Thursday, January 23, 2014

DON'T Spay or Neuter Your Pets!

We shouldn't be listening to the Bob Barkers of the world.

Two significant new studies were released in 2013 on the adverse health effects of spay-neuter. This adds to a large body of previous information.

A study on Golden Retrievers done by UC Davis revealed some SHOCKING facts about what we are doing to our canine companions when we neuter them.

"The study examined hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumor...... The disease rates for ALL FIVE diseases were significantly HIGHER in both males and females that were neutered either early or late, compared with that of sexually intact dogs. Specifically, early neutering was associated with an increase in the occurrence of hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear, and lymphosarcoma in males and in the occurrence of cranial cruciate ligament tear in females."

"In most areas, the findings of this study were consistent with that of earlier studies, suggesting similar increases in disease risks. The UC-Davis study, however, is the first to specifically report an increased risk of mast cell tumors and hemangiosarcoma with late neutering."

"Furthermore, the new study showed a 100 percent increase in the incidence of hip dysplasia among early-neutered males."

Read all about it in the AVMA Journal:

The study report:

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the US, and the vast majority are going to end up as sterilized pets.

Why are we as a society setting up our dogs for pain and early death? Are YOU inflicting pain and suffering on your dog by spaying or neutering, just so you can feel morally superior and politically correct?

Now here's the other major study, just released. It's a retrospective done on literally THOUSANDS of Vizslas.

The study showed that, regardless of the age at the time of neutering, altered dogs had "significantly increased odds of developing mast cell cancer, lymphoma, all other cancers, all cancers combined, and fear of storms, compared with the odds for sexually intact dogs."

Female Vizslas spayed (regardless of age) had "significantly increased odds of developing hemangiosarcoma, compared with the odds for sexually intact dogs" as did males spayed AFTER the age of 1 year.

The study concluded that spay/neuter when done prior to six months old "significantly increased odds of developing a behavioral disorder."

"The younger the age at gonadectomy, the earlier the mean age at diagnosis of mast cell cancer, cancers other than mast cell, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, all cancers combined, a behavioral disorder, or fear of storms."

Translation: The sooner the neuter is done, the sooner your dog will likely develop a health or behavioral problem.

Of course, for followers of this blog, none of this is earth-shattering news. We've posted many previous studies that come to the same conclusion. For more information , do a search on the blog for the label "spay/neuter" or "rethinking spay and neuter".

Don't pretend you're spaying and neutering to keep your dog healthy....because, in most situations, you're NOT.

Vizslas Roscoe and Daisy, from Wikimedia commons.
 Poor Roscoe is only nine months old and missing a very important part of his anatomy, wouldn't you say?


  1. The words spaying or neutering or fixing are the epitome of politically correct in and of themselves. To be blunt it should always be referred to as castration & hysterectomizing at the very least and to be absolutely clear and correct it is SEXUAL MUTILATION. It is removal of perfectly healthy organs for no reason than to be politically correct. It is harmful and causes pain in the immediate and has a (high) potential to cause a myriad of health issues.

    DM Pendrago

    1. You are so right.

      Even when we are opposed to something, using the "description" of the ennemy is full of consequence and plain stupid too.

      Thanks for putting that right.

  2. are Males With Only One Descended Testicle Affected In The Same Way? I Have A 16 month Old Gsd With ThIs Problem. I Was Going To Wait till 2Years To HaveHim Neutered, But I've Read Enough That Now I'm Not Sure. If Both Testicles Were Down I Probably Wouldn't Do It At All.

    1. The undescended testicle often becomes cancerous, so surgical removal is almost always recommended. I wouldn't wait to have it done. Your vet will probably recommend that you also remove the normal testicle. For years they have just automatically removed both in the case of a cryptorchid dog, but in light of all these new studies that idea might change in the future.
      If your dog develops cancer in a normal, properly descended testicle, it is easily treated by removal when diagnosed. This is rarely a life-threatening problem like other cancers can be. Good luck and keep us posted.


