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Thread: Interesting study on Desexing

  1. #1

    Default Interesting study on Desexing

    PLOS ONE: Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers

    "Of early-neutered males, 10 percent were diagnosed with HD, double the occurrence in intact males. There were no cases of CCL diagnosed in intact males or females, but in early-neutered males and females the occurrences were 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Almost 10 percent of early-neutered males were diagnosed with LSA, 3 times more than intact males. The percentage of HSA cases in late-neutered females (about 8 percent) was 4 times more than intact and early-neutered females. There were no cases of MCT in intact females, but the occurrence was nearly 6 percent in late-neutered females. The results have health implications for Golden Retriever companion and service dogs, and for oncologists using dogs as models of cancers that occur in humans." - hip dysplasia (HD), cranial cruciate ligament tear (CCL), lymphosarcoma (LSA), hemangiosarcoma (HSA), mast cell tumor (MCT).

    "For all five diseases analyzed in the present study, the disease rates in males and/or females were significantly increased when neutering was performed early and/or late."

    Even more concerning - However, the possibility that age-related cognitive decline could be accelerated by neutering should be noted [26]. "Sexually intact male dogs were significantly less likely than neutered dogs to progress from mild impairment (ie, impairment in 1 category) to severe impairment (ie, impairment in ≥ 2 categories) during the time between the first and second interviews. This difference was not attributable to differences in ages of the dogs, duration of follow-up, or the owners, perceptions of the dogs, overall health."

    I do hope that one day we can recommend desexing only where appropriate and for legitimate, proven effects. I find it very disturbing at the moment that people are told to desex their pets for health reasons by their vets when so far, every scientific study suggests otherwise.
    Last edited by 99bottles; 02-12-2014 at 04:06 PM.

  2. #2
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    So - early neutering counts as < 12 months old.

    Most vets around Australia like to do it at 6 months. Rescues will do it as soon as the puppy is 8 weeks.

    And some breeders have started desexing before homing their dogs to prevent puppy mills or back yard breeders breeding from them. So they'd be desexing dogs they consider not good enough for breeding.

    So I would like to know whether breeders or owners desexing because they feel the dog they have isn't of a high enough quality for breeding - would be a contribing factor in the joint problems.

    But there is another study out that suggests that early desex is bad for bone development. With Frosty - I didn't get a choice but then again I didn't know what I know now about it.

    I wonder if the effects of an early desex could be countered by hormone treatment - then you have the best of both worlds - no accidental puppy risk and good bone development.

    Just for completeness - this is a link to the other study
    http://www.caninesports.com/uploads/...tions_2013.pdf

  3. #3

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    Hyacinth, that's not what you told me?

    "I do hope that one day we can recommend desexing only where appropriate and for legitimate, proven effects." So do I.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by goggles View Post

    "I do hope that one day we can recommend desexing only where appropriate and for legitimate, proven effects." So do I.
    Well you will have to have a major shift in the way the general population manage and slect their dogs than. The number of problems I have seen from oops pregnancies and the number of unwanted puppies that flow into rescue or are shot is apalling already.

    Honestly my dogs have a much better quality of life as sterilised animals. The odd time I have had to manage bitches on heat in my situation is a pain. I have had to separate them up, confine them for days much to their disgust, protect the whole lot from wild dogs, with 4 bitches, this presents is a considerable drama. I have never had any health issues to date, they have all lived long healthy lives free from reproductive dramas.

    My neighbours always seem to be having oops litters and not with the best results. Quite a few of those have had the bullet. She seems to breed every heat. UGH poor dog.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kalacreek View Post
    Well you will have to have a major shift in the way the general population manage and slect their dogs than. The number of problems I have seen from oops pregnancies and the number of unwanted puppies that flow into rescue or are shot is apalling already.

    Honestly my dogs have a much better quality of life as sterilised animals. The odd time I have had to manage bitches on heat in my situation is a pain. I have had to separate them up, confine them for days much to their disgust, protect the whole lot from wild dogs, with 4 bitches, this presents is a considerable drama. I have never had any health issues to date, they have all lived long healthy lives free from reproductive dramas.

    My neighbours always seem to be having oops litters and not with the best results. Quite a few of those have had the bullet. She seems to breed every heat. UGH poor dog.
    Well yes you're always going to be able to find examples of people who really shouldn't own dogs at all. Whether the dog is desexed or not, from your description these people do not have a satisfactory home to offer. My belief (and hope) is that they do not make up the majority of dog owners.

