To spay or not to spay

Published August 24, 2013 by lowercase v

I just read a post on a another blog about spaying. As I was busy replying, I decided to elaborate on my response a bit and do this post:

puppy

I did a course on canine reproductive health a while ago. (It was a Coursera course from the University of Minnesota). I think this is a very important issue but also a extremely sensitive and volatile subject.

Just like parents need to give their human children “The Talk” and tell them to practice either abstinence or safe-sex, dog-parents also have to care about their fur-children’s reproductive future.

Gabi is spayed. The story I got regarding her sterilization is this:
After she made champion show dog, she was bred. She was attacked by another dog (this is how she got her scar) and and lost her puppies in the trauma. She was also spayed at that time. It’s a very sad story and explains why she is often so cautious of other dogs.

Yes, there are risks in sterilization (some of them are extremely low risk anyway). Mostly the biggest risk is weight gain, but this doesn’t happen in every dog. You should ensure your dog gets exercise and feed a healthy diet. And although you would not be making decision whether or not to spay your human daughter, the talk won’t work on your dog. She might have babies before she turns one… and it won’t be just one baby either.

Some risks of spay/ neuter:
* Slightly bigger chance for prostate cancer in males (rare)
* Slightly bigger bone cancer and cancer of the blood vessels (rare)
* Urinary incontinence (females)
* Weight gain

Benefits of spay/ neuter:
* Completely eliminates BPH (enlarged prostate, common in intact males)
* Eliminates testicular cancer in males
* Eliminates testosterone driven aggression
* Eliminates ovarian, uterine,
* Decrease mammary cancer risk
* Decreases Pyometra risk (in females)

Sterilization is a personal choice, but I personally believe it’s a right choice for a responsible dog owner to make.  (Unless you’re a professional breeder but then you should breed responsibly) 

With female dogs especially it’s better to spay if she’s not a breeding dog. With male does it’s also good to neuter (even though there seems to be more risk). Yes, even if he is an only dog or if you only have male dogs. You can’t be sure he won’t get out the yard when there is a bitch in heat in the neighbourhood. Like wise with your female, you can’t be sure they neighbour’s dog won’t hop the fence. Lulu, from next door gets in our yard all the time. She’s a girl and Gabi isn’t even in heat…. Imagine is he was a male and Gabi was in heat!

Shelters take in homeless dogs on a regular basis and are severely affected by canine overpopulation and the uncontrolled breeding of dogs. In most cases they have to euthanize un-adoptable dogs. Shelters therefor sterilize dogs (purebred and mix-breed alike) upon adoption to avoid further unwanted pregnancies. Unwanted dogs leads to further overpopulation, which leads to even more euthanasia (dogs been killed).

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