Are Neutered Pets Happier & Healthier?
Another point – are neutered pets really happier and healthier? How does anyone know if they are happier? I recently talked to a vet friend of mine I have known for at least 15 years. We had never discussed the topic before. I told him I was writing this article and he became quite passionate that all dogs must be neutered. He brought up breast cancer and roaming. He also said that since they don’t have the constant pressure of reproduction they will be happier. WHAT!? Constant pressure? Female dogs come into heat about twice a year for up to 2 weeks or so. I tried to bring up the studies about orthopedic issues, etc. but he wouldn’t let me get a word in. I had no idea he was so pro-neuter. I decided to agree to disagree and plan to send him some studies at a later time.
Adverse Effects of Neutering
In the past several years there have been studies suggesting that there are significant adverse health effects when a dog is neutered. Some are breed specific so you will need to be careful on interpreting the study results. They may or may not apply to other breeds. Examples include:
– Noise phobia (thunderstorms, fireworks)
– Inappropriate sexual behaviors, like mounting
– Fearful behavior, particularly aggression
As a Veterinarian – Will I Neuter My Pets?
Personally, I am rethinking neutering my pets. I recently adopted a dog with a terminal disease. He has not been neutered and I don’t plan to. He is great. He has no problems and gets along great with my other two neutered male dogs. Another dog that I adopted a year ago came to me intact. I did neuter him per the rescue organizations requirements but noticed a lot of changes. He became shy and easily frightened. He didn’t play as much and he lost all his muscle definition. I didn’t really like the changes. For reproductive concerns, I will either remove the uterus and leave the ovaries for females and do a vasectomy on males. What is wrong with that?
I have participated in several overseas spay/neuter campaigns with different organizations. A group goes to different countries with vets and techs and neuters pets for free. During the last campaign, 2010, we met a farmer in the hills that did not want any more puppies but also did not want his dog to lose his testicles, probably due to machismo. Whatever. Anyway, I said to the group member with me that I could easily do a vasectomy and make both happy. The representative from the group refused. She said it is either castration or nothing. I was quite appalled. I have not done another campaign with any organization since then.
I will be honest. I would have to think long and hard about spaying my females. I would remove the uterus but leave in the ovaries and see how it went.