“You can see he’s still got his balls,” Rolf said in his singsong way as we walked the two and a half miles around Songsvann, a wooded lake on the west side of Oslo.
Rolf was talking about Ennis, his Airedale terrier who was tearing around off lead.
“Why don’t you neuter him?” I asked with some astonishment.
“In Norway we don’t do that,” Rolf explained. “We also don’t clip their ears or cut their tails. We believe it’s cruelty to animals.”
“But don’t you have a terrible problem with feral and unwanted dogs then?”
“No. Why should we?” Rolf seemed genuinely perplexed.
Each dog owner, he explained, is responsible for his own dog. If a male dog is very aggressive with other dogs or bites a human then his owner can write a detailed letter to the vet requesting he be neutered. But in the absence of a good medical or social reason you would be hard put to find a vet in Norway who would agree to perform what they believe is a cruel and painful surgery. Even a letter of explanation does not guarantee that the vet will agree to the operation.
I thought of a recently spayed bitch licking and licking her swollen privates, whimpering in pain, unable to understand what had happened to her or why.
I’ve never questioned the propaganda put out by every animal shelter in America: that it’s imperative to neuter one’s pets. But Rolf’s words made sense. If every dog owner is responsible and careful, is there really a good reason to subject a dog to a painful operation on his genitalia? Maybe spaying or neutering a dog really is cruel?
That night back at Rolf and Morten’s antique-filled spiral-staircased home we talked about it again. Rolf admitted it was not as hard to get a cat spayed but reiterated that vets in Norway are reluctant to “fix” dogs, even though declining to perform the operation means a loss of revenue for them.
“You know Jenny,” Rolf began (the last time I saw him I was nine years old so he still calls me by my childhood nickname), “I’ve traveled all over the world: to Morocco and Tunisia, to every country in Scandinavia, most of Europe, to the United States several times, and to Peru. I’ve noticed there’s a direct connection between countries where people treat animals humanely and with kindness and countries that have good human rights, especially for women.”
The Muslim countries are the worst, Rolf went on.
I thought of how drivers swerve to hit stray dogs in Niger, and how donkeys are beaten in public. How I used to see one man who rode his horse bareback in traffic in Niamey holding the reins so tightly the sides of his horse’s mouth would bleed.
Norwegians pride themselves on having an egalitarian, educated society.
Norway has among the highest breastfeeding rates of any industrialized country, generous paid parental leave (for fathers as well as mothers), and very low infant and maternal mortality rates.
In 2010 Save the Children voted Norway the BEST country in the world to be a mother. By contrast in the same report the United States ranked close to last among industrialized nations.
And, apparently, they treat their animal companions with great kindness. Which means not spaying or neutering unless it’s absolutely necessary.
American consider not spaying or neutering cruel. But there’s clearly another way to think of it. Could you imagine a time when every American dog owner was responsible? So we would not have to submit people’s best friend to a painful operation?
Published: September 21, 2011
Last update: February 22, 2023
Living Large says
First, in answer to your question, as a person who has worked in animal rescue in the U.S. and have 5 dogs because of irresponsible owners, when we really can only afford 3, I would love to see that day. Call me a pessimist, but overall, Americans are too consumer-driven, which includes buying cute puppies and their attention span is too short. This results, unfortunately, in dogs not being properly trained and socialized and then dumped into shelters. As for some other points in your post, I will say this: Even if there were no pet overpopulation problems and millions were not entering shelters each year to be inhumanely killed by horrible methods, I would still have my dogs (and cats if I still had them) spayed and neutered. The “propaganda” you’ve heard with regards to spay and neuter is backed up by solid research that indicates male dogs have fewer behavior problems, run less risk of testicular cancer and have less chance of running away and being hit by a car than a non-neutered male. Females also run less risk of ovarian and mammary tumors/cancer. Heat cycles for males and females are stressful, especially if they do not “fulfill” those needs. And, anyone who has had a female dog in heat knows it is also a very messy endeavor. Those arguments aside, there still is a definite need to spay/neuter to help control the population of the millions of unwanted pets in this country. I’ll not go into the No-Kill Shelter Movement advocacy here, but the truth is that 2-6 million (depending on who you ask) healthy cats and dogs are killed in this country in shelters each year. Your municipal government may want you to believe these animals are “put to sleep” indicating there is some “peaceful” process. The reality is that these animals sense the death in the shelters and can literally smell it. They know there is death all around them. And many shelters still use the “heartstick” method in which a needle is plunged into their heart and they go into convulsions. Others still use gassing. So, if you have images in your mind what suffering a female dog went through after a spay surgery, replace that with the images of dozens of dogs each week being literally yanked on the end of leashes as they’re led to the death chamber and thrown into 50 gallon cans like pieces of garbage, waiting their turn in the incinerator. That’s the images I’ve seen and that stick with me here in America. After witnessing Kill Day at the shelter for a story I was working on, the animal shelter director told me, “Every time someone brings in a litter of puppies and says that they just wanted their kids to experience the miracle of birth, I invite them back on Friday so they can witness the tragedy of death.” That’s not Propaganda, it’s the reality of animal welfare in THIS country.
Your coments are extremelly bias and ignorant. You doing just as ‘big brother’ has told you to do. Lay off the remote control and doritos and try to spend time reserching on the medical side effects of spaying and neutering…it kills dogs in the ‘short run’
Just because animals have ovaries and testicles it doesn’t mean they will aquire cancer. Perhaps you need to find the connection between overvaccinating dogs and such as well.
Living Large says
You’re obviously an Internet Troll who cannot make an argument without making some silly, off the wall assumption about my own habits, “Just an Honest Vet.” I am a journalist, a well versed and researched one. One who has had dogs and cats all of my life, numbering in the two dozen range, all have been spayed or neutered, most of them rescues taken in because of people’s irresponsible breeding practices. NONE (that means -0- for you because I do not believe you’re a vet, much less honest) have died from cancer or anything even remotely connected with the spay/neuter procedure.
Living Large says
Further more, I would say “Just an Honest Vet” is probably no more than a man who thinks his dog’s manhood is an extension of his own. I’ve never seen a real vet write like this or name call to make a point. If they are discussing a topic, they usually present science to back up their arguments. This writing is far from scientific.
I don’t think so. As long as the population is alright theres no freaking point in neutering. E.g. if you keep a pet locked in an apartment 24 hours a day if you live in a city theres no possible way for a pet to find a mate as long as you are careful. My cat was neutered but it still died of jumping off from a window at the tenth floor. If it reduces roaming around, I don’t see any effects. And just because you have balls and ovaries doesn’t mean you’ll catch cancer. We humans all have sex organs but only some of us catch it to the end, and nobody mutilates their balls just because they don’t want to catch cancer. You can say “Oh their pets they don’t feel any pain ever” Do you think thats true?! If an alien went up to you and said “Oh its cruel not to mutilate your balls and ovaries because you aren’t aliens” Thats not right. Even if the pets cant take care of themselves, what the hell, the human population far exceeds pet population. Why don’t we just mutilate all of us so that mental children aren’t born so no more trouble NO. We don’t do that. If we’re superior, start acting superior. No superior treats the inferior badly. Good treatment to the inferior is what makes us superior. But I kinda don’t agree we’re superior anymore, because we are so arrogant and cruel to other species, and we are so cruel to our ancestors, the monkeys. We are so discriminant to other species that don’t look like us. We even discriminate other people who look different. We cause trouble with DNA with our new found science. What have we become?
As someone who has worked with animals my entire adult life (30 yrs), and dogs specifically over the last 15 years, I agree with you 100% Living Large. On your opinions on spay/neuter and in your opinion on “an honest vet” or whoever this troll really is. FYI, fake “vet”, if you can’t back up your talk with anything more than name calling then you are neither honest nor a vet. I’ve read the vet studies. And trust me, I care DEEPLY for animals and question EVERYTHING I’m told. And not just in medicine, but in life. So I’ve read both the pro’s and con’s on any topic that I’m interested in and dogs are far more than an interest to me. This article doesn’t have a single fact or study to back any of it up. It does mention “propaganda” of which this article is rife with, complete with tug at the heart statements like licking her privates while whining in pain? Pahleese! Yet there is nothing but opinion to back up some very heartfelt statements that are meant not to educate you on the facts of this issue, but to set your heart to pitter patter and make you think less with your head and the facts, and more with the sad ache in your heart for her poor aching privates. All of my dogs have been spayed or neutered around 6 to 8 months. My next addition (when I can afford it as I am in the same boat as you LL) I will wait till about 2 years of age. And I will counsel those who are responsible to do the same. Others who I deem as not as dedicated to the happiness and welfare of their dog I will recommend they spay/neuter at 6-9 months of age.
I think people who want to sexually mutilate animals probably have issues that need to be dealt with, but it is certainly harmful to the animals and is done purely for human convenience or because they want either control or to inflict harm. I strongly suspect that women who neuter male animals have a grudge against males in general.
Margo Moore says
So many of these comments cite overall statistics, without taking any notice of the particular breed. My family concentrated on the herding breeds, while also adopting mixed breeds. Most of the mixed breeds were from shelters and so had been spayed/neutered. The purebreds were a different story. We have had a total of 8 Border Collies and 3 Shelties over my lifetime, including 1 male border collie and 1male Sheltie. Both were intact; neither ever mated, although in spayed females were in the same household–many males need to be trained to be stud dogs, and these guys hadn’t a clue. These dog breeds are inherently peaceable (if from good breeding lines) and neither one ever engaged in dog fights. Of the six females, only one developed a uterine infection and was subsequently spayed. I later spayed my current border collie (3 or 4 yrs old at the time) because my male Sheltie would go all glassy eyed for a week twice a year, to no purpose: the breeder had given her up (free, no papers) because she was naturally infertile. Her spay was just to spare the male’s suffering.
The way to avoid unwanted pups (short of adequate chaperonage) is to spay all females who are not intended to be bred. The spay operation has fewer risks than neutering. Although now I understand other alternatives such as tubal ligation are going to be increasingly available, and I am not talking about large groups of dogs housed in a shelter, but about individual households where the pets are family members.
The intact males all led pretty long, healthy lives, from 14 to 17 to older–the longest-lived was a dog of specially chosen mixed breeding, German Shepherd/Black Lab/Husky, who was the calmest, most intelligent, best-behaved (without special training) male dog imaginable.
If one has breeds known to be “sexy” such as poodle or chihuahua, the sort who begin humping your leg while still puppies, I’d neuter like a shot. But my breeds are just not like that.
Shelters will do what shelters have to do. But those of us who are private owners still have the right to do what ‘s best for our individual animals. In the case of males who are NOT prone to fighting or indiscriminate mating, whose families are scrupulous in not letting them roam, neutering the males is not necessary and any risk of oops is offset by the benefits to the health of the individual animal.
Anthony Lynch says
@living large You accuse the Vet of viewing his dog’s ‘manhood’ as an extension of his own, but how do we know YOU as a WOMAN are not doing the very same thing… By advocating castration of male dogs genitalia, are you acting on some latent Oedipus complex maybe?
Eustace Rilke says
Would you castrate humans to prevent overpopulation and miserable people and early death like they have in India and China and all overpopulated countries ?
Would you even want to live if they castrated you and took your ovaries out ? If the answer is no. Then why do you do it to your pets ? Because they’re animals and not human ? Does that give you a right to practice the worst form of cruelty on an animal, anesthetized or not, which is the cutting off and removal of their balls and the cutting off and removal of ovaries, the complete destruction of their joy and energy and motivation, just because you think of yourself as some kind of ‘do-gooder’ for society’s idiots and their unwanted pets on the streets ?
Does thinking of yourself as a ‘do-gooder’ or ‘animal lover,’ when in fact, you have practiced the worst form of cruelty on your own animals by castrating them for no other reason than your own laziness and comfort, just so you don’t have to be disciplined and exercise control, does that make you feel better ?
How ridiculous that cutting somebody’s balls off is considered the cruelest thing you can possibly do to a human but in dogs and cats and pets, it’s just some euphemistically expressed ‘neutering’ and ‘spaying.’
It is wrong on principle period to practice such cruelty and it’s even worse to then pretend it’s not cruelty. It completely destroys and takes the joy of life out of the animal.
If birth-control, isolation and voluntary sterilization is the non-cruel answer for humans who do not wish to reproduce, then it should be the same for the animals people bring into their society, especially the so-called pets they bring into their own families.
Long live the Norwegians and their principled refusal to be cruel in the name of ‘a better society,’ in the name of the filthy doctrine of scoundrels, that of ‘the end justifies the means.’
I my opinion, humans are animals and that if you do things like this well, its like punishing the animals. plus i think youre correct on the overpoupulation because it would take 3 earths to hold us living and anothe half an earth for the babys coming in, so i completly agree with u.
animals are happy when left in tact but denied breeding . except for ferrets
Karen M says
I will not neuter my dog. I was born without functioning ovaries and have suffered both physical and emotional effects from not having the proper hormones.
Man I luv u! I think neutering animals against their will doesnt help them in the long run and its against their will! we mainly do things like this for the benifits of humans.
Stephen Lesosky says
Dear Living Large, by reading your input in response to serially mutilating ‘pets’ it is obvious that you are American. Your concerns are so unbelievably self centered. You are concerned with a female dog making a mess or a male dog exercising a need… perhaps someone needs to remind you that these ‘pets’ are living creatures just like you. It is their RIGHT to live a normal life. It is their RIGHT to run and socialize with others of their species. You are concerned with over population and fear of these living beings having to be ‘murdered’ and you should be … so am I. But the difference between you and me is the obvious (to civilized people anyway), these beautiful creatures should be offered a vasectomy/tubal ligation … no different than you would offer a human. This is the humane thing to do. Can you imagine if your doctors response to you saying that you didn’t want any children was to castrate you (castration by definition is to physically remove the testicles/ovaries). I am fairly certain that you would seek a second opinion. People like you do not see this as a viable option because it is more costly than simply castrating the animal. Your response to that would be that the animal would run a greater risk of ovarian/testicular cancer … so would you. Should we castrate you then my dear. No, of course not because that would not be humane because it is painful and disgusting. You say that these animals can sense and ‘smell ‘ that they are going to be murdered … do you not think that they cannot sense and ‘smell’ that they are about to be mutilated?
You come across as some kind of hero for the cause, you are not. You are simply a deviant looking for a quick ‘fix’.
Do all of us humane people a favour and give your head a shake!
they do make sex toys for dogs.
and you can sterlize without removing any parts
All your points are valid but the same logic can be applied to humans. Females can greatly benefit from it as can human males but our arrogance and self entitlement make humans believe we have domain over creatures. I’m sorry we humans are greedy self serving assholes but the real problem is that we need to start neutering humans to control our population. We need to start with males.
Too many children are unwanted because men force women to have them in order to control our reproductive abilities. Till the day comes where a robot Alex Trebek announces at the end of jeopardy “good night America and don’t forget to neuter your son’s” will I truly be happy with humans.
I always recomend common sense. It’s not rocket science you just need to look and observe. I have not had my little dog neutered because he is a friendly and a little athlete. It’s joy to watch him racing joyfully about. The vet would wreck my beauty in heart beat with their greedy, cruel money-making neutering scam. It will NOT make dogs less aggressive but the OPPOSITE. They become less sociable and much more inclined to snap. When dogs lose their sex drive they are no longer interested in the usual checking each other out – sniffing or being sniffed at. Thus when a poor, normal intact dog comes innocently along to sniff (being social ) they get growled at and/or snapped. It’s a ”get lost! Not interested’.
Every time my friendly CKCS gets a nasty reaction from another dog, I always ask the owner, ‘has he been done’ and they generally have. Or they are rescue dogs – most likely with a bad past. Another obvious way to spot a neutered dog is the coat. I can tell a neutered CKCS by its fat waddling body and dry, coarse coat. No longer smooth but wiry. Also, it’s sure to be panting and staggering as now its heart is strained. No wonder it’s banned in Norway. People don’t put two and two together! That vets are raking it in by lobbing off animal’s private parts with selective, distorted little ‘facts’ – such as ”neutering lessens aggression or lowers the risk of….xyz or …..’ when actually it is nonsense and the cons are truly disastrous.
would our dog be less skittish if she was not spayed and had a male to hump and knot her?
