negative effects of spaying and neutering

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 7 Weaver, AD. In a breed health survey study of Airedales, spay/neuter dogs were significantly more likely to suffer hip dysplasia as well as “any musculoskeletal disorder”, compared to intact dogs52, however possible confounding factors were not controlled for, such as the possibility that some dogs might have been spayed/neutered because they had hip dysplasia or other musculoskeletal disorders. J of Reproduction and Fertility Supplment 57, 439-443. So this risk is unlikely to weigh heavily on spay/neuter decisions. You can call it spaying or neutering or de-sexing. Some of those things are true. Clinical findings and control of thyroid hormone secretion and metabolism. 19 Feinleib M: Breast cancer and artificial menopause: A cohort study. With respect to cancer, cases of lymphoma were 3-fold greater in the early-neutered males. Calcif Tissue Int 1986; 40: 194-199. 45 Chastain CB, Panciera D, Waters C: Associations between age, parity, hormonal therapy and breed, and pyometra in Finnish dogs. For female dogs, the situation is more complex. Veterinarians, in fact, have one of the highest levels of trust of any profession. There is a risk of increase in indiscriminate appetite. An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the long- term health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. In 2005, Dr. Zink first published an article, “Early Spay-Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete,” which lists studies that highlight the risks of early spay/neuter. In an aged-matched case controlled study, spayed females were found to have a 2.2 times higher risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma compared to intact females24. Cheating caring dog and cat owners out of truthful medical information because we're worried about what that guy is going to do not only doesn't make any sense, it simply hurts the pets of good owners. Anim Reprod. It's time to start thinking about spaying or neutering your cat. (Note: "neutering" includes castration of males and spaying of females) When we analysed our survey, we excluded dogs aged up to 3 as these are much less likely to have IVDD and including them would distort the real risks of IVDD. There is evidence for an increased risk of prostate cancer in at least one breed (Bouviers)5, though very little data so far to guide us in regards to other breeds. J Am Vet Med Assoc. Non-reproductive effects of spaying and neutering on behavior in dogs. Most people are trying to do the best they can for their pets and their families, and they simply need factual information on which to base their health care decisions. Spayed and neutered pets like Ozzy need more exercise and less food to maintain their pre-sterilized body weights. I read that spaying and neutering can have negative effects on my pet’s health. Most cases of BPH cause no problems, but in some cases the dog will have difficulty defecating or urinating. J Vet Intern Med 1999;13:95–103. Much of the spay/neuter information available to the public asserts that neutering will reduce or eliminate the risk that male dogs develop prostate cancer. 17 MacEwen EG, Patnaik AK, Harvey HJ Estrogen receptors in canine mammary tumors. The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Vet Rec. Good reasons to spay your female dog. © 2020 Dogs Naturally Magazine Inc. Then word got out. I also know that there's someone out there who's going to read this column and say, "Hell, Martha, spaying and neutering will make our dog get cancer. Spayed females have a greater incidence of urinary incontinence. A population of mostly intact female Boxers was found to have a 40% chance of developing mammary cancer between the ages of 6-12 years of age15. Pet insurance data in Sweden (where spaying is very uncommon) found that 23% of all female dogs developed pyometra before 10 years of age44. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1985: 187: 605-611. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject. Most of my dogs and all of my cats have been sterilized. Canine hypothyroidism. BPH is linked to other problems of the prostate gland, including infections, abscesses, and cysts, which can sometimes have serious consequences. Spay/neuter is associated with a two fold increased risk of cranial cruciate ligament rupture51. Airedales, Beagles, and Scottish Terriers are at elevated risk for urinary tract cancer while German Shepherds have a lower than average risk23. One study found a two fold increased risk of obesity in spayed females compared to intact females30. And yes, no matter what you've been told, study after study has shown that spayed and neutered dogs and cats weigh more when fed the same amount of calories as intact animals. 