      One such article demonstrating that life expectancy for a spay/neuter animal lives much longer. Not sure if you are intellectually dishonest or just too cognitively impaired to be capable of fully understanding and presenting the pros and cons of sterilization.

    3. I had a male white shepherd years ago that had the same issue and my Vet has said if I didn't have him neutered he could possibly get cancer because the other ball had not dropped so I did and he never had a problem. My 2 females had problems with the hips, gained weight despite all the exercise. I have a 3 yr old female who is not spayed and beleive me, my vet is not happy about it

    4. Hi Mike, we have already discussed that article. I can see that you haven't read through all the comments yet. We have already discussed that particular study. It shows that intact animals have higher rates of death from TRAUMA and infectious disease, while neutered dogs have higher rates of deaths from cancer and autoimmune disease. We have discussed this study on the canine genetics yahoo list and concluded that most likely, owners who provide less ongoing veterinary care in general are less likely to confine their dog, vaccinate their dog or treat them for infection until the problem is advanced.
      We can't really blame traumatic death on anything other than lack of proper care. It has nothing to do with whether or not the dog is sterilized.

    5. In France, there's an army of "animal lovers" (lots of people, one same speech, from A to Z, hence an army). These people ar really pushing the "spay and neuter your pet friends" movement.

      They don't discuss (at this point) about a cancer issue, but about... traumas and living together without pee stains on rugs. Rugs and houses are probably a more important motive, but they only talk about traumas and accidents : there are (supposedly) too many cats and dogs, not enough food, not enough decent "masters" (very likely) and this overabundant population gets killed by cars, etc.

      What I mean is that I wonder if it's realistic too expect to have a normal discussion with people who are obviously unreasonable and use one thing to vent one or many others. Like any good pervert.

      With its incomparable combination of butchery and "protection for your own good", spaying and neutering is clearly the "normal perversion" of the civilized. Nothing that we don't do to our children, family, friends and fellow men.

      I'm sorry but it really is depressing.

      Calling it castration and hysterectomy (like in humans) is probably a good start. Nevermore using their words and telling from now on what things are.

      Again, considering our perversity, we'll have to constantly rename everything we do with acts of torture...

      Yet that's all there is to do, tell what things are - "spaying and neutering" is a lie as it implies well being and health.

      Please, read this on microchips and cancer :

      It only relates with what you wrote and what we know of human health.

  3. There is a blog called Cat Defender, which has a similar opinion about spaying and neutering of cats that your blog has about spaying and neutering of dogs.

    Cat Defender:

    There are three blog posts that talk about the risks of spaying and neutering of cats, both feral, stray, and owned.

    The Dark Side of Spay and Neuter: Veterinarian Botched Surgeries and Back Alley Castrations Claim the Lives of Numerous Cats:

    Sterilizing Cats Is Cruel, Barbaric, and Deadly:

    Indoor Cats Are Dying from Diabetes, Hyperthyroidism, and Various Toxins in the Home:

  4. Were the studies age adjusted? if not the whole study is bogus. Spay/neutered animals live longer than those that aren't. The longer that animal lives, the greater the chance that the cause of death is cancer. Similarly the longer a dog lives the greater chance of hip displasia.

    1. Try reading the studies. Your personal opinion is meaningless. Where is your data that sterilized dogs live longer? There is NONE except for one study that found that intact dogs suffered from more accidental deaths than neutered dogs. And had you bothered to read the studies, you would see that they were compiled with age factored in. And the study on Vizslas noted specifically that the younger the age at gonadectomy, the sooner the adverse effects occurred.
      The AVMA generally doesn't publish "bogus" studies, but nice try from the pet mutilation cheerleading section.

    2. "here is NONE except for one study that found that intact dogs suffered from more accidental deaths than neutered dogs. "

      So you are a liar as well. No big shock.

    3. "That's why "rescues" import hundreds of thousands of dogs each year from Taiwan, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe."

      Yeah... that happens all of the time, right? My goofness you are a tortured soul, aren't you? Meanwhile overpopulation continues to be a major issue, especially in the SouthEast where "no-kill" shelters are constantly overrun.