Charlie Halliwell says
How anybody can say they love and respect animals and think it’s ok to chop an animals sex organs is really a hypocrite. Ok, we all know the facts and the arguments for doing this barbaric operation but of course this particular argument suits vets as they make a lot of money from neutering animals. Why should animals suffer because some humans are irresponsible? Most pet owners treat their animals like part of the family. Stop spouting arguments that you have been conditioned with because it suits the money making agenda and feel whats in your heart. Would you perform these horrendous operations on your baby boy or girl because there are too many children in care and not being looked after properly and because we are over populated. Would you do this to your child??? Im guessing the answer is no, so why is an animal any different? Would you chop your boys willy off to help control his behaviour because he’s too boisterous?? Would you take away your daughters chance to ever have a child and feel the beauty of motherhood? Its morally wrong and playing god with the lives of innocent animals who cant talk for themselves yet feel lots of emotions you or I may feel. oh and lastly, an irresponsible owner probably wouldn’t pay to get theie animals neutered at the vets anyway so really the type of neglectful behaviour you feel you are stopping by butchering pets isn’t really going to stop is it?thats an issue with part of humanity which our pets are paying the ultimate price for. Most pet owners are responsible, they won’t keep letting their animals breed so why do they still need to get their animals operated on?? Oh yes, money thats it.
oh yeah. in 100 years one human woman could result in 4,000 humans. if she has 10 kids, and those 10 kids have 10 kids and start as young as they can.. i think.
Norwegians are right, you should never get your pets desexed at any cost as it is extremely detrimental to the quality of a pet’s life. It deprives them of the opportunity to have children and be a parent. If your country mandates that you get your pets desexed you should either refrain from buying pets or move to another country. If you do not want to get desexed it is wrong to assume your pets do as they also have an emotional need to pass on their genes. While desextion has its pros, some of them are evidence of a con. Take living longer for instance, it may seem like a good thing but it means pets take longer to mature, significantly harming their social, emotional and mental wellbeing. Some effects of desextion that people consider to be pros are cons. Take preventing pets from changing for instance, when pets sexually mature they change for the better not for the worse, if desexed they never grow up.
The anthropomorphizing in this thread is off the charts. No, your dog will not miss his balls. Dogs do not have a complex culture in which they can mate for pleasure and love without simply wanting to mate. At the appropriate age there are very little adverse effects. If anything it’s cruel to leave your dog intact just because you are putting your human feelings on him, meanwhile he has to ‘miss his chance’ of mating.
Dogs shouldn’t be bred just because they are healthy and just because they want to, this is true in places where overpopulation is not a problem as well. The thing with breeding when reputably done is there’s more of a science to it than just “i like this dog and this dog we breed them”. You need to be able to fully evaluate the temperament and health of the dog. The stability of the dog. etc. etc. Which can’t be completely done until they’re fully matured.
Here is a collection of 17 articles on the pros and cons of neutering and at what age. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fvets.2020.00388/full
No one is really saying that, but in my opinion pushing spay and neuters because of pet overpopulation says more about the human animal than it does the canine. I agree there is a risk for some cancers and pyometra, but there is a risk to all women and men also of cancers. Should we pre-emptively give girls a hysterectomy and remove their breast buds because she may get cancer later on? Should we remove boys testes because they may get cancer later on? This is ridiculous barbaric thinking. First do no harm!!! Deal with the process when or if it happens, dont just go ripping out the plumbing because it may happen.
My bitch was never spayed never had puppies, yes she did get pyo at 10, she had surgery recovered and lived to 16. OTOH my 2 girls right now one just got spayed and has been miserable since her personality has changed, she dribbles all the time, and is developing joint problems under 2 years old. She had a horrible recovery and it messed up her back and bladder. Im not spaying my second bitch, she is in heat as I post this, she will not have puppies because im responsible. If in later years she develops cancer or infection we will deal with it. Im not ruining a beautiful strong agile creature on what ifs.
Jennifer Collins Brever says
But the point of the article is that to spay or neuter your pet is psychological torture to that animal. If we can withstand torturing animals that we claim to love deeply how much easier does it become to look the other way when humans are tortured, like say in the example of male infant circumcision. (We mostly don’t circumcise female babies in the U.S. like is done in some other countries in the world. Whew!)
So really improving the animal welfare agenda can include tough love for the humans that want to own a pet. Wildlife preserves set aside for dogs to run free? Let’s work toward the higher good together!
Angela Wilson Keel says
I’m on the fence, as to the medical necessity of desexing dogs, but you cannot compare male circumcision (removal of skin) to female circumcision (removal of the clitoris) because the latter prevents a woman from reaching orgasm. Male circumcision cannot be compared because it does nothing of the sort. I’m not sure what you mean either in regards to “wildlife preserves set aside for dogs to run free” because dogs are domesticated animals, which means they are no longer equipped to live in the wild. They are pack animals and once they become your family member, they accept you are part of their pack. They don’t want to live in the wild or outside with other dogs. The choice is whether you believe it is best to say and neuter every dog. I think it’s a personal decision. I have chosen not to spay my Chinese Crested female because her heat cycle isn’t a problem. She needs more attention than normal for a week or two and likes to hump a pillow, but so what? Prior to this heat cycle, I had a castrated male that would penetrate her during her heat cycle (much to my surprise!) and she’d come out of heat within a few days. She is a show dog, and I could breed her if I chose to do so. I do get tired of people saying there is something wrong with people that want to buy certain breeds. I do some of both usually. I have rescued three Greyhounds, a Doberman, and various breeds of cats. I did also have a Siamese cat that was a show quality animal. Only buy from reputable breeders (not puppy mills or pet stores) for obvious reasons. I see no need in making my dog go through medical menopause. It’s true animals get lazier and fatter, so that to me shows me all I need to know. I’m not going to let someone tell me how to think or what’s best to do either. I have the common sense to do that on my own.
I completely agree with you & have volunteered in animal welfare (behind the scenes) for over 30 years. However we use humane euthanasia methods in South Africa & UK.
Ten years later, and the research is coming in more: hormone removing likely causing more issues then it prevents. The old research was done badly and utterly failed to account for socioecomic factors, breed, and lifestyle (thus the “intact dogs die to infection more”, nope, low income folk tended to own more intact dogs due but had less vet care access and thus more issues with infection)
Kathleen Winn says
I have to adamantly agree with Living Large on this issue. I respect the desire to eliminate unnecessary medical procedures on dogs, but disagree that spaying and neutering is the same as cutting ears and tails for appearance sake.
The key to Norway’s policy is “responsible ownership,” and unfortunately, in a country like America with 300 million people and no controls on who may acquire a dog, there just isn’t any way to make sure that only “responsible” people get dogs. That is why millions are killed every day, by horrifying and agonizingly slow and painful methods. Reducing the numbers of helpless animals who come into this world, only to have their lives ended by suffocating to death under a pile of other dead and dying dogs, warrants spaying and neutering of all but those of legitimate breeders, and those are very few.
As Living Large also points out, there are many health benefits to spaying and neutering a dog as well. Spayed and neutered dogs suffer fewer cancers and are in general less aggressive. The benefits of spaying and neutering far outweigh the discomfort an animal might suffer for a few hours post surgery. We adopted our dog from a shelter and at seven years old, she’d never been spayed and it was clear she’d had litters of pups. When we had her spayed, the vet found a mammary tumor which he couldn’t tell whether was malignant or not. We don’t know if this tumor will develop into something more serious, but the vet said that spayed female dogs are far less likely to have those types of tumors and thus, fewer cancers.
I was struck by this particular statement in the article above and though I disagree on Norway’s spaying and neutering policy, I do believe in the profound truth of these words. “I’ve noticed there’s a direct connection between countries where people treat animals humanely and with kindness and countries that have good human rights, especially for women.”
Kathleen Winn, I take it you want to get desexed yourself, right?
Living Large says
As well, I have no idea what kind of spay surgery that dog you saw must have went through. I’ve had every single dog in my life spayed, which counts to dozens at this point, and have been with fosters that underwent the procedure. Not once have I witnessed a dog whimpering in pain. As a matter of fact, I’m a a loss at how to keep them “quiet” as per the doctor’s orders by the next day.
or one grieving the loss of her reproductive abilities
Angela Wilson Keel says
We had a dog that died from the procedure once. There’s always that risk.
Jennifer! As far as I am concerned neutering a select portion of the animals we decide to keep as pets is all about human convieniance and NOT about the animal at all. Its also very much about education and other species rights to life. We used to neuter human beings after all and justify that as for their own good! I love America, it is my adpoted home, but after reading your blog article feel like I need to go to Norway!
Jennifer, you are making perfect sense. Now let’s find what the rate of dog cancer is in Norway. I bet is almost non existant. America sure is ignorant and predisposed to believe everything that’s shoved in their faces. None of my unvaccinated and sexually unmutillated dogs has ever had any problems in my 40 years on earth. Only in America this crazy styff goes on. It’s all for profit.
To be fair, I went to Norway two years ago and didn’t see huge stray packs of dogs or anything. You don’t see it in the UK and lots of our dogs are unneutered.
our industrialized countries need village dogs roaming around right?
Kathleen Winn says
As a human being, I have the ability to understand the long term consequences of my choices in life. That is why I used birth control to make sure that the only children I brought into this world, were wanted, loved and could be assured of a comfortable and secure upbringing.
Dogs are unfortunately, not endowed with the intellectual capacity to understand the consequences of having dozens and dozens of puppies. In America, most of those puppies have no hope of a loving home but rather, will most likely end up in a metal box gasping for their last breath as they feel life drain from their body in a slow and agonizing death.
I cannot believe that any reasonable person thinks it’s better to let dogs breed indiscriminately, leading to the slow suffering and death of millions of them, rather than spay and neuter, which reduces that number and leads to healthier, and longer lived pets.
Did you say healthier and longer lives? You need to spend less time watching tv and research a bit further. [part of comment edited for inappropriate name-calling.]
Donna F. says
Re: “”Dogs are unfortunately, not endowed with the intellectual capacity to understand the consequences of having dozens and dozens of puppies.””
That is true, but one hopes that the dogs’ owners ARE. After all, it is the dogs’ OWNERS who are responsible for whether or not their pets produce dozens and dozens of puppies.
Re: “”I cannot believe that any reasonable person thinks it’s better to let dogs breed indiscriminately, leading to the slow suffering and death of millions of them, rather than spay and neuter, which reduces that number and leads to healthier, and longer lived pets.””
This is one of those false dichotomies. Plenty of reasonable people do manage to take the necessary measures to prevent their intact animals from breeding indiscriminately. It is not rocket science. I have to roll my eyes at the thought that “any reasonable person” would consider the surgical removal of reproductive organs as the sole option for preventing unwanted litters.
As a white person, I have the ability to understand the long term consequences of my choices in life. That is why I used birth control to make sure that the only children I brought into this world, were wanted, loved and could be assured of a comfortable and secure upbringing.
Black people, unfortunately, are not endowed with the intellectual capacity to understand the consequences of having dozens and dozens of puppies. In America, most of those puppies have no hope of a loving home but rather, will most likely end up in a metal box gasping for their last breath as they feel life drain from their body in a slow and agonizing death.
I cannot believe that any reasonable person thinks it’s better to let black people breed indiscriminately, leading to the slow suffering and death of millions of them, rather than spay and neuter, which reduces that number and leads to healthier, and longer lived pets.
Your comment, has not aged well in 2020 my friend. I mean, it was already beyond disgusting and revolting when you first posted it, but now…
some countries should dump their stays and ferals in Norway
I am Norwegian and I can tell you that even though there are no strays in Norway, it is common for dog and cat owners to euthanize their pets even when not medically necessary. Pets are turned in to rescues for rehoming, which in Norwegian is called ‘omplassering’. Many pets are euthanized or found dumped prior to prime vacation periods, especially rabbits and cats. Norway is not this perfect place as many will have you to believe. Many dogs are tied up outside for hours or permanently. Factory farming is big. It is still legal to use bear-traps, which pets sometimes get caught in as well. Norway still has a long way to go in order to be cruelty free. Factory farm animals suffer tremendously, and animals bred for fur and kept in wire cages were also suffering.
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D. says
Thank you for weighing in and sharing your perspective, Helena. When I was in Norway I met an American who also said it’s important to use caution when citing government statistics (about breastfeeding, for example. The year I was there the breastfeeding initiation rate, according to my sources, was something like 99% in Norway), because Norwegian authorities will fudge things to make them look better than they are. I appreciate these details so much. I do think it is much much worse in America and that on nearly every rubric Norway is doing things better than we are, both when it comes to pets and to taking care of children. Perhaps I am mistaken?
I am an American and agree with the Norwegians, at least when it comes to not spaying/neutering dogs. Americans are by and large lazy and selfish and incredibly irresponsible when it comes to caring for their pets. We had two goldens and a Chinese Shar Pei, all left intact. There was never one incidence of their getting loose and roaming because we were very responsible. Ask yourself about the logic of neutering every animal. At some point, there will cease to be any animals if everyone adheres to the cruel and stupid idea of neutering. And if there were truly health reasons for it, we would be neutering humans as well in order to prevent certain cancers. If there is a problem with the dogs, it’s the humans that should be fined and held responsible for the actions of their pets. We had friends with goldens, two of which they lost to cancer. We advised them not to neuter the third golden and he has grown into his full beauty, and remains healthy. In the U.S., they neuter animals before releasing for adoption. They are like Neutering Nazis. In America, everyone assumes you are irresponsible and too stupid to raise an animal properly. Yes, there are many bad dog owners, but neutering has nothing to do with their animal’s behavior. It’s the way they are raised, just like children. We are just beginning to recognize how cruel it is to circumcise boys in this country. I’m sick of all this barbaric BS.
NO TO VACCINES ‼️ says
I had a vet tell me yesterday dogs would be prone to cancer if they weren’t spayed.
VACCINATING dogs IMO…..I feel this is the real culprit of all or most cancers in dogs. I AM NOT A VET AND YOU NEED TO DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH ‼️
Research:ISS…INJECTION SIGHT SARCOMA. The vets won’t tell you about this as it happens all the time.Vaccines I believe = CANCER AND OTHER MALADIES ‼️ Norway is on top of it! The Responsible dog owners in the United States are tops.
Keep your dogs home when their in heat!
LOVE LIFE AND KNOW LIFE SHOULD NOT BE CONFUSING…..IT SHOULD BE NATURAL AND FREE FLOWING FOR ALL‼️Stop all the money making BS CRAP unless absolutely medically necessary‼️‼️
Sharon Waldrop says
Living Large and Kathleen — I couldn’t have said what you’re shared any better myself. Thank you for your stance on the spay and neuter practices we are fortunate to have in our civilized country. Pet overpopulation is heartbreaking. The only victims are the abundance of animals who did nothing to deserve the demise headed their way. We have seven dogs and four cats, of which all but two are the result of the unresponsible breeding and neglect of others.
I find the Norwegian perspective thought-provoking. I don’t think that means we should adopt that policy in the US right now, because, as one commenter points out, any American can have pets, and many Americans are too irresponsible to take care of them. That is the cruelty. The kinder way for pets would be to legislate that only responsible owners can keep pets, and hold them financially responsible for their animals. America doesn’t have any real model of responsibility; it’s a free-for-all where people are allowed in most places to keep animals tethered most of the time, and we can’t even get everyone to pick up their dog poop. In some places such as Germany you can now pay over a hundred Euros for a pet license, including a transceiver chip and a DNA test, so if you can’t afford to take care of a pet you can’t have one, the unlicensed fines are stiff, and dog litter picked up by municipal cleaners is DNAed and the owner is fined heavily. Think they have our level of pet population problem? Nope. Many Americans abuse their animals as well. Most Americans are not ready to be kind to pets, and they shouldn’t be allowed to own them. Some of the most committed animal lovers I know, who have owned and loved pets, worked with animals professionally, volunteered at shelters, and refuse to eat animals or use them for leather, have looked deeply into these issues and feel that keeping animals as pets is itself a selfish and cruel practice, and they no longer do it, though they love animals very much. Well worth thinking about. But if we are to keep pets, it should be with a maximum of kindness and personal responsibility, irrespective of our own convenience.
Alisa Bowman says
This was fascinating. I think, though, that Americans are very different than Europeans and Scandinavians. In the US, people just aren’t responsible, something that has been proven time and time again. I wish I knew why, as a nation, we have such a hard time with this concept of being responsible. But, no, here we have dog fighting and puppy mills and people who let their dogs and cats run wild without a care as to whether they get hit by cars, lost, into fights with other animals etc. So I think spaying and neutering might be painful for animals, but it’s better than the alternative, which is even more animals being put down in shelters or hit by cars.
