something called " The Dog". No. There are many breeds, sizes, disease risks...



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasjordan View Post
    People sometimes go to teaching hospitals because they're closer, because they can be cheaper- too many different reasons to be able to say all the animals that went were well cared for. My dog is not neutered and he is and always has been up to date on vaccinations, worming, eats a high quality grain free food. I would doubt that if you go into the deep, dark back country of GA (the teaching hospital state) that a large percentage of the un-neutered dogs that live there could say the same. Alot of people don't make a conscious decision to not neuter, they just don't because it's cheaper.....the same reason they might feed Dad's dog food or skip on shots every few years etc etc..... I agree that it's a huge unknown, uncontrolled variable.
    Closer to what? There's a teaching hospital near us in Raleigh and we only take our animals there for emergencies (when they will take walk-in or call-in patients) or by referral. Teaching hospitals are not likely to be cheaper either, in the end -- they'll want to do everything, because they can and a lot of diagnostics make for less guesswork.

    If the animal went to a vet it's damn well likely to be well cared for. People who don't take care of their pets don't take them to the vet at all, or just get the required rabies shot.

    I don't really get the point of your post. The Univ of GA isn't in the deep dark backwoods of the state, where you think dogs aren't as well cared for as yours.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pezk View Post
    There's a lot of variables to be controlled. The same breed dog, from the same parents, born at the same time under the same conditions, then owned by one owner, living in the same environment, eating the same food, same exercise, same treats etc. If one dog is spayed and not the other, and the spayed dog lived longer than the other dog, then maybe it could be said that spaying contributes to a longer life. Those are big maybes.
    I' like to know who funded the study.
    Littermates are not clones and you'd have to multiply the (anecdotal) data by thousands to get a real idea of what is going on.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Not really, anyone that has been for decades involved in the dog world and vets that get to treat them all their lives kind of have an idea what is going on, get to see several generations of all kinds of dogs managed all kinds of ways.

    Everyone I have talked to with much experience with dogs agrees that, as a rule of thumb, neutering before puberty is still the best advice for most dog owners out there.

    Sure, there are exceptions to that, but those should be exceptions, not the new PC way to insist everyone now change to not spaying or spaying later.

    It is good that finally someone did conduct studies and it did show it is so.
    Thanks Bluey, I could not agree more.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey View Post
    Not really, anyone that has been for decades involved in the dog world and vets that get to treat them all their lives kind of have an idea what is going on, get to see several generations of all kinds of dogs managed all kinds of ways.

    Everyone I have talked to with much experience with dogs agrees that, as a rule of thumb, neutering before puberty is still the best advice for most dog owners out there.

    Sure, there are exceptions to that, but those should be exceptions, not the new PC way to insist everyone now change to not spaying or spaying later.

    It is good that finally someone did conduct studies and it did show it is so.
    I don't consider this meta-analysis of death records to show that spaying or neutering is the actual *reason* dogs may live longer.

    Other studies actually look at the specific change caused by neutering:

    https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/...jA-O0.facebook

    But I agree - for MOST owners, MOST pets would STILL be healthier and live longer and better lives if they were spayed or neutered. Most owners do not have the knowledge, facilities, and desire to manage an intact dog - nor do they want to worry about the possibility of an accidental pregnancy.

    Of course we should STILL encourage MOST pet owners to spay and neuter their dogs - at an early age - because the pros will still outweigh the cons in many cases.

    However, it is important that we do look carefully at the issues of early neutering and spaying - and be willing to accept that there are risks.

    I am not surprised that spayed and neutered dogs live longer lives -- they are not roaming for mates, getting into dog fights, having complications from unplanned pregnancies, pyometria, and probably also have owners that care about their long term future.

    That doesn't mean we shouldn't investigate whether early spaying or neutering has any negative effects. Especially for people who might consider keeping a dog or bitch intact for a variety of reasons.


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  14. #14
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    I like the above post.

    The study linked to in the OP is not a definitive answer to whether or not neutered dogs live longer. Very few studies provide definitive answers. Most studies just provide some information, from which scientists draw tentative conclusions that very frequently require further study. That's just the nature of science.



  15. #15
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    Well,there is the fact that with a neutered dog, you simply cannot get testicular cancer and with a OHE dog, you simply will not see those cancers either. Or in the case of an OHE, you won't see major infections of the uterus.

    I have seen more cases of pyometra in the last 6 mos than in the rest of my "life" as a vet assistant. If you don't have a good breeding quality dog, why risk it?
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuddyRoo View Post
    Well,there is the fact that with a neutered dog, you simply cannot get testicular cancer and with a OHE dog, you simply will not see those cancers either. Or in the case of an OHE, you won't see major infections of the uterus.

