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 desex in dogs, puppies, and potential problems: What are the issues?

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PostSubject: desex in dogs, puppies, and potential problems: What are the issues?    Fri Aug 20, 2010 9:09 pm

a fellow list member claimed that spay/neuter is "...Very painful..." which has not been my experience at all.

since i am a CVA and a trainer, plus i provide home-nursing for pets whose family are out of town, i have seen a lot of post-surgical animals, for whom i cared;
there were GDV-ops, fractures, external fixators for crushed limbs in HBC-cases, neutered adults and juveniles and neonates;

I HAVE NOT seen serious post-S/N pain;
most, even the adults, are up and active in 24 - 48-hours; THE PROBLEM is to keep the patient quiet, LOL - as they want to go right back to their usual activities, they don;t WANT to be leash-walked, they don;t WANT to stay off the sofa; they want to run and jump and carom off their dog playmates, run down the steps, gallop around the muddy field, and so on.

OTOH, the cat with the external-fixator whose rear-leg was so badly crushed by a car, was in serious pain; he needed painkillers for 2 full weeks, and even then, had a profound limp. he NEVER attempted to jump-up onto anything for almost a month - and then it was a very-low shelf, not his usual perches.

dogs with torn-ACLs had post-op pain; they did not TOUCH the foot to the floor for days, even weeks; they got painkillers, sometimes for 10 days, sometimes for a month.

PEDIATRIC spay/neuter patients were up and active in hours; they would wrestle + run, play and pounce.
other than the cone-collars, they had no problems - they were bright-eyed and bouncy.


another APO referred to S/N as " ...invasive, potentially [fatal] surgical procedures... some dogs do die during or after surgery... "

ALL dogs who are desexed 'die after S/N' -
because every dog WILL die, whether the animal is desexed or intact; none of them are immortal, and neither are we.
the dogs [or the humans] can die, with or without their gonads; they can die of something bizarre or common, preventable or random, or of unknown cause - like Parkinsons or ALS in humans, or liver-cancer in dogs and humans.

multiple links with morbidity and mortality can be found here -

suffice to say, S/N is extremely low-risk;
DVM TRACY LORD performed over 1,000 pediatric S/N on pups and kittens < 12-WO without a single death, or any significant complication.

the larger Q - **does S/N improve their life?** -- IMO in most cases, yes - it does.


another complaint: "...the dog may or may not benefit... evidence suggests bitches get... marginal health benefit..."

* pre-estrus spay prevents over 94% of mammary tumors in F-dogs; mammary AKA breast-cancer is 4x as common in dogs as in F-humans.
* Pyometra is eliminated by spaying; in Sweden where desex as an elective-op is illegal, 25% of all dogs have Pyo before age-10.

=J-VIM=, Journal of Vet Int-Med:
An animal insurance database containing data on over 200k dogs was used to study the occurrence of pyometra with respect to breed and age
during 1995 and 96 in Swedish bitches <10 years of age.
A total of 1,803 Fs in 1995 and 1,754 Fs in 1996 had claims submitted because of pyometra. 30 breeds with at least 800 bitches insured each year
were studied using univariate and multivariate methods.
The crude 12-mo risk of pyometra for females <10 years of age was 2.0% (95% confidence interval = 1.9-2.1%) in 1995 and 1.9% (1.8-2.0%) in 1996.
The occurrence of pyometra differed with age, breed, and geographic location. The risk of developing pyometra was increased (identified using multivariate
models) in Rough Collies, Rottweilers, Cavalier KCS, Golden Retrievers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and English Cocker Spaniels compared with baseline (all
other breeds, including mixed breed dogs).
Breeds with a low risk of developing the disease were Drevers, GSDs, Miniature Dachshunds, Std-Dachshunds, and Swedish Hounds.
Survival rates indicate that on average 23–24% of the bitches in the databases will experience pyometra by 10 years of age.
*** In the studied breeds, this proportion ranged between 10 and 54%. Pyometra is a clinically relevant problem in intact bitches, and differences
related to breed and age should be taken into account in studies of this disease. ***
--------- UN-quote

risk of urinary-incontinence in pediatric-desex:

It is still controversial whether a bitch should be spayed before or after the first oestrus. It would be desirable to spay bitches at an age that would
minimize the side effects of neutering. With regard to the risk of mammary tumours, early spaying must be recommended because the incidence
of tumours is reduced considerably... aim of the present study was to determine whether early spaying also reduces the risk of urinary incontinence.

