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« Does It Always Have to Be Important? | Main | Girls Sing »

24 May 2006

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Cate

Christie, what about the behavioral differences? Sometimes those are a big part of the decision. I am thinking of those who depend on dog parks or other public spaces to exercise or walk their dogs. I noticed that encounters with intact dogs got a lot calmer when all of my dogs were neutered. My two Deerhounds had to be - both were cryptorchid - but my Whippet was neutered purely for behavioral reasons and the main one was that other, much larger dogs kept challenging him. It was stressful for him (and me) although not too stressful for the inattentive owners of the other dogs until Moose reacted. Then he & I were yelled and cursed at, or worse. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that sometimes the quality of the life over the long term has to be weighed against the odds of the bad things happening at the end.
Cate

Christie Keith

EVERYTHING has to be weighed. That's my point, though: How do you weigh things out, when half the story is being withheld from you?

gina

I see your points on the benefit/risk analysis for the health of any particular dog, but I think you do didn't give enough weight to the behavior issues, and you need to factor in the societal advantages to widespread neutering of pet dogs.

Unneutered male dogs, typically those just coming into adulthood, are most often the animals involved in severe or lethal attacks on people. Yes, you can train and socialize a dog to be a better, safer companion, but many people won't or can't. The behavior advantage for male dogs, in particular, argue strongly for widespread neutering.

As for the females, the health advantages are as you state. But I also would argue that having just come through this, the management of a female in standing heat is a serious pain in the ass.

If I didn't have to keep the two younger dogs intact for competition and (possibly) breeding, I simply could not get them neutered quickly enough. Which is why the older two have been neutered for years. Neither has had weight problems for the simple fact that they are fed and exercised properly to maintain correct weight, even though that does mean paying attention and making corrections to the equation now and then, especially with the older bitch.

Christie Keith

Actually, I don't think I came out for or against neutering or spaying for any given dog. I said we have to take everything into account, and stop looking at only part of the picture. That is't not about our ultimate decision but about HOW WE REACH the decision, and with what facts.

Roly Poly Man

I have been told that if females are not fixed that they get cancer in their ovaries? That seems pretty wild, but the vets are always pushing spaying/neutering. It is kind of obnoxious.

Nancy

Females dogs can be MORE not less aggresive after spaying. Intersting blog...

Leigh-Ann

I think it's fine for the diligent pet owner to be informed of all sides of this issue. That said, I also think it's fine for the Average Joe/Jane to continue to be innundated with messages that spaying/neutering their pet is the right thing to do. There are too many people who are negligent and lazy, and who'd love any excuse to not spay/neuter. My brother-in-law is one -- he's a educated, successful guy who just "hasn't had time" to get his dog spayed, even though she's three years old. She's escaped from his yard a few times, too, but luckily hasn't become pregnant. If she did have puppies, they'd end up at the pound, because he'd brush the puppies off as "not his problem". There are too many people like him, and I think they're a big reason shelters are overcrowded and stray cats keep showing up on my doorstep with kittens in tow.

I just don't think most pet owners are responsible enough to make these choices for themselves -- most pet owners don't even read the labels on the food they feed their pets. Their pets (and unwanted offspring) are the ones who end up suffering for it.

Gil.

"Unneutered male dogs, typically those just coming into adulthood, are most often the animals involved in severe or lethal attacks on people."

I can't help wondering what kind of dogs you have that you'd say that. I have never had anything but intact dogs...never a bitch...and I have never had one that was remotely interested in attacking people unprovoked.

Theresa

I wonder whether the age at which neutering is done might contribute to the health problems being seen. I have 3 spayed bitches ranging from 7-15 years old, but I waited until they were about a year old to di the surgeries. I am instinctively leery of neutering young pups.

I do, sadly, think that most people are far too stupid to entrust with an intact pet. That stupidity is the reason that shelters are always full to bursting.

gina

Gil ... The Centers for Disease Control says the dog most likely to be involved in a severe or lethal attack in a young, unneutered male.

I'll find the cite and post it later.

LABitch

I appreciate your comments. The thing I like most about your blog is your intellectual honesty even when it goes counter to "politically correct" opinions. Being for spay/neuter generally doesn't mean being for glossing over or actively deceiving people about possible negatives.

A couple possible negatives I wish were discussed more:

Spaying is major surgery. There has to be some amount of serious complication and death just from the surgery itself, anesthesia or post-op infection. I think of this particularly when "mandatory spay/neuter" laws get passed, as they just were in LA County. Someone is going to be "incentivized" to take their dog in to avoid the high registration fees and they are going to come out with a dead dog and high vet bills. No one talks about it.