    4. My goodness, Mike. Name-calling is not an effective debate tactic.
      You should know better, particularly when you are lecturing me on intellectual dishonesty.

      Yes, rescues importing from Mexico and overseas does happen all the time. Check our post "It's Raining Dogs From Other Countries" for ample documentation of that. You might write to these shelters and rescues directly and ask them why they import. I already know the answer to that question.

      If you don't believe me, here's an ABC news article from 2007 to getyou started.

      There's also an article from Tufts in 2003 entitled "Filling Empty Dog Pounds". This is nothing new, it's been going on for many years now..

  5. I am well aware of the positive health effects of keeping a well-bred dog intact. The problem arises in so many communities that poorly-bred, intact dogs & cats unleash offspring that must, of necessity, be euthanized. It is a moral dilemma, but I feel that there are more benefits from spaying & neutering dogs & cats before they become a major problem. Where I live, they don't last long because the coyote population keeps at least some of them under control.

    1. "OF necessity" they must be euthanized? I don't think so. Quit drinking the humaniac Koolaid. There are many more homes opening up for dogs each year than there are dogs to fill them. That's why "rescues" import hundreds of thousands of dogs each year from Taiwan, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe.
      Spay and neuter your dogs if you so choose but you have NO RIGHT to dictate to the rest of us what we do with our animals. None.

  6. I think dogs live longer when altered. I have s 13 year old golden who was neutered at 4 months. A 14 year old golden who was spayed later in life and she has not Been half as healthy as those who have been spayed at a young age. I rescued a girlie who I had spayed st a older age because she developed an infection from not being spayed. I have had many dogs over the years and those who I had fixed st a young age were happier and healthier dogs.

    1. Your anecdotal experiences don't mean diddly squat when stacked up against studies done on literally THOUSANDS of dogs.
      BTW I had an intact Samoyed-shepherd mix who lived to be sixteen. She was never sick a day in her life. And I've had many just like her. No one has ever gotten any infection, not with my parents dogs before me. But again, my unique experiences taken alone don't mean much. Look at the studies done on thousands to find meaningful statistics. That's what science is based on.

    2. "I THINK"....Oh really, well guess what, your personal opinion is null and void.
      There is a Rottweiler study that shows that bitches spayed after age six or never spayed live 30% longer than those spayed earlier in life. That's a direct refutation of your assertion that "dogs live longer when altered". There is no evidence whatsoever to back up what "you think".
      In fact, in Norway it is illegal to spay or neuter without medical necessity. They looked at the science and make a rational decision. Not based on someone's personal opinion that was pulled out of thin air.

    3. You are awfully harsh on anyone who chooses to leave a comment that is of a differing side than your own. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. These studies may show facts, but as you your self said,' NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO DICTATE WHAT ONE DOES WITH THEIR OWN PETS!' So why are you so harsh when anyone states an opinion? Unfortunately, society is not responsible enough to allow for leaving all dogs intact, and it does lead to too many pets being killed. That is a reality. While I appreciate your strong belief in what you are saying, your delivery is turning off a lot of people who otherwise might take this information seriously, or wish to discuss the idea.

    4. Yes everyone is certainly entitled to their own "opinion"; however, they are not entitled to their own facts. The fact is that there are a whole slew of health problems that accompany spay/neuter, not the least of which is shorter lifespan and temperament problems.
      Here's a link to a nice paper by Chris Zink that summarizes much current research:

      If I am "harsh" it is for the very reason that you screamed in all caps above....because no one has the right to dictate what one does with their own pets, yet spay-neuter propaganda has been used as evidence to push for mandatory spay and neuter laws. This should concern anyone who loves dogs and respects the rights of dog owners. Spay-neuter propaganda has been deceptive and downright harmful to the general health and lifespan of our pets overall.
      Your opinion about society being irresponsible is a red herring. Yes, there are some irresponsible people, and always will be. Their actions do not justify mandating spay-neuter or even recommending it for most situations.
      People have the right to be informed of the ill effects of sterilization, which are many. This is one of the few places where they can find that information. I have MANY posts here on spay-neuter health effects, just do a search under the "spay/neuter" label. Check out the post: "An Ugly and Painful Problem"...written by a shelter vet with decades of experience here in California:

      People should be concerned with investigating and learning the TRUTH, for the sake of their pets. If they dismiss that information due to being "turned off by delivery" then they are foolish indeed!

