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2013 study on adverse impact of neutering on health of dogs

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  • #41
    Originally posted by cnigh View Post
    Shade was a Lab x Border collie, I wish I could say for sure I did the right thing by her. A month ago I would have said that there was no reason to spay either of mygirls. Now Shade is gone and I don`t know if spaying Dynamite is the right thing to do.

    Would you spay an active 6 yr old Golden Retriever x Lab who has never been sick a day in her life? Am I being paranoid thinking she might get sick too? It would kill me to lose her to complications from surgery.
    So sorry I had Shade's breed mix wrong!

    Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball, who can say whether Shade had a shorter life because she wasn't spayed, or a longer one because of it. The only thing we know for sure is that it was a great life for her, and a happy and long one, whether shorter or longer than it might have been under other circumstances.

    As for your Golden x lab bitch, only you can decide based upon the risks/ benefits for her. I know an Irish Wolfound owner who lost a bitch to pyo, so spayed his other bitch, only to lose her during surgery!

    Where is that crystal ball when we need it?!

    How are you doing now, cnigh?

    Comment


    • #42
      Originally posted by grayarabpony View Post
      Read the studies. The benefits of not spaying or neutering after one year or two (for large breeds) is really quite small.

      You did read the Shade thread, right? A quarter of bitches will develop a pyometra by the age of 10, and then there's a HIGH rate of recurrence.
      I did indeed read the studies. I personally would spay a (large breed) female at about 1 year or so. I know about the risk of them getting pyo and an increased risk of mammary cancer if spayed, and as always you have to balance all of the risks.
      Just so people do not think that I am haphazardly recommending that dogs be kept intact . . . I am not. My system with dogs would never work for the vast majority of dog owners. I have no children. Because of my current living situation, my dogs are supervised when outside. Even if I had a different set up, I wouldn't be comfortable with a meter reader or anyone else having free access to the yard. I tend to overdo things. Nothing is ever 100%, but if I weren't pretty sure that I could prevent accidental breedings then I would never keep an intact dog. Most people wouldn't want to duplicate my "dog system," but it works for me and I'd like them to be as healthy as possible.

      Comment


      • #43
        I'm not a spay/neuter freak but I do like to see mine done by 2 years old. I don't worry a heat or two and my big male dog I let get to 2.5 years old intact on the under the table advice of my ortho vet. I will always risk surgery instead of not; I don't think it's a big deal health-wise to let them mature and have a cycle or two. But I do think it's a hassle and not worth the risk (pups, health problems, wandering, fighting, fussing) in the long run. I've actually never known a dog to go its entire life without health problems while being being intact. I've seen dogs have mammary cancer, testicular cancer, and pyos. My brother's lab had to be neutered when he was 15 and barely survived the surgery due to testicular cancer. The spayed/neutered dogs I've known, no matter when they were fixed, lived to be older than dirt. My oldest dog is a 13.5 golden cross that was spayed at 6 weeks old in the pound-she has some problems from it with incontinence but she's very healthy and happy. So go figure. I am down the middle, no big rush but get it done in the first couple years.
        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

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        • #44
          Originally posted by cnigh View Post
          Shade was a Lab x Border collie, I wish I could say for sure I did the right thing by her. A month ago I would have said that there was no reason to spay either of mygirls. Now Shade is gone and I don`t know if spaying Dynamite is the right thing to do.

          Would you spay an active 6 yr old Golden Retriever x Lab who has never been sick a day in her life? Am I being paranoid thinking she might get sick too? It would kill me to lose her to complications from surgery.
          You did what you thought was by Shade. Don't beat yourself up over it - our pets' lives are far shorter than our own, no matter what we do.

          For what it's worth, I would spay if this were my dog. The nuisance of the heat cycle is part of the reason, but pyo is never far from my mind. That disease is just plain scary.

          A dog's heats are not like our periods; their organs go through a cycle as if they were pregnant every time. Every time they go through a heat without getting pregnant, the chances of the bitch having abnormal, cystic lining in the uterus increase...and that abnormal lining is very hospitable to bacterial infection: pyometra.

          As it is, I have had rescued bitches spayed that were well into their teens, and they all lived healthy, happy lives without their organs.
          Don't tell me about what you can't do. That's boring. Show me what you can do. - Mom

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          • #45
            Originally posted by wendy View Post
            check the references in the study and read the 2007 summary- they've studied other breeds and yes, even mutts.

            another thing not brought out in these studies- I have two papers, one where they spayed some lab beagles and measured metabolic rate before and after spaying. It dropped an astonishing 30% post-spay. The other study, they neutered some adult working dogs (military), and reported that post-neuter the dogs needed twice as much exercise to remain at a healthy weight. So they've been lying to you again about neutering- it really does make your pet fat, or at least it makes it much more difficult for anyone to keep their pet from getting fat. Have you noticed we have an epidemic of obese pets, possibly linked to the heavy spay/neuter propaganda? and obesity causes all kinds of health issues.


            irresponsible owners don't usually neuter their pets anyway, so they don't really have any role in this discussion. The responsible ones are the ones that tend to neuter, usually on the basis of incorrect information about the health of intact dogs vs. neutered dogs, or just because they feel it's the "responsible thing to do". These are the people who need to be given the real information, so they can make the proper responsible decision for their pets.
            I would call the pet obesity issue an owner issue not a spay/neuter issue. I have three older spayed females and five intact adult females. All weight appropriate with the exception of the youngest corgi who is still in the process of losing the weight gain from steroids treatment for immune mediated polyarthritis
            Last edited by Marshfield; Apr. 16, 2013, 12:20 AM.

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            • #46
              Well, Houndhill, not everyone who adopts from rescues and shelters are incompetent owners and incapable of handling an entire animal. Some of us are <gasp> altruistic and doing what we can to save a few lives. Our dog is a rescued border collie. He was neutered by the rescue. He is here because he was a happy, healthy dog looking for a human. Kitties (3) are all resecues. One is a spayed feral whom we saved (at great expense) when we found her hit by a car. We also participate in a trap/neuter/release program for the feral cat colonies that exist in the local farmland. (The farmers won't do anything so if we didn't the population would explode.) Some people choose to adopt and even know what they are doing.
              "Horsemanship is not merely a matter of bodily skills, but is based on scholarship and, therefore, is a matter of the mind and intellect." Charles de Kunffy

              http://www.equiimages.com

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              • #47
                Re the study-I'd wonder if the neutered dogs were from the equivalent of puppy mills, and more poorly bred than the unaltered dogs, which may include quality breeders that do genetic testing, OFA scoring before breeding (the parents), etc. That would skew the results as a poorly bred, inbred dog that came from a puppy mill/shelter or rescue would more than likely be neutered, than a show quality good conformation dog (which would need to be unneutered to show).

                FWIW- I've neutered and spayed all of my dogs, and have had at least 2 usually 3 dogs at a time for the last 25 yrs or so. Never had one get cancer. Most lived into their teens. Some examples-the Cocker Spaniels died the youngest (from heart/liver problems-around age 13), Shih Tsu at age 12, Lhasa at age 13 (with diabetes), Shep/heeler mix age 17, Chow/border collie mix-age 18.

                I currently have a German shep/boxer mix spayed age 13, and still going strong. Just did a loading dose of Adequan because she was getting a little stiff when first getting up. Also have a Chow/border collie mix, neutered about 9 yrs old, very healthy, and a Cocker age 8, neutered, still very healthy.

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                • #48
                  It's long been known that the benefits of preventing mammary cancers is greatest before the first heat and goes down rapidly after that. Apparently most of these are estrogen type tumors? I had a greyhound who was spayed after a litter of puppies (popped out at the shelter) at 4 years. She got mammary cancer (removed) at 8 and at 10 was dead from bone cancer which has gone from practically non existent in the breed 25 years ago to almost epidemic at the time. (I have not followed them since then) So many of these purebred dogs (esp. large ones) are simply full of cancers that are inheritable (and goldens are among the worst!) which seems to have come from the incredible shrinking gene pools of pure breeds. Of all my dogs (a mix of mutts and purebreds) only 3 were done "late" (at 3, 3, 4) and the others were all done early before their first heat. The late ones all died at 8, 10, 10 and 11 of various cancers except one which may have had brain cancer or a stroke. Of the earlies they all lived to very old ages (13-18) except one who died at 11 from bladder cancer. That's my personal report!
                  Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                  Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

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                  • #49
                    Originally posted by cnigh View Post
                    Would you spay an active 6 yr old Golden Retriever x Lab who has never been sick a day in her life? Am I being paranoid thinking she might get sick too? It would kill me to lose her to complications from surgery.
                    I would spay before she developed a pyo.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                      I 101% agree with ANY dog leaving a shelter to be altered. You cant guarantee what type of home they will get and shelters dont follow through the dogs life like many good breeders do.
                      and you can't guarantee the people who originally adopted the shelter pet will keep it. I also agree that all dogs leaving a shelter need to be altered.

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        Originally posted by SueL View Post
                        Well, Houndhill, not everyone who adopts from rescues and shelters are incompetent owners and incapable of handling an entire animal. Some of us are <gasp> altruistic and doing what we can to save a few lives Some people choose to adopt and even know what they are doing.
                        I never said "everyone" who adopts falls into that category. I'm happy for you and glad for your animals. However, I still think most shelter/rescue companion animals should be s/n, because not all people who adopt from shelters and rescues is as responsible or knowledgeable as you are.

                        I'm involved with Irish Wolfhound rescue, and we do s/n most of those and they are placed carefully. It is very much an adoption process with some approved applications having to wait for some time. Those IWs with health issues that preclude it are placed with experienced, knowledgeable IW people who have the facilities and ability to maintain intact IWs. This policy has worked well for us.

                        Many community shelters and rescues do not have the luxury to screen or follow up so carefully, because they deal with so many more animals. For example, our local shelter takes in several thousand dogs per year, and while they do have a screening process, they adopt out to the general public who have a wide range of knowledge and ability with dogs. Many just want a casual pet. I do believe s/n is the best policy for these dogs and owners under these circumstances in this country (US).

                        However, for that tiny subset of us who have breeds very prone to develop osteosarcoma and other cancers, who can safely maintain intact animals, we have the luxury of being able to decide whether s/n is in the best health interests of our particular animals. Recent research is giving us more insight into some health effects of gonadal hormones that were not previously documented in the scientific literature. There are obviously great differences among breeds, since they are closed genetic pools.

                        Most people probably should s/n most pet dogs for a variety of reasons. But not everyone, and not all dogs.

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Houndhill View Post
                          So sorry I had Shade's breed mix wrong!

                          Unfortunately nobody has a crystal ball, who can say whether Shade had a shorter life because she wasn't spayed, or a longer one because of it. The only thing we know for sure is that it was a great life for her, and a happy and long one, whether shorter or longer than it might have been under other circumstances.

                          As for your Golden x lab bitch, only you can decide based upon the risks/ benefits for her. I know an Irish Wolfound owner who lost a bitch to pyo, so spayed his other bitch, only to lose her during surgery!

                          Where is that crystal ball when we need it?!

                          How are you doing now, cnigh?
                          »Thanks Houndhill.

                          I`m ok I guess. Still crying at odd moments during the day. Cleaning up after pets has been a real challenge this week. It`s such a huge drastic change.

                          I can still feel her in my arms. Its hurts but is a comfort at the same time.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by cnigh View Post
                            »Thanks Houndhill.

                            I`m ok I guess. Still crying at odd moments during the day. Cleaning up after pets has been a real challenge this week. It`s such a huge drastic change.

                            I can still feel her in my arms. Its hurts but is a comfort at the same time.
                            I am so very sorry. It is always a hard thing.

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              Originally posted by Houndhill View Post
                              I suppose because shelters in the US must adopt out animals to less than optimal homes to keep them from being euthanized? It does seem a shame, but evidently that across the board policy is something many shelters feel is needed yo prevent reproduction.
                              Responsible small breeders who hand-select each puppy buyer are a limited group, to the point where you have to wonder if they are statistically significant. The majority of dogs in the US are acquired through shelters, crap breeders, pet shops and other mill outlets, rescue, and as informal adoptions from a friend's litter, etc. So if you're arguing against s/n, except for the majority of pet dogs, it kind of sounds like another argument that small breeders and their customers are the only ones who would benefit. I have my doubts about that, for two reasons. One is that it's taking a very broad view to lump shelter adopters in with people who buy a puppy online. Two is that I seriously doubt the premise that all responsible small breeders are truly separating the sheep from the goats with such an accurate hand. If the owners in one group are more optimal than you suppose, and the owners in the second are less so, it turns the s/n health debate into a total fiasco.

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                I think there are two issues here that have gotten confounded. One is the science behind s/n, with the several recent studies that have challenged the conventional wisdom that s/n has only beneficial health effects.

                                The other issue is the public policy for s/n for shelter/rescue dogs.

                                Those are separate questions.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by saratoga View Post
                                  Ugh, I hope its not a new trend to be telling people their dogs are at health risk if they are spayed/neutered.

                                  Where to even start? Its just simply not true that all neutered pets are obese or that they are ticking time bombs for dropping dead at a young age.

                                  Why would you even want an intact dog? Females bleeding in the house and horny males? yuck

                                  Unless you keep your dog confined in your house at all times and take it outside on the leash only, there is no way to be sure it cant breed. Dogs can jump in and out of yards, escape accidentally from a yard or take a detour if being walked off leash, it could get away from a dog walker/pet sitter/while being boarded, etc. etc.

                                  No one is forcing you to get your dog fixed (unless its a shelter/rescue dog but anyone who spouts this nonsense must be a dog breeder or someone who doesnt know or care about all the dogs being killed in shelters everyday) so PLEASE dont be encouraging this.
                                  I couldn't agree more.