The other is from personal experience -- I spayed my dog at 5 years old. I was showing her for a while, and then I was ambivalent about changing her by removing a major organ. Finally I made the decision because managing her heat cycles got harder and I was worried about continuing to gamble that she wouldn't get pyo. Post-spay, on the same food she ate before, she gained weight, suffered more from allergies and got hot spots for the first time in her life. You hear a lot that the rise in allergies, coat and skin problems correlate with the rise in use of commercial dog food, but there has to be a correlation with the increase in spaying and neutering because they have increased over the same time period. I don't know if anyone has researched a possible causal relationship between spaying and coat/skin problems, but I would be interested in the results. I know my hair and skin are affected by hormonal changes, why wouldn't the dog's be?

I feel like a lot of the comments above aren't getting your point - and maybe there are people who are too uninformed and irresponsible to be entitled to the whole story - they are essentially society's puppy people and they are being manipulated for the greater good (not sure I buy that, but its a point of view) - but those same people are not going to necessarily understand that all surgery carries some risk or that your spayed/neutered dog is going to need special attention to stay healthy and happy that it wouldn't have needed if you hadn't had their reproductive organs removed.

For the record, I have always spayed or neutered my animals at about a year before this dog at 5 years and I've never bred or had an accidental litter. I'm not against altering, I'm in favor of information.


Diane M. Schuller

Once again, you've hit the mark with your frank and [thankfully] politically incorrect post. Yes, agreed. Far too many people go along eating up the propaganda, never bothing to question or investigate the facts for themselves. Instead, like cattle following the water trail, they plod along, head down, never thinking to consider whether what they're being told is written on a $3 dollar bill.

All too often pet owners will use these lies to justify making their own life easier -- after all, it's more inconvenient to deal with an intact female during a heat than one that has been spayed or "fixed" (good word for most folks isn't it?).

Thanks for saying it like it really is!

With appreciation,

Diane
http://www.dianeschuller.com
http://dogsnaturally.blogspot.com/

Gil.

IMO, people are most often the reason behind severe or lethal dog attacks and I doubt the CDC has statistics on that, Gina. There are certainly dogs with loose screws, dogs which snap when pushed too far on some terrible occasion and dogs that are genetically predispositioned to attack anyone outside the immediate family (the Fila springs to mind) but ignorant and/or irresponsible owners are the main reason for dog attacks. By coming down hard on spay/neuter which affects only the dog, rather than educating dog owners on exactly what it is they have there, preferably before they get a pup, many of the experts on dogs, be they writing for magazines, vets or working in rescue, are doing dogs no service, certainly not the service they deserve.

No, they are not going to reach everyone, not everyone will listen, but rescue groups and "animal advocates" have made spay/neuter trendy. To take Christie's rant a little further, would it be too hard for them to make knowledge trendy? To educate people on what a dog is...a member of another species, not a placid toy, so they can work with his natural behavior to modify it if need be...as well as teach them what spay/neuter can mean? To make responsible dog ownership mean something more than feeding him, walking him once a day and removing the dog's ability to procreate?

Cryptorchidism is a legitimate reason for neutering, disease is a legitimate reason. Maybe once in a blue moon, behavior can be improved by neutering. But most of the time, the only reason for neutering is the owner's convenience and, to me, that is no reason at all. And to spay or neuter pups that are only weeks old, disrupting their development, preventing them from ever growing up, is criminal, as far as I'm concerned.

ooogyfan2

I won't even pretend to be able to comment intelligently on this debate, but I will say this, Christie. You really ARE the Warrior Princess, aren't you?

Therese

The sad part, like others have mentioned, is that there are those pet owners don't take the time to educate themselves unless it's fast, easy, and they hear what they want to hear. For people like this, regardless of the risks associated with spay/neuter, it's probably the best choice. For example, I have a relative who at one point asked me 'how can you tell if a cat's pregnant?' When I asked why, she said her cat was in heat and she threw it outside so it could get pregnant. She wanted her kids to see the miracle of birth!! When I tried to talk to her about it she refused to listen. For somebody like this, who obviously isn't interested in educating herself, I'd much rather see her with a spayed or neutered pet. (Whether or not this person should even OWN a pet is yet another story!!)

LABitch

I'd also like to respond to Gina's comment:

"The Centers for Disease Control says the dog most likely to be involved in a severe or lethal attack in a young, unneutered male."

I have no doubt that's true, but that says "if dog bites, dog is probably unneutered male". It does not says "if dog is unneutered male, dog will probably bite". That is a totally different logical proposition which does not follow from the first one and to push neutering of male dogs on the grounds of aggression is like taking a sledgehammer to the problem. It is the equivalent of saying "if most gang members are young black men, we should lock up all young black men to end gang violence". Hopefully we are all politically correct enough to recoil in horror from that statement.