      I wish all those so resistant to this information would take the time to go through this blog and read more of the posts on spay neuter. Read "Rethinking Spay and Neuter" if you still believe there is an overpopulation of pet....there is NOT! And shelters kill by choice, not out of necessity. Read...educate yourself....and for goodness' sake, don't swallow the spay-neuter propaganda from the likes of misanthropist hypocrites at HSUS, PETA and the ASPCA.

    5. Wow, I always thought pet people were nicer and more understanding. You are so rude that I can't believe you are even able to be kind to animals. I will be unlikeing and unfollowing this site as reading your rude and unkind remarks has actually made me feel sick to my stomach!

    6. Dear Jane,
      Is it "rude" to call to light the problems we inflict with spay and neuter? If so, then I plead guilty as charged.
      It is obvious from your psychologically-induced stomach illness that you have never visited here before. IMO, it is rude to come onto a blog that you have never read in the past and misrepresent yourself as a follower.
      Have a blessed day. I hope that is polite enough for you. If not, too bad.

  7. A retrospective study is nothing more then a survey with certain qualifications, it is NOT scientific fact. There are no prospective double blinded studies proving that leaving an animal intact is healthier for the pet! Do not say you are leaving your pets intact for their health! There is another retrospective study concluding exactly the opposite. The study titled Reproductive Capability Is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs shows that neutered male dogs live 14% longer and females 26% longer then their intact counterparts. Intact dogs die statistically more frequently from infection, trauma, degenerative and vascular dz. Also show in studies, mammary cancer is less frequent in spayed females. In the study your quoting they studied 145 intact males vs. 250 neutered males a 42% increase so of course the neutered males will show more disease. They also do not have age breakdowns beyond the early or late neuter. Were most of the intact males 2-3yrs old vs 7-8yrs old, don't know? The study was also conducted at UC Davis a referral veterinary clinic. One can (and some studies have) suggested intact dogs receive less vet care and especially referral care so the sick intact dogs again didn't make it into this survey because they just aren't treated. You can find any retrospective study to support any opinion as I have demonstrated. I have been a veterinarian for 10 years and have worked in private practice, referral practice, and shelter medicine. Rescues importing dogs for homes is ridiculous propaganda. The shelters are full and euthanizing thousands daily and any of those rescues could rescue from the shelter's. They imported pets because the European countries have a larger problem with homeless and injured dogs on the streets and I assume they were just trying to help rather then looking in their own backyard! If you have a personal problem with altering your pets then don't but don't use a public forum to pretend it' medically justified because you haven't proven a thing, it's a personal choice!!!

    1. An "anonymous" veterinarian, yeah right!
      The study you are referencing does NOT show that intact dogs die more often from anything other than TRAUMA. Traumatic injury is NOT a medical disease.
      Yes, mammary cancer occurs more frequently in intact females but it is a breed-specific risk, not a general risk and also an age-related risk.
      You can NOT find studies to support just any old view. You have demonstrated nothing of substance.
      Rescues importing dogs is not "propaganda" EDUCATE YOURSELF. It happens every day. HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS are imported each and every year. See my post "It's Raining Dogs from Other Countries" and check the NAIA website for her article "Humane or Insane"
      As to your presumption that shelters are euthanizing for lack of space, again you are WRONG. Nathan Winograd, a sheltering EXPERT, has proven that shelters can become No-Kill OVERNIGHT by simply making the decision to stop the slaughter. The statistics show that over 20 million pets are adopted each year in the US....if only 10% of those buyers are influenced to get a shelter pet WALA no more shelter pets. Shelters kill by choice, not out of necessity.
      And speaking of choice, yes, spay-neuter should be just that. However, due to the unsupported personal opinions of those like you, spay neuter laws are being implemented in many areas. So get off your high horse and get a reality check-up.
      BTW, retrospective studies done on thousands of dogs are considered reliable by the scientific community. Didi you bother to look at the Vizsla study? Over 2500 dogs. I guess that doesn't fit your personal agenda of pushing spay-neuter on the masses and pretending you are promoting health.Did you check the Rottweiler study? And literall DOZENS of other studies that show ill health effects from spay neuter. Also there are multiple studies that prove that sterilization increases fearfulness in males and aggression in females. It seems hormones are critical to emotional health as well as physical health.

