Should I spay or neuter my Dachshund?

Many veterinary surgeons seem to advocate spaying of bitches and neutering of dogs, but this is not a straightforward or obvious decision to make.

An interesting review of the scientific literature concluded:

An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the long-term health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject.

On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs to prevent future health problems, especially immature male dogs. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases.

For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may exceed the associated health problems in many (not all) cases. On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds.

The traditional spay/neuter age of six months as well as the modern practice of pediatric spay/neuter appear to predispose dogs to health risks that could otherwise be avoided by waiting until the dog is physically mature, or perhaps in the case of many male dogs, foregoing it altogether unless medically necessary.

The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Breed, age, and gender are variables that must be taken into consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors for each individual dog. Across-the-board recommendations for all dogs do not appear to be supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature.

Read the full article here.  [Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs – Laura J. Sanborn, M.S. May 14, 2007]

Another research paper is here.  [Determining the best age at which to spay or neuter: An evidence-based analysis – By Margaret Root-Kustritz, DVM, PhD University of Minnesota Spring 2008]

For a good article from a UK animal behaviourist read this.

You should not have a bitch puppy spayed before its first season; it is far safer to wait until it is fully mature, if you must have her spayed.  Similarly, dog puppies should not be neutered before they are fully mature.

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