by Dr. Jeannie Thomason

Negative Aspects of Neutering Your Pet

I know I may have to take a little heat for talking about the negative aspects  of neutering or spaying your pet but I invite you to open your mind for a minute,  put aside all the preconceived ideas you may have on this topic and put the propaganda out of your head just long enough to read this article.

A little known fact that is slowly being recognized is that of neutering or spaying your pet can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to the health of your dog or cat.

Please stop and think about this for just a minute. The removing of the reproductive organs not only means no more “unwanted puppies” but it also means – no more important hormones being produced; such as – progesterone.

“When and animal is neutered, they are literally THROWN into “menopause”, with their progesterone levels suddenly plummeting.  What?  Our dogs really need progesterone?  What do you think that progesterone was doing there? It was keeping certain occult/subclinical inflammatory conditions under control (allergies, asthma, IBS, and immune-mediated diseases like lupus, rheumatoid disease, MS/peripheral neuropathies, and many more)” -Dr. John Symes

The anti-inflammatory functions of progesterone are very important for many of the bodies function. Although Progesterone  is for the most part produced in the ovaries of females and the testes of males, it truly cannot be considered a “sex hormone”. Progesterone is NOT a female or a male hormone as there are no differences in the hormone found in the bodies of either males or females.

Progesterone and its Anti-Aging Effect

Aside from the anti-inflammatory functions of progesterone, it has also proven to have very distinct anti-aging effects as well. This hormone is capable of preventing and reversing changes or dysfunctions that happen with age. Furthermore, studies also show that this hormone acts as a protective agent against cancer and helps prevent cells from drying out naturally.

Extend Your Dog’s Lifespan by over 30%!

A study conducted at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation and published in the December, 2009 issue of Aging Cell, has found a correlation between the age at which female Rottweilers are spayed and their lifespan. The study compared long-lived female Rotties (those with a lifespan of 13 or more years) with a group who lived a usual lifespan of about nine years.

“Like women, female dogs in our study had a distinct survival advantage over males,” said the lead researcher David J. Waters, associate director of Purdue University’s Center on Aging and the Life Course and a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. “But taking away ovaries during the first four years of life completely erased the female survival advantage. We found that female Rottweilers that kept their ovaries for at least six years were four times more likely to reach exceptional longevity compared to females who had the shortest lifetime ovary exposure.”

Because death from cancer is so prevalent in Rottweilers, researchers conducted a subgroup analysis of only dogs that did not die of cancer. This focused research further proved the strong association between intact ovaries and longevity.

Even in dogs that did not die of cancer, the female Rotties that kept their ovaries the longest were nine times more likely to achieve exceptional longevity (13+ years).

Simply put, this study’s results indicate that the removal of a female dog’s ovaries significantly increases the risk for a major lethal disease!

Interestingly, the Rottweiler research lines up with findings from another recent study of women who had undergone hysterectomies. In that study, women who lost their ovaries prior to age 50 were at greater risk of death by causes other than breast, ovarian and uterine cancer than women who kept their ovaries until age 50.

Sources:

dvm360

Aging Cell, December 2009

Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation

Health Problems Associated with Gonad Removal ?Common sense tells us, and research proves there are a number of health benefits associated with the sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) produced by ovaries and testicles. These advantages vary with the age, gender and breed of each animal.

Altered/Spayed Females:

Recent veterinary studies have shown that dogs that are spayed have a much higher rate of bone cancer than unspayed dogs or those spayed late in life.

  • Increased aggression in altered females. (recent study)
  • Increased occurrence of urinary calculi.
  • Increased difficulty passing urinary calculi.
  • Increased likelihood of vulvar pyoderma (urine scald)
  • Increased likelihood of urinary incontinence.
  • Increased likelihood of adverse reaction to vaccinations (27-38%).
  • Notable decrease of activity/drive. ( important to those whose dogs aren’t just pets but are trained to do work too)
  • Increased chance of “perpetual puppy syndrome” undesirable urination.
  • Inhibited social adjustment if spayed prior to complete cognitive development (usually a good time AFTER sexual maturity).
  • Substantial likelihood of appreciable demeanor change after spay (menopausal women know about hormone drop.. it’s not fun)
  • Increased likelihood of cognitive disorders if spayed before sexual maturity.
  • Increased likelihood of, or speeded progress of, degenerative osteological disorders.
  • Notable decrease in muscle mass (again, not all dogs are lawn ornaments or carpet speedbumps)
  • Higher rate of bone cancer
  • Generally live 2 (or greater) years less than unaltered littermates in controlled studies.

