Spay Neuter. Researchers at the University of Davis conducted a ten year canine study to determine the effect of spaying and neutering dogs prior to the age of one as it affects health and disease development in Golden Retrievers.
The canine study focused on five specific diseases: Hip Dysplasia, knee or stifle ligament injuries and three types of cancer. The types of pet cancer studied were Lymphoma, Hemangiosarcoma and Mast Cell Tumors.
In each of the five diseases studied the rates of disease development were significantly higher in neutered male and female dogs versus those in the study that were not neutered and therefore left intact. Hip Dysplasia rates were double in the group of neutered dogs versus non-neutered dogs.
Neutering male dogs involves removal of the testes and spaying a female dog requires removal of the ovaries. Both procedures result in the interruption of the body’s production of hormones. Without hormones, unwanted canine pregnancies and pet overpopulation issues are avoided.
However because your dog’s hormones play a key role in bone growth and closure of what is referred to as bone plates, the risk of canine arthritis, Hip Dysplasia and knee ligament injuries increase significantly. In fact the risk of Hip Dysplasia doubles in Golden Retrievers spayed or neutered prior to the age of one.
In addition to pet arthritis and canine cancer, early spaying and neutering has been linked to unwanted behavioral issues and a host of other pet health disorders still being studied in dogs.
The research indicates the importance of discussing the risks and benefits of spaying or neutering pets with your veterinarian prior to the procedure.
Veterinarians and pet owners alike should use their best medical judgment when deciding the best time and age to spay or neuter.
Another published study released in 2012 revealed the fact that waiting until dogs are age six or older results in a 33% increase in health and longevity.
In addition, the risk of reproductive tract cancer in dogs is not eliminated by spaying or neutering, which is the exact opposite of what many veterinarians and pet owners previously believed.
Currently the Denver based branch of the Morris Animal Foundation is recruiting 3000 Golden Retrievers as part of a new
Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
This project will track the dog’s health, disease entities and environment throughout their entire life span.
Pet owners that may be interested in enrolling their Golden Retrievers for this study may register online at caninelifetimehealth.