I will say, though, that your post came at an interesting time. My dog is getting old and I was just thinking the other week that I kind of felt bad that he’d never had sex and never will. You know? The poor thing! He’ll never know that pleasure.
dogs need testicles to have sex right? without them and hormones they have no desire
a good portion of beastalitists loath spay and neuter for animals. mainly because without the hormones they won’t have sex with the human
Living Large says
And I say, “thank God for that, Alisa, you were a responsible pet owner.” I really don’t think your dog ever missed it.
Just last night, my husband called and I could tell something was wrong. “I just picked up a Beagle out of the middle of the road,” he said. Silence. “Do you want me to put him back?” How in the world could we leave a poor, skinny helpless animal in the cold rain last night to possibly be hit by a car or be eaten by a cougar or coyote? “No, bring him on in,” I said. We have 6 now and can comfortably afford 3. But we will keep this one if we have to. Someone else posted on FB yesterday that a friend of theirs was looking for a home for their Huskey because it was too big and too energetic. It makes me so angry that people are not even responsible enough to research the type of animal they are getting (and this one was bought because he wanted $200 for the dog), much less care for them, socialize them and love them when they do get them. This Beagle is raw from bug bites, was covered in fleas and is so skinny, he feels like a bag of bones. He wouldn’t even go outside to pee last night because I suspect he feared he would be left there. When I tried to get him out, he just stood up on his hind legs and wrapped his paws around me, clinging. As he ate and then slept last night for 12 hours straight, I wondered if he had ever previously felt a loving hand on his head or how long it had been since he was able to sleep without the fear of wild animals in the dark or being eaten by bugs. That is cruelty and to allow him to remain unaltered so he can perpetuate the non-sense is also cruel. I began looking for low cost neuter services today and will have him in ASAP.
Not that I’m against you neutering him, but I don’t think he would cope with an anaesthetic very well. After all S/N is an operation
Stephen Lesosky says
Living Large, yet again you come across as some kind of hero. And the next sentence is that you are going to find a cheap way to castrate him. If you truly care about the animal get him a vasectomy so you don’t have to mutilate him. Would you castrate yourself when you no longer want to have any more children? Think about it you idiot.
We got our dog at a shelter and part of the deal of adopting him involved getting him fixed. I’m glad the pet owners in Norway are so responsible for their pets and I think that’s the overall message here…did you see in Toronto they’ve outlawed selling dogs in pet shops? They’re only available through shelters.
Animal Lover says
Fixed? He was BROKE?????
NO – that’s NOT responsible – that’s idiotic. What’s gonna happen when there are no more intact dogs??? I’ll tell you – there won’t be any puppies. But then, that’s the agenda – NO MORE DOMESTIC PETS.
Funny – was in Italy last year, rural, southern – they don’t believe in speutering – yet there were no “packs” of dogs running wild!
Stephen Lesosky says
PETA wants that
Harald irkevold says
As a Norwegian dog owner, I feel I should contribute here. I think that one important reason Norwegians are reluctant to neuter their dogs, is that many Norwegian dogs are working dogs, used for hunting or for sledding.
I own a bird dog that would be compromised as a working dog if neutered. (It would become less eager, more complacent). This is the most important reason I would not consider it.
But even if I had owned a dog “just” to be a pet, I think it is unnatural and (a bit) cruel to neuter it.
Also, I think that your Norwegian friends are right in saying that it is the responsability of the dog’s owner to ensure that it behaves. We have relatively few problems with stray/unwanted dogs. (Cats are another story). Aggressive dog breeds (such as amstaff/pit bull) are banned in Norway, and dogs that attack people will normally be put to sleep. Anyone that has been attacked by a dog can demand that it is put to sleep, and most times the owner will comply. No-one responsible would want to own a dog that is liable to attack people for no reason.
Also, most “valuable” Norwegian dogs are tagged with microchips (implanted painlessly in their necks) that contain ID and ownership. This makes it very easy for the police or a veterinarian with a scanning device to return stray dogs and to keep the owner responsible for the dog’s actions. (Dog owners are also responsible by law, a Dog Act (Hundeloven) was passed in 2004. (http://www.lovdata.no/cgi-wift/wiftldles?doc=/app/gratis/www/docroot/all/nl-20030704-074.html&emne=hund*&&😉
Jennifer Margulis says
Thanks for weighing in, Harald. This perspective is really interesting. I’d be interested to hear more about the problem with stray cats. From what Rolf told me, it is much easier to get them spayed or neutered than to get dogs fixed. It’s interesting to me that many of the arguments in favor of spaying and neutering dogs mirror the arguments in favor of circumcising infant boys. In America more than 50 percent of male infants are circumcised. In Norway and Iceland that number is pretty much zero.
People have bought into the whole circumcision thing, when the truth is cancer of that organ is very low. Men take showers and baths in modern times so filth isnt a problem. I was married and my husband never got snipped, sex really is better for both if the man isnt cut. All this made up doctrine on circumcision and by default how we treat animals is rooted in religion. Thats what all sexual mutilation stems from.
While I respect that in Norway, dogs are less often used as companion animals and more as working animals, one does need to take into consideration that America has a different (whether better or worse in whoever’s opinion) culture and society. America does NOT take responsibility for its pet ownership. Before America can adopt a no spay-neuter mentality, America has to adopt a responsible pet ownership mentality.
As an animal shelter employee in the United States, I spoke with a woman just today who refused to get her male dog neutered and her female dog spayed. Not because it would interfere with their working dog abilities, but because she felt it was cruel and if they procreated she could always sell the puppies for profit or dump them at the local shelter.
THAT is what we are dealing with in America, because of a conglomeration of different cultural backgrounds and different beliefs about the value of an animal’s life. A female dog has no choice in getting humped by a male dog. She then has no choice as to whether she gets to carry a possible litter of up to 10 or more puppies, and no choice as to then getting dumped at the local shelter to nurse her babies in a cage because the local county economy can’t support better conditions for its county shelter. THAT is cruel.
So while the Norwegian mentality of responsible pet ownership is beautiful and admirable, it is simply not realistic for where America is right now.
I also frown upon Norway as an entire country banning Staffies and Pit Bulls as an entire breed. If Norway’s citizens are such responsible pet owners, there would not be an aggressive Pit in Norway and they could all exist there peacefully. I hope one day Norway rethinks its policy on a breed that is innately very loving, affectionate, and loyal, and has received an unfair reputation of being “across the board aggressive” because of irresponsible pet ownership, irresponsible over-breeding for profit, and uneducated bringing up of the very muscular breed for “protection.” A Pit Bull, innately, is far less aggressive than most other terriers. It’s the responsible pet ownership that keeps this innate personality in place.
Living Large says
Harold, I have to disagree with you that pit bulls or mastiffs, or any other breed are inherently “aggressive.” Progressive animal behaviorists will tell you the same thing. As well, BSL initiatives, (Breed Specific Bans) are statistically shown not to work. Anecdotally, I have a pit bull that is the sweetest, most loving dog one could hope for. She started her life with us as a stray and most likely due to her condition when we found her, was either tied outside or left outside in a fenced in run unsocialized. She still is not, nor would I ever believe she could be “aggressive.” I have to wonder why a country such as Norway, that claims so many responsible dog owners, does not trust its citizens when it comes to dog breeds that have more of a capacity to inflict harm if they become aggressive due to negligent owners? As well, would like to see any scientific research or studies that support your claim that your bird dog’s capabilities would be compromised if he were neutered. This is just not a claim I’ve heard before. Personally, I have a Beagle that is neutered and unfortunately, he has no problems hunting our woods by day or night.
@Living large, your ignorance is (and probably your appetite too) as large as your name indicates. Start reserching a bit further and open you eyes to reality. Have you ever considered that vasectomies and tube litigations are the way our pets should be handled and without the awful side effects. Perhaps, people are just too cheap when it comes to animal birth control and the easy way out is to sexually mutillate the animals they own. YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG, AMERICA!
Herding dog mom says
I am the owner of two working dogs. A male and a female~ both in tact because I want them to have full benefit of their hormones. The vets here in America for the most part totally dismiss the effects of hormones on the dogs skeletal development. They also like to have you believe that muscle tone and energy and drive are not at all hormone related. That said, I do not intend to breed my dogs (they are not good enough quality) and have looked high and low to find a vet that will perform a vasectomy or a tubal. No one knows how.
I also have picked up countless strays in my life and agree~ most americans are NOT willing to take the necessary steps to keep unwanted pups from happening. Most, don’t even exercise or train their dogs with basic manners and obedience. I can only imagine the chaos a shelter full of unspayed and unaltered dogs would create.
My plea would be to the veterinary community PLEASE start teaching and offering vasectomies and tubals.
Herding dog mom, I could not agree with you more. Although I live in the UK I really really want to live in Norway! My dog was spayed because we adopted her and the shelter told us to get her spayed. We went to dog training classes before she had her op, and was as gentle as anything. She was spayed, went back, and started growling at all the other dogs. I WISH she wasn’t spayed now, but my other male dog was from the same shelter. He was neutered because he ” humped everything” I was told, and he still humps everything.
So yeah, that’s why I’m not gonna neuter my other puppy.
If you’re thinking of spaying your dog, think about alternative methods like tubal ligation (sorry if that’s spelt incorrectly). It leaves their hormones so no chance of bone cancer. Also it requires a smaller incision so is less risky and can be done at 6mths +.
Please stop telling people like Living Large and Taylor that they are irresponsible, it’s not like they are doing amimal cruelty or stuff like that, that’s quite unfair.
My Staffie x spaniel was rehomed from my friend. Her name’s Lexi and I’m going to book her in for tubal ligation as soon as she is six months.
Thank you Herding Dog Mom! Its big business here in the states vets make a lot of money off it. I too am searching high and low for a vet that will sterilize without taking my dogs organs out. Its 2022 and after decades of research the AVMA is starting to change its stance, decades showing joint problems, adrenal and thyroid problems, cancers, behavior problems ironically , and ligament tears all in higher rates in neutered and spayed dogs. I will tell you to look into the Parsemus foundation they can give you all the data you need, and they list every vet that practices hormone sparring procedures. The world is changing now if only they would use titers instead of annual vaccination. Some day!
yeah but in awfull chop chop america, we have people who try very hard to save the lives of dogs that maul and kill people. sometimes when neuterd they calm down and can be rehabilitated.
sometimes the male pitbulls that kill children were intact and a bitch was in heat, so his mind was different and kills someone. and it’s bad on people who did not train and keep the dog and kid right, so it’s wrong to “murder” the dog
Kimberly Ford says
This points to a much bigger idea of personal responsibility, you know? Like the idea that you have to get a license to drive but not to parent. Americans don’t always think through the responsibility of owning dogs. I like to think this would work here, but I have my doubts!
The fact is that animals are only killed in US shelters because the shelters are doing an abysmal job. For every adoptable pet killed in a shelter, there are at least 5 times as many homes for new pets opening up each year. We import dogs by the hundreds of thousands. 78% of all owned dogs and 88% of all owned cats are already sterilized. We don’t have a crisis of pet “overpopulation” we have a crisis of shelter management.
And there is NO health benefit….only risks….involved with prophylactic neutering of a male dog. Neutering increases dramatically the risks for prostate cancer, bone cancer, hemangiosarcoma, bladder cancer, orthopedic disorders, hypothyroidism and many other problems. Recent studies show that removing ovaries is associated with a 30% shorter lifespan….that is true for both dogs and humans.
Check the blog http://time4dogs.blogspot.com and search for the articles on spay/neuter. Educate yourself. Human eunuchs and “castrati” were unhealthy due to hormonal imbalance. It’s no different for dogs.
Kool Pets says
Wonderful! You are a compasionate & understanding human. I am glad to see other people do their research, like I do, and allow animals to remain just as Nature intended. Thank you
All of you people that are against pets being spayed and neutered are kind of dumb. Animal shelters in the US are over run with cats and dogs. But, sure keep your dog intact and hope it doesn’t get out and produce even more unwanted animals.
I live in the US but I believe to spay or neuter should be a decision that entirely left up to the owner of the dog and not a government mandate. I personally do NOT want a female that goes into season but I personally do not like to own females. And until I had my last 2 german shepherds I NEVER neutered my males. I had (over 20 years) an Irish Setter, Afghan Hound and finally a Great Dane and none were neutered and I never had any puppies that resulted in their “wild hair” attitudes. I was and still am a responsible dog owner and do not let my dogs run lose to become a statistic.
It is not good for their health no matter what they say, VERY early spay/neutering is really harmful to their health and in my humble opinion its another campaign for vets to scoop in as much money as they can.
Their crazy attitudes of spaying and neutering EVERYTHING is only a death sentence to the entire species of dogs and cats. But they won’t figure that one out for several years down the road when it’s probably way too late.
So BRAVO to NORWAY !!
Byron, GA, USA
Kool Pets says
Bravo! Well said! Simply beautiful, Becca!
At least in southern California, the animals in the shelters are NOT the result of “uncontrolled breeding” — 90% are over 1 year of age. Those puppies that do come in get adopted very quickly. For at least a decade, it’s been known that the #1 reason for a pet ending up in the shelter has NOT been “we had too many puppies”. It’s been “we can’t manage the dog” — decent free training or even animal control WORKING with obedience clubs (yes, those purebred dog folk) would do more than all the spay/neuter. And yes, spay and neuter is a major operation, it has major health impacts, and should NOT be mandated. Education, enforcement of leash laws and elimination of excessive license fees and limit laws would do far more to reduce shelter populations and result in happier, healthier pets.
Don’t berate people who do spay and neuter there pets, they do not do it out of selfishness, they do it for they best interest in their pets and society at large. Spaying and Neutering is a solution, a great one too
I agree with you, I picked up 3 kittens straight from the street and I did not have the heart to dump them in the street… so I kept them with me. 2 are males and 1 is a female, and I knew that if I did not act fast I will be having more kittens, so how could anyone call me cruel or selfish for fixing the female? I did it because streets and shelters have enough kittens in them for me to keep on adding more and more every spring!
Animal Lover says
Fix means something was broken in the first place.
Arrested development – behavior stops at the time that maturity is halted.
H$U$ – the organization behind the destruction of all pets and domestic animals.
Norway is right – WHY should an animal be surgically violated for no reason? WHY should US citizens have to import their pets from third world countries? WHY should I be held responsible because you can’t control or care for your pet or child????
domestication as it is, gives some slight mental neotnay.
Humans do not spay and neuter dogs/cats out of selfishness. I will never support neutering a wild animal like a tiger or bear because that IS cruel, but dogs and cats have been domesticated over centuries and have a solid dependence on humans. Therefore it is our responsibility to make sure that they are well taken care of which means that it is our responsibility to make sure they are safe and healthy and that we have the resources to take care of all of them.
There IS no excuse to not spay or neuter your animal. I’m just sick of people telling me that I was cruel to spay my dog.
Kool Pets says
The fact is, not only were you cruel, but, you were ignorant as well. Obviously, you haven’t done any reserch on the terrible deadly hazards of “sexually mutilating” a dog. Just because someone tells you to “bend over and take it” it doesn’t mean that’s what you really needed to do. Shame on you!
Living Large says
Taylor, Do not take this nonsense personally, you are not cruel to spay or neuter your pet. The breeding industry pays internet trolls to come on to discussions such as this, which are typically full of intelligent debate and respectful, until they show up. They throw around wild claims about the harmful affects of spay/neuter, never producing one scientific study to back up their claims. They also like to use screen names that implies they are posting in the best interest of animals and call other people names and tell them they are cruel if they are for spay/neuter. I know Jennifer, the original author of this post, she is a colleague of mine. Her original intent was to only show the differences in attitude and possibly the difference in how responsible pet owners are in other countries such as Norway. I respect that and realize that other countries have other issues with regards to pets and animals other than overpopulation and irresponsibility of pet owners (such as non-progressive BSL laws). It’s too bad some trolls have taken this conversation, months after the original post, to an unrespectful low.