Altered/Neutered males:

  • Increased occurrence of urinary calculi.
  • Increased difficulty passing urinary calculi.
  • Increased chance of urinary obstruction.
  • Increased likelihood of urinary incontinence.
  • Increased likelihood of adverse reaction to vaccinations (27-38%).
  • Notable decrease in activity/drive. (same as above in female list)
  • Increased chance of “perpetual puppy syndrome” undesirable urination.
  • Inhibited social adjustment if castrated prior to sexual maturity.
  • Substantial likelihood of appreciable demeanor change after castration (same concept as above in female list… reproductive hormones affect more than just reproduction).
  • Increased likelihood of cognitive disorders if castrated before complete cognitive development (usually a good time AFTER sexual maturity).
  • Notable decrease in muscle mass (yep, same as above)
  • Generally live 2 (or greater) years shorter than unaltered littermates in controlled studies

Halting production of these hormones through spaying and neutering has been found to increase the risk of certain specific diseases and conditions in dogs.

 Remember, reproductive hormones affect more than just reproduction ?- Increased likelihood of cognitive disorders if castrated before complete cognitive development (usually a good time AFTER sexual maturity as in females stated above). ?- Notable decrease in muscle mass (yep, same as above) ?- Generally live 2 (or more) years LESS than unaltered littermates in controlled studies

Sterilization decisions should be a part of an informed, holistic approach to your pet’s gealth and quality of Life and the decision to neuter or not is and should remain YOURS.

Be informed, be responsible! Not neutering does not give you the license to breed your dog. Be responsible! Leave breeding to true breed preservationists such as Natural Rearing Breeders or at the very least, breeders who keep their dogs current all health testing pertinent to their specific breed. Talk with natural rearing breeders and other experienced dog owners, and consult a veterinary naturopath or a true holistic veterinarian to understand what steps you can take to insure the overall health and longevity of your pet.

If you have a puppy or even an adult dog that is intact and you are considering a spay/neuter decision, I encourage you to please research and continue to learn all you can about surgical sterilization options and the risks associated with the procedures.

In a tubal ligation, the oviducts are cut and tied off, preventing ova from getting to the uterus or coming in contact with sperm. Tubal ligation does NOT shut off hormone production, so your dog will continue to go into heat and can mate with male dogs, but no pregnancy will result.

Dogs having had a vasectomy are still able to breed with a female but will not produce sperm to get her pregnant.

If you should decide for a tubal ligation, vasectomy, spaying or castration is best for you and your dog, make sure that your dog is mature and healthy enough to be considered balanced both physically and mentally. Generally speaking, maturity is not achieved until a dog has reached at least one year of age. Keep in mind that giant breed dogs are still developing at 2 years of age and should not be considered candidates for the loss of hormones until at least two.

Links to learn more:

Anti Inflammatory Functions Of Progesterone

Progesterone Inhibits Growth of Neuroblastoma Cancer Cells

Breast Cancer Incidence In Women With History of Progesterone Deficiency

Testosterone and Prostate Cancer: An Historical Perspective on a Modern Myth

Spay-Neuter?

Long-Term Health Effects of Spay-Neuter in Dogs ?

Determining the Best Age At Which to Spay or Neuter: An Evidence-Based Analysis

Spay/Neuter question

Spaying/Neutering Being Promoted As A Replacement For Training & Responsibility

 

© 2011 This article is the sole property of Dr. Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason and The Whole Dog. It cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the expressed written consent of the author. Updated and revised February 2016

The information offered by Jeannie Thomason, VND is intended to provide general guidance and education only. Nothing in this article, on the web site or during a consultation constitutes traditional allopathic veterinary advice. The information in articles on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.

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