December 10, 2016

Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs

Spaying and neutering a dog is shown to directly correlate with both positive and negative health effects in pet dogs. This study analyzed both categories, as well as focused in on specific diseases that have specific trends with the procedure. The study, overall, discusses prostate and testicular cancer, mammary cancer, Urinary Tract Cancer, Pyometra, Hemangiosarcoma, among many others.

When discussing osteosarcoma, more commonly known as bone cancer, the researchers honed in on data found among a pool of Rottweilers. When studying the risk factors for osteosarcoma, they found previously conducted research that dogs that were spayed or neutered have twice the risk of developing bone cancer over their lifetime than that of dogs with intact ovaries or testicles. Rottweilers are known to be a breed with a higher frequency of osteosarcoma within their own breed. That being said, this study evaluated the breed specifically in regard to the relationship between spaying or neutering and the risk of developing bone cancer. Within the breed, if a Rottweiler were spayed or neutered within their first year of life, males were found to be 3.8 times more probable to develop osteosarcoma, and females were 3.1 times more likely. That being said, when combining the risk of osteosarcoma from spaying or neutering with the generally high risk of developing the disease in Rottweilers, the researchers concluded that the Rottweilers were approximately 27% under more of a risk than intact dogs to develop bone cancer. Therefore, spayed or neutered dogs are directly correlated with a significant increase of the risk of developing such bone cancer. One possible reason for this derivation is that removal of the sex hormones may influence a dog’s skeletal structure and body weight. Though the study specifically focuses on Rottweilers as they are known to have an already established increased risk of development, the study holds true for other breeds as well.

Although this summary specifically analyzes the effects of spaying and neutering on a dog’s risk to develop osteosarcoma, the study also conducts other in depth case studies pertaining to other prevalent diseases.

Sanborn, Laura J. "Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs." Long-Term Health Risks(n.d.): n. pag. Rutgers University - Animal Science. 14 May 2007. Web.

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                                                                                                                    Reviewed by: Roxy Ackerman