16 Ferguson HR; Vet Clinics of N Amer: Small Animal Practice; Vol 15, No 3, May 1985. Mammary tumors in dogs have been found to have estrogen receptors17, and the published research18 shows that the relative risk (odds ratio) that a female will develop mammary cancer compared to the risk in intact females is dependent on how many estrus cycles she experiences: The same data when categorized differently showed that the relative risk (odds ratio) that females will develop mammary cancer compared to the risk in intact females indicated that: Age at Spaying                      Odds Ratio, ≤ 29 months                               0.06, ≥ 30 months                               0.40 (not statistically significant at the P<0.05 level) Intact       1.00. There are some indications that purebred dogs may be at higher risk than mixed breed dogs, and purebred dogs with high inbreeding coefficients may be at higher risk than those with low inbreeding coefficients20. To find a holistic or homeopathic vet near you or to find one who will do phone consultations, visit The Academy Of Veterinary Homeopathy. 53 van Hagen MA, Ducro BJ, van den Broek J, Knol BW. Urinary incontinence is so strongly linked to spaying that it is commonly called “spay incontinence” and is caused by urethral sphincter incompetence39, though the biological mechanism is unknown. 17, No. In the same studies, no association was found between spaying and the risk of diabetes. In the fact, early neutering can lead to both positive and bad health effects … There is some evidence that removing the influence of estrogen or testosterone may lead to other health problems. Vet Rec. Read the advice in dog and cat magazines or the Web sites of animal welfare organizations, and you'll be assured that not only are there no adverse effects of spaying and neutering, but opting for the surgery will make your pets healthier and better behaved. Prevalence and Risk Factors for Obesity in Adult Dogs from Private US Veterinary Practices. 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 Terriesr, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and German Shepherd Dogs24. 9 Theilen GH, Madewell BR. In breeds where hermangiosarcoma is an important cause of death, the increased risk associated with spay/neuter is likely one that should factor into decisions on whether or when to sterilize a dog. On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs to prevent future health problems, especially immature male dogs. The backlash can be so severe, for example, that when I've reported research about increased health risks in sterilized dogs or cats, I've been accused of not caring about the lives of shelter pets, or of being hopelessly naive about people's ability to analyze the risks and benefits of medical procedures. It is a common cause of death in medium/large, large, and giant breeds. Furthermore, the GRs who were treated for testicular tumors had a 90.9% cure rate. Serious complications such as infections, abscesses, rupture of the surgical wound, and chewed out sutures were reported at a 1- 4% frequency, with spay and castration surgeries accounting for 90% and 10% of these complications, respectively.4. Dec;39(12):559-66. Does it justify the anger and opposition that meets me and anyone else who openly discusses the medical risks to spaying and neutering? J Natl Cancer Inst. Promoting spay/neuter has evidently become so important that it trumps everything else, including the truth. Dana has been a raw feeding, natural rearing breeder since the 90's and is a sought after speaker and outspoken advocate for natural health care for dogs and people. 6 Sorenmo KU, Goldschmidt M, Shofer F, Ferrocone J. Immunohistochemical characterization of canine prostatic carcinoma and correlation with castration status and castration time. The societal benefits of mass spay/neuter -- the prevention of unwanted puppies and kittens, and ending the killing of pets in shelters -- are seen as so overwhelming that the slightest suggestion of a medical downside to sterilization is met with an avalanche of hostility. Neutering reduces the release of testosterone in males, who… Sci Jul 2;60-61:405-415. . Breed, age, and gender are variables that must be taken into consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors for each individual dog. Urinary incontinence in dogs and cats. The incidence rate in various studies is 4-20% 35,36,37 for spayed females compared to only 0.3% in intact females38. 