The owners of 206 bitches... spayed before their first oestrus and for at least 3 years were questioned on the occurrence of urinary incontinence
as a result of spaying. At the time of the enquiry the average age...was 6.5 years, and the average age at the time of surgery was 7.1 months.
*** Urinary incontinence after spaying occurred in 9.7% of bitches. This incidence is approximately half that of spaying after the first oestrus.
Urinary incontinence affected 12.5% of bitches... of large body weight (> 20 kg body weight) and 5.1% of bitches of small body weight (< 20-kg wt).
The surgical procedure (ovariectomy vs OHE) had no influence on the incidence, or... period betw spaying and the occurrence of urinary incontinence.
Urinary incontinence occurred on average at 2 years and 10 months after surgery and occurred each day, while the animals were awake or during sleep.
However, compared with late spaying the clinical signs of urinary incontinence were more distinct after early spaying.

http://tinyurl.com/2wn96nr from e-How: What Is Urinary Incontinence?

QUOTE: ** emphasis ** added -

Prevention / Prognosis
# It is difficult to prevent spay incontinence, since its cause is unknown. ** Spaying the dog before her first heat has been shown to reduce her risk
but not eliminate it completely. **
[Journal of Vet-Repro and Fertility, Zurich dept of Vet-med: risk of urinary-incontinence reduced by 50% in Fs spayed before first-estrus]
Dogs... formally diagnosed with spay incontinence can eventually lead normal lives again [with] treatment... though several options may be tried
before the right one is found. With a little patience on the part of the owner, most dogs... recover completely.

summary from e-How article:
* 1 in 5 F-dogs leak urine, some time in their lives
* big-dogs over 50# are more-likely to leak urine
* Fs past 5-YO are more-likely to leak urine
* both desex and intact-Fs can have urine-incontinence
* it can be treated, whatever their fertility-status
* it usually resolves with treatment


"...evidence suggests bitches get... marginal health benefit but not [male] dogs."

MALE DOG benefits - http://tinyurl.com/29vt97t

QUOTE - Marvista Vet

There are several health benefits to neutering.
One of the most important concerns the prostate gland, which under influence of testosterone will gradually enlarge over the course of the dog’s life.
In age, it is likely to become uncomfortable, possibly large enough to interfere w/defecation. The prostate under the influence of testosterone is also
predisposed to infection which is almost impossible to clear up without neutering.
Neutering causes the prostate to shrink into insignificance thus preventing both prostatitis as well as the uncomfortable benign hyperplasia
(enlargement) that occurs with aging. It is often erroneously held that neutering prevents prostate cancer but this is not true.

Other health benefits of neutering include the prevention of certain types of hernias and tumors of the testicles and anus.
Excessive preputial discharge is also reduced by neutering.


The only behavior changes that are observed after neutering relate to behaviors influenced by male hormones.
Playfulness, friendliness, and socialization with humans are not changed. The behaviors that change are far less desirable.
The interest in roaming is eliminated in 90% of neutered dogs. Aggressive behavior against other male dogs is eliminated in 60% of neutered dogs.
Urine marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered male dogs. Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in 70% of neutered dogs.

may i say that less fighting/biting is also a health-benefit - reducing injuries and the risk that a dog will lose their home/be euthed.


"...[why not] less invasive surgery... a vasectomy, birth-control pills or something? that would be so much better. "

vasectomy leaves M-dogs with the same testosterone levels as without; he is merely sterile. LIGATION requires considerably more-expertise
and time under sedation, vs CASTRATION - more risk of complication, and higher co$t.
BEHAVIORALLY the impulses to fight, bite, Own/RG, challenge other Ms, mark/leg-lift, and so on, are precisely as they would be, without the surgery.
the risk of prostate-problems, anal-fistulas, etc, are also un-changed - where is the gain?

for non-surgical desex, INJECTABLE desex is used, but is not always effective; chemical castration causes the testes to wither.