Living Large, I am not being paid by a puppy mill owner. In fact I despite them. You are a troll if you tell me to shut up and that I’m “talking nonsense”
I don’t believe that neutering is a form of dog cruelty, but please, discuss it with your vet before you have your dog neutered. My old neutered dog has bone cancer but none of my other intact dogs had it. Again it’s not cruel but I don’t recommend it
Hey hey, If cats and dogs can’t take care of themselves and they have to be neutered, why don’t we mutilate mentally disordered children so they don’t pass their disability to do normal things to their children? NOOO We don’t do that so why do this to pets.
Well, Cruel-World, that just shows what you know. I used to work with the severely mentally handicapped, and I can tell you that a good number of the female clients I worked with were medically sterilized on the authority of their legal guardians (usually their parents) so that they could not have children who might also have chromosomal abnormalities and mental disabilities. So actually, yes, many “mentally disordered” people are rendered unable to procreate.
Then people are inhumane. I have a cousin that is mentally disordered… Nobody would do such a thing. I also have a friend that is mentally disordered, nobody does that. I don’t believe this is right.
we breed disabled and diseased pets because they look cool
Animal Lover says
You’re domesticated – yes???? Then – you should hysterectomy or castrate yourself – there are too many people – if you listen to the wacky ARses.
Taylor, neutering a dog is like neutering a human. How would you like it if you were forced to have your reproductive organs removed??
Kool Pets says
Are there health risks in neutering your dog? >>Absolutely!
Can you look your dog in the eye and explain that slicing away what makes him a him is good for him? Castration is directly linked to heart disease, myocardial infarction, strokes and cardiovascular disease, senile dementia, osteoporosis and hip fracture. Hysterectomy risks in female dogs are intervertebral disk disease, Myasthenia Gravis, muscle weakness, a doubled risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma, and bladder and urinary tract infections are so common they are called “spay incontinence”. And as in male dogs, females have five times the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma and both sexes suffer from lethargy, exercise intolerance, and obesity.
That’s not all. Neutered dogs of either sex are at double the risk for osteosarcoma and increased incidence of urinary tract cancers,
Facts. The deadliest cancers and the most annoying problem for house dogs are at the top of the list for spayed and neutered dogs. Spaying or neutering also significantly increases the odds of adverse reactions to vaccines and inclines both sexes to alopecia, hip dysplasia, and cruciate ligament rupture. You can cope with heat seasons easier than urinary incontinence, orthopedic problems, and cancer in your old dog.
In fact female dogs and cats are the only creatures on the planet that routinely have their reproductive organs removed… The simple truth is there is no medical reason to remove reproductive organs from healthy animals; not in veterinary medicine and not in human medicine!
That’s why humans receive hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – to counteract the loss of vital sex hormones when women undergo hysterectomy or men are accidently castrated. Underproduction of estrogen and testosterone causes debilitating disease and premature aging in men and women. The demand for bio-identical hormone replacement therapy as a proven anti-aging therapeutic treatment for senior citizens has exploded. Hold that thought. You are one day older today than yesterday.
Animal Rights activists and HSUS (Humane Society of The U.S. which does not rescue, adopt, or shelter unwanted dogs) vow to stop all animal breeding. Their propaganda seeks to convince us that sterilization is “best for your pet”. The politically dangerous Animal Rights groups use mandatory spay/neuter law as a means of subverting citizen’s rights, property rights (yes dogs and cats are legal property) and our innate abhorrence to cruelty.
Sadly, we must thank the vet associations because spaying and neutering is nearly as profitable as treating the health problems neutered dogs develop. Is that why so many vets avoid informed consent and happily give in to owner and shelter requests to spay and neuter? Many vets welcome mandatory S/N law because it pumps the profit margin with hysterectomy/castrations and the myriad of health problems that follow!
Free Choice says
SPOT ON!!!!!! Why is ripping out internal organs or chopping off gonads permissible – yet ya’all are against cropping and docking???? Sense?? NOPE!!! Not in the least!
Living Large says
Kool Pets, I would like to see links to the studis that back up all of these claims. The only dog I ever have to develop cancer was a male dog I did not neuter UNTIL he developed tescular cancer. He was 12. All of my dogs, again, numbering in the 2-dozen range from childhood pets through my adult years, were spayed or neutered and all of them lived well beyond 12 years of age, even my large dogs and I had a Doxie live until she was 16. My cats have also all lived well beyond 15 years old, one being 22 when she died. All spayed.
Kool Pets says
12 years its a bit short any way, but it seems to be the standard in america due to convenient feeding of crappy Pet shop food, spay & neuter and overvaccinating their pets.
If your dog got some form of cancer you may consider vaccines as a free source of cancer. It seems Americans love to unnecessarily overvaccinate their pets each year — WRONG AGAIN!
It’s such selfish act to simple ‘chop off’ the sexual organs of wonderful companion animals just because you ‘heard somewhere’ that it does miracles.
I am in the pet health industry and have spent half my life studying and reserching facts… so you go ahead and start doing your own research.
Living Large says
Hmm, I wonder if the “Pet health industry” includes in your definition, the “breeding industry,” because your arguments ring almost word for word of the trolls the breeding industry sends in to throw out wild claims about spay/neuter without the documented research to back it up. I’ve done my research and I’m prepared to dig up the scientific research and studies to back up my claims. Are you?
Living Large, you keep accusing people who disagree with you of being “internet trolls” with no proof to back up their claims. Other than your anecdotal experiences with your own animals, I have yet to see you write a single word in reference to studies, statistics or any kind of proven research. Where is YOUR evidence? And while you’re at it, where is your proof that internet trolls are paid by the “breeding industry” to come on line and throw out wild claims and accusations? By the way, it was YOU way back in your first couple of posts who referred to those who disagree with you as internet trolls. Who is doing the name-calling here? So dig up your scientific research and studies and back up your claims.
Living Large says
And I wouldn’t assume anything about what I feed my dogs, nor how I feel about vaccinations, Kool Pets. You know what they say about the word ASSumption.
kool pets plz email me at email@example.com because I want to start talking about animal right. :3
Free Choice says
OK – you wanted it –
Can’t get much better than Davis – eh??????
Living Large says
And try reading a bit more closely, I said “Well beyond 12 years.”
Living Large says
>>>>>> am in the pet health industry and have spent half my life studying and reserching facts<<<<<< then you should have no problem producing the scientific studies that back up your claims with regards to spay/neuter…..I'll be waiting. I am a journalist with a specialty in pet writing, so I'm very interested in seeing the scientific research that is counter to the research I have on file from 25 years as a journalist.
Wow, Kool Pets, where are you from? Have you visited the U.S. in the last decade? I find your assertions about Americans hilarious and I think maybe you need to dust off your passport. Organic/grain free/raw/holistic food is flying off the shelves here and there has never been more interest in raw food/home cooked diets for pets. The perils of over-vaccinating are well known in the animal-loving community here and many, many run-of-the-mill vets are now offering titer testing. Yes, there is still pressure to overvaccinate from some vets who make money at it, but many, many people are very well informed now and recognize this for what it is. By the way, I’d love to see links to the studies you reference. A few years ago, I read up on this and read so many studies I thought my head would explode, and the basic gist I was left with was that S/N too early is not good but that the health risks and benefits were basically a toss up between spay/neuter and not/spay neuter, coming down ever so slightly in favor of spay/neuter. Ie; S/N might slightly increase the risk of one type of cancer but provides protection against another type. I have a few friends who do not S/N their pets (thought they NEVER breed them) due to their reading of the risks/benefits and I have had many discussions with them about it. I totally respect their views *and* the fact that they acknowledge there are risks/benefits *both* ways. I am always suspicious when someone tries to present such a nuanced issue in an aggressive black-and-white way. As for me, I’ll happily S/N my pets and feed them raw/grain-free food and titer test them rather than vaccinating and take them to the holistic vet and chuckle about people who make absurd proclamations about an entire country.
Neutering increases dramatically the risks for prostate cancer, bone cancer, hemangiosarcoma, bladder cancer, orthopedic disorders, hypothyroidism and many other problems. Recent studies show that keeping ovaries is associated with a 30% longer lifespan….that is true for both dogs and humans. There is a high rate of urinary incontinence in spayed females. Spaying eliminates the risk of pyometra and can help reduce the risk of breast cancer in those breeds genetically predisposed; however, an early spay greatly increases the risk of a wide variety of other health problems.
“Living Large”, check the blog http://time4dogs.blogspot.com and check the extensive list of links to articles on risks and benefits of spay/neuter. One person’s limited personal experiences are inconsequential. Look to actual studies for more accurate data. I don’t have time this morning to spoon-feed you the information but it’s there for those who are really interested.
Human eunuchs and “castrati” were unhealthy due to hormonal imbalance. It’s no different for dogs.
And no, we DON’T have a pet overpopulation problem in this country. Shelters and rescues are importing dogs by the hundreds of thousands from Taiwan, Romania, the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and many other distant locales. We need MORE breeders, not fewer.
Living Large says
Time 4 Dogs, You don’t have to “spoon feed” me anything. I am a well researched, well read 25-year veteran in pet writing. I have the studies, the research and all of the data (as limited as the actual scientific study is) with reference to the benefits and negative effects of S/N. I just wanted to see if anyone here has the actual studies in hand. because up until recently, most studies were available only to journalists and for a price, so I would be interested to see what actual studies you have on file from reputable medical or research universities. I don’t have time either to dig through 2 filing cabinets I have of data, but I can rest assured you that all of the studies suggest that the possible negative effects of S/N outweigh the risks, that is if you trust your information coming from the AVA. I don’t read blogs for second hand information, I gather well-researched articles and write them. Like Allie, I’m very dubious to people who present a topic with many facets to it as a black and white, take all or nothing argument. Like Allie, I will continue reviewing the legitimate data and clinical studies sent my way and until something from an experienced medical professional changes my mind, will continue to S/N and support rescues and shelters that encourage it.
well we kind of do. we make many designer dogs. pom-shibas, pitbull-bassethounds, siberian lurchers, anything that might look cool.
Allie, there is no “toss up” in regard to spay-neuter. Far more negatives than positives. In fact, for males, the only time neutering is medically necessary is for testicular cancer and prostate/perianal infections refractory to treatment. And it is not necessary to neuter unless these problems occur, as they are treatable. For females, spay must bed done early to help with breast cancer prevention and then you increase the risk for other problems. Many large breeds do not reach physical maturity until after the age of two years, so spay/neuter before that time is definitely risky. However, the owner does have the right to make his or her own informed choice.
Living Large says
I’ll also add Time 4 Dogs, that I googled your information on S/N and could only find the info you’re giving here on your blog, as well as other pro-breeding sites. I’m not getting anything from the AVA or the research universities that typically put out these types of studies (While I typically get these, I could have missed one!) I agree, a “limited” personal experience may be inconsequential, but I’ve had over 2 dozen animals in my care throughout my life, either permantly or as fosters. None of them suffered ill effects of S/N or developed any of the maladies you describe. I would consider over 2 dozen animals a pretty well represented test group. And though we clearly disagree, Time 4 Dogs, I want to thank you for engaging in discussion without name calling and at least admitting that people have the right to make up their own minds regarding the issue. It’s refreshing in an era where disagreeing is a public blood sport, to have someone present facts as they see them without name calling or berating the other parties as bad people. Bravo for you!
Donna F. says
Who is the AVA? If you are referring to the American Veterinary Medical Association (i.e. the AVMA), then, yes, you did miss a study published in JAVMA, December 1, 2007, Vol. 231, No. 11, Pages 1665-1675. It is available for free here:
What is the “AVA”? Do you mean the AVMA? Much of the info I just posted is from their journals.
“Living Large” the information on my blog is ALL backed up by scientific studies and they are all referenced there. And good heavens, “pro-breeding sites”? as if BREEDING is an awful thing. Without breeding, you have no more pets.
Here are some studies (and some articles that reference studies also):
Rottweiler study links ovaries with exceptional longevity
A Healthier Respect for Ovaries:
“Retaining ovaries may be a key to prolonged life in women and dogs”; DVM Newsmagazine; Dec 5, 2009. http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/646838
Determining Optimal Age for Gonadectomy in Dogs and Cats” Root-Kustritz
Good synopsis of current studies, and discussion about how to decide the “neuter-or-keep-intact” dilemma. Reasonable suggestions here include consideration of breed-specific health predispositions, the intended use for the animal and the age of the animal. The paper includes questionable assertions inserted about the need to sterilize shelter pets. This opinion of the author seems to rest on a presumption of “pet overpopulation” which is no longer a significant concern in the US. However, this article has GREAT charts listing the risks vs benefits of sterilization in males and females, and whether or not the health risk in question is a serious one:
“Stalking the Spay/Neuter Standard” Khuly (interesting article from 2008, before the ovary link to longevity was publicized):
(Continued in next post)
Sorry to post in two parts but apparently this was too much info for this site to accept in one post. Please see post above for part 1 of the studies.
Puddle Jumping; Canine Urinary Incontinence
“It affects about 20 percent of spayed females,” Byron says. Among large breeds, studies have suggested that the incidence may be as high as 30 percent. It may occur in the first few years after spaying, but is most commonly seen in middle-aged and elderly bitches.
“Most of these dogs will start to leak about three or four years after they’ve been spayed,” says Byron, who specializes in urological diseases. Scientists are not sure exactly why these dogs start to leak, but most theories point to the role of one vital hormone-estrogen.
Long-Term Health Effects of Spay-Neuter
(Some risks are not linked to age at time of neutering, such as cognitive dysfunction in older dogs, hypothyroidism, diabetes, susceptibility to infectious disease and adverse vaccination reactions, and various deadly cancers such as hemangiosarcoma, prostate and bladder cancer. So no, simply waiting until maturity does not help for those conditions)
In the following study, neutered dogs were four times more likely to suffer from malignant bladder cancer than intact dogs. Neutered dogs were eight times more likely to suffer from prostate transitional cell carcinoma than intact dogs. They were twice as likely to suffer from prostate adenocarcinoma, and four times as likely to suffer from prostate carcinoma. On average, castrated dogs are three times more likely than their intact counterparts to develop some type of prostate cancer.
This paper was one of the first to discuss the hazards of early spay-neuter. There are many studies referenced here, as of 2005.
Zink, Christine, DVM, PhD, DACVP
“Early Spay-Neuter Considerations for the Canine Athlete”; 2005
This should be enough to get you started. A word to the wise is sufficient.
“Pro-breeding sites”…good lord, thank God for those! We really need to worry about the anti-breeding sites, and the misinformation and hatred they spread.
Living Large says
Thank you, Time4Dogs, for linking to this information. The Rottweiler study is, as far as I know, the latest and most interesting study I had with regards to the possibility that at least that breed may live longer if spayed at an older age. Some of your links are interesting, but not studies, so I won’t comment on those. There have been at least two (maybe three, right now I cannot place the third) comprehensive reviews of all of the most recent studies done on the spay/neuter question. One of them is the National Animal Interest Alliance summary to which you’ve linked. I find that one interesting and relevant to the original blog post because female dogs studied in Norway had over a 50% more incidence of mammory tumors. Another is a very comprehensive study of research from the AVMA, which I could not locate tonight. There were a couple of other studies that while highlighted some risks, also highlighted some health benefits as well:
and this brief summary from the AMVA meant for public consumption: ttp://www.avma.org/myveterinarian/spay_neuter.asp
On whole, I believe the conclusion of the NAIA sums it up best with regards to the health benefits and risks associated with spay/neuter:
“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. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject. 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 dogs do not appear to be supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature.”
This is basically what Allie was saying and I did not articulate well at all, that there are both benefits and risks associated with spay/neuter and while the S/N may increase the incidence of some cancers/conditions, it basically balances with the decrease of others, some of them more deadly such as mammary tumors.
The thing I objected to is putting the health research of S/N in such black and white terms. It is simply not.
As for the social benefit of S/N, I firmly believe that tips the scale in favor of S/N. Continued…..