I'd also like to throw into the mix that it is my understanding (and I don't have a study or source I can cite, this is based on conversations with individuals from the countries I'm talking about, that in Scandinavia it is considered unethical to spay / neuter without a medical reason, vets won't do it, and there is a lower incidence of homeless dogs there than here. People are simply familiar enough with handling dogs and responsible/educated/capable enough to prevent unintentional matings. A very high percentage of all their dogs are also purebred dogs, not surprisingly. So, I have a purebred dog, but I also love the beauty and variety of random bred dogs, I'm not sure what the most desirable outcome is. But I think recognizing the huge sociological component to dog overpopulation is important.

Gil.

Great comment, LAbitch, both the logic and the reminder that in Scandinavia they look at things differently...and with success. I've heard and read that, too.

Leigh-Ann

I forgot to add that I'm spayed, and my life has been quite nice since the experience :)

Would there be a way to do a less radical spay on animals to make the procedure a bit safer, or would it just be a draw? If vets left just the ovaries in I guess it would eliminate all the anti-cancer benefits of spaying?

Btw, looking at the feline female reproductive tract, it's no wonder there are problems with urinary incontinence after some surgeries. The bladder and bladder nerves are right in the area being removed, so I'd imagine they are occasionally traumatized. I know incontinence is supposed to be a hormonal issue, but even in humans many women suffer similar problems after a hysterectomy because the surgery is in an area extremely close to the bladder. Many gynecologists in Europe only do a supracervical hysterectomy on women, leaving in the cervix, out of a desire to not harm the bladder.

Christie Keith

I know how it feels to want to lie, cheat, steal, and kill to get people or society to do what you think they should do, about dogs and yeah, about other stuff too. I'm a control freak and I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

But to me this issue crosses a line, because it's not just about slanting the facts to support the outcome you desire. Hell, most of us do that, even if only to the extent that we use whatever debating skills we possess to make our point. No, this is about a literal lie, the lie that there are no adverse health effects from spay/neuter. To me, that crosses the line into something beyond persuasion or even manipulation and into actual, well... lying.

I won't say that every word that leaves my fingertips or lips is the truth. I suppose like everyone else I've called in sick when I wasn't, or told a friend I loved her new haircut (Ok, I actually never lie about hair), or even lied to hide some dark embarrassing secret about my life such as ... gack, did you actually think I'd tell you?

But the pattern of saying black is white and down is up on this issue in the pet media is too pervasive to be called anything other than propaganda. The fear that if you say one single negative word about spay neuter, that some idiot somewhere will say, "Hell, Martha, spaying and neutering will make our dog get cancer, I read it on the Internet!"

The things is, those people already believe all kinds of moronic shit, like that if you alter your dog your own balls will fall off, or whatever it is they believe. Gina Spadafori and Christie Keith aren't going to reach those folks one way or the other.

Second, the correlation of dogs biting and attacking humans with not being neutered? I think it's because we've framed responsible pet ownership in this country as including almost universal spay/neutering, so most people with intact animals (other than the tiny minority who breed and show) are by definition going to fall outside that definition. In other words, when guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. With me so far?

And chopping a dog's balls off doesn't make those people into good dog owners, because I don't really think most of those attacks are caused by the dog's testosterone, they're caused by the owner's testosterone, and the reason the dog still HAS his testosterone is the owner's testosterone. Which possibly makes no sense but I'm on a roll here.

But really, all that aside and all my blathering stopped, the bottom line is this: Do what you think you should do. Alter your animals or don't. I don't care. But make your decision with facts, and if you're in the media or the veterinary profession, please stop actually lying or misleading people. Stick with being persuasive and manipulative.

Gil.

"...because I don't really think most of those attacks are caused by the dog's testosterone, they're caused by the owner's testosterone, and the reason the dog still HAS his testosterone is the owner's testosterone. Which possibly makes no sense..."

Well, you are blathering but you've made sense to this point so I won't swat you with a bullystick. (g)

gina

"Stick with being persuasive and manipulative."

So ... does this mean you DON'T like my hair?

Christie Keith

I like your hair, I never lie about hair.

ScotteeM

Thank you, Christie, for speaking the truth about this specious lie! I do now live with 3 spayed females and one intact male. I've always had intact males, except when one of the males developed scrotal cancer, which he survived with surgery.

I have not found any of the myths about spaying and neutering to be true, and I have found my dogs seem to live longer than the average if they are intact, or are sterilized after adulthood.

In all the years I have been "into dogs," all but one of the bites I have received have been from castrated males.