    And if you live in an area where wild/feral dogs are constantly encroaching on your property and threatening your animals well that's a whole other issue in my eyes and an interesting anecdote but one that hopefully does not apply to the majority of the population. Especially when you consider that over 90% of Australia's population live in the capital cities.

    Nowhere has anyone said that desexing is always the wrong decision, so long as you felt you had enough information to make your decision and you're happy with it well there's no issue. My concern is only that these days everyone is told by their vets that if they don't desex their pets, they're risking their health and the research that is being done is just not supporting this.

    I have a 4 year old entire male and I have never even come close to having him produce a litter of puppies, and we have encountered females on heat. Whether your dog is desexed or not it should be secure on your property; the issue of a dog roaming has far greater repercussions than just potentially making more puppies.

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    Hi Googles

    No - that's not what I told you. That's what 99bottles has said. She has an entire male dog - who is gorgeous. I don't think she's planning to let him make puppies either. But she has good reasons for wanting to keep him entire and he doesn't have any of the problem behaviours that some entire males have - like picking fights with other entire males.

    So - what I'd like is the option of a later desex - which I didn't get from my rescue. But I probably could get if I adopted straight off a farm or from an ANKC breeder.

    I do think for most people - it's convenient to desex their dog and not have to worry about puppies or accidents or various cancers of the sex organs ever again - there are pros and cons to desex.

    I'm ok with the idea of people breeding their dogs too - so long as they do the research first, do their best to make sure the puppies have the best chance of being genetically sound, and abide by the RSPCA guidelines for responsible breeders. If nobody bred dogs - how would we get one? But there are good ways to go about it and bad ways. Having a cute bitch - isn't enough.

    What is a responsible companion animal breeder? - RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

    Quote Originally Posted by goggles View Post
    Hyacinth, that's not what you told me?

    "I do hope that one day we can recommend desexing only where appropriate and for legitimate, proven effects." So do I.

  7. #7

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    I would have liked some more info on the pros and cons of desexing instead of the typical "JUST DO IT NOW" response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 99bottles View Post
    Well yes you're always going to be able to find examples of people who really shouldn't own dogs at all. Whether the dog is desexed or not, from your description these people do not have a satisfactory home to offer. My belief (and hope) is that they do not make up the majority of dog owners.

    .
    The majority of dog owners have sterilised animals. I know quite a few who are great dog owners with a sterilised animal but would not be good managing a dog in season. There are of course responsible owners who can manage entire dogs. However judging by the influx of puppies into rescue I would say that there is a problem with quite a few that cant. I have read up on then benefits and negatives and I personally dont belive in the breeds that I own there is a problem - I compete in dogs sports and know a lot of dogs of my breeds.

    If sterilising increases or decreases a risk that was small in the first place I cant see what the fuss is about personally. People get concerned when they read a risk is doubled but if the risk was only 2% in the first place. Some breeds however do have different risk profiles. Rotties have different risk profiles to Border collies I would hazard a guess. Golden Retrievers also have different build, risk of HD, ED and cruciate problems to Border collies and kelpies. My guess would be that a sterilised fit, lean kelpie is less at risk of ortho problems than an entire GR. The only kelpie I have seen with a cruciate tear was a poorly structured over weight animal that was entire.

    As I said I believe keeping a dog lean and fit, with good nutrition is way more important together with choosing to breed with good genetics and structures. The effect of western diet in the human population has a huge impact on health and most of us are unsterilised yet lifestyle induced cancers are rampant. People often let their sterilised animals get fat when this is totally avoidable.

    However I do agree that information should be available and really it is out there. My vets never talked me into sterilising my animals. That was my decsion. I do the girls around 12 months and the boys around 20 months. There just seems to be alot of emotion on both sides of the arguement. I believe there could be confounding factors involved and combine that with the owners ability to manage an entire dog it is not so simple.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 02-13-2014 at 10:34 PM.

