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Thread: Interesting study on age/gender factors for early/late neutering

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    Default Interesting study on age/gender factors for early/late neutering

    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-golden-...og-health.html

    Important to keep in mind this is a single study and on a much larger breed than the cavalier -- and one far more prone to cancer and hip dysplasia (though hip dysplasia IS an issue in many smaller breeds too, including the cavalier). But some thought-provoking results that would suggest it may be better to neuter males after a year of age; while it may be better to spay females before a year old (setting aside the increased mammary tumour risk already known to occur in female dogs spayed after the 1st or second heat).
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
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    It has been found that the very early studies that touted a higher mammary cancer risk for unspayed females are as well suspect.

    "A commonly-stated advantage of neutering bitches is a significant reduction in the risk of mammary tumours, however the evidence for this has not previously been assessed by systematic review. The objectives of this study were to estimate the magnitude and strength of evidence for any effect of neutering, or age of neutering, on the risk of mammary tumours in bitches. A systematic review was conducted based on Cochrane guidelines. Peer-reviewed analytic journal articles in English were eligible and were assessed for risk of bias by two reviewers independently. Of 11,149 search results, 13 reports in English-language peer-reviewed journals addressed the association between neutering/age at neutering and mammary tumours. Nine were judged to have a high risk of bias. The remaining four were classified as having a moderate risk of bias. One study found an association between neutering and a reduced risk of mammary tumours. Two studies found no evidence of an association. One reported “some protective effect” of neutering on the risk of mammary tumours, but no numbers were presented. Due to the limited evidence available and the risk of bias in the published results, the evidence that neutering reduces the risk of mammary neoplasia, and the evidence that age at neutering has an effect, are judged to be weak and are not a sound basis for firm recommendations. - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/1...220.x/abstract
    Oreo

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    Thanks for that. Really interesting and I will talk to some vet friends about their views.

    The problem with a lot of the studies -- and articles assessing them! -- is exactly this risk of bias or sample size. That alone would make me want to know more about the people who wrote this assessment. Makes the issue even more complicated than it already is, on health perspectives.

    To my mind the one major review of test results that I see posted widely, looking at a huge range of diseases, comes across as highly biased as it does not list the likelihood of dogs ever getting some of the 'increased risk' diseases', set against some of the more common risk diseases. A lot of the 'increased risk' factors they site just are miniscule risks or very small sample studies.

    And important to note that none of these 'health' arguments consider what I still strongly assert is the biggest issue around neutering -- the risk of unwanted pregnancies and therefore, deaths of unwanted puppies; the risk of death and complications -- significant in itself -- to a pregnant bitch simply in being pregnant; the risk of behavioural issues stemming directly from not neutering a younger dog resulting in that dog 1) getting out and either being killed, or lost; 2) being attacked/attacking other dogs and seriously harmed; 3) being dumped or sent to the pound by people who cannot manage or don't know how to manage normal but unwanted intact-dog behaviours. The latter is a significant reason for dogs ending up in the pounds/ending up spending its life outside in a garden.

    The article I linked to at the top is interesting to me as it was done at UC Davis, which is very reputable ; the sample size is fairly large; the results look at some gender indications.

    The results do suggest a greater risk of cancer in late-spay (after a year old) females which may be an mportant factor for some people regardless of whether mammary tumour risk are slightly decreased or not decreased. Interestingly the study also suggests slightly higher risks for neutered dogs compared to unneutered dogs overall, but again -- so many of the serious death risks to dogs -- led by either escaping, or ending up in the pound for behaviour issues -- are directly connected to the dogs being intact.I would say the risk of the average dog dying or being lost forever for these reasons is significantly higher than it ever getting a disease that it may be at slightly elevated risk for due to neutering. I think it would be hard to find anyone in rescue or a professional trainer who would not agree with that.

    Personally I do not know of any cases of mammary tumours in spayed females, amongst all my rescue contacts or god owning friends. But in rescue we typically see them -- often a LOT of them in a single dog -- in unspayed older females. Often there's little that can be done in these cases.

    My own preference is to neuter around age one these days but I would never rehome an unneutered rescue dog, regardless of age (well not entirely true -- very old intact dogs stay that way!)
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Leo Lily Tansy Libby (foster) Mindy (foster)
    In memory: Lucy
    Cavalier SM Infosite:www.smcavaliers.com

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    I too find this interesting. But I agree with Karlin the article didn't mention the "risks" of unwanted mating in dogs.

    Also it mentioned: "While results of the new study are revealing, Hart said the relationship between neutering and disease-risk remains a complex issue. For example, the increased incidence of joint diseases among early-neutered dogs is likely a combination of the effect of neutering on the young dog's growth plates as well as the increase in weight on the joints that is commonly seen in neutered dogs."

    [FONT=Arial, Helvetica, Sans]This point also is interesting to say the least, could these issues be avoided by simply making sure the dog does not become over weight....or how many of the study dogs were over the ideal weight for their bone structure??

    Hmmm defiantly something to continue to learn about.
    [/FONT]
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomObvious View Post
    ... I agree with Karlin the article didn't mention the "risks" of unwanted mating in dogs. ...
    Most unwanted matings would be the responsibility of the dogs' owners. If an owner decides to prematurely neuter a dog because the owner doesn't think he or she will be capable of preventing a possible unwanted mating, then the owner may be punishing the dog for the owner's own failures.
    Rod Russell

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    Quote Originally Posted by RodRussell View Post
    Most unwanted matings would be the responsibility of the dogs' owners. If an owner decides to prematurely neuter a dog because the owner doesn't think he or she will be capable of preventing a possible unwanted mating, then the owner may be punishing the dog for the owner's own failures.
    Good point. It's my dream to one day get litter mates guess I should think about only getting 2 of the same gender so this wouldn't be in issue This article makes some good arguments for putting off neutering male dogs thought.....
    Melissa
    "If you don't own a dog, at least one, there is not necessarily anything wrong with you, but there may be something wrong with your life."
    -Roger Caras

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