QUOTE - **emphasis** added -
Neutersol is the first permanent, non-surgical method of sterilization for companion animals. Its currently licensed for use in the U.S. for chemical
castration of puppies 3-10 months of age, although it has been shown to be effective in adult dogs and cats as well.
...an intratesticular injection of a zinc compound (zinc gluconate neutralized by arginine)... results in sclerosis of the testes and permanent sterility.
It is 99% effective and very safe. The precise mechanism... is unknown; the testicles atrophy over weeks to months following injection, resulting
in a 70-90% reduction in testicular size in very young puppies and 50% in older dogs (atrophy may not be symmetrical).
** Sterility may take up to 60 days in postpubescent males. **
In most cases, Neutersol can be administered without sedation. An insulin syringe or a TB syringe with a long, fine needle is used to administer
a single injection into each testicle and patient discomfort is minimal.
**FDA studies showed that Neutersol reduces but does not abolish testosterone production, and its effects on hormone dependent diseases and
behaviors have not been established.**
However, studies have revealed a significant decrease in prostate size in Neutersol-injected dogs versus controls.
The only significant safety concern which was reported in field use is the development of scrotal ulcers at the injection site in a very small percentage
of dogs. This appears to be most commonly observed in large adult dogs (an off-label use) and may be related to poor injection technique allowing
some of the chemical to contact the scrotal skin and connective tissues. Injection site reaction rates are similar to rates of wound complications in
surgically castrated dogs, but use of Neutersol avoids adverse events or deaths associated with the use of anesthesia.
This product is a useful option in veterinary practice as well as animal shelters. The obvious advantage is that it eliminates the need for anesthesia
and surgery and saves substantial time. While available previously for a short time from Addison Laboratories, Neutersol was used successfully by
programs in the U.S. (including one event in which 200 dogs were sterilized in one day) and abroad (including a 10k dog study conducted by the
head of the Mexican VMA which demonstrated safety and efficacy of Neutersol use in dogs over 10 months of age).
Originally introduced by Addison Laboratories, Abbott Animal Health is currently contracted to manufacture and distribute the product, anticipated to
be available in early 2009.
================ END QUOTE

note behavioral-changes, I-E reduction in androgen fueled behaviors: posturing, marking, M-M aggro, etc, are un-studied and testosterone is higher
than in post-desex Ms, tho lower than in intact-adult-Ms, which is itself significantly lower than 6 - 12-MO intact-Males.

also NOTE that if the dog is over-6-MO it takes up to 60-days before the dog is sterile, requiring the same monitoring, confine + control as with an
intact-M for 2-months to be safe, AND during that post-inject period, the dog may practice the usual objectionable M-behaviors... or even continue
them un-interrupted + unchanged.

* testosterone/androgens are still higher
* hormonally-driven neoplasms, behaviors, etc, will still be present as risks or complications.

INJECTABLE BIRTH-CONTROL in feral-horses has been a disaster;
mares do not conceive, but enter and exit estrus anytime of the year, vs the norm of one late-spring heat.
studs are run ragged chasing off interlopers, fights are more frequent, injuries increase, all ages and genders lose wt and condition, foals are
separated from dams during fights/flights, foals are BORN out of season with no spring-grass to wean onto, mares die foaling in severe cold, etc.

MORE on chemical-castration:
*Volume 115, Issue 1, Pg 104-121 (15 Dec 2008)
The effects of surgical and chemical castration on intermale aggression, sexual behaviour and play behaviour in male ferret (Mustela putorius furo)
see http://tinyurl.com/337df8l

OVARIECTOMY in dogs leaves the uterus - Pyometra is a high-risk infection; why keep a uterus that will never bear, but carries significant risk?

personally, i've seen many, many pups desexed as young as 7-WO by shelters and rescues; none had a post-op or long-term complication that i am
aware of - clients dogs, neighbors dogs, other trainers, casual encounters - i just cannot get exercised about EITHER pediatric or pubertal desex.
since i was approx 12 to 15-YO, 5 to 6-MO was the standard for desex; millions on millions were surgically desexed with few if any side-effects.
ANAESTHETICS have improved; pain-meds have improved; after-care and surgical-care for pediatric-patients are tailored to them.

given my druthers, if the pup is purchased, desex at 4 to 5-MO is fine; but shelters and rescues ** cannot ** wait and hold pups and kittens;
sheer popn-pressure makes it imperative to get the young animals out ASAP, and they cannot leave intact; we all know that even
with a contract
, compliance with desex AFTER the pup or kitten is in their possession, by pet-owners who adopt, is no better than 60% -
and often, worse.