  9. #9

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    Sometimes I do wonder whether the difficulty of owning entire dogs has been slightly over played... I probably have a different perspective from most because I spend a lot of time around people who own large powerful breeds that are all entire and all very well behaved dogs but whilst I have seen plenty of altercations at the dog park, they always seem to just involve the same breeds, regardless of whether they're desexed or not. I don't think most dogs want to hurt other dogs, I once found myself in that weird part of Youtube watching feral dogs line up to mate with a female - they're obviously all entire but there are no fights. There are some other interesting videos on Youtube as well, I think these days a lot of people won't have ever seen what is actually the typical response of 2 physically equal entire males meeting. In case you're curious by the way, if they're trained it's usually nothing, but without owner interference, they might circle each other, there might be a bit of growling and they might try and put their heads over each other or even mount. They might even go into a full on scuffle where they both try to jump on the other one. Here's a good example Dominant Behavior of German Shepherd and Rottweiler - YouTube

    Note that neither dog is injured. I am not worried when I see entire other males of any breed, except the bully breeds and sometimes Akitas. And in those cases, I don't either bother checking whether the dog is desexed or not, I just get out of there. Not trying to have a go at the breeds but just saying, my experience has been that usually dogs don't want to hurt other dogs UNLESS it's in their breeding or they have had negative experiences (living in fear of other dogs or something). And I know plenty of staffies that are fine with other dogs but I've seen many more that weren't and I love Sammy too much to risk it. I have watched Sammy do the above in the video with German Shepherds and males of similar sizes (where the other owner did not have any control of their dog) and haven't had any injuries. He was almost killed by a desexed staffie at 9 weeks old though and almost lost his eye to another at about 8 months. To me desexing never came into it, it's just training and to a lesser extent, breed. The good thing about staffies is that they're almost always completely non-human aggressive so you can get involved and not have to worry about the dog turning on me. Can't say the same for the German Shepherds though but luckily they don't typically want to kill my dog so it all works out lol.

    Anyway, this could make for an interesting discussion in another thread.

    I think we do agree Kalacreek because all we both want is access to accurate information and the best for the dogs. I pushed for my sister to get her dogs desexed because she's not interested in doing any training and her dogs have escaped from her yard. I also chose the breed for her, Papillon, because no matter how bad an owner she may be (in terms of doing no training, no discipline etc), the damage a Papillon can cause (and would want to cause) is limited as compared to say sending her to Sammy's breeder... When people decide they want a dog they're often going to get one no matter what you say so you do what you can. The long-term studies on the effects of desexing are only just starting to emerge though, it would just be nice to feel that I could go to my vet and get some honest, researched based information about what is truly in the best interests of my dog. At the moment, they try to sell me expensive, grain based foods, prescribe him lifelong immune suppressant medication to treat the skin irritation he gets when he eats grains and tell me I don't have my dog's best interests at heart because he's entire and best of all, charge me $100's for the privilege.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99bottles View Post
    The long-term studies on the effects of desexing are only just starting to emerge though, it would just be nice to feel that I could go to my vet and get some honest, researched based information about what is truly in the best interests of my dog. At the moment, they try to sell me expensive, grain based foods, prescribe him lifelong immune suppressant medication to treat the skin irritation he gets when he eats grains and tell me I don't have my dog's best interests at heart because he's entire and best of all, charge me $100's for the privilege.
    When I read through some of the studies there are often a lot of flaws in the design that cant account for confounding factors. I find it hard to take research on Golden Retrievers and extrapolate to kelpies. Things cross my mind like are the entire dogs in the sample entire because they have better structure and genetics. Do the the owner and diet profiles differ etc. The vets I have spoken to do not find it easy to definitevely interpret it, the jury is still out on a lot of it.

    Certainly speaking to a specialist vet who doesnt sell dog food they just do referral consults and surgery, it is not clear cut based on the wide range of dogs and conditions they have seen over 30 years to come to any startling conclusions, they see a lot of conditions due to poor breeding and structure rather than sterilisation status and they still sterilise their own dogs.

    So I think more evidence is required across more breeds and looking at confounding interations. One study showed that small dogs are far less likely to get spey incontinence than big dogs.

    I mean certainly there will be consquences by messing with a dogs endocrine system. Human females mess with theirs all the time artificially and we know the pill reduces the risk of ovarian cancer significantly the longer you are on it. I allow my bitches to have their first heat before sterilising these days and wait later for my boys, even though I have really seen no difference to the bitches I had done at 6 months old that came from very sound genetic stock, very healthy, long lived dogs.

    So for the moment I can only go on my own experiences with my breeds and there is nothing that tells me that desexing is a worse than entire and my dogs have a much freer life than most entire working dogs who are kennelled in runs separate from each other when not working. When you have multiple entire males and females I guess this is an easy way of managing the situation and avoiding mistakes, but I like my lot in the house.

    As to vets you get good and bad. The beauty of it is that there is info available on the net and these days I think many pet owners are savvy enough to ask question and if not happy find another and do your own research and work out something you are happy with for your dogs. Thats what I try and do. I have had good vets and really bad vets.

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