- Neutered males aid in the ever-growing population of homeless dogs.dog image by Vaida from Fotolia.com
Neutering male dogs is common practice. Beside the benefit of aiding in the control of an ever-growing population of homeless animals, neutering is believed to be generally beneficial to the animal. Neutering may aid in curbing aggression and virtually eliminates the chances for testicular cancer if performed before 6 months of age. But neutering may not be for every dog. Despite the benefits, there are risks with neutering.
- As with any surgery, neutering a pet involves a certain amount of risk. Though instances are generally low, neutering carries risk of complication and adverse reaction to anesthesia, as well as post-surgical infection.
- The hormone testosterone aids in the development of both muscle and bone during a male dog's first year of life. Neutering before 1 year of age may compromise the integrity of bone development. Some long-term studies have concluded that male dogs neutered before 1 year of age are 25 percent more likely to develop osteosarcoma.
The risk of osteosarcoma in neutered males generally increases with the size and breed of dog. Mixed-breed males are less likely to develop the disease.
Cancer of the Urinary Tract
- Though rare, development of cancer of the urinary tract is approximately 50 percent higher in neutered male dogs, compared to intact males. Cancer of the urinary tract typically manifests as tumors of the urethra or bladder.
Breeds such as Beagles and Scottish Terriers carry a higher risk for development of urinary tract cancers, so this may be a factor in determining whether neutering is right for these breeds of dogs.
Cancers of the urinary tract account for less than 1 percent of all cancers in dogs.
- Hypothyroidism is three times more likely in neutered male dogs than in intact male dogs. Hypothyroidism is the body's inability to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone to properly metabolize. Symptoms generally include fatigue, weight gain and hair loss.