February 26, 2010

To Neuter or Not To Neuter....That is the Question

It's cuter to neuter! There are tons of catchy pro-neutering ads out there to help support the control of the animal population. I was raised believing that you neutered your dog when he was 6 months old unless you were a breeder. When I got involved in dog rescue it was the norm to neuter all dogs prior to adoption even if it were a small puppy. I have always thought this to be the "right" thing to do.

A couple weeks ago I was doing some research for an article I was writing and I came across some statistics that scared the hell out of me. While it is true that female dogs are more likely to develop mammary cancer if they are not spayed before their first heat, female Rottweilers are 3 times more likely to develop bone cancer if they are spayed before the age of one year. A male Rottweiler's chance of developing bone cancer increases by 4 times if neutered before the age of one year. It is similar to the result of a woman going through menopause and losing estrogen which contributes to osteoporosis (weakening of the bones), so why would it be any different for a dog? This lead me to start asking breeders & vets what their professional opinions are. One woman who has been breeding Rotties for 20 something years said to hold off as long as you can. She said one should not neuter before one year unless absolutely necessary due to temperament. My vet highlighted how unnatural it is to neuter an animal. There are many health concerns associated with neutering. Even the simple act of putting a dog under anesthesia can be life threatening. One of my best friends lost her Pug when he was administered too much anaesthesia during his planned neutering visit at the vet.

Now I am trying to figure out what to do. Tucker is about 8 months old. Due to his desire to be the leader and his constant pestering of our Lola I feel it would be best behaviorally to have him neutered. On the other hand...losing one Rottweiler to bone cancer is quite enough. I can't imagine doing something that could knowingly increase the chances of that happening again.

What are you thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I agree on holding off as long as you can to neuter. The hormones associated with intact gonades seem to be incredibly beneficial through at least the first year or two. Though it is hard when you've got a dog who is exhibiting behavior that could be curbed by neutering. Could you do counter training with Tucker? When he's in situations where he exhibits behaviors you don't want, could you teach him to do something else at those moments?

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Dog Training Philosophy

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I train dogs using positive reinforcement training to modify unwanted behaviors.  I step outside the traditional training box and use therapeutic-grade essential oils to assist in my behavior modification regime when it comes to dogs plagued with fear and anxiety as well as aggression.  My philosophy is to heal the dog's mind, body and spirit, not just to rid the dog of unacceptable behaviors.  I specialize in shelter dog rehab, reactive rover, and fearful fidos.