Living Large says
I have no idea where, in the U.S. that you live, Time4Dogs, but I have lived in the Midwest all of my life and now live in between the Midwest and the South and no for a fact that there is a pet overpopulation problem in these two regions of the country. While shelters in the east and on the west coast have a problem finding mainly small dogs, people I know work feverishly every week trying to find fosters, permanent homes and rescues that will take small, medium and large dogs, as well as cats. While there may be a shelter management problem at many shelters that do not have a sustainable adoption program, other shelters in these two regions are simply overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of animals that come into the facilities everyday. Whether we call it a pet overpopulation problem or a lack of RESPONSIBLE homes problem, there is a problem with supply and demand. It may not be throughout the entire country, but it does exist. When there are an estimated 8 million pets entering shelters each year, there is a problem, no matter what you call it and saying that S/N will simply render pets extinct is a gross exaggeration, that is not about to happen in my lifetime or yours. As well, I do not agree with the importation of pets from anywhere until we figure out how to solve our own population, irresponsible owner AND shelter issues. I haven’t seen numbers on the importing for quite some time, but the last numbers I saw was no where near the “hundreds of thousands.” At any rate, thanks for the discussion, as I said, it was a pleasure to debate an issue without it sinking to personal attacks and I appreciate your research on the subject. I think we are products of our own environment and as a person who currently has 6 rescues (2 of them pulled from a shelter just hours before execution) and has experienced Kill Day at a municipal shelter, I firmly believe in the reality of too many pets for not enough good homes in this region, the poison of BSL legislation and see S/N as ONE of the answers to the problems.
Living Large says
And I just saw your question, yes, I meant the AMVA. Please forgive my typos. When I’m looking at blogs and responding to posts, It’s usually in between assignments. We get up around here at 4:30 and typically put in about 14-15 hour days. That’s a lot of writing for me and by this time, my mind is turning to mush.
“Living Large”, I hope you read through some of the studies on the long-term risks of spay-neuter.
As to your more recent issues raised about imported dogs; yes, the conservative estimate is hundreds of thousands of dogs imported each and every year:
“300,000 Imported Dogs Prompt Rabies Concerns”
As to the perception that there are too many pets and not enough homes, Nathan Winograd summarizes the situation quite well:
How many dogs and cats enter shelters annually? 8 million. (Some put it as low as 6 million, but I am going to use a “worst case” scenario.)
Of those how many are savable? 90 percent or just over 7 million.
Of those how many will be saved? 4 million.
How many of the savable animals are killed? 3 million.
How many need to find new homes? If shelters are doing their jobs comprehensively, just over 2 million (3 million on the high end). The remainder should be increased reclaims or in the case of feral cats, TNR’d.
Other than those who will adopt from a shelter as a matter of course (those saved above), how many people in the U.S. are looking to bring a new dog or cat into their home next year but have not decided where they will get the animal and can be influenced to adopt from a shelter? 17 million.
So, 17 million people for 2-3 million dogs and cats.
Maddie’s Fund ‘s recently wrote :
“Saving all of our healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats by 2015 is more than possible – we’re almost there!”
Living Large says
I have read the studies that are available, this is part of what I do as a writer and have always came to the same conclusion as did this independent, non-biased look by NAIA: “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. ” In the meantime, I only have my own anecdotal, as well as my friend’s and family’s anecdotal evidence upon which to make my decisions. I typically do not get puppies (as a matter of fact, I haven’t had a “puppy” in over 25 years. I usually get dogs 2+ years old, as they are the hardest ones for the rescues to find homes for. Of the 6 I have now, only 1 was already S/N, putting them all at older ages for the procedure, so maybe that is why I have such good luck with them living beyond the 12 year median lifespan. (All of my animals, except a childhood dog that was not neutered when I was a child and broke out of our fenced in yard and was killed by a larger, more aggressive unneutered dog over a female in heat) have lived well past 12 years. Most including a Collie/Shepherd mix, lived to be 15. If I had a puppy, however, I most likely would not S/N until the dog was past 1 year old because I am aware and have read the studies about early S/N. As for Nathan Winograd, yes, I’ve read “Redemption” (twice) and even interviewed him on the book one time. While I agree with much of his theories, I believe the problem we face with domestic pets in this country is mutli-leveled, as I explained: Not enough RESPONSIBLE homes (just because there are 17 million people looking for pets, if we accept that number, doesn’t mean they will all be responsible pet owners or even keep their pets for a lifetime). In my area, a rescue I’m involved with tells me that people will get a puppy say for Christmas, and 6 months later, dump it at the local shelter. 6-12 months later, they see this very same person in dumping another young dog. They’re infatuated with puppies, but do nothing to train or socialize the pet and when it grows out of that cute phase, they abandon it. They’ve had this happen so many times that they instituted a fee to give up a pet at the shelter. Which brings us to that other problem of shelter management, which I agree, has gone terribly wrong in this country. Thanks for the link on the imported dogs. I didn’t realize the numbers had grown so much, as I said, I don’t deal with those kinds of issues on a regional level here. I typically cover stories in which we’re shipping our homeless dogs out (mostly small ones) to the coasts where there is a bigger demand. As I said, I am not for importing anything until we get our problems, all levels of them, fixed. I fully believe that Americans need a lot more education on pets, especially with in regards to accepting responsibility for a lifetime (I’ve done many stories on college towns where the rate of strays goes up tremendously in May and December, when kids are leaving to go back home, they simply turn their pets out or leave them at the shelters) and how to positively train and socialize their animals. We also have to fix this kill shelter problem. As I stated before, I believe S/N initiatives are one way to curb the tide of unwanted animals until such time our society progresses. Quite frankly, I’m glad to see the numbers of S/N so high, but I have to question even those numbers since I have had nearly 2 dozen animals over the course of my life and the vast majority of them came to us as rescues unaltered from their previous homes. But then again, most of my animals have been mixed breeds, clearly the results of “oops” litters.
Sharon Waldrop says
Humans are steralized by the millions each year, so it is not cruel to steralize a dog or cat. What is cruel is bringing new dogs and cats into a world where millions are put to death in shelters each year in the U.S. alone. We recently rescued a puppy off the streets, who was the result of negligence and irresponsible breeding by a human. She and her sister were about six months old and living on the streets near a friend’s house. Unfortunately, our dogs sister was hit and killed by a car. We heard about the dogs and rescured the surviving sister before she succumbed to her sister’s fate. Oh, and when she was spayed, she did just fine! She was a little groggy the first day, but the next day. one would never know that she had just been so-called “mutilated.”
Do you live in the 1800’s or something. We don’t mutilate our own balls anymore.
Kathleen Winn says
The idea that anybody could try to justify not spaying and neutering dogs in this country, while millions are killed each year in horrific and agonizingly slow methods because of overpopulation, just shows that there is truly nothing too absurd for breeders to propose in their attempts to protect an industry that is responsible for misery, suffering and death. Am I supposed to actually be concerned that spaying my dog might result in reducing her lifespan by a few years, while entire litters of puppies are tossed into a metal box where they are slowly suffocated? Not to mention that Living Large is absolutely correct. The overwhelming body of evidence shows spaying and neutering dogs INCREASES their lifespan, instead of decreasing. And you can bet that the only “studies” that show otherwise are funded by the breeding industry itself in order to rationalize the ridiculous notion that it is cruel to spay and neuter dogs. Our rescued Lab mix lived to almost 15 years, with absolutely no ill effects from being neutered. We adopted another rescue dog about a year and a half ago who at eight years old, had not been spayed. While the vet was spaying her, he discovered a mammary tumor that he said is very common in female dogs that have not been spayed and have had numerous litters of pups. When our shelters are empty because all of the unwanted, unloved dogs in this country have been adopted, and when the companies who manufacture gas chambers for animal shelters have gone out of business due to lack of customers, then I would say maybe we could consider limited numbers of dogs not being spayed, until then, it is the most absurd, downright stupid idea anybody who claims to love dogs, could possibly propose.
Sharon and Kathleen, when shelters kill adoptable animals they do so by choice, not necessity. When we import hundreds of thousands of pets every year, and shelters commit atrocites every day with impunity every day. The most excellent blog detailing the ongoing institutionalized cruelty in our animal shelters is Shirley Thistlethwaite’s “YesBiscuit”. It is a must-read. Also, have you heard of Nathan Winograd? He is one of the leaders of the No Kill movement. He has plenty of documentatin on his blog about the gross shelter mismanagement in this country. (www.nathanwinograd.com)
Humans who have a hysterectomy do so due to medical necessity and they almost never have their ovaries removed at the same time. Men are no longer routinely castrated (as the castrati were in the middle ages). There is no comparison with the spay-neuter of pets.
The overwhelming body of evidence does NOT show that spay-neuter is beneficial, no matter how much those who hate breeders and breeding insist to the contrary. The primary indication for early spay would be prevention of breast cancer…but only in breeds genetically predisposed. An owner needs to weigh the risk vs this benefit in their individual situation. Widescale spay-neuter is neither wise nor kind.
Sadly, the latest survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers shows that 78% of owned dogs and 88% of owned cats are sterilized. Most people are drinking that Kool Aid.
I was curious to find some studies on whether breeding increases the risk of breast cancer as asserted by one of the commenters here. Per the “canine cancer website:
“Interestingly, pregnancy and lactation appear to have no influence on mammary cancer risk, however, evidence
suggests that females bred extensively beginning at an early age have a slightly lower risk for mammary cancer.”
I don’t know who wrote this specific article, but this is a well-trusted site for canine cancer information.
Living Large says
Time4dogs, One of the studies YOU linked to says that female dogs not spayed at a young age are 50% more likely to develop mammary tumors than females that have not. You seem to support scientific studies only when it supports your pro-breeding opinion. You can’t have it both ways.
I can’t believe I’ve read so much of this discussion…I thought it’d be more informational instead of debate; however, despite my being pro-choice on neuter/spay, I can’t help but notice how you continuously requested research and berated for not providing it, yet also managed to get away with no proof yourself, just ‘quotes’. I understand you’re ‘busy’, yet kept managing MANY discussions, but it’s also lead me to wonder if you are the ‘troll’ you speak of (I mean as an afterthought…you said you know the host…more traffic for her, usually more money, if being paid…2+2=4 still, right? ;P Not that I care, nor is it the point of what I’m about to discuss) Aside from the latter, just some constructive criticism, no offenses meant…I CAN repeatedly say I’m a seasoned vet of 35 years who definitely has experience with more than two dozen animals and spout an argument, but it doesn’t make any of it true until I have evidence…you know, what you badgered others for, but only had excuses why you couldn’t provide yours. Or when you had something, it was a quote, but no references (yet again…despite what you badgered others for). Basically, I’m just suggesting putting your words with actions…walk the walk…thought it may help you appear less of a hypocrite (because, honestly, all the talk just made me eventually skim over your stuff and surprisingly seek Kool pets'(?) response, once they provided references, despite not agreeing wholeheartedly…credibility is what keeps an inquiring mind interested is all I’m saying…No sarcasm meant, but…I’d think they would’ve taught you that in journalism…I remember learning that in English 101 years ago. Considering your field is/was journalism I thought it may help hone your skills. I know I would’ve appreciated it from a reader if I strutted like that and my job should consist of quality workmanship (just in case you thought it…I understand these posts may not have been for work, but I imagine after 25 years of journalism habits rub off in all aspects of a person’s life…that is, moreso should they take pride in their work). Credibility…hypocrisy…in the blink of an eye it can turn laughter into respect…or the other way around. But, hey, what do I know? I’m just the reader with an opinion, but aren’t we all…
Please forgive me, I meant Time4dogs, not Kool pets…a bit long winded off the subject I was and couldn’t recall who.
Kathleen Winn says
Yes, it would be wonderful if we lived in a country where local communities were willing to provide funding for continuous adoption drives, events to promote homeless animals as well as take care of animals that go unadopted for their entire lives. But we don’t live in that world, we live in the real one, where taxpayers for the most part, do not see the value in pouring money into the cause of keeping homeless animals alive. It is much cheaper and easier to buy a gas chamber and kill them, and that is why no-kill shelters are still by far the minority.
“Without breeding, you have no more pets.” Dogs and cats are “breeding” right now in backyards, back alleys, fields, barns, basements, garages, and everyplace else in America where irresponsible owners let there unneutered/unspayed animals run loose. We are as much in danger of the extinction of fleas as dogs and cats. And as long as there are people proposing the ridiculous notion that it’s “cruel” to spay and neuter pets, the misery and suffering will continue.
And I’m afraid I’m going to go with the opinion of my very well educated, very experienced veterinarian with regard to mammary tumors, which he said he’s rarely ever seen in an animal that was spayed at a young age, but has seen many, many times in unspayed female dogs.
Kathleen, we surely don’t want dogs who are produced as accidents to be the only pets of the future. There is a need with dogs bred for specific purposes…..for their ability to herd, to retrieve, to guard our property, to guide the blind and to act as companions. Purpose-bred dogs fill these needs, and purpose-bred dogs from parents who are healthy are the best options.
Your vet’s “opinion” based on his personal experiences is about as valid as my observations based on my experiences as a critical care nurse. I have seen many more cases of lung cancer among nonsmokers than smokers in the thousands of patients I have cared for over the past thirty years, but that doesn’t negate the studies done on the subject that show only about 15% of lung cancer cases occur in nonsmokers.
Use of anecdotal experience is not a way to form a valid scientific opinion.
Kathleen Winn says
My vet does not base his opinion on his personal experience alone, but also on the many, many studies that confirm it. He has merely shared his own observations that bear out what he’s learned from scientific studies.
I agree that certain breeds of dogs are suited to particular tasks or have traits that are beneficial to humans. The problem is that there are so many breeding indiscriminately that we have millions sitting in shelters waiting to die a slow, agonizing death, including thousands of purebred dogs who are victims of the breeding industry, which produces many more dogs than there are owners willing to pay high prices for a dog. And as I said before, it would be great if every shelter could be no kill and use aggressive adoption drives to find homes instead of killing animals, but that costs money and there are unfortunately, many, many tax payers who just aren’t willing to spend it on saving dogs and cats.
The only way to get the homeless pet population under control is to encourage, if not require, every pet owner who isn’t a legitimate breeder to spay and neuter their dogs. And the breeding industry needs to be restricted in how many dogs they flood the market with too. These are living, breathing, creatures, but they are regarded as nothing more than a product to be sold for profit by many irresponsible breeders.
“We don’t want dogs produced by accident to be the only dogs of the future”- exactly why pet owners should spay and neuter, because more and more people are becoming aware of the problem of homeless animals and are adopting from shelters rather than contributing to an industry that is part of the problem. People now know that there is a rescue organization for virtually any breed of dog you can name, because of over-breeding and people not spaying and neutering. If we don’t want dogs produced by accident to be the only dogs available in the future, then something has to be done to curtail the overwhelming numbers of them being produced just that way. Convincing people not to spay and neuter will only further increase their numbers and result in more suffering, more misery and more death.
Sorry, Kathleen, but your picture of gloom and doom is just not accurate. Per Maddie’s Fund….with the euthanasia rates in shelters at the lowest they have been…we are not only close to achieving their goal of a no-kill nation by 2015…we’re almost there already.
We import “rescues” by the hundreds of thousands.
Whether intentionally bred, or even the occasional accidental litter, we are not suffering from a “pet overpopulation” problem. We spayed/neutered our way into a shortage.
A “legitimate” breeder? Now who pray tell will define that term? There are as many different breeding programs and styles and purposes for the dogs being bred as there are breeders.
We already have animal welfare laws that prohibit the inhumane treatment of dogs and those are more than adequate.
Also, there are many problems with spaying/neutering the vast majority of dogs that people just don’t seem to think about, because they are only regarding the issue in a very superficial manner. Canine geneticists tell us that to promote genetic diversity and good health within a breed that as many individuals as possible should contribute to future generations. Sterilizing the majority of dogs as we do now causes a narrowing of the available genes and the proliferation of genetic disease. Using just a few dogs for breeding necessarily results in undesirable inbreeding, the results of which include reduced vitality, longevity, fertility, immune system health, and increases the rates of genetic disease. Mass sterilization is indeed a very foolish proposal, and it is exactly the system we operate under right now. Very sad for our dogs.
Kathleen Winn says
What is “very sad for our dogs” is the many thousands who are shoved into a steel box and then slowly suffocated, despite your rosy prediction that in a couple of years the entire country will be no-kill. Dream on. In our small rural community, the shelter manager was just recently denied funding to purchase a couple of new scanners to use in identifying dogs who are micro-chipped. If you suggested to the farmers and blue collar types that live around here that we should pour money into adoption campaigns and expand the shelter so that it could accommodate many more dogs in order to avoid killing them, you’d be laughed out of the city council meeting.
