Why I Did Not Neuter
2012/07/26 § 38 Comments
So, why is Kyuss intact? Many of you sussed it out in my previous post.
The reason I have not neutered Kyuss is, well, because it wouldn’t change a thing!
Neutering does nothing to change behavioural problems. It may lessen some behaviour, (such as wandering) but if your dog wandered before being neutered, he is most likely going to wander after neutering.
I knew when I got Kyuss I would not be getting him neutered until 18 months at the earliest. I had already learned that neutering should be postponed until after a dog’s growth plates have closed. I’m not sure where I picked up that bit of information; but I knew many vets preferred to neuter at or before 6 months. Thankfully, my vet agreed that it was best to wait.
When Kyuss started approaching 18 months, I decided I wanted to research on the pros and cons of neutering. So far, Kyuss was a pretty well-behaved dog and had no behaviour problems I was trying to fix. I was still under the impression that neutering was a fix-all solution to puppy problems back then. Once I started reading up on the procedure; the more I read, the less I wanted to do it!
The first con I discovered, was that neutering did nothing to fix behavioural problems; only training could do that. I then came across quite a few studies that showed that neutering wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, and in fact, might be worse than I thought. I was shocked; all my pets I had as a child had been neutered, and I just assumed it was the thing you did when you had a pet.
As far as growth was concerned, one study showed that dogs that were neutered early had their growth plates continue to remain open longer than those left intact. This resulted in the dogs being taller. [Source] This poses a problem if the bones continue to grow, yet the ligaments don’t. Another study showed that castration of male and female dogs prior to a year increased the risk of developing hip dysplasia. [Source] Dobermann as a breed are already quite prone to hip dysplasia and I didn’t want to do anything that might increase the chances of Kyuss developing the condition. This last study, suggests that there is an increased risk of injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in castrated male and female dogs. [Source]
When I delved into the tumors and cancer aspect of castration, I was even more surprised. This first study showed that spayed female dogs were 5 times more likely to develop Hemangiosarcoma (HSA) [cardiac tumors] vs. intact bitches; and castrated male dogs were 2.4 times more likely to develop HSA vs. intact dogs. [Source] That’s a huge increase! With the Dobermann being so prone to DCM; the thought of increasing Kyuss’ chances of another heart issue was out of the question. Another study I came across showed a twofold increase in bone cancer (osteosarcoma) among castrated dogs [Source], while this study pointed to an increase of approximately 1 in 4 when dogs were neutered prior to 1-year-old [Source]. What about prostate cancer you ask? After all, it’s one of the most commonly cited reasons for castration in male dogs, aside from pet overpopulation. Well these last two studies show that there was no increased risk due to being left intact. [Source] & [Source]
My mind was changed.
However, not everyone can just decided not to spay or neuter; I understand that. Most people don’t realise there are permanent alternatives available.
For male dogs, a simple vasectomy can be performed. This allows a male dog to retain his testicles and with them, the proper hormones. He will not, however, be able to reproduce. The surgery is less invasive, only requiring a small incision be made, less painful, less expensive and just as effective . The problem is, most vets refuse to perform one.
Why? Well it’s simple; they aren’t taught how to perform a more simple, less invasive procedure in school. All I can assume is that veterinary schools have the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality. Plus, I’m sure they would make much less money from a procedure as simple as a vasectomy!
For bitches, there are a few different options vs. the traditional spay (Hystero-oophorectomy); the first is having her fallopian tubes severed and tied (Tubal Ligation) the second being removal of the uterus only (Hysterectomy) and the third being removal of the ovaries only (Oophorectomy). Of course, there are pros and cons to each.
With tubal ligation and hysterectomy, the bitch will still come into heat, and allow dogs to mate her. She will not, however, get pregnant. The benefit to having only tubal ligation is the smaller incision; with having a hysterectomy however, you eliminate the chance of pyometria.
Having a Oophotectomy performed is, in my own opinion, a less desirable option. It would be wiser to just go with a hystero-oophotectomy as the whole point of an alternative is to leave the hormone producing organs, which in a bitch are her ovaries, behind. Also, leaving her uterus in place just allows for the possibility to contract pyometria. If I were going to have a female’s ovaries removed, I would prefer to eliminate the chance of pyometria by removing the uterus as well while they were ‘in there’ so to speak.
For Kyuss, I have called a number of vets in the area questioning a vasectomy, and so far I’ve had no luck. Those who agreed to performing the surgery would only do so for outrageous prices.
So it seems for now, Kyuss will stay “all-man” but as soon as I can find a vet willing to perform a vasectomy on him for a decent price, he will be heading under the knife.