To Neuter or Not to Neuter

I’ve been having I dilemma. You see Rodney is my first dog and I knew nothing about canine ownership.

So, I thoroughly researched everything and anything that I could think of about dog care. Both before and since he became part of our family.

My knowledge about neutering a dog though was very limited.

Should I Neuter?

Having been a pet owner for all of my life, I’ve previously thought nothing of having them ‘done’.

Neutering a dog, I thought, is necessary for birth control primarily. Also, it is important to ensure that our beloved pets don’t wander off. To not do this is irresponsible, right?

Not necessarily, it seems, and now I have far too much information at my fingertips. The views of both vets and owners are extremely varied and opinions are often strongly held.

Now though I have an adolescent male dog and I have to make a very important decision.

Neutering is the term used for surgery to prevent pets from being able to reproduce. In females, spaying is the term used and in males, castration.

What Happens When a Dog is Neutered?

Castration involves surgically removing both testicles. This takes away the main source of the male hormone, testosterone.

A claimed benefit, besides birth control, includes reduced wanderlust. Other claims are that neutering a dog will lower the risk of testicular and prostate cancer. Aggression issues and inappropriate sexual behaviour are also said to lessen.

As with all surgical procedures, there is some risk but considered to be minimal.

On the other hand I have read that neutering a dog, especially early, can lead to other issues. These include bone cancers and orthopaedic disorders. Examples are cruciate ligament disease and hip dysplasia.

Also mentioned is that neutered animals tend to put on weight easier than those left intact. As miniature schnauzers don’t to do well when overweight, this has to be a consideration.

Another is that nervous dogs can become more aggressive after surgery. This though is if their aggression was fear based rather than hormonal.

Is There an Alternative to Neutering a Dog?

This led me to consider other options. Another dog owner considering neutering her dog told me about an injection that mimics castration named Tardak. This had worked well on her young dog and she eventually went ahead with surgical castration.

When researching this, I came across another option of the castration implant, Suprelorin. I spoke with my vet who told me that he didn’t consider Tardak to be stable enough to judge behaviour. This was because Tardak was only short-term lasting for a matter of weeks. He felt that, of the two, Suprelorin would be the most reliable as it is effective for a minimum of 6 months.

The reason behind trying these is to determine whether behavioural issues are hormone-based or not. And in turn, whether surgical castration will help to eradicate them.

So then, I moved on to forums and what a range of opinions I found. Many had used the Suprelorin implant and found it to be a great help. Others claimed that their dogs had been more aggressive and some even depressed. I did though find more positive feedback than negative.

It seems that I have more thinking to do.

Read my next post about neutering a dog to see what happens next.


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