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LETS TALK NEUTERING!!

Updated: Jul 7

It's always a topic of worry and conversation which causes heated conversations about when or if to do it!


Opinions vary strongly across the world and it is a very heated topic. Most people pushing their opinion are only doing so because they genuinely care, but they may not be up to date with current research and advice which has changed dramatically over the years.


July 2024 - I have updated this blog and added further research on the effects of neutering under 2 years to the bottom which is not breed specific but gives further evidence to support waiting!


Recently there has been a strong move to look beyond whether to neuter or not, but whether delaying neutering until the animals are mature is more beneficial. Research across all breeds is strongly supporting waiting until they are older is better. This is something we have said for at least 20 years, but now we have evidence to support this.


Back in the day, first half of the 20th century, neutering was carried out early to get a cheaper license, and it was believed this reduced anesthetic mortality. It was the done thing, and not based on any research.


In some countries neutering is considered to be cosmetic and "mutilation." Interestingly these countries have a lower level of strays and animals in rescue. They countries are also very welcoming of dogs in cafes and shops, and have lower behavioural issues than countries that encourage neutering......interesting!


To clarify, I am not anti neuter, and never have been. I neutered by boys after 4 years old, and several of my girls are spayed. However I strongly advocate for waiting until the dogs are physically and mentally mature and free of behavioural issues. I have been that person with my first dogs where I neutered at 6 months as I was advised. I thought that was the right thing to do. The one had urinary incontinence for her whole life, the other I lost to cancer at 8 years old. If I had known what I know now I would have waited.


If you have multiple dogs or different sexes, the easiest option is for the boy to go on holiday for a couple of weeks. But if not separate them at home. It can be challenging and you should prepare them for separation throughout their development. But, if you have an accident there is the mismate jab which can be given for some time after the 'accident'. I wouldn't rely on it, its expensive and not always affective. Currently, even the best of breeders are struggling to find homes for puppies, please don't add to that issue.


Do I neuter?


Realistically, there are pro's and cons to each side. You need to decide based on your own research which risks you are willing to take. Personally I would always put the risks of IVDD above all else.


Pro's of neutering include:


Females:

  • Preventing accidental litters (Careful management has the same result!)

  • Phantom pregnancies - excessive denning and digging, whining, loss of appetite, or restricted walking when a female is in season.

  • Prevents the risk of any female getting pyometra, which if gone unnoticed, can be fatal.

  • Prior research suggested neutering earlier reduced the risk of mammary cancers but analysis of the research is now questioning the validity of this research (McKenzie, 2020;Beauvais, 2012)


Males:

  • May reduce roaming, loss of appetite, sexual frustration around a female in season , or possible behaviours towards other males.

  • Lowers the risk of testicular cancer

  • Reduces (non-cancerous) prostate issues

  • Reduces risk of perianal tumours


But.....what about the negatives?


Please remember it's not about not neutering, it's about timing. I am certainly not anti- neuter, but it should be carefully considered on a case by case basis.


  • Increased risk of IVDD

  • Increased risk or urinary incontinence

  • Increased risk of osteosarcoma

  • Increased risk of hypothyroidism

  • Increased risk of cognitive dysfunction

  • Increased risk of hemangiosarcoma

  • Increased risk of prostate and bladder cancers

  • Increased risk of aggressive cancers

  • Increased risk of anxiety and aggressive based behaviours.

This is not an exclusive list, there are many more negatives to be found across different breeds!


Obviously if there's a urgent medical reason to do so, you have no choice. Ultimately its about weighing up the risks, and not being the one who, "didn't know!"


Common issues:

  • Undescended testicle/s - will need to be removed, no question! But you can wait until they are 2. Your vet can monitor the size and shape of the undescended one/s until they are old enough. An alternative is to remove the undescended one.

  • Pyometra - they can now scan to confirm diagnosis. Personally I wouldn't risk it and would spay, however some vets do give antibiotics if caught early enough.


Behaviour

Unless directly hormone related neutering does not "fix" behaviours.

It may help:

Male-to-male aggression

Marking behaviours (if hormone driven, not excitement or anxiety based)

Humping (if hormone related and not excitement or anxiety based)


It may not help:

Rivalry (it does not fix rivalry and careful consideration should be given, Professional behavioural advice should be sought prior to seeking this as a resolution.)

Resource guarding

Reactivity on walks or at home

Or any other behavioural issue that is not related to hormones.


Neutering anxious dogs has been shown to INCREASE anxiety. Here's a link to an article with a lot of useful information referencing academic sources: https://www.veterinary-practice.com/article/effects-of-neutering-on-undesirable-behaviours-in-dogs.


IVDD

In the UK, we are carrying out a lot of research into the causes of IVDD, alongside other things

The charity Dachshund Health UK   supports and financially contributes to a lot of this research.

Peer reviewed research has found an increased risk of IVDD (by 4 times) when dogs are neutered under the age of 12 months, follow up surveys show it is increased if neutered under 2 years old.

Independent research by myself also reflects this.


The research does not imply causation, but it is a risk factor (which many vets are aware of and support). There are many factors which influence IVDD, and it is largely believed to be genetic, but it is about reducing as many of those risks as possible, Good diet, good weight, fit and active etc.


Here's the academic research:


And here's the jargon translated alongside other hot topics supported by its research: https://www.dachshund-ivdd.uk/lifestyle-advice/neutering/




Ultimately regardless of what anyone tells you, do your own research, look at beyond ivdd too. MAKE YOUR OWN FULLY INFORMED DECISION! What risks can you live with if it happens?


Don't just take my word for it, or anyone else's, you need to cope with the shudda, wudda, cudda's! Search up the implications as supported by research (not anecdotal). If anyone has any evidence of research that contradicts the IVDD research please feel free to post links to the research (scientific please) below.




Just to add chemical neutering, although not researched is believed to have the same implications!! It is not designed or researched for use beyond stopping sperm production.


Here is a link to a balanced article on neutering with the sources of information listed at the end.


Up to date research on neutering over 2 years:


Other relevant research



Dachshund and ivdd:


Why are academic sources important?

Academic sources give more credibility and reliability than sources written by those who are not experts in a field of study. Academic sources have also been through a peer review process, which means other experts have evaluated the work and determined it to be of good quality.


Final note


Ultimately it is your decision, your choice and you will do the best by your dogs with the information available to you. That is the best we can do.


I hope this helps those of you weighing up the risks.


Pic of Kami having a lie in for cuteness ❤️❤️



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