The following information derives from a meta analysis preformed by Laura J. Sanborn, M.S. in 2007. All reference articles are included in the meta analysis. Three other extensive studies with very revealing and detailed information about 33 breeds have been recently reported and will follow in 3 other blogs here. Stay tuned…
Pet parents are strongly advised to spay/neuter their puppies and kittens as early as possible for health reasons and behavior and population control.
But, how valid are these reasons for neutering and spaying our dogs? After watching the difference between altered and unaltered animals I’ve asked these questions:
what are the health risks for not allowing our animals to develop fully into adult maturity?
what happens to the brain, the bones, the immune system with early spay/neutering?
what can the ‘alternative surgeries’ provide that gives the best of both worlds?
I don’t answer all of these questions here, but will continue in ongoing posts to address current studies and my observations over the decades. For now, let’s look at the meta analysis from years ago that created controversy and is mostly still ignored by most veterinarians.
The evidence for preventing future health problems with neutering is unclear.
With many retrospective studies to date, there is no clear evidence indicating the neutering male dogs, especially young male dogs, will prevent future health issues.
In fact, the negative health issues far exceed the benefits when it comes to early neutering/spaying.
What health benefit is there to neutering male dogs?
Starting with the benefits for neutering male dogs, the procedure eliminates the small risk (<1%) of developing testicular cancer. However, this is an uncommon, very treatable disease with a high incidence of cure. Neutering may possibly reduce the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders, perianal fistulas, and diabetes (data inconclusive).
10 Reasons Neutering Your MALE Dog Negatively Impacts His Health
#1: Most pets are neutered prior to their first year of age which disrupts proper hormonal processes. Removing the hormone generating organs of the body at early ages (less than 6 months) will impact other essential growth processes such as the development of bones, brain and intelligence, immune system, muscle size, as well as the overall health of the dogs.
#2: Hormonal disruption in neutered male dogs heightens the risk of other organ failure or malfunction. Neutering may triple the risk of hypothyroidism.
#3: Early neutering of male dogs increases the risk of developing bone cancer. Osteosarcoma is a common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis.
#4: Male dogs who are neutered are more likely to develop other orthopedic diseases. The potential for hip dysplasia and cruciate rupture rises when male dogs have inadequate time to fully hormonally develop and grow healthy bones. The closure of the growth plate is regulated by sex hormones which stops the bones from growing. Without the hormones, bones will continue to grow causing hip or elbow dysplasia.
#5: Neutering male dogs increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma. The likelihood of developing this common cancer, in the spleen, heart or other organs, in many breeds after neutering rises by a factor of 1.6, with a very poor prognosis.
#6: Male dogs neutered during their first years have a tripled potential for obesity. Similar to humans, overweight dogs are more susceptible to numerous other health problems such as those that affect the joints, thyroid and adrenal glands.
#7: The originally small risks for prostate and urinary tract cancers increase for neutered male dogs. The risk for urinary tract cancer doubles (<1%) while the risk for prostate cancer quadruples (<0.6%).
#8: The vaccines recommended may result in adverse side effects in neutered male dogs. By decreasing the immune boosting stimulation and protection from the testosterone surges during puberty, negative reactions to vaccinations are more likely to occur. This crucial hormone function is rarely recognized by conventional vets or shelter practices.
#9: Neutering male dogs may negatively impact their brain health as they age. Testosterone soaks the brain and provides protection from amyloid deposits, protein deposits that clog brain pathways. The risk of progressive geriatric impairments such as dementia rises in neutered male dogs.
#10: For the behavioral symptoms pet parents believe will be helped by neutering male dogs, other negative symptoms in behavior may develop. Studies indicate neutered males are susceptible to anxious or fearful behaviors, excessive separation anxiety, noise phobias, aggression, and undesirable sexual behaviors. Many behavioral issues are not caused by hormones in the body but by harmful ingredients from vaccines (particularly heavy metals), pesticides and other environmental toxicants in the food, air, water, etc.
If you're still confused about neutering your male dog, it's not your fault.
Here's what I suggest: keep your animal intact as long as possible. Take the time to educate yourself, think about your lifestyle, ask your vet questions and then proceed carefully.
If you have access to a vet who will perform a vasectomy, I suggest you consider this option in lieu of neutering. You can always elect for a full castration years after he has developed bones, immune system, muscles, etc.
Don't forget to spend time needed for adequate training to ensure they are well socialized and less likely to be a hormonal misfit!
If you MUST neuter your dog, homeopathy can help with some of the potential health issues that could arise.
Here's how other countries view neutering male dogs:
It's useful to know what is possible for your animals if you choose to delay or forgo the surgeries.
In many European countries, dogs are much better behaved overall than our American dogs. Part of this includes an unspoken rule about ignoring other people's dogs. Children are taught early to not "distract the dog." Dogs are everywhere with their humans and rarely interact with other dogs or people when they are sitting for an espresso (the human, that is), or walking down a street. It's a lovely sort of dance where dogs are closely attached to the human and just go about the business of their human without fuss or bother.
Most of those animals are not hormonally "altered" and seem to maintain harmony without over-population. Now, that's what I call a great dog society!
If you have access to a vet who will preform a vasectomy, I suggest you consider this. If you do not, the Parsemus Foundation can help you and your vet get educated.
Here's what you need to know about what can happen when testosterone producing glands are removed from male dogs:
Recent information has shown the removal of the testosterone producing glands (testes) inhibit a feedback loop in the brain (pituitary) to actually increase luteinizing hormone, which has been potentially associated in non-cancerous and cancerous diseases. One of the mechanisms for the risk of cancer increasing could be more clearly understood now in neutered dogs.
It has been my experience in this profession (now over 4 decades) that dogs and cats spayed and neutered much later in life or not at all, along with natural rearing choices, can live a much, much healthier, longer life!