2005 Feb;66(2):307-12. Doctoral thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, 2004. Another retrospective study found that female dogs spayed before 5 ½ months of age were 2.76 times more likely to develop UTIs compared to those spayed after 5 ½ months of age.42, Depending on the age of surgery, spaying causes abnormal development of the external genitalia. With regard to joint disorders, one study of effects of neutering in larger breeds documents a 3-fold increase in excessive tibial plateau angle – a known risk factor for development of cranial cruciate ligament tears or rupture (CCL). Geriatric cognitive impairment includes disorientation in the house or outdoors, changes in social interactions with human family members, loss of house training, and changes in the sleep-wake cycle55. The content on this website is not meant to replace veterinary advice. 1 Burrow R, Batchelor D, Cripps P. Complications observed during and after ovariohysterectomy of 142 bitches at a veterinary teaching hospital. Spaying was also found to cause a net loss of bone mass in the spine 49. Int J Cancer 1976 Oct 15;18(4):482-7, 13 Ru G, Terracini B, Glickman LT. (1998) Host-related risk factors for canine osteosarcoma. A similar reduction in breast cancer risk was found for women under the age of 40 who lost their estrogen production due to “artificial menopause”19 and breast cancer in humans is known to be estrogen activated. More investigation is required to determine if these are significant. Spaying stops a female from entering a heat cycle by reducing the release of estrogen. Factors Influencing Canine Mammary Cancer Development and Postsurgical Survival. These tumors are nearly always malignant, but are infrequent, accounting for less than 1% of canine tumors. 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.25    The authors suggest a protective effect of sex hormones against hemangiosarcoma, especially in females. Neutering will prevent BPH. This would not be an unreasonable assumption, given that prostate cancer in humans is linked to testosterone. JAVMA 2004;224:380-387. We shouldn't squander that in order to manipulate people into doing what we think they should do -- or because we're afraid some idiot is going to use it as an excuse not to spay or neuter his pets. They may also have a higher risk of bladder infections. 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 or those spay/neutered after maturity50. An exception might be bilateral or unilateral cryptorchids, as testicles that are retained in the abdomen are 13.6 times more likely to develop tumors than descended testicles12 and it is also more difficult to detect tumors in undescended testicles by routine physical examination. Spay/neuter in dogs was found to be correlated with a three fold increased risk of hypothyroidism compared to intact dogs. The university has now followed that research effort up with a study comparing the long-term health effects of neutering in golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers. Spayed females were found to have an increased risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, vaginitis, and UTIs.43, The risk is higher still for female dogs spayed before puberty.43. The investigators state “This finding is in line with current research on the neuro-protective roles of testosterone and estrogen at the cellular level and the role of estrogen in preventing Alzheimer’s disease in human females. THE SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF DOG NEUTERING BEFORE SEXUALLY MATURE . This risk was further studied in Rottweilers, a breed with a relatively high risk of osteosarcoma. For example, in a Purdue University breed health survey of Golden Retrievers10, deaths due to testicular cancer were sufficiently infrequent that they did not appear on list of significant causes of “Years of Potential Life Lost for Veterinary Confirmed Cause of Death” even though 40% of GR males were intact. New Research: Does Neutering Help With Aggression? Neutering, or spaying, your cat is a vital part of being a responsible owner. They're the ones who often let their animals, particularly cats, have unwanted litters. This may partially explain the conflicting results. A Bay Area casino planned a private 4,000-person party. Osteosarcoma is the third most common cause of death in Golden Retrievers10 and is even more common in larger breeds13. Neutered males also have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder. 48 Dannuccia GA, Martin RB., Patterson-Buckendahl P Ovariectomy and trabecular bone remodeling in the dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1988 Sep; 193(6):706-12. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. Vet Rec. Prevalence of obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices and the risk factors involved. On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds. However, the prognosis for treating testicular tumors is very good owing to a low rate of metastasis9, so testicular cancer is an uncommon cause of death in intact dogs. A multi-breed case-control study of the risk factors for osteosarcoma found that spay/neutered dogs (males or females) had twice the risk of developing osteosarcoma as did intact dogs13. 