Top Veterinary Articles of the Week: Spay/Neuter Recommendations, Anesthetics, and more ...

Spay/Neuter Recommendations

Dr. Nancy Kay/Spot Speaks

Photo: Gloria

Spay and neuter used to be a no-brainer. But while overpopulation is still a problem and being intact does pose some health risks, as it seems, so does being "fixed," particularly being "fixed" too early. There is now research data available showing that at least with some breeds, neutering these dogs before reaching sexual maturity increase the risk of a number of serious health problems. It is not clear whether this translates to all breeds but if I had that choice I'd let my dog become mature before neutering, meaning not spaying or neutering my dog before at least one year of age.

Read Dr. Kay's thoughts on spay and neuter.

Anesthetics: What Are They and How Do They Help Your Pet

Dr. T. J. Dunn/petMD

There are many important and life-saving procedures that could not be done without the use of anesthesia. Medical care for our dogs would be pretty much reduced to medications only. No more dental cleaning, no more surgeries. No more advanced diagnostics. Veterinary medicine wouldn't be what it is without anesthetics.

We don't have yet the perfect anesthetic.
"The perfect anesthetic eliminates all awareness of pain or discomfort and is 100 percent safe." ~T. J. Dunn, Jr., DVM
However, the safety of anesthetic protocols has improved a lot over the years. More importantly, the degree of risk that still remains is outweighed by the benefit of procedures anesthesia makes possible. Careful protocol and monitoring considerations are important.

I am not cavalier deciding on procedures that require anesthesia. And I am always concerned. However, I make every decision based on the best interest of my dog. Such a decision includes weighing both the risk of anesthesia and expected benefit of the procedure.

Want to learn more about aesthetics? Read Dr. Dunn's article.

Dr. Marty Becker on IBD

Dr. Marty Becker

Having had a dog who suffered with IBD, I know how frustrating this disease can be. And we were quite lucky that we were able to manage it successfully with diet and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). I believe that an integrative approach can be very effective. Some dogs, however, can have a severe case and require immunosuppressive medications and other aggressive interventions.

Back when Jasmine was diagnosed, we were told the causes would be either parasites or food allergies. Changing her diet and sticking with ingredients considered safe based on blood testing, she did quite well.

Other contributing factors might be genetics, food sensitivities, bacteria, environment, stress or abnormal immune system.

Read Dr. Becker's thoughts on IBD.