    2. If you reject the studies I have posted due to their retrospective nature, why do you cite another retrospective study as supposed "proof" of your viewpoint? That makes no sense whatsoever.

    3. Study from Georgia:
      "Reproductive Capability is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of death in Companion Dogs"

      A spurious hypothesis, rife with assumptions that reveal inherent researcher bias such as the leading unsupported comment:".....investment in reproduction comes at the cost of survival". No distinction is made between males and females in a study that purports to examine the effects of sex hormones. Additionally, the leap is made that death by traumatic injury, parasites and infection is somehow positively correlated with reproductive status. Instead it is more likely that owners who refrain from medical care for their pets will not only not sterilize them but will also fail to vaccinate, de-worm, properly confine and seek treatment for infections or injuries until it is too late.

      Dogs under the age of a year old at the time of death were eliminated, why weren't dogs with traumatic injuries also eliminated? Obviously, there is no direct relationship between your sex status and having an accident of some sort.

      Also, the vet in the comment above believes that a higher number of neutered subjects in the GR study has somehow "skewed" the results, when in reality, the results are in the form of percentages. The greater the number of subjects in a study, the more accurate the percentage will be. There is no need to have the same number of subjects in both groups, intact vs altered. The more the better for accurate results.

    4. Your inability to refute posts without resorting to logical fallacies is rather telling of both your intelligence and emotional state.

    5. I have provided a great deal of useful information here, and responded to those who wish to ignore the truth with even more facts to support my position. The fact that so many people have come out of the wordwork to comment tells me that I have struck a nerve! Hooray for me!

  8. This is from a JAVMA article on the Golden Retriever study:
    “The interesting thing is that our paper did not report any new disease related to neutering,” Dr. Hart said. “The information has been around for several years but lumped breeds, genders, and times of neutering together. We focused on one breed that gets a lot of diseases, looking at neutering in different sexes and at the different ages of neutering.”

    Veterinarians, Dr. Hart said, have two concerns about delaying neutering. One is an increased risk of mammary cancers in females, and the other is an increased risk of problem behaviors, such as aggression, in males. With regard to mammary cancer, he pointed to a recent meta-analysis that concluded there is only a weak link, if any, between sexually intact females and an increase in the rate of mammary cancer.

    Dr. Hart further noted that none of the 120 sexually intact females in their study reportedly developed mammary cancer and the two dogs that did have mammary cancer were spayed females. “The picture with regard to mammary cancer will undoubtedly vary among breeds,” he said.

  9. This "Study" operates on such trite assumptions it's laughable. The "researchers" assume that being intact is the same thing as reproducing. Clearly it is not. Their intent was to discover the cost of reproduction on lifespan, if there indeed is such a cost. They failed miserably in their study (which was also a retrospective study). You reject the breed-specific studies due to the fact that they are retrospective but accept this Georgia study when it is conducted in the same manner?
    AND their findings only serve to reinforce what other studies are proving...that intact dogs live longer and healthier lives than their neutered counterparts. Intact dogs have lower rates of cancers and autoimmune diseases, while dogs whose owners presumable do not participate heavily in medical procedures like spay/neuter are also less likely to confine them, hence, they are also more likely to die an accidental death. No big mystery there. Owners who are more attentive to their dog's well-being can easily figure out how to reduce the risk of traumatic death. We have tools for that known as "doors" and "leashes."