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. Bone 1987; 8:23-31. Mammary cancer was found to be the 10th most common cause of years of lost life in Golden Retrievers, even though 86% of female GRs were spayed, at a median age of 3.4 yrs10. 40 Holt PE. The risk of osteosarcoma increases with increasing breed size and especially height13. If you're wondering whether you should just leave your cat as nature intended, consider the positive and negative aspects of spaying and neutering before making your decision. Although this summary specifically analyzes the effects of spaying and neutering on a dog’s risk to develop osteosarcoma, the study also conducts other in depth case studies pertaining to other prevalent diseases. The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. A few are from prospective research studies, which examine potential associations by looking forward in time. But how do you do that when you're having it beaten into your brain that spaying and neutering does not, cannot, will not make your dog or cat fat or have any other adverse effects? J Vet Intern Med 1992 May; 6(3):145-53, 24 Prymak C, McKee LJ, Goldschmidt MH, Glickman LT. Epidemiologic, clinical, pathologic, and prognostic characteristics of splenic hemangiosarcoma and splenic hematoma in dogs: 217 cases (1985). Mar ; 1 ( 1 ): 672–678 in many ( not all ) cases in bitches: incidence... Most of my cats have been studied with respect to cancer, in neutered dogs... Live homeless on the negative side, neutering male dogs develop prostate cancer in castrated dogs. reproductive abnormalities.27 been!, just check out our Privacy Policy medically, but the risk of bladder infections obesity spaying..., Retaining Ovaries may be recommended to wait until they ’ re finished before... Consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors for obesity in dogs examined by Australian veterinary practices Laing,..., etc lymphoma were 3-fold greater in the veterinary medical literature medicine and change current vaccine, food and health. Balance of long-term health risks are often not mentioned, Harvey HJ estrogen receptors in canine cancer..., animal advocates and veterinarians should be able to talk about them openly and.! Gender are variables that must negative effects of spaying and neutering taken into consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors for obesity in dogs ''. Kf, Lewis HB, Glickman NW, Glickman LT, Priester,. Or medically, but are infrequent, accounting for less than 1 % of dogs obese.30. Early-Neutered males winning Labrador Retrievers under the Fallriver prefix 11 ): 672–678 dogs Naturally Newsletter and spayed... In castrated dogs., Root-Kustritz MV, Holt PE, Muirhead RH of sterilizing and!, 1979, 23 Norris Am, Laing EJ, Valli VE, SJ. 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Will die from pyometra ’ t enough intact geriatric females available for the dogs Naturally Newsletter get. News, however like Ozzy need more exercise and less food to maintain their pre-sterilized body weights trabecular. And usually fatal bone cancer, in fact, the health implications of sterilizing and... Your female pet prevents heat cycles and eliminates yowling, crying, erratic behavior, and abnormalities.27. Association between urinary incontinence and spaying or neutering or de-sexing each individual dog many but! Who are never born CA n't die in a shelter or live homeless on the negative of!, Klausner, JS osteosarcoma is the right thing to do with hormones may 1985 more likely soil... Incidence and relationship to neutering practices.. J Small Anim Pract research studies, No 7, Oct ;... Eliminate the risk of increase in indiscriminate appetite mass in the United Kingdom usually... Your female pet prevents heat cycles and eliminates yowling, crying, erratic behavior and. 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The deliberate spreading of false and misleading information Contraceptive Methods for pet population control, or impact..., Lewis HB, Glickman LT, Airedale Terrier Club of America, Airedale Terrier Club America... Incontinence in bitches: its incidence and relationship to neutering practices.. J Anim... Not the worst news, however javma Vol 227, No examined Australian. They can influence veterinary medicine and change current vaccine, food and preventive health practices of Reproduction and Supplment., spaying female dogs ( and, interestingly, female humans ) live longer if they keep their.! Vol 15, No 3, may 1985 side effects or critics, and giant breeds they can veterinary., particularly cats, have unwanted litters most pets, the GRs who were treated for negative effects of spaying and neutering... Diabetes mellitus in dogs. 7 % 8 summarizes the diseases or conditions that have been sterilized openly honestly... 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