Of course, these are the same people who buy dogs from one of Missouri’s infamous puppy concentration camps (a result of all those very effective animal welfare laws) then don’t bother to spay or neuter them because why waste the money when you can just dump the puppies by the side of the road or shoot them. And that is just one community, but these same people are all over America and they cannot be convinced that they should open their wallets for the welfare of stray dogs. You are in denial about the scope of the homeless animal population and completely unrealistic in thinking it’s something that will be taken care of by no kill shelters, which most communities will NEVER agree to financially support, not when you can kill thirty dogs in a day, instead of spending money to feed, house and care for them humanely until homes are found, and indefinitely for those who never will be adopted.
The idea that we are even close to a small enough gene pool among dogs and cats to cause inbreeding issues, is ludicrous. Like I said, we are in as much danger of fleas going extinct as we are to having too few dogs and cats. I can only hope for the day that they would be in such short supply, that every single one is regarded as precious and guaranteed of a loving, caring home. The reality is that between puppy mills and irresponsible owners, the misery, suffering and death is guaranteed to continue for many years to come, especially if people buy into the ridiculous notion that it’s bad for your dog to do the humane and responsible thing and have it spayed or neutered.
Kathleen, the insitituionalized cruelty inherent in many animal shelters proves nothing about so-called “overpopulation”. They refuse to scan for microchips and kill by choice. Many of their charges have homes, and could be returned home, or could be found new homes but they refuse to DO THEIR JOB. It’s just easier to kill. That certainly proves nothing except the fact that many of our animal shelters are abject failures.
Again, the mindless mantra of spay/neuter as “responsible” has been disproven on many fronts. You are free to spay and neuter your pets if you so choose, but you are not free to force the rest of us to follow along merrily when we decide that our own dogs are better off without unnecessary, risky surgery that may very well shorten their lives.
Kathleen Winn says
Their “choice” is actually the “choice” of taxpayers who won’t finance no kill shelters, and out here in the country, the vast majority of dogs and cats who end up in the shelter, do not have loving homes with owners who are missing them. Our shelter is full of animals who are the result of people who dump entire litters of puppies and kittens, rather than spay their pets. They also dump adult dogs and cats or just neglect the animals until the poor things wander off on their own, to be killed by coyotes, starve to death or end up at the shelter for a brief stay until they are gassed to death.
You are free to support this kind misery and suffering and to promote misguided information on the “dangers” of spaying and neutering if you wish, but there are many like myself who see the suffering that results from it, and will work just as hard to encourage and promote responsible pet ownership. And- since I and other taxpayers have to pay for the result of that kind of ignorance and irrresponsibility by funding shelters and dealing with the overwhelming numbers of homeless animals, I absolutely DO have a right to demand mandatory spay/neuter laws and will support those kinds initiatives whenever possible, especially in my own community. If people want the “freedom,” to let their animals run around breeding indiscriminately, then expect me to pick up the tab for their irresponsible behavior, I’m afraid I have the right to address it as a taxpayer and as someone who does not believe in standing by while suffering and misery that could be prevented, is allowed to continue.
Animal Lover says
OK – the theory that Americans are irresponsible about their pets deserves some further addressing. Why is Norway not having the problem? Maybe, because, they allow nature to be nature?
But – following the argument from the ARses (Animal Rights) let’s look at people in that light (which – by the way, they ALSO want to eliminate from the planet along with all domestic animals.).
As there are so many children (under 21) producing more children without the benefit of them having a decent education, job and benefits beforehand, OR a job-holding husband. Then – logic would say – we need to make these children incapable of producing more. Should we “S/N” our teens? That would certainly stop the problem. Should we give them free pills and condoms? That might help – but pills don’t have to be taken and condoms not only don’t have to be used but can break. What do you suggest? OR – don’t you see this as a problem? Don’t say – you can’t equate the one problem with the other – as YES, I am a taxpayer and I AM paying for these children of children – who, in many cases, will just perpetuate the welfare state.
Kathleen Winn says
The fact that you don’t understand the difference between dogs and humans, explains a lot. There are no Constitutional rights granted to dogs, but there are to human beings, including the right to procreate. And your taxpayer status has nothing to do with the fact that our laws treat humans and animals, differently. For most of us , it’s pretty self evident as to why dogs are viewed differently than humans under the law. That is one of the reasons they need humans to make responsible decisions on their behalf. They don’t vote.
Sarah James Ayers says
If one is spiritually minded ( I AM NOT BUDDHIST) however, I do place dogs as important as human beings, In a lot of ways. THEY ARE GIFTS from GOD, so if one is high in conscience like I am , and my Pastor ( a very well known and loved one in my area) told me so… I think EACH OF US has to make our own decisions about our pets. I DO NOT follow anyone. I follow God, my inner knowing, and whats best for my dog . AND our life together. PERIOD
Mandatory spay and neuter laws result in increases in shelter intakes and deaths everywhere they have been tried. Would you like to pay for the higher costs associated with that? It is NOT a responsible option, and no one has the right to force their counterproductive ideas on the rest of us.
The “Save Our Dogs” website is presented by those who train search and rescue dogs and police K9s. They understand the serious threat from spay/neuter laws to their specialty.
Enforcement of leash and confinement laws seem to be what is needed in your community. Dogs roaming at large is never good, they can meet with an accidental death or harass other people/pets/livestock on their own property.
Nationwide, over half the shelter intakes are cats; most of them ownerless or feral, whose numbers will not be reduced by any laws.
I think you have selective attention, I have posted multiple times that early spay is beneficial for prevention of breast cancer. However, the owner should be made aware of the whole story in order to weigh the risks vs benefits and should always retain the right to make their own informed decision.
Certain breeds are genetically predisposed to breast cancer, while for most breeds, the risk is negligible. In breeds not at risk, a spay (particularly when done at an early age) will increase the risks of other health problems like osteosarcoma, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, immune system dysfunction, vaccine reactions, aggression, urinary incontinence, and others.
Bottom line, my dog, my choice. Not yours.
I resent those of you on the list that think Americans are stupid and need the Government to control us, speak for yourself if you are too stupid to understand reproduction. I own one intact dog and never breeding. I did my research and discovered it is not advisable to do early spays and neutering. Those who speak to it being done everywhere must be old people who have not kept abreast of MEDICAL research that indicates NOT to spay and neuter for the physical and mental health of the animal. A 3% rate of testicular cancer for dogs is an absurd reason to neuter, a 1 in 2,500 chance of female cancer in a dog is another bad reason (one in 5 HUMANS get breast cancer). We’re not living in the Dark Ages, everyone in this country understands reproduction and if my dog has a yard who is going to become impregnated? Who are you who want to control our rights as American Citizens? My city has no animal problems (yes we are educated), are you? Educate your community if you have an overpopulation problem and help those too poor to afford a fence but don’t try and attack me with your unfounded laws for me or my community! Do your research before spouting off ancient history using cancer scare tactics that have been proven invalid. No I am not a vet nor a breeder, I am a an average American grandparent who has always understood reproduction as do my children and I RESPECT my fellow citizens. Obviously many people posting are Disrespect all Americans by demanding more laws with their totalitarian and anthromorphic beliefs.
its true most americans are lazy pet owners. i have never spayed or neutered a dog and never will. the pet overpopulation is a myth perpetuated by professional breeders and the shelters because they are making money off of the spaying and neutering. they care very little about an animal’s health. case in point: i adopted a very sick dog from a shelter. her illness was entirely treatable if they medicated immediately. instead they choose to spay her. the dog had the condition when we got her and we treated but it was too late and my sweet little dog died. we need to set our priorities straight and not continue to fund these organizations and give in to myths. if you dont believe me just try finding a dog younger than 8 years old in your local shelter. these days the only puppies i can find are from breeders or in pet shops.
This whole animal issue is simply a reflection of where we’re going with humans. We’re already euthanizing unwanted humans through abortion, and then there’s the Terri Schiavo case. Many are put to death by the medical profession every day. They say they’re helping. Yeah, right. Doctors and Veterinarians give out drugs they know are dangerous and INSIST we GOTTA have ’em. Euthanization is actually already taking place in this society. Hitler saw to this with the Jews. (And as a side note in this election year, Hitler was elected to lead the Nazi Party by ONE VOTE. Think your vote doesn’t count??? HA!) God went to a lot of trouble to place animals on the ark to preserve them, MANY more animals than the humans he preserved on the ark. Think there might be a reason? Huh??? Ya think?
I’m in agreement. It’s time to move to Norway.
This was a very interesting read. What comes across if you read this without bias is how the pro-neuter posters are very reactionary and have a really hard time listening. Like some of the other more open minded posters suggested they should think a little more before posting. Livinglarge accused the first poster after his of immediately being and “internet troll”. It’s very clear that the responsible dog ownership in Norway is a long way from what happens in the USA. It is amazing how easy the pro-neuter posters want to ignore all the health risks of doing so and even advocate it as young as 4-6 months where the growth plate issue becomes a major concern. Owning a large breed and having it neutered this young makes it a veritable giant when older. My Springer Spaniel dog is entire and it’s interesting that it is always the speyed dogs that want to hump him…
He has no behavioural issues and I am responsible so as I want him to have his best chance in life he will stay that way.
Anyway if the pro-neuter posters were a little less reactionary they might have more credibility. Humans are to blame for the issues in the USA and neutering them all isn’t the answer. I think the fact that you can have guns in the USA demonstrates that not enough regulation exists to control choices and too much freedom equals death for both people and animals.
So perhaps better licensing and control of dogs and guns might help?
I agree with Norway’s policy, and thanks to some of you here I have decided NOT to have my 9 month mixed breed Pomeranian/Chihuahua male dog neutered. The vet, from Canada, tried to sell it to me because my dog barks a lot and gets quite excited (behaviours I’ll continue to address with positive reinforcement and training). I feel very relieved because deep down I have always felt that castration is wrong: we don’t do it to humans, why animals. I love my dog and consider myself a very responsible dog owner who puts the dog’s interests first. Thanks to all of you who have helped me to understand what to do.
As a volunteer for a spay/neuter clinic in my local area, as a past vet tech, as an animal owner of currently 17 dogs and cats, and a past owner of at least three times that, i have had all of my pets neuterd, hell, I am neutered. My animals are neutered so there are no heat cycles, no ovarian cancer, no pyometra, no testicular cancer and what do you know, not one of them whimpered in pain licking their genitals. Justavet, you do not remove a females genitals during a spay as any vet would know. A small incision is made, maybe a half inch long for a cat, then a spay hook is used to pull out the ovaries and uterus, they are tied off, the muscle wall is sown up and the belly wall is too, maybe 4stitches? All of my animals were up and about the next day, no problems. Why would you want a cat in heat half its life? Why would you want a dog in heat twice a year for 15-18 years? I applaud these countries for being model pet owners but in the USA we have a lot of stupid people who could care less, neutering is the best bet ( for them too!!)
When my dog was spayed, she had an incision longer than my hand (6inches+). It was missing stitches and she came home covered in blood and tattoo ink. She didn’t move for two days, and it took her months to heal fully.
Obviously this isn’t the norm, but the shelter I got her from required me to get her spayed and included the payment for their vet in the adoption fee. So I just went with it. I’ve never had problems from spays or neuters in the past.
A little digging, and I found the vet that preformed the surgery got his license in Peru. But that’s an argument for another day.
After that experience, I’d much rather keep a dog locked up during her heat cycle. I will not be getting another dog spayed. If that means I have to go to a breeder instead of a shelter? So be it.
I like the way they think in Norway.
Anthony Lynch says
excellent article! you write very passionately, and beautifully express exactly how I have been feeling my whole life. unfortunately in America one is treated like they’re some kind of nut job to express that point of view.
Animal over population is not a problem that should be remedied by cutting a healthy dog’s balls out, but by a perceptual and behavioral change amongst human beings, to be more responsible and compassionate to our pets!
Research done in many European countries 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. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject.
I recommend to read this article by angryvet.com:
“When someone purchases a new puppy they have been conditioned throughout the years to take the puppy to the vet, get their series of boosters, get their rabies shot, and then schedule their dog to be neutered. The first question that I always ask, much to the owners surprise is “Why are you deciding to castrate your male puppy”? Many times people don’t even have an answer and reply, “That’s what I thought I was SUPPOSED to do”. Other times people do provide a reason ranging from health benefits, which I can usually quickly dispel, to preventing unwanted behavior. In this post I will deal solely with the behavior modification issue in male dogs. The issue of behavior modification is far from clear cut and may surprise some people.
Often times people fear that owning an intact male dog in their house will come with unwanted behavior. Typical behaviors that people associate with intact male behavior include mounting, straying and wandering from the homestead, aggression towards humans and towards other dogs, and marking. Many people feel that neutering their puppy at an early age will prevent these behaviors from occurring and will make their dogs better pets that are more suitable for the household. Does this not create the same moral hazard that declawing a cat to prevent unwanted scratching creates? Many veterinarians who will not perform declawing for ethical reasons tell owners that they should not own a cat if they cannot deal with unwanted cat behaviors like clawing furniture, but they routinely neuter pre-pubescent dogs to curb other unwanted behaviors. The procedure is just as aggressive surgically and if done at an early age, comes with many unwanted health
complications that are beyond the scope of this post. In Europe castration is largely considered tantamount to declawing, tail docking and ear cropping.
Putting ethics aside for the moment, what are the behavioral effects of neutering male dogs? A retrospective study of only 42 dogs studied just that and the results were mixed. The behavior that is best controlled through neutering is roaming. Castration eliminates this behavior in 80 to 90% of dogs. Locking your gate would also accomplish the same thing. Urine marking in the house was controlled in only 50% of dogs and urine marking around or outside of the house where other dogs had marked was not affected at all. Mounting of people or other animals was reduced in 67% of the dogs. Lastly, aggressive behavior was only altered in cases involving inter-dog aggression and declined in 62% of dogs. Territorial, fear-induced aggression, and food aggression were not altered in any dogs 1. In another report dealing with aggressive behavior in dogs, prepubertally castrated male dogs were just as aggressive as noncastrated dogs 2.
There is at least the potential for some behaviors to worsen after castration. Testosterone is known to affect anxiety behaviors; for example, hypogonadal men with lower levels of testosterone are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression disorders. Treatment with testosterone alleviates these symptoms. Preliminary studies in mice were performed where mice were presented with stressful situations and their ability to process this fear with both contextual (same environment) and cued fear (an audible stimulus preceded a shock) were tested before and after castration. The results were mixed and showed that castration did inhibit contextual fear memory processing, supporting the fact that the processing of contextual fear memory within the hippocampus area of the brain is testosterone dependent. It is established that men tend to develop post-traumatic stress disrorder less frequently and of a less severe nature than women due to this
inhibition of contextual fear memory inhibition3.
Would it not be reasonable to conclude that it is at least possible that neutering dogs could increase fear behaviors through inhibition of the dog’s ability to explore its environment and to process and/or extinguish fear memories correctly? Renowned behaviorist Parvene Farhoody looked at this possibility in her Masters thesis at Hunter College in 2010. The study was based upon a 101 question survey called the Canine Behavior and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) to collect information on 7 different behavioral characteristics for over 10,000 dogs. Their data showed that neutered dogs were more aggressive, fearful, excitable and less trainable than intact dogs 4. These data were not peer-reviewed or published, but it is my understanding that they are continuing work in this field and that a larger study’s data is currently being compiled and will be submitted for review and publication. A similar C-BARQ questionnaire’s data involving a sample
of over 6000 dogs was compiled and presented to the Third International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods for Pet Population Control and showed neutering to worsen behaviors including: dog-directed fear aggression (breed dependent), begging for food, fear behavior and sensitivity to handling, aggression towards people and other dogs, decreased energy, excessive barking, and rolling in and eating feces5.
Castration may also contribute to the myriad behavioral issues that arise later in life, grouped under the category of cognitive dysfunction. Cognitive dysfunction is basically doggy Alzheimers and signs can include disorientation, housesoiling, aggression, wandering and confusion. It has been shown that neutered dogs progress much more rapidly from mild to severe cognitive dysfunction than intact males. 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” 6.