  10. I grew up in a veterinarian family with the vet clinic in our home. I also grew up with dogs, cats and more. We never spayed or castrated our own dogs and I still don't do it. Now being retired myself I outlived many dogs and none of them ever got sick, just old age and the little hardships which come along with it. Also, I just got a golden puppy and she is a handful for an old man like me I barely can keep up with her temperament. I thought about spaying her but she too happy to harm her...I guess I just have to do more exercises so I can keep unwanted "intruders" away from her!

  11. This isn't a scientific study as it doesn't meet the criteria. It's an ARTICLE written in a medical journal explaining collected data. It could very well be skewed as there are no statistics involved to calculate accuracy of data. It could very well be that the non-neutered animals don't have those issues because they are breeder stock which is most likely as MOST people in the US neuter their animals if they don't plan to breed them. These unfixed animals are tested for genetic defects before being bred (if it's a responsible breeder) so you will have a decreased risk of these genetic issues. That's common sense. This study is extremely skewed and is nothing more than someone's opinion or a bunch of opinions used as data. The true fact is over 11 MILLION unwanted animals die every year in US regardless of the increased risk we MUST do something...or continue to MURDER the innocent.

    1. OK I was with you in the beginnig, right up until the "responsible breeder" drivel. Then you delved right into "common sense" as a substitute for scientific facts about breeding methods, and then right along to claiming that DATA is "opinion".
      Next is your "true fact" which is nothing but animal rights propaganda fabricated shelter statistics. The latest estimates are that approximately 7 million animals ENTER shelters each year, with less than 3 million adoptable animals (dogs and cats combined) killed. There is no substantiation whatsoever of the numbers you cite being killed in shelters. However, there is no excuse for any shelter anywhere to kill adoptable animals when there are literally a dozen homes opening up for each animal killed. We have come a long way from the mass killings of homeless animals in the 1970s, to the relatively small shelter numbers today. Shelters need to concentrate on marketing their adoptable animals, instead of killing them. That is what MUST be done.
      But the coup de grace is your assertion that killing animals is MURDER!!! If so, anyone who eats a cheeseburger is a murderer. Only humans can be murdered, because only humans can be charged with murder. Animals kill and are killed all the time. It's never "murder".

    2. It would seem logical that the "something that must be done" because shelters are killing animals that are brought to them every year is-to stop providing them with animals to kill in the first place. The ONLY animals that should be coming to animal control or rescues are the wandering animals that have been found. Shelter/rescue should be a temporary haven until the owner is found. Animals should not become the source of income within 5 days or put to sleep because an owner has not yet been identitified.

      I have someone who had called the local shelter and described her lost and microchipped dog to inquire if they had it, and they said they did not. She did the same thing to two other local facilities. No one claimed to have her dog. The next day she visited all three facilities and found her dog, where it had been accepted two days earlier and never checked for a microchip. That same shelter had told the woman they did not have her dog even though they had it already for 24 hours. The would have been pts within 48 hours. This is not the way intake should be handled or the way phone calls from frantic owners looking for their dogs should be handled.

      If shelters are ill-equipped or poorly staffed to provide for dogs, then stop accepting them and work as a social media source for lost and found dogs. Many people who find a dog will willingly keep it for a month or more until an owner is found. That is precisely how the Lost Dogs organization has re-united more than 400,000 dogs with owners in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, and Michigan.They have no building, no kennel-just the goodwill of people who find dogs and share photos that are checked by local and state police, other animal control groups, and pet owners. The business model for the animal shelter is no longer of much value or help.

      Make a strong national pet ownership education program required of ANYONE who gets an animal as a pet-irrespective of its source. Part of that program should involve becoming active in training schools, shelters, and foster as a volunteer with direct supervision by the state licensing agent.

      Completion of that program should be documented with a certification from the state and a pre-requsite for anyone who will be the caregiver or owner of a dog or cat- with required renewal every 3-4 years- like a driver license.