I have not experienced neutering to reduce aggressive behavior, and only recommend neutering aggressive dogs to prevent them reproducing.

One of my intact males, a retired show champion, became my trained service dog to assist with a disability. He accompanied me to work daily, in kennels and vet hospitals, and we traveled extensively, and his reproductive status as an intact male never once caused a problem. He had serviced females as a stud, and it did not have an adverse effect on his performance assisting me.

I agree that a lot of people are stupid. But they do deserve the truth. I think most pet owners would still opt to sterilize, based on the breeding ramifications alone. They don't deserve to be lied to about the health issues, just to persuade them to sterilize.

Aidana

Thank the Gods!

Someone with some common sense on the subject!

I'm an herbalist & I specialize in animal care & products...

You have no idea what I will do to the next person who tries to tell me that because something is all natural, it's absolutely safe with no side effects...

Cocaine is all natural, that hardly makes it safe... so is arsenic & anthrax.

I'm also old school... being raised on a farm, it was common practice for a female to bear younge at least one... we believed they never fully matured until doing so...

The only time and animal was fixed was if there was a problem... & I can only even recal 1 dog even having a problem & a number of outside factors could have instigated it... hunting dog... could have injured the area in the feild & it was undetected until there was a visable problem.

Any way... I agree whole hearted with you... I think altering ANYTHING or ANYONE from it's natural state should only be done under circumstances that are not natural.

BTW... I got to you post today due to a post by the Dane Addict...

And for your honesty, your getting a link put on my blogs tomorrow.

Aidana
HORSES:
http://www.blogcharm.com/ShuvaniStablesAllNaturalHorseAndLivestockRemedyAndProductBlog/
PETS:
http://www.blogcharm.com/KenderKennelPetCare/
EXOTICS:
http://www.blogcharm.com/shuvanimals/

Lew Olson

I always enjoy reading anything you write, Christie, thanks so much for another thought provoking message!

It is true many things we are told about spaying and neutering is not true. And people do need the facts. But let me say this..

Every day thousands of pets are put down in the U.S., and in not very humane conditions, due to the sheer volume. 50 to 500 Rottweilers alone are euthanized in shelters daily. On Petfinders.com between 3,100 and 3,500 Rottweilers are listed daily as needed to be adopted.

After Hurricane Katrina, over 10,000 dogs were rescued. Of the 138 Rottweilers our group recovered, one was neutered (later we found out this was due to police order due to a bite incident). Almost every female has droopy breasts with evidence of being bred multiple times.

In Pit Bulls, it was much worse. I saw every breed of dog at Lamar Dixon, from Chinese Cresteds, to French Bulldogs to Fila's.

I also work with fighting BSL daily. And Gil, the highest number of dog bites are from unneutered males, bar none. Unneutered males are more prone to roam (ah, love!) and more prone to portray prey drive and more prone to go with the actions of a pack.

And yes, this about people, the owners. But in order to protect our dogs, our breeds, we need to spay and neuter.

If you don't spay and neuter, then give money to rescue and BSL funds. Give at least a day a week to rescue and taking care of unwanted animals. Otherwise, you are just adding to the problem.

Yes, spay and neuter is surgery, it can be uncomfortable and is 'unnatural'. But the consequences of not doing so is also 'unnnatural'. Until this world is a better place, with smarter people, better leaders (don't let me go there) that provide caring and comfort for all... thoughtful and intelligent choices for pets aren't a priority.

While spaying and neutering may be seen as 'altering from it's natural state, having to do wholesale euthansia is also an 'unnatural state'. Dogs sitting in kennels, runs and crates, waiting to be claimed, waiting to be loved and just wanting a comfortable life is horrible to see, depressing for those fighting to find homes for these dogs and an 'unnatural' state for dogs.

Spaying and neutering is a small price to pay, when put like that. Just how valuable are your dog's testicles and your bitches uterus? More than their life? More than the hundreds of thousands of dogs that suffer a year in this world? Maybe we can debate altering pets when dogs and cats are seen as valuable and cherished in this world. In the meanwhile, if you doubt my word, go to a shelter, donate your time and hold a few dogs that need to be 'put down'. That is a life changing event that everyone needs to experience as least once to see things from the other side.

Lew

Gil.

"Just how valuable are your dog's testicles ...More than their life?"

Odd you should ask that, Lew, after Christie made the point that a neutered male is more likely to get some types of life-threatening cancer and be more prone to cruciate ligament injuries.

Mine has the right to live in the world as whole as he came into it. I will never deny him that right because other dogs suffer from the stupidity of ignorant or vicious people. He's got the right to live without being made more vulnerