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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to say a few words about “spay/neuter health benefits” for dogs. I do this to rebut a number of rumors, exaggerations and overt lies. It is sad, I believe, that many people make important decisions based only on rumors and do not do good research before spaying or neutering their dogs.
I am originally from Europe -Ukraine. People spay and neuter dogs there in only rare cases, and lots of dogs live long and happy lives. I was shocked ,when I found out, that the most American dogs are going through these kinds of procedures without real necessity most of the time. I want to tell about my personal canine behavioral observations, and research on the spay/neuter subject.
I do agree, that dogs of “fighter” breeds (Rottweilers, Pit bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, etc.) should be neutered, because it doesn’t matter how well trained they are, they can lose their minds sometimes. It’s simply in their nature. However, I don’t agree that the toy breed males should be neutered, unless they are not monitored.
People tell stories about “nasty male habits of marking in the house”, which was another “discovery” for me. What the heck are people talking about? We’re talking about DOGS , but not CATS! Here are a couple of observations, that prove the insanity of this point. I’ve had two male poms. Neither of them were used for breeding. They NEVER marked in the house, because they were simply well-trained and were doing potty only outside, like any other well-behaved dog. It is a matter of good training!!! Another thing is; when we recently bred our female pom to a nice small KENNEL male pom (which was not potty trained --and he was trying to mark things inside the house) Omg! Oh miracle!, I trained him to quit doing that “nasty male habit” in just 5 days!!!!!!!! I’m talking about an intact male dog that was NEVER potty trained!
My research on health benefits of the spay/neuter subject.
First of all, spaying/neutering has both positive AND adverse health effects on the dogs.
I found one good scientific research report on this subject. It appears, that spaying has more advantages , than disadvantages, because it eliminates small risks of mammary tumors and pyometra. Neutering, on the on other hand, has more disadvantages, than advantages like “quadruples the small risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer”. All of those risks have a very small rate of health problems, and you can read about them in “summary” down below.
Another thing is, if spaying/neutering is done befor 1 year of age, it increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in both sexes. This is a common problem that can appear in medium and larger breeds. Many “experienced” breeders suggest fixing the dog before 1 year of age, which is risky kind of thing… Breeders don’t know everything. Heck, nobody knows everything; but if you are ready to make an important and life changing decision for your dog –you had better do full research on this subject.
This is the summary of the research, that was done at Rutgers University (see link below) after numerous dogs had been tested, and large amount of data compiled --which makes it an excellent reference on this subject.

An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the longterm
health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. The evidence shows that spay/neuter

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correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do
not yet understand about this subject.
On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs, especially
immature male dogs, in order to prevent future health problems. The number of health problems associated
with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases.

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

For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may
exceed the associated health problems in some (not all) cases. On balance, whether spaying improves the
odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the female dog and the
relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds.

On the positive side, spaying female dogs
• 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
• removes the very small risk (_0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors

On the negative side, spaying female dogs
• if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a
common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis
• increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by
a factor of >5; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
• triples the risk of hypothyroidism
• increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6-2, a common health problem in dogs with many
associated health problems
• causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 4-20% of female dogs
• increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4
• increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs
spayed before puberty
• doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumors
• increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
• increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations
One thing is clear – much of the spay/neuter information that is available to the public is unbalanced and
contains claims that are exaggerated or unsupported by evidence. Rather than helping to educate pet
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owners, much of it has contributed to common misunderstandings about the health risks and benefits
associated of spay/neuter in dogs.
The traditional spay/neuter age of six months as well as the modern practice of pediatric spay/neuter appear
to predispose dogs to health risks that could otherwise be avoided by waiting until the dog is physically
mature, or perhaps in the case of many male dogs, foregoing it altogether unless medically necessary.
The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Breed,
age, and gender are variables that must be taken into consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors
for each individual dog. Across-the-board recommendations for all pet dogs do not appear to be
supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature.”
I agree that pet overpopulation is the problem, and the dogs, that are not monitored need to be fixed. However, I urge responsible dog owners to read this article.
The link to the full version:
The same study has been used to oppose the Californian legislation on mandatory spay/neuter by AVMA ( American Veterinary Medical Association) Save Our Dogs Spay/Neuter Health

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3,525 Posts
Nice first post.

Personally, I feel that pet owners should spay/neuter their dogs and not much will sway me from that opinion.

Thank you for the article though!
I agree!!! I believe as responsible pet owners, dogs/cats should be spayed or neutered and nothing will sway me from this either.

Interesting article! Thanks for posting it!

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I am very very responsible with my pets. I have always had females all my life and I am 56 years old and not one of my pets every was with another dog and have never had pups. I don't feel a big need to have mine spayed as long as I am very careful. After reading those post i would say that the risks are more highter to have them done.

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2,326 Posts
Thanks for the article ... thought provoking. I agree with some of your behavioral points -- (1) the male marking issue; and (2) neutering dogs with a "fighter" mentality, but while I agree that certain breeds have a genetic predisposition toward the fighter mentality, I'm personally not comfortable with across the board breed specific assumptions. I have two males. The 13 yr. old was neutered at 4-1/2 mos. old, he eliminates only outside, generally squats but sometimes lifts his leg. But even when lifting his leg it is only on bushes or trees on a walk, or the fencepost while in the dog yard, never ever will he lift his leg on the deck, the deck furniture or even the grill on the grass in the dog yard. My 8 yr. old intact male will eliminate either on a potty pad in the house or out in the dog yard. He always squats when using a potty pad and only ever lifts his leg in the dog yard if there happens to be a girl in season. He does not whine or bark or howl when anyone is in season but he will climb over a baby gate or a 2 ft. pen if given the opportunity. They were trained as youngsters and have never forgotten that I expect good behavior at all times.

From a health standpoint, I am concerned about the hormonal after effects of early spay/neuter, bone development or lack thereof in the larger breeds, and the risk of certain cancers.

That being said, I favor early spay/neuter because of the human element -- irresponsible people who do not confine their dogs, causing an overwhelming population of unwanted pets, causing tragic and untimely deaths by getting attacked by another animal or getting hit by a car, and irresponsible people breeding dogs that shouldn't be bred all for the sake of trying to make some money.

Overall I agree with you that much of the information put out to supposedly educate the public is overexaggerated propoganda.

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Welcome to the forum!

Do you have a Maltese? If so, please post photos. We love photos! Did you join the forum to discuss all aspects of owning a Maltese, and share little stories about your dog?

Perhaps in Ukraine there are no problems with pet overpopulation, or animal abuse/abandonment, like there is in US - which is why most American pet owners choose to spay/neuter. Spay/Neuter is a personal decision that should be made by the pet owner.

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I believe that if you are a responsible pet owner, that you spay and neuter your dogs. All pets should be spayed and neutered in my opinion (unless there is some medical issue preventing the surgery). There is no reason to own an intact dog unless you show and breed.

Millions of dogs are euthanized in shelters each year..millions more are abandoned, abused, and killed on the streets. Why? Because people aren't spaying and neutering! It's not just puppymills and backyard breeders's irresponsible pet owners that have an "oops" litter, let their dogs roam, or "just want to experience puppies."

I think spaying and neutering does in fact deter behavioral is not a cure all but it does help. There are also health benefits to it, especially with females. I'd be so afraid that my intact female would get pyometria or mammary cancer as they got older. Pyometria is extremely dangerous and requires an emergency spay..very dangerous when you have a pus-filled, inflamed uterus.

The only reason I'd have an intact dog is if I am showing..and they will then be spayed after I am done showing.

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While I appreciate the info...this person has spammed this across numerous internet forums...which makes me wonder.
Interesting. I wonder what the pupose is. But spam or not, the Rutgers study is for real, it's not the only study of its type out there that has reached similar conclusions, and it does offer another perspective and food for thought.

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10,778 Posts
All I can say is I didn't spay my first cocker until she developed a fast growing mamory tumour,she lived to be 9. I didn't spay because of my fear of aenesthesia,having had a dog who died from aenesthesia 3 years before.
Since that time,we've had all our dogs spayed and neutered and they've lived to be 15.5 and 16.5 (Dalmatian),except for my German Shepherd w/ the bad heart she lived to be 13.5.
So I don't know what to think...I just know what I've seen w/ my dogs and I've had dozens,so I have to wonder it the after care,the proceedure? I'm not sure why the mortallity rates are different here vs there. Is it other factors,chemicals in the water or pesticides,not sure.
I too kept my dogs away from other dogs and felt no reason to spay other than health concerns,by not doing so.

I know I've seen that "nice neighbor down the street" who always takes care of their dogs...ooops little fluffy gets pregnant and we're seeing "puppies for sale" signs ,then it's "free puppies" signs in the neighborhood,then they end up going to that "free to good home",then they end up abandoned,neglected or abused....then in a shelter,then euthanized and in a landfill to rot under piles of garbage,repeatedly having their final resting place disturbed by bulldozers to make room for more trash...
Sorry to be graphic but that is what happens to many euthanized dogs all over this country,not all are incinerated after euthanizing...
If by any chance any of mine would have gotten pregnant,I would have had them adopted out through rescue if I couldn't keep them. I would keep them,spay/neuter and keep them since I feel I would owe it to them.
That's why I got mine "fixed" so they would be healthier,hoping to cut the risk or canvers and so on and any chance of unplanned for (I didn't say unwanted,to me there's no such thing as unwanted puppies in our house), puppies that could comprimise their mother's health...

One later spayed dog lived to be 9,all my other altered dogs lived to be almost 16,dozens lived that long,so for me I've seen how spay neuter can make a difference....

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I don't think it has an influence of how long a dog will live unless in case of tumors with females. It has more to do with development. I am not against spaying/neutering but I would wait that the dog is fully grown to do it. Michelle the dachshund we had was spayed when she was 10 years old. She lived almost to 17. Before spaying she had every year a false pregnancy. She could have developed a tumor too but didn't.

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I don't think it has an influence of how long a dog will live unless in case of tumors with females. It has more to do with development. I am not against spaying/neutering but I would wait that the dog is fully grown to do it. Michelle the dachshund we had was spayed when she was 10 years old. She lived almost to 17. Before spaying she had every year a false pregnancy. She could have developed a tumor too but didn't.
Wow she had false pregnancies every year,poor thing.
I think there's exceptions to every thing. I do it to give my dogs the best chance I can.If I thought the odds were lower,I wouldn't do it. Dealing w/ heat cycles is such a minor inconvenience,it wouldn't be enough for me to spay just for that. It's only a once to twice per year occurance.
Seing that mamory tumour grow so quickly did scare me to spay after that,even though we'd lost a dog to spay 3 years earlier. But that's been almost 30 years ago,aenesthesia has come a long way and I'm lucky to have a vet that lets me stay w/ them,through the whole thing..

I think whether we alter or not is a personal choice,not altering doesn't make anyone an irresponsible pet owner. I think a responsible pet owner does what they feel is best fo rtheir pet based on research ,vet advise and their heart.
I think most of us do it based on what we hope is the best for our pets,not the inconvenience of a short time heat cycle.
Rylee isn't castrated yet,he has hard time w/ aenesthetic,he nearly didn't come out of it,after having his teeth pulled and cleaned and they don't put them under as deep for that,as they would castration.... So we have to watch him and hope he doesn't develope any cancers.

As a kid we had a male Boston Terrier who lived 17 years,unaltered.
I think females have more risk than males maybe....

I would never judge anyone for not having their pet altered,if they choose not too,it's because they love them...that's being responsible to me,doing what's best for their pet...
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