                                  Spend a day at the shelter euthanizing puppies and their mom and then tell me about the "health risk" of s/n. There is already a significant number of dogs dying at shelters all over this country. Most of them are intact. That is the true tragedy.
                                  Last edited by kelliope; Apr. 18, 2013, 02:58 AM.
                                  Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
                                  friendship without envy or beauty without vanity?
                                  Ode to the Horse. ~ Ronald Duncan

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by Houndhill View Post
                                    I think there are two issues here that have gotten confounded. One is the science behind s/n, with the several recent studies that have challenged the conventional wisdom that s/n has only beneficial health effects.

                                    The other issue is the public policy for s/n for shelter/rescue dogs.

                                    Those are separate questions.
                                    Great point! Public policy has to take into consideration more than the potential health benefits for the individual dog.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by Casey09 View Post
                                      I do think that part of it is what type of dog you have. If I had 10 lb. dogs, I'd probably have them neutered at 6 months of age. As it is, I have dogs that are larger and I am more worried about joint issues and things like bone cancer (which I have unfortunately had in one of my own dogs), and that has moved me to look at these studies awfully carefully. I used to believe that responsible pet owners had their pets altered at 6 months unless they were showing conformation, but when you have a large breed and you read studies like this it does change things.
                                      I have to say that even I was saddened by this study. I have a male that I've let mature unneutered. Eventually, I plan on getting a female puppy - so I wanted to go ahead and neuter my male and then spay the female at about a year. With females, spaying seems to be a bit more beneficial, health-wise. Now I am left to ponder what to do. Any ideas?
                                      I must say that while anything can happen, whether or not you can prevent accidental breedings largely depends on how you manage your dogs. I wouldn't have an intact animal in all circumstances. With the new health concerns, I do wonder about switching to vasectomies instead of neuters. Anyone know?
                                      My roommate has a 14yo intact female lab (you'd guess she's about 6yo looking at her). I have a 3yo intact male miniature poodle (he just finished showing a couple months ago). We've not had a problem keeping them from breeding. They're certainly interested, but when she's in heat, she's locked in his bedroom and my poodle is in his crate. Otherwise they (and my boyfriends two spayed female poodles) are loose in the house together. The lab has never been bred and neither has my poodle (though plan to breed him to a bitch his breeder owns later this year).

                                      It's certainly possible to keep two intact dogs together and not have an accidental breeding. Just takes some minimal effort on your part.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        Yes it is possible with some effort. It does take more than minimal effort, however. Many people are not thrilled with whining dogs who are in heat or males wanting to breed locked in crates, separate rooms, etc. for the 28 days a dog is in heat. And then there is the bleeding/discharge issue. I had one of my rescue chis come into heat before I could get her spayed and I was shocked at the amount of blood. I have white carpets and furniture so it was not fun, even with the diaper.

                                        Given the apathy towards the average back yard pet in this country (many are lucky not to be dumped at a shelter or worse when they get even the least bit inconvenient), I would say that any risk of spay/neuter is well worth it.

                                        Hell, half the people I know can barely manage to potty train their dogs and end up keeping them kenneled outside or barking their heads off locked in the backyard. Most get no training and many get given up when a new baby comes or "they just don't have time for him". Pretty sure managing breeding control is not going to be a high priority. And bleeding in the house or putting a diaper on? Yeah, not gonna happen.
                                        Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
                                        friendship without envy or beauty without vanity?
                                        Ode to the Horse. ~ Ronald Duncan

                                        Comment

                                        • Original Poster

                                          #60
                                          Ugh, I hope its not a new trend to be telling people their dogs are at health risk if they are spayed/neutered.
                                          well, it seems to be true that they are at increased health risks if they are neutered, particularly if neutered at a young age, so I hope this will indeed be the "new trend", rather than the current trend of telling people untruths about it.

                                          If your dog had cancer, and your vet told you a pack of lies about the dog's prognosis and possible side effects from treatment, and you therefore made a bad decision about what to do for your dog, you'd be more than a little ticked off. So you should be very angry about what the vets, and the rescues, and the shelters, are currently telling pet owners about the impact of neutering on health.

                                          If you're a responsible pet owner, you weigh the pros and cons before making decisions about what to do for your pet. You can't weigh the pros and cons if you don't know what they are.

                                          I had a bitch who was spayed at a very young age by a rescue. She suffered life-long from recurrent UTIs and vaginal infections and "spay incontinence". I knew those were directly caused by the early spay. She also went on to suffer through two CCL tears/repairs, and then a bit later died young from a cancer. I suspect all of her health problems could have been avoided if only the rescue had let me wait until she matured before spaying. I'd happily have traded the inconvenience of a couple of heats in order to improve her quality of life and possibly extend her life, and think it mind-boggling that anyone would even consider their personal inconvenience more important than the dog's quality of life.

                                          Lots of people keep intact pets, and manage to not let them breed. Just because some irresponsible people somewhere else let their dogs breed, doesn't mean that should have anything at all to do with your decisions about what you, a responsible person, will do.

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