    I have seen more cases of pyometra in the last 6 mos than in the rest of my "life" as a vet assistant. If you don't have a good breeding quality dog, why risk it?
    Because, depending upon the breed, you may be predisposing dog to osteosarcoma, cruciate ruputure, hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, hypothyroidism, spayed bitch incontinence, or other health consequences? And pre pubertal neutering does delay the closure of the long bones, so you may end up with a very odd looking animal in some breeds.

    With some breeds, these are very small risks and you might decide the advantages of s/n overcome these risks, if they are slight in your breed. With other breeds, these are huge risks, and you might decide to keep the animal intact.

    Or with bitches, you might decide to remove the uterus (thus elimanating risk of pyometra), but keep at least one ovary, to protect against the above increased risks.



  17. #17
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    And we have discussed this topic before, please search previous threads.

    Thanks for posting this study, but I believe it has significant limitations and the results certainly do not change my interpretations of the current research. I hope others will reach similar conclusions after reading the current research.

    That said, I respect the decisions any person or rescue group might make about what is in the best interests of their dog, or those they might adopt out to the public.



  18. #18
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    ...and, if this is the study I think it is, intact animals died more often than neutered ones from trauma, and infectious disease...both pretty easy to avoid with proper management. Cancer? Not so much...

    I know that "proper management" is not a given when you are talking about Joe Pet Owner, public adoptions, etc., so that is a different kettle of fish, when you are talking about rescues and shelter animals etc.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houndhill View Post
    Because, depending upon the breed, you may be predisposing dog to osteosarcoma, cruciate ruputure, hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, hypothyroidism, spayed bitch incontinence, or other health consequences? And pre pubertal neutering does delay the closure of the long bones, so you may end up with a very odd looking animal in some breeds.

    With some breeds, these are very small risks and you might decide the advantages of s/n overcome these risks, if they are slight in your breed. With other breeds, these are huge risks, and you might decide to keep the animal intact.

    Or with bitches, you might decide to remove the uterus (thus elimanating risk of pyometra), but keep at least one ovary, to protect against the above increased risks.
    Not to mention, even for *average* owners, if studies show that there is a difference between spaying/neutering at 3 months, 6 months or 12 months (for example), many pet owners might be able to reasonably choose to spay or neuter just a bit later (v. not at all) and reduce certain risks without necessarily increasing the risk of testicular cancer, pyometra, etc.

    It doesn't mean that vets would recommend NOT spaying or neutering, but perhaps just adjusting the timing to give each dog the lowest risk for the most common problems for its breed.



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Houndhill View Post
    Because, depending upon the breed, you may be predisposing dog to osteosarcoma, cruciate ruputure, hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, hypothyroidism, spayed bitch incontinence, or other health consequences? And pre pubertal neutering does delay the closure of the long bones, so you may end up with a very odd looking animal in some breeds.

    With some breeds, these are very small risks and you might decide the advantages of s/n overcome these risks, if they are slight in your breed. With other breeds, these are huge risks, and you might decide to keep the animal intact.

    Or with bitches, you might decide to remove the uterus (thus elimanating risk of pyometra), but keep at least one ovary, to protect against the above increased risks.
    Not really, you leave one ovary your risk by estrogen receptors becoming active is still there and, last I remember reading, 8% of intact female dogs eventually have breast cancer.

    I say, when we weight it all, the small chances of any of that you say someone study was showing, the jury is still weighing in on the old and true "spay right before puberty", according to most every vet I have talked to.

    I know a few cases don't a theory support, but in the past decades, plenty of our dog club members fell for any and all new such "do this or don't do that".
    The results of not spaying were less than impressive, most of those not spayed or spayed later were the ones incontinent, were the ones that had OCD problems and needed orthopedic surgeries, etc., not even talking about the sad pyometra cases, utterly avoidable.
    If you are going to breed, you live with whatever happens, if not, spaying is still a good management protocol for most female dogs.

    Sure, other factors were there than just not being spayed, or not spayed before puberty, but I still say, for what we know, spaying right before puberty, that is earlier in the smaller breeds, a few weeks later in the bigger ones, seems to make the most sense as a general recommendation for most dog owners.

    I know that we always did spay right before puberty and never had one incontinent, had any with any other problems of any kind, from the several females we had over many years and the same for the many members of our dog club that did the same.

    Yes, I know anecdote is not data, but I still question those studies you say show we should now not spay, or spay later.
    We will have to agree to disagree, for now.



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