One more interesting thing to note is that in behaviors where it is generally considered that castration can improve behavior (The above data sheds doubt on even some of those dogmas.) there is no benefit to early neutering. It has been shown that the improvment of behavior through castration is not age-dependent. There is no rush to hurry up and “fix” your dog while he is still growing both physically and mentally. It is important to choose your puppy wisely. You must consider the inherent energy and potential for aggressiveness when selecting a breed of dog to join your family. Proper training, setting of rules and boundaries and exercise is imperative from day one. If problematic behaviors arise you must identify and work to rectify them quickly before they become habitual, and it is imperative to utilize the services of a behaviorist and/or trainer when problems arise. Castration should be considered as a last resort and expectations
for its success should be reasonable. Castration should not be performed on a pre-pubescent dog as testosterone is vital for skeletal and brain development and-behavior.”
A very good post there Agnesa. My dog Freddy is a Springer Spaniel and very high energy but he’s generally very well behaved. Interestingly when young he was very fearful but as he has got older he can stand up for himself when castrated males try to hump him. This seems common – I guess it is their way of payback – “damn i used to have a set of those danglies!”. He puts up with quite a bit whilst the owners of the neutered males never try to stop their dogs behaviour. Then eventually he will issue a warning and they back down!
Jennifer Margulis says
A new study of interest for those following this thread:
University of California, Davis
February 13, 2013
GOLDEN RETRIEVER STUDY SUGGESTS NEUTERING AFFECTS DOG HEALTH
Neutering, and the age at which a dog is neutered, may affect the animal’s risk for developing certain cancers and joint diseases, according to a new study of golden retrievers by a team of researchers at the University of California, Davis.
The study, which examined the health records of 759 golden retrievers, found a surprising doubling of hip dysplasia among male dogs neutered before one year of age. This and other results will be published today (Feb. 13) in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE.
“The study results indicate that dog owners and service-dog trainers should carefully consider when to have their male or female dogs neutered,” said lead investigator Benjamin Hart, a distinguished professor emeritus in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“It is important to remember, however, that because different dog breeds have different vulnerabilities to various diseases, the effects of early and late neutering also may vary from breed to breed,” he said.
While results of the new study are revealing, Hart said the relationship between neutering and disease-risk remains a complex issue. For example, the increased incidence of joint diseases among early-neutered dogs is likely a combination of the effect of neutering on the young dog’s growth plates as well as the increase in weight on the joints that is commonly seen in neutered dogs.
Dog owners in the United States are overwhelmingly choosing to neuter their dogs, in large part to prevent pet overpopulation or avoid unwanted behaviors. In the U.S., surgical neutering — known as spaying in females — is usually done when the dog is less than one year old.
In Europe, however, neutering is generally avoided by owners and trainers and not promoted by animal health authorities, Hart said.
During the past decade, some studies have indicated that neutering can have several adverse health effects for certain dog breeds. Those studies examined individual diseases using data drawn from one breed or pooled from several breeds.
Against that backdrop, Hart and colleagues launched their study, using a single hospital database. The study was designed to examine the effects of neutering on the risks of several diseases in the same breed, distinguishing between males and females and between early or late neutering and non-neutering.
The researchers chose to focus on the golden retriever because it is one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. and Europe and is vulnerable to various cancers and joint disorders. The breed also is favored for work as a service dog.
The research team reviewed the records of female and male golden retrievers, ranging in age from 1 to 8 years, that had been examined at UC Davis’ William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for two joint disorders and three cancers: hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor. The dogs were classified as intact (not neutered), neutered early (before 12 months age), or neutered late (at or after
12 months age).
Joint disorders and cancers are of particular interest because neutering removes the male dog’s testes and the female’s ovaries, interrupting production of certain hormones that play key roles in important body processes such as closure of bone growth plates, and regulation of the estrous cycle in female dogs.
The study revealed that, for all five diseases analyzed, the disease rates were significantly higher in both males and females that were neutered either early or late compared with intact (non-neutered) dogs.
Specifically, early neutering was associated with an increase in the occurrence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma in males and of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females. Late neutering was associated with the subsequent occurrence of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma in females.
In most areas, the findings of this study were consistent with earlier studies, suggesting similar increases in disease risks. The new study, however, was the first to specifically report an increased risk of late neutering for mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma.
Furthermore, the new study showed a surprising 100 percent increase, or doubling, of the incidence of hip dysplasia among early-neutered males. Earlier studies had reported a 17 percent increase among all neutered dogs compared to all non-neutered dogs, indicating the importance of the new study in making gender and age-of-neutering comparisons.
Other researchers on this UC Davis study were: Gretel Torres de la Riva, Thomas Farver and Lynette Hart, School of Veterinary Medicine; Anita Oberbauer, Department of Animal Science; Locksley Messam, Department of Public Health Sciences; and Neil Willits, Department of Statistics.
About UC Davis
For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world.
Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of nearly $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.
* Benjamin Hart, School of Veterinary Medicine, (530) 752-1555, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, email@example.com
View this story on the Web at
Trina Wood, Communications Officer
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine — Leading veterinary medicine, addressing societal needs
If someone allows his dog to wander, he has much bigger worries than an unexpected litter. Death by traffic or coyote and being stolen or lost are definitely greater threats.
There’s a shortage of adoptable dogs in some areas of the US; so much so that the shelters and rescues have to ship them in from other states or even from as far away as Mexico, Taiwan, Romania, Brazil and the Caribbean.
A recent survey by the US Border patrol estimates that over 10,000 dogs and puppies are smuggled into San Diego County each year from Mexico. Hundreds of thousands are imported legally. Tell me again about the big “overpopulation” problem? Maddie’s Fund website declares that “Saving all of our healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats by 2015 is more than possible – we’re almost there!” http://www.maddiesfund.org/No_Kill_Progress.html
i grew up in a family that believes thuroughly in fixing their pets. My ma always told me that i would grow out of my hatred for the procedure. That it was just me being a teen. But i always knew it was wrong, and i hereby swear that i will never fix a pet. Dog, Cat, Lizard, or Guinea Pig; i will respect them as fellow animals. Theyre my closest companions and deserve respect.
Lover of life. says
I actually agree that it *is* cruel to spay/neuter a pet, really it’s not natural and although they may react on instinct more than having the idea to form a “permanent” relationship it is still embedded in their mind to procreate and form those bonds during those times. Therefore I especially think it’s cruel to spay/neuter an animal after it already has gone into heat once because then they remember and can’t get that same sensations again (to mate, to nurture young, to form bonds with others of their kind.) At least when you do it before they go into heat- they can’t miss what they haven’t had. However, it is still a part of their livelihood and it can’t obviously be good to take that away from them when it’s part of evolution- it is part of their joy and it does contribute to their lives. The only thing I can say is that I do support spay/neuter because of the way society is, the addition of suddenly so many litters of animals to the pet population (if hypothetically the majority of pets were not spayed/neutered) would be overwhelming and a lot of animals would be born simply to die and that is cruel in itself. I also would like to mention that unless you “allow” your pet to mate when it wants to, you are being cruel by “exercising” control. It’s highly frustrating for them to not have the freedom to engage in their instincts if you agreed to allow them as a pet owner to have those behavioural instincts in the first place.
John Feazel says
I think that do unto others would transcend all of this squalling for scientific studies! Reality would finally strike home: no science necessary. I don’t want people with this scientific outlook to determine what’s right and wrong when everything and everyone was born correctly as planned. All of these people who want to hide behind scientific studies are nothing but ingrained, entrenched clinical sadists. They’ve done it so long it no longer affects them. They believe in punishment with their scalpels which is what this form of birth control really is, but this is much worse with farm stock. Sadism is epidemic on farms and ranches. This is the real reason for the “practise”.
Healing Paws says
Thanks for this! It’s fascinating how the same procedure can be viewed so differently by two different medical communities. Our veterinarians come from countries where spaying and neutering is less common, and that makes them more aware of how complex a topic it is!
I certainly hope all of you who are arguing so vociferously for the rights of animals to have their whole bodies have not had your sons circumcised. Boys deserve their whole bodies too. His body, his choice.
Jennifer Margulis says
Karen! I agree (don’t let the title of this article fool you): http://www.jennifermargulis.net/blog/2012/09/12-reasons-why-the-aap-is-right-and-you-should-circumcise-your-infant-son/
How do you address the problem of sex drive? It must be very frustrating to constantly feel the biological drive to reproduce, but be unable to. 🙁 And letting every animal reproduce at will would result in more of what we currently have, a major overpopulation problem.
Jennifer Margulis says
That’s a good question. But isn’t this something humans face all the time? We have sex drive and don’t necessarily have the opportunity to do anything about it and we do just fine. Also, fascinatingly, in Norway they have virtually no problem with overpopulation of dogs and the vast majority of dogs are not neutered. They are doing something right. It would be in the benefit of every American dog and dog owner to figure out how to replicate the Norwegian model here.
Yes Jennifer, humans have sex drives and often don’t have a partner. So they self indulge! Or hire a prostitute. Have a one night stand. Or just keep a still upper lip. Cats on the other hand go into heat. They yowl endlessly, posture, and are clearly quite uncomfortible. They can go into heat every month, there is no set time. Aside from their frustration and discomfort, they can drive their owners crazy. Cats often roam as well, and come home pregnant. My cats have always been indoors, and with my first one, I didn’t think I needed to spay her. Until she went into heat 5 times in a row by age 1. She would pounce on me while I was sleeping and start rubbing. I had her fixed. She was fine, and so have all of my others after getting spayed. I can’t buy into this argument that I am somehow being cruel and interfering with their normal endocrine function, or that they have been damaged for life. More damaging are the millions of stray cats and those being killed in shelters. How does Norway deal with cats I wonder? Do they sit and listen to them yowl, and just clean up when the males spray all over floor and walls? I am involve in many animal issues, but quite honestly, I find this one quite ridiculous for American society. Until we become more responsible, take better care of our dogs and cats, have empty shelters and every pet a loving home, and have inexpensive alternatives to spaying and neutering, and can figure out how to control a cat in heat without spraying, then we can stop. Until then, I fully support spay and neutering.
Great blog and I appreciate the many posters who have provided additional information.
The complaint that intact animals will suffer incessantly due to “their drive to reproduce, but will never be able to when controlled”, is based on a false premise. Our mammalian cousins have sex for physiological and mental pleasure, (just as many of us do) not “for offspring or preserving their species”; they have no concept of reproduction via sex, it is only an after effect.
I want my pets to be whole and enjoy their bodies as nature intended. I currently have a cat who just gave birth to three beautiful kittens, and being that I have a young son, it is immensely pleasurable to see him play with these wonderful lively creatures. We as adults are also fascinated by their interplay and the immense motherly instinct that the mother has towards them. Where else can you see this beauty unfold, except in farms? So the very process of allowing births to occur was my choice as the owner, and making our family-AND-my cat happy. This is where the self-righteous S/N crowd tries to impose morality with guilt vis-à-vis political correctness. I do not want people or the government telling me when I am allowed “happiness”. This is protected by our Constitution, and it seems that the PC people are as far away from allowing and /or feeling simple pleasures as Pluto is.
Two of the kittens are to be adopted by good, responsible friends, so I am NOT at all interested about MY part in the “over-population” sentimentality. If one is so concerned about this, they should attack and change the truly sick and irresponsible people who make up the bulk of this problem. But then, that would be so politically incorrect.
As for now, we feel that one litter is enough for us and we are looking to sterilize, but it most probably be a challenge to find a vet who will do either a tubal ligation or ovariectomy.
I must add that we were previously looking for Feralstat/Megestrol (a chemical sterilization, aka Pill), but were told the same nonsense that it is no longer available since it was “dangerous” (although Megestrol is used by humans and so is the Pill). So instead of having a temporary birth control for my cat and making the whole argument of reproduction moot, we were forced to decide to let nature take its course. It seems the medical/veterinarian industry abhors anything gentle, simple, or natural and prefers complicated, costly, and dangerous procedures instead.
You would not be against neutering female dogs if you saw your pet go through metastatic breast cancer. The chance of this cancer increases dramatically every year it produces hormones. Also after seeing the devastation of fighting male cats, I believe it is more humane to neuter male pets too. The discomfort from neutering is over in a day and there are sedatives and pain medications to control the discomfort. Your notion of intact dogs as the ideal is very misguided.
You would not be for neutering male dogs if you watched the dog you loved in terrible pain from osteosarcoma. Neutering increases the chances of osteo. Neutering before 1 year old increases the risk even more. Greyhounds are the breed with the highest risk (22%) but the rescue was not thinking about the health of the individual puppy when they neutered my dog at 8 weeks. My dog’s last week on earth was spent in uncontrollable agony because the first sign of a problem was a pathological fracture while we were on vacation and the pet sitter refused to put him to sleep.
Let’s not overromanticize Norway either… there are tons and tons of unwanted cats in this country, and no shortage of dogs either. Most people are responsible, but many people aren’t. How irresponsible Norwegians are towards their house pets in various ways has been one of the biggest disappointments for me after moving from the U.S. to Norway.
I have 4 females one is spayed and she got fat and she started humping everything in the house like a male dog. they other 3 not spayed and just fine, I don’t mind cleaning mess every 6 months and none of them ever got pregnant cus when they are in heat I supervise them even in the back yard, 2 of my dogs are large breed and am afraid of bone cancer if they lose their hormones my other dog is 5 lbs she goes in heat ones a year and its not even that much visible. sometimes I wish I never spayed my other little dog cus now she is more aggressive, got very fat and humps all day like a male.
To be responsible pet owner it doesn’t mean to spay and neuter, it means to care for your dogs, make sure they don’t produce puppies make sure they get all vaccines and vet check ups and high quality food. I am proud to say am responsible enough were any dog I ever owned was never pregnant or neglected and am always ready to take precautions when time comes, am not against spaying or neutering its personal choice but not the choice of the dog.
Honestly any Dog in the U.S I see that is Fix when they hit passed a select age they look so Depressed, Their no longer have any Joy most of the time, they overall just don’t seem happy and they look to be in a lot of pain passed the age of 8.
Growing up my family had a Pure Breed Shetland Sheepdog, He never had any health issues, And really so long as you never bring a non fixed Female Dog home that your not planing to have Mate with your dog then you really should never find any issues with pupplys, You walk with your Dog Leached meaning there is no way he could possibly try to mate with another dog on your walks you just tug him away or train him to follow your command.
Currently looking into getting my self a Pure Breed Male Siberian Huskey which I don’t plan to have fixed after having a dog as a kid be so playful even passed the age of 11 and still act like a puppy full of energy and life.
I honestly see having a dog fixed as Mutation.
Plus a fixed dog is more likely to get bone issues at old age compared to that of a non fixed dog making a Non-fixed dog possibility live longer overall and much healthier at that.
I’m Norwegian and I don’t think it’s cruel.. lol
This is very interesting and opposite view in comparison to what i have heard most of my life in regards to spaying dogs. It is a touchy subject in many cases i personally have a 2 year old German shepherd who was spayed at about 4 months and she is as happy and healthy as ever. I think spaying/neutering your dog shouldn’t be made a big deal but owners being responsible enough to except everything that comes with a dog should be taken seriously.
The Bearden Pack says
Sensitive subject for sure. I can see both sides of the debate. I sorda lie on the fence that it is cruel. The problem is that so many people are not responsible.
I agree that not many people are responsible pet owners. It really irks me a lot!
It’s not my place to comment on other peoples pets, and although necessary, I still find it to be wrong to spay/neuter stray dogs. But for my pets, if someone tries to spay/neuter them, I will return the favor. Seriously, I love my dogs, yes even the puppies. I’m not joking, I will castrate you if you mess with my pets reproductive organs, so if you decide to, you had better bring some painkillers.
Lindsay Pevny says
I’m surprised to hear this point of view! Here in the US, I’ve always been told that spaying and neutering is extremely important – NOT having your dog fixed is considered sort of taboo, depending on who you are talking to at the dog park.
My dog had her first heat, and she wasn’t able to run loose in the yard, and she had to wear annoying little panties – I couldn’t see myself handling this twice a year, and managing to always keep her from getting pregnant. I’m definitely going to get her fixed, though it will be heartbreaking to see her in pain, hopefully it’ll be relatively easy with no side effects.
When I had a male dog, fixed very young, before I got him, he still showed most of the annoying behaviors that intact males do, so I think training is a much better solution for marking, aggression and humping.
I am glad to see one descent article with out U.S Propaganda nonsense.
Its all ready the year 2015 and this Propaganda has no claims to back it up just mouth watering lies to scare people.
The odds of testicle cancer is so dam slim and people really need to consider other options.
