Spaying, Castration (Neutering) Dogs Overview
Spay and Castrate: Neutering is not the answer to all dogs problems. In fact, In many cases, it is the cause.
It may appear that I am against neutering (the generic term for castration and spaying).
In reality, I am not against neutering as long as it is for the right reasons.
What I am totally against is neutering dogs for the wrong reason, to the wrong dog, at the wrong age.
The wholesale belief that all dogs will benefit from being spayed or castrated is a dangerous and unscientific lie.
This dangerous advice is of course promulgated by the very people that make a very fat profit from these procedures.
The three hormones that are either reduced or removed by spaying and castration are:
OESTROGEN: An extremely powerful female sex hormone that regulates many aspects of our life.This hormone plays a vital role regarding mental and physical health.
There are oestrogen receptors in bones, brain, blood vessels, and the central nervous system. It affects so many different parts of the body and is also vitally important to mood and well-being. It also keeps bones strong and healthy.
PROGESTERONE: Is one of the female sex hormones also produced by the ovaries, also in the adrenal glands in male dogs. It aids immunity and can reduce inflammation and swelling; it also helps regulate the thyroid gland and keeps blood-clotting levels at normal value. It has also been linked to forming social bonds in humans and animals.
TESTOSTERONE: This is seen predominately as a male hormone. However, females produce small amounts of it in their ovaries. A link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established, as is the onset of obesity and poor muscle tone leading to apathetic behaviour.
Paediatric Neutering: This type of neutering is probably the worst procedure for any animal or human.
Neutering dogs before maturity are known to cause life-threatening endocrine (glands) disorders, bone and joint disorders, behavioural problems, cancer, hip and ligament disease.
The endocrine system is a network of glands that produce and release hormones that help control many important body functions, including the body's ability to change calories into energy that powers cells and organs.
The endocrine system influences how your heart beats, how your bones and tissues grow.
It plays a vital role in whether or not you develop endocrine problems culminating in diabetes, thyroid disease, cushing's, growth disorders, and a whole host of other hormone-related conditions.
Vets are badgering their patients to neuter as early as possible. However, there is an enormous swathe of scientific information that flies in the face of this ridiculous recommendation. I would not mind if they understood the consequences, but they don’t.
They appear ignorant of the impact early neutering is having on millions of our pets. I would prefer the advice from someone who was not making a fat profit from recommending this disastrous procedure.
(1) Read this from a Vet that was convinced early neutering was good for her clients until she realised a few years down the line that many of her clients were becoming very ill. I would like every vet in the World to listen and understand just what harm you are doing by these procedures but I will not hold my breath.
(2) Read the Angry Vets who are disgusted at the profession they belong too.
(3) University of Minnesota’s research on spaying and castration. Proving that neutering causes various types of aggression and reactivity on neutered dogs. 7600 dogs were involved in this research. half were neutered and half were left intact. The results will shock you.
Hormones are not optional extras, like a satnav in a car. Nature put these hormones there for a very important reason. They are vital to both physical and social maturity. Without them, dogs can get severe behavioural and physical problems later in life. Read my article (4) Neutering in Depth if you want to learn more.
Aggression: This is the main reason neutering is recommended. Yet the main cause of aggression is fear based. Neutering will always make it worse, these hormones are serotonin uplifters and testosterone is a confidence booster. Removing them for nervous aggressive dogs can only worsen the problem.
Aggression is one of the main reasons dogs are euthanised. Just understanding the fact that neutering increases aggression should at least set alarm bells ringing in every Vets and rescue centres in the UK. But it won't change what they do, who is going to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs?
Alternatives: Why don't we recommend a Vasectomy for male dogs and either Tubal Ligation or Hysterectomy for female dogs? Allowing the testicles and the ovaries to remain, thereby retaining these three vital hormones. It is called sterilisation.
This is such a simple procedure, with the required result of removing the ability of females to become pregnant and males to impregnate females. Tubela Ligation does not stop seasons or bleeding, However, with a Hysterectomy, if the cervix is removed at the same time it prevents pyometra, pregnancy, and bleeding during seasons.
With a Vasectomy male dogs cannot create sperm, that is a far better outcome than the highly invasive operation of Castration and Ovariohysterectomy which reduces or removes these absolutely vital hormones.
Surely this is a no-brainer. So why are Vets and The BVA not recommending these procedures? Given the published results of the intensive study and research using more than 7,500 dogs by the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. You would have thought they would have rethought this outdated and frankly dangerous strategy through and stop it.
This in-depth research showed that in almost every case the neutered dogs were more reactive, moody, hypersensitive, and aggressive than the intact ones. The very opposite of what we are told is the normal outcome. Think long and hard about neutering your dogs at whatever age, but especially until your dogs have reached both physical and psychological maturity.
(5) The RSPCA and some breeders are neutering dogs a young as six weeks. That is just wrong any way you think about it. Dogs are still learning vital lessons from their mother at that age and need to stay constantly near the mother at that time> Some are still not fully weaned at that time and most important of all they need those vital hormones for both physical and mental growth and maturity.
As a postscript, The verb for castration is "to deprive of strength or vigour".
© Stan Rawlinson Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer written July 2015 updated July 2017
(1) Early Neutering. This Vet now deeply regrets performing and recommending
(2) The Angry Vets. These Vets are furious about their own profession
(3) College of Veterinary Medicine; University of Minnesota
(4) Neutering in Depth. My article that gives far more information than this overview.
(5) Neutering at Six Weeks. The RSPCA and some Breeders are neutering at Six weeks of age
My thanks to Dogs Naturally for their to snip or not to snip image.
See video below where Dr Karen Becker describes the horror of what she had done by Paediatric Neutering.