  12. Comments on this blog are moderated, and for good reason. For one thing, there are a lot of spammers out there who want to link to their sales information in a comment. For another, people often get off track in their response to a post.
    This particular post deals with the health effects of spay-neuter. It does not deal with "overpopulation"....a concept that no longer holds validity, for reasons that we have posted about in the past. So, if you wish to have a comment printed, you will need to concentrate on the health effects of spay-neuter and leave out the personal attacks and the name calling. I've also disabled "anonymous" postings due to some recent threatening comments that I have received. Not nice, people!
    To those who think this is their personal forum for them to post their "opinion"....sorry, it's not. You'll have to start your own blog for that.

  13. Good news, the studies are being expanded to include more dog breeds!
    AKC Canine Health Foundation Announces Continued Funding for Research into Health Implications of Early Spay and Neuter in Dogs


    The AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF) is pleased to announce additional funding for continuing research on the health implications of early spay and neuter in dogs. The funding was awarded to Dr. Benjamin L. Hart of the University of California, Davis to expand his earlier work and consider breed differences in vulnerability to joint disorders and risks of various cancers after early or late spay/neuter.

    Last year, Dr. Hart and a team of researchers published their phase one findings, “Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers,” also funded by CHF, in the prominent, open access journal PLOS One, suggesting that veterinarians should be more cautious about the age at which they spay and neuter in order to protect the overall health of dogs. Currently, most dogs in the United States are spayed or neutered prior to maturity. Dr. Hart’s first phase of research looked at incidence of cancer diagnoses and joint problems in one breed -- Golden Retrievers -- by neuter status: early (before 12 months old), late (12 months or older), and intact. Consistent with previous studies on the topic, the results showed increased likelihood of hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and canine cruciate ligament (CCL) rupture in neutered dogs.

    Phase two of Dr. Hart’s research will include: Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs and Dachshunds. Rottweilers, Chihuahuas, Standard Poodles and Miniature Poodles will be included if resources and patient data are available. The expectation is that by the inclusion of multiple breeds in phase two, Dr. Hart will be able to develop a generalized understanding of the impact of early spay and neuter on disease risk in dogs. This in turn will enable veterinarians and breeders to make data-driven recommendations regarding timing of spay/neuter procedures to reduce the risk of development of multiple devastating diseases.

    “Dr. Hart’s landmark study was the first to provide evidence for when to spay or neuter dogs,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, Chief Scientific Officer for the AKC Canine Health Foundation. “We are pleased to help fund Dr. Hart’s work and we hope that the additional findings through phase two will assist the veterinary community as they assess recommendations on when to spay or neuter and how the timing of these procedures may impact the health of dogs.”

    According to Nordone, “We believe that the impact of Dr. Hart’s research will be immediate and broad. CCL, for example, is a disease that is painful, debilitating, and costs dog owners $1 billion annually to treat. The AKC Canine Health Foundation is committed to funding research, like Dr. Hart’s study, that can lead to evidence-based health recommendations. Armed with prudent guidelines for when to spay and neuter dogs we will have a significant impact on the quality of life for dogs.”
    - See more at:

  14. Thank you for this useful article showing the health risks of spaying and neutering. As the owner of a cat who was neutered by a rescue at six weeks and has suffered lifelong health problems as a result, not to mention the fact he never grew to full size, I think it is very important to understand the risks. Having information on both sides of the issue helps pet owners make informed decisions on what is right for their individual pet. It's a shame some people feel the need to attack others for simply putting out factual information that many people would find helpful.

  15. Knowledge is power. Having access to ALL aspects of an issue is valuable, and since we are discussing living creatures and a surgical procedure which is irreversible, the value increases exponentially. Would you have surgery without at LEAST getting a second opinion from an objective party?

    Why the hue and cry and attempts to shut off the information pipeline? Afraid of the regular folks learning the truth?