Vasectomy, Tube ties etc or even long term doggy Birth Control, Their working on a Human Male Birth control that lasts up to 5 years and can be reversed by another shot and there is even a Doggy Strap on called a Stud Stopper you put it around your male dogs waist and the leather flab prevents the dog from making sexual contact with a female.
Dog Behavior is a freaking Myth with basic training. Each dog breed is different and select dog breeds need little to no training.
Humping of the leg can be done by ether a male or female dog and its the dogs way of saying Your His/Her Bitch and nothing more meaning your not the Alpha your Dog is and once you become the Alpha issue resolved.
Barking easy solve teach the Dog commands my intact Shetland Sheep Dog command to stop barking or any other annoying behaviors in Public that mite pop up when around select people is “Knock it off” then he get back to his normal self stop barking and continue on.
When he was a puppy he use to take my socks and burry them in the back yard or eat them the solve to my issue was teaching him to pick up objects and to get him to drop or pick up the object on command.
I mean to be honest you can buy dog training books or fine methods online and its not so hard to do if your willing to go the extra mile, a trained dog is a happy dog, a mutated dog is a sad dog.
To be honest I think the U.S could adapt select laws to allow fines to be made if a irropsible pet owner dog was to reproduce with another dog which would be both owners get a fine.
But again DNA testing to do so is not cheap but could be a option to have Dog DNA required on file with a ID tag, Or we could go the route of Shrink test for a dog license to get a dog which I think people would very well dislike as much as I would want to cause a riot if say idk Activist manage to idk pass a Nation wide Spaying and Neutering Law which will only cause Pure Breeds to become the Bees Knees and have a very high Black Market value in the U.S for a intact Pure Breed Catch is we would have a lot of inbreeding dogs causing genetic issues.
How ever Intact Pure Breeds may end up going for over a million dollars and who is pushing for it?
Is this a scam or is it a plot in motion?
Long term Genetic issues from inbreeding could be worse then the Cure or less a better solve then spaying and neutering can be made.
Sam Ivy says
This is one of those pet topics that causes huge debates between responsible dog/cat owners. One could argue that neutering and spaying helps reduce overpopulation of unwanted animals in shelters, or some other reason, but it’s still an operation the dog/cat didn’t want or agree to. They didn’t ask to be born, bred or live with humans; so why should they be the ones to undergo an operation? I think at the very least someone is to work on an alternative solution to dog breeding such as dog contraception.
This is not true to begin with, so kind of pointless to debate.
Neutering and spaying is very common, informed heavily FOR and extremely accepted in Norway.
Come and visit. It’s expensive but beautiful and if you want to find a feral or stray you are gonna have to look for a long time. Most people wont see one more than once or twice a year after all.
Olivia Jenkins says
why do we allow ourselves to deprive the needs animal instincts of dogs so? dog is friends of our
I do agree that it’s cruel to neuter animals.
Ron A. says
Neutering is a good thing. The surgery in conjunction with the dog training will produce a much better behaved and more enjoyable dog. It’ll be good for you and it’ll also be good for your dog because neutering him can reduce his risk of cancer.
you could say the exact same thing for humans, testicles produce testosterone which can sometimes result in aggresion so would you cut your own sons testicles off just because “he will be better behaved” i mean sure he probably would be better behaved but that doesnt make it alright
and sure it lowers the risk of cancer but only because you cant get cancer in what you dont have so tell me… would you cut off your daughters boobs off and say “well it lowers her risk of cancer” or would you remove one of your mothers lungs (without her permission) just because its one less thing to get cancer in ?
F off ron says
If you think you’re sooooo right then why don’t you cut your own balls? This way you will be better behaved and enjoyable to be around!
They should do that when people are aggressive and/or distasteful then? hm? Moron.
Sometimes, neutering our dogs can be the toughest choice that we have to make. It all depends on the perspective that you are taking. Either you want the best for yourself, or you want the best for the dog.
Theresa M says
Jennifer great post. Ive been privileged to share my life with intact dogs for over 40 years . At one point we had 2 dogs and two bitches, and when the girls were in season we just had to keep the lusty boys and wanton girls apart…or micro supervise them for what is essentially a short duration.
I dont support neutering or spaying for any reason. I do however feel it is time to make owning a pet a privilege rather than a right. All people dealing with dogs should be required to prove that they are accountable and informed before they are even allowed to purchase a dog from a breeder
Firstly I believe that all breeders should be licensed and all unlicensed breeders should be heavily fined as standard.
Secondly all breeders should be required to be responsible for the medical costs required by any dog which they breed up until that animal is 2 years old at least and keep detailed records of the animals and their new keepers for at least 3 years
All Potential owners/keepers of dogs should have to prove that they are economically viable, have no criminal convictions, are capable physically and mentally to care for a dog and can provide adequate living conditions including outdoor space for the duration of the dogs natural life. The potential owners should also be required to take and pass a course in dog behaviour and dog care . Then given that all the pre requisites have been met and the dog is then purchased the name and address of the new owner should be entered on a database along with the dogs microchip number
Intact if people could then prove they qualify to own a dog this would positively encourage people to meet the pre requisite standard and meet a particular social status.
Im sure there are countries that really do care for animal welfare and will make breeders and owners accountable…..This just needs to be adopted by countries with a lower standard.
However in the real world, we humans generally are mostly a bunch of numpties and we as a species overall are a virus on this beautiful planet and a plague on its non human inhabitants.
Maybe the earth should just have another ice age or major catastrophe or the best fit scenario would be a plague that afflicted only human life and and get rid of humans. There is no correcting or mindset as a group.
Olivia Williams says
Thanks for the amazing article. I think we should leave it to the veterinarians to decide if our dogs need neutering. After all, they’re the professionals and they know what’s good for our pets.
Raissa Markewycz says
If owners fed their animals the food they need there would be less chance of cancer. There are plenty of books on raw diets. Food is what causes cancer not an operation. Its very simple. If a cat howls while she is in heat and this bothers you then don’t get a cat. Be responsible and loving and caring. Animals are here to teach us to be better. We learn about ourselves through other people and animals. Try sleeping on a hard bed once in awhile so that you can remember how lucky you are to have a soft bed. Address your desensitized way. Do exercises to get back to the basics. Get to work and I am not talking about making money. Ohhhh, Good luck!
Just to clarify cancer is present in the body no matter how healthy a mammal’s diet is. This is because cells are constantly replicating and making copies of copies. Flaws are bound to occur because of this. Eating healthy does two things. First it provides ideal building blocks for cell replication and second, it keeps the immune system functioning at its peak so that the cancer cells that do occur can be killed by the immune system before they replicated and get out of control because that is what cancer is. cells that did not replicate properly making copies of themselves until there are so many that they impede the functions of other body process. Diet can make all the difference in the world but it does not guarantee an animal will never get cancer and bad food is not the only factor in the development of cancer.
I agree with this, if you are a responsible pet owner you shouldn’t need to Neuteur your dog. And people assume I’m irresponsible, It frustrates me that most vets judge me for my choices. My dog has a heart murmur and a luxating patella, I do not intend to breed my dog but from a lot of research and a lot of observations in small dogs, they tend to get obese when they are older, also a vet is not going to tell you that your dog most likely got hypothyroidism, diabetes or heart disease and weight gain because it’s been spayed they will tell you it’s just the way it is. so If my dogs diet has to be so restricted otherwise will gain weight I will have to deal with his heart murmur getting worse at a faster rate which can escalate to death within 6 months with treatment and his muscles becoming leaner and having to do an operation on his knee cap earlier. His health is excellent and his conditioned has not worsen, he is 3 years old and since he was 1 he maintained his condition and it hasn’t gotten worse. We let him stay at a friends house and he escaped and came home within an hour, he has never escaped from my place before where as other dogs which have been desexed have escaped their own yard, wondered off and got lost. My dog isn’t aggressive towards other dogs, even the staff at doggy day care are amazed at how well behaved he is and it’s because I’m a responsible pet owner who socialise my dog early on, taught him to sit at intersections for the little green man so in case he did get lost he won’t get hit by a car. Someone followed him back to my home because he couldn’t believe his eyes that my dog could do that so we know he didn’t Knock up some other dog on heat on the way. also if a responsible dog owner who has a female on heat which generally occurs twice a year. Should keep a watchful eye and keep her indoors for those periods. so the window for dogs to be fertile is 3 weeks of the year roughly. i suspect most dogs that end up in shelters are not from pet owners but people who want to breed their dogs. If you do not then just be more responsible. Keep females inside if they are on heat 3 weeks of the year. If u can’t do that then don’t get a dog your not ready.
Animal caregiver says
To everyone who neuters . So instead of actually taking care of your animals needs .they get aggressive …neuter them …don’t want them having kids ..neuter them ….don’t want mixed breeds breeding with pure inbred breeds ….fucking idiots …know what happens when you neuter a male animal and set it loose in the wild ? It gets beta status and gets literally ostracized and attacked by the non neutered ones ..also for lakes neutering takes away their testosterone and promotes more rapid aging …good for you people .instead of actually caring about your animals ..you just say chop their balls .??
Perhaps propaganda is not the right word for what goes on here but the reality is not enough time is spent informing the owners of dogs about the potential risks of spay and neuter. We’re constantly force fed all of the benefits and at the end someone will mention the potential risks of anesthesia but no one ever talks about long lasting effects of losing the majority of sex hormones. I recently completed a vet assisting certificate program and by no means am I any sort of expert but when I would ask questions about negative effects of neutering dogs before sexual maturity I was never given much of an explanation beyond oh no it’s never an issue. Never? Then how come when I was sent to my internship at a spay and neuter clinic did a tech I was training under tell me while I was Taking a TPR (temp, pulse and Respiration) on a great dane puppy that spaying her this early could cause problems with her bone growth and WHY did the clinic still go through with the procedure if that was such a risk to this patient at that age? No one would give me a real answer so I did my own research and quite frankly the with holding of certain facts from clients about problems associated with spay and neuter is an injustice to the client and the patient. Some cancers maybe eliminated but removing all reproductive organs can also contribute to the development of some cancers in dogs. There’s also metabolic issues that can develop.
Absolutely shelter pets shouldn’t go home sterilized to adopters that the vets don’t know but alternative sterilization methods should really be made available to both shelter dogs and dogs that are intact and already in homes because we’re messing with two different major body systems when we take away sex hormones but no body is talking wants to talk about how the endocrine system and how it’s effected.
My point is sterilization is going to necessary in america for a long time but ovary sparing spays and vasectomies really need to be made available to more owners and their dogs. And, we should strive to get this country to a point where owners are responsible enough to not have their dog spayed unless it is for a medical problem such as mammary ovarian caner. We are essentially creating more problems by preventing an illness that hasn’t even presented in a patient for the sake of convienence and yes having to deal with messes during heat cycles and watching our dogs more carefully during those cycles are reasons to spay that are beneficial to US not necessarily to our dogs. The example with the litter of puppies you described is a tragic result of lack of education on that owner’s part. It’s sad and it needs to be prevented but we also need to be striving for better preventative methods in the first place because getting an animal under anesthesia for any reason is no small concern and should be prevented at all costs.
Excuse me I meant to say shelter pets should not go to new homes with out first being sterilized.
1. My dog was unspayed her whole life. She did bleed but we just cleaned it up. Sweet dog. Sure she humped a cat now and then but over all very little sex drive and never had a puppy. Lived a long life.
2. Her mother was also unspayed but developed breast cancer in her teens. Lived a decent amount of time. Was pregnant once when she was 11.
3. unneutered male cat became violent when a male kitten was introduced to the house. He sent me to the hospital 3 times and was very close to being put down many times over. Fortunately after being fixed his testosterone leveled out and he was ok until he developed cancer years later.
4. female unspayed cat developed aggressive breast cancer. It’s fatal. Don’t get it. Thousands of dollars later it’s still going to kill her. Something like 90 % of all cat tumors are cancer (unlike dogs which are 50%). Had she been spayed before 7 months her chance of breast cancer would have been reduced by 95% and she’d be around longer. If you spay before 1 year it’s still a 80% chance less of cancer. This is not something you want to go through.
-Also, everytime a cat goes through a heat she risks getting a uterine infection which can be fatal called pyometra (dogs too). If it’s closed (as in you don’t see the infection coming out the cat will most likely die. I would rather have someone not go through all t his cancer and uterine infections over some bone loss when they’re older and get them spayed and neutered.. not to mention boys and girls spray and run away. It is super stressful. Unlike dogs cat’s go into heat every couple weeks and it lasts at least a week. That’s a lot of chances of infection and death.
Sezen Mande says
Hello Jennifer, This article ( https://www.clubvet.com.tr/kedi-kopek-kisirlastirmak-dogru-mu-saglikli-mi/ ) is in Turkish. It says neutering a dog or cat will provide long life and it prevent bress cancer. Do you think that this idea is correct?
I have a stray cat near my house who just loves being a mama cat and keeps getting pregnant every few months. I would not bother about her but for the fact, that my neighbor keeps feeding her and she keeps bringing her kittens over to my house as a result of her convenience. I tried shooing her away to no effect. My neighbor only knows how to feed all the neighborhood cats, but does not want to actually take care of them or of the resultant kittens…..
Finally I gave away all her kittens in her latest brood, and then captured her and had her spayed. I have read all the debates about spaying and understand both sides of the story, but trust me, the kittens were annoying each time they arrived, and I had to deal with their poop and them crawling into my car and making it hard for me to drive out.
After spaying, the mother cat continued to be very restless and kept calling out for her kittens, and it was stressful to see her like this. I felt guilty, trust me, but I do not know what else to do, as she was a very prolific breeding machine (and a stray cat who does not trust humans except looking at them as a convenient food source).
Thoughts? I have kept running this over and over in my head, but cannot arrive at any conclusion. I do think it was cruel to spay her. But as I said, there was not much choice, as nobody I knew wanted to adopt this cat or her endless kittens…..
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D. says
It sounds like it was a hard situation and it seems to me like you did the right thing.
Sarah Ayers says
My former dog passed at age 12, from cancer on her back, lumps everywhere, feet that bent outward, misgrown, tired all the time, heart disease, thyroid disease, and very tiny hardly noticeable female vulva area. She was spayed at 11 months old……I had zero idea about dogs because I never had one till her, a chihuahua, and so I followed vet protocol, parvo vaccines every year! all kinds of things the vet said I HAD to do. She was sick just about all her life. NOW I have a 2 and a half yr old female chihuahua, beautiful, healthy. I keep a strict eye on her, monitoring every single change, YES she is in false pregnancy now, and has had 4 heats so far, she gets whiny, and insecure acting, BUT I will NOT NOT NOT put her through what I lived through with my other dog. Norway has it right. I have a friend who has been a vet assistant, and around dogs, groomer etc all her adult life, and she has had dogs who lived long not being fixed. My dog, is sensitive, loving, and yes can be bratty, but she protects me and our home, and can bark at anyone who approaches….but that’s ok. Why would I do an elective surgery to cut her open by the vet, put her to sleep, and face all kinds of RISKS, ….IN THE USA unfortunately, vets are brainwashed sometimes, SOMETIMES by whoever owns the industry so to speak…. GREED< PROFIT SOMETIMES not all times and of course vets are NEEDED! If my dog had the signs of an infection down there, and seeming had the beginnings of pyo or other, I would do emerg spay, BUT LIKE US HUMANS , if I got an infection I would have it checked out, and not do surgery from a Dr ONLY IF NECESSARY. This reminds me of this country I live in the USA, needs to ADOPT equal rights for animals, pets especially , when it comes to over doing spay and neuter….WHICH THEY DO! A former vet of my new dog said SHE MUST GET SPAYED at 6 mo old! NO. Do research, and a well meaning spiritual Pastor who works with animals told me many times, USE YOUR GUT FEELING and follow it. Which I am doing . Every time I think of spaying my dog, (I cannot imagine putting her through that)
Brian Yates says
Thanks for the detailed article. I think It’s better we should leave it to the vet to decide if our dogs need neutering.
Ron Low says
I would choose vasectomy or tubal ligation for myself, or as proxy for a loved one.
Why do we routinely choose the most life-altering form of contraception for the pets we love?
Jessica Hamilton says
Hi. I don’t want to read all the comments as some are so bizarre, so I hope this is not a redundant question. But can you tell me how the Norwegians deal with their un-spayed female dogs’ bleeding times? I mean do they use pads?…or are there other good ideas they have thought of around this issue? Thanks so much.