IMO + IME, if the pup or kitten weighs 2# or over and is healthy - no fever, diarrhea, UTI or URI - *and!* old-enuf to leave mom + sibs -
at least 7-WO and preferably 56-days / 8-WO - then S/N is fine for shelter or rescue pets. get them out of care and in a home - and DESEX first. Wink

- terry

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PostSubject: Re: desex in dogs, puppies, and potential problems: What are the issues?    Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:17 am

Having lost 2 male Rottweilers to bone cancer in a year, I made the decision to wait until my male pup is over one year before neutering.
I don't particularly like putting it out there, because most if not all of us here know the problems that can occur by leaving a dog intact, and also know that many dog owners look for any excuse not to bother with spay/neuter.
That aside, I need to say that your post has excellent information. I don't recall ever seeing the pros and cons, health benefits and risks put together so well.
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PostSubject: Re: desex in dogs, puppies, and potential problems: What are the issues?    Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:42 am

Ann wrote:
Having lost 2 male Rottweilers to bone cancer in a year, I made the decision to wait until my male pup is over one year before neutering.

oh, ann, that's awful! Sad ! how old was each dog?
Quote :
...most if not all of us here know the problems that can occur by leaving a dog intact, and also know that many dog owners look for any excuse not to bother with spay/neuter.

U will have to bust Ur butt to keep him highly-sociable, reliable, tolerant, and install excellent self-control - M to M conflicts, posturing, 'owning' things or space, must all be minimized;
he has to relax, and be taught that people approaching, visitors, intrusions, etc, are not only things that happen, but GOOD things.
U will be extending his socialization + habituation thru his 2nd year, in order to make it solid - and he will need higher-maintenance [practice regularly] to keep his social-skills intact, lifelong.

guarding-breeds are born social and trusting, like any other pup; between 10-WO and 12-WO, they become suspicious of strangers + hesitate to approach them;
by 4-MO they have usually found their bark, in certain circs, and alert on 'suspicious' persons or actions. by full-PUBERTY at 6-MO, without extra socialization,
they may **bite** with force if they strongly suspect bad intentions... and they will not always be right, either.

teaching a guarding-breed to alert rather than act, is always the more prudent option - and give loads of socialization, too -
the more people of different kinds they meet, and the sooner they meet a broad spectrum, the better a portfolio of NORMAL they have.
with a great big experience of NORMAL, guarding-breeds can very easily distinguish 'real threat' from 'rude human' or 'dumb kid'.

i am so sorry U lost both dogs in such a short time; cancer in Rotts is such a heartbreak; i had a client with a new-pup who complained he had lost TWO previous Rotts to cancer [liver in one, hemangio in the other] - i pointed out that having both dogs live at his service-station 24/7 from 6-MO on, was a probable contributing factor - they had access to the mechanics bays, lay in petroleum, etc. FUMES were everywhere. one died at 7-YO, the other 8.5-YO.
his 3rd dog [that puppy] went HOME every night, and was only in the office or storefront - not the mechanics-bays. he lived to be 12-Y0 and died of complications from GDV.

even exposure to lawn-treatments: herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer - and flea-preventives - whole-body haircoat applications enter the skin + bloodstream, that's how they kill the sucking flea - are ADDED risks to cancer-prone breeds.

i wish good luck and a long, healthy life to the youngster,
- terry

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PostSubject: Re: desex in dogs, puppies, and potential problems: What are the issues?    Sat Aug 21, 2010 7:45 pm

Both dogs with bone cancer were somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5 years. Not sure, exactly, but both were neutered as soon as I got them from the shelter, one at a little less than a year old, the other probably 8-10 months old. I've lost other dogs to cancer. Lymphoma, bladder cancer (which they are almost certain is caused by herbicides, and I have a neighbor that uses them regularly). I have made certain that water run-off from that neighbors yard does not end up in mine. The dog with lymphoma was young...4 or 5, which I think is fairly typical. I've had a few live to a ripe old age, and have two now that are 11 and 12, or thereabouts.
The pup is now 10 months old and very well socialized. I had a list of 125 things to be certain I socialized him to by the age of 5 months, and he has met and interacted with more than 60 dogs and 30 children. He had a fear period around 4 months where he was wary of men, but has moved past that. He never meets a stranger now, loves to be petted by anyone. I've kept him in some sort of training or other since he was 4 months. Tracking, obedience, and now rally obedience. I'm starting to see him alert to oddities in the neighborhood but if I turn my back to the offending thing, he does also. He's quite friendly with other dogs, and even very young pups, which I find interesting. I would have thought that would have stopped by now and that he would be showing more interest in asserting himself. I know I'm fast approaching the moment when that could change in a flash and am watchful.
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