  16. Over the past three years, I have had two dogs suffer from the affects of spay and neuter surgery-both passed away recently. After having followed the research now for 6 years on the short terms as well as long term effects of this surgery which is really one of convenience rather than one of medical need in the first place, I have determined it is in the better interest of the long and short term health of a dog to not be spayed or neutered-but for an owner to responsibly manage,separate, and confine females when they come in season twice a year. That management is not difficult, is very effective, and allows a dog to have the necessary hormones to sustain a better quality of life for a longer period of time. Quality of life and the long term health of a dog should be the goal for any responsible pet owner and his veterinarian.

    1. If we don't advocate for our dogs and educate ourselves than who will? Vets love your money and yearly vaccine as well as spay neuter surgeries are a BIG money maker for them. Next time you get that little card in the mail for vaccines due instead of pumping your dog with vaccine aske for a titer test! Over vaccinating is killing our dogs young to as well as early spay/neuter. I grew up with GSD's who were left intact and lived until 15. Once this whole neutering thing started being done and i thought i was being a "responsible" owner by doing it my last two males died at 11 years old but they were also over vaccinated every year. Currently i own two American pit bull terriers. I spayed my bitch at two years old and don't regret it. I read a couple of studies that expressed the spaying of a female would be more beneficialhealth wise than detrimental in the long run. I've seen and heard friends having to deal with pyometra and mammary cancers. As for my male.....he is a show dog so keeping his testicles is a must and he will always have them. None of my future males will ever be fixed either!

  17. Al Magaw:
    there are alternatives to s/n the way it is commonly done - hormone producing organs to not need to be removed to render an animal incapable if reproduction - if for what ever reason a dog HAS to be made infertile, have the sterilization done in such a way that it isn't going to cause harm later in a dog's life

  18. The new studies are one of the reasons I had my girl spayed using the ovary sparing spay technique - it removes the uterus and cervix, thus reducing the risk of pyo to almost nil, sterilizes her so she can compete in Canine Partners events, AND eliminates the bloody discharge of heat, all while maintaining hormone levels. :)

    It's such a great option that I started a facebook group to help share the information on alternative methods for sterilizing animals that help maintain hormones. :) (web address is linked to this comment for those interested!)

  19. Dogs that look deformed are often breeds that don’t have any more working lines and the show line breeders completely took over. Working lines in breeds are healthy and look similar to their ancestors. For example many show line German Shepherds are very different from working line and Czech German Shepherds that I think they should eventually be considered different breeds. If you want to preserve a breed and keep dogs looking like dogs, the working lines have to be preserved. Looking for large dog breeds for families Wondering what large dog breeds are good with kids or would be good for apartments Find out here A complete list of large dog breeds

  20. Hi.
    I've had pet dogs and cats over the years. I keep my dogs un-neutered and it has been no problem preventing unwanted pregnancies. I think for the majority of responsible dog owners sterilization for their dogs are unnecessary.

    Can't say the same for cats. I haven't found living with un-sterilized cats even possible. All my pet cats have been sterilized. My last two, male and female lived quite long lives and my current two are healthy middle aged creatures.

    One must be realistic, I believe, when living with pets and do what's best for the pet - within reason.

  21. Several points:
    1. If pets are not neutered, unwanted pregnancies will unwanted pregnancy can easily result in more than 10 new dogs that will increase the pressure on existing K9 other words more dogs may be euthanized or abandoned, or suffer from poor living conditions.
    2. Females that are intact and never bred are at a high risk for developing pyometra or mucometra (and what about hormone-linked cancers...mammary tumors, ovarian tumors, testicular tumors?)
    3. The paper itself stated that there was no difference in males neutered early, late, or intact with regards to hemangiosarcoma; quoting "No differences were apparent in males with regard to neutering and the occurrence of HSA". The paper later mistakenly says that all 5 diseases were higher with neutered pets...bias of a researcher? least the peer reviewers should have flagged that one.
    4. Animals suffer from and die from a myriad of diseases, and this single study needs much, much more investigation and corroboration
    5. Before we should wholeheartedly jump on the bandwagon of "don't spay or neuter", we need to think, and we need to be balanced in our decisions.