If you thought the subject of vaccination is a doozie, try spay and neuter for size.
First, let's see what people thought.
|I don't know
Where do you stand on the subject?
While the mainstream veterinary medicine still insists not only on spay and neuter but also as soon as possible, there are more voices to the contrary. New studies are coming out showing the downside of neutering too early.
Looking at it strictly logically, does removing body parts as disease prevention make sense in the first place?
Perhaps, sometimes it might. Nature doesn't put parts in the body the body doesn't need. And the function of reproductive organs, more specifically the hormones they produce, goes beyond reproduction.
Let's not forget, though, that is not the reason why spay and neuter came to be. The reason was population control, not health reasoning. Population control is important. It is better than drowning puppies or euthanizing vast numbers of unwanted dogs.
It would seem, though, that health benefits became a selling point to push the idea.
Spay and neuter does prevent some diseases, such as pyometra or mammary cancer in female dogs and testicular and prostate cancer in male dogs. But evidence is mounting pointing out the number of health issues associated with spaying and neutering early, including joint issues, cancers, and other problems.
If we had a reliable and safe alternative way of population control, should we still spay and neuter?
There are some options out there of "birth control" which don't require removing reproductive organs. There are new spay techniques that don't require the removal of the ovaries. Is that a better way to go?
Would our dogs live longer and healthier if they stayed intact?
A longevity comparison of dogs in Europe would seem to suggest that. But nobody did an actual study on that.
Aside from a couple of medical shortcomings to keeping our dogs intact, there is potentially more evidence that spay and neuter has mostly negative impact on health and longevity.
What does one make of all this?
I believe, at this point given the state of evidence such as it were, spay and neuter might be the right thing to do as long as it's not done too early, meaning not doing it before a dog reaches full maturity. That can be anywhere between one to two years of age, depending on the breed. That is what I believe is the best thing to do at this point.
As one who's been dealing with the aftermath of a dog being fixed too early twice now, I could be easily convinced toward keeping dogs intact with some further evidence.
What do you think?
Dog Longevity Survey Part I
Dog Longevity Survey Part II
Dog Longevity Survey Part I Results
How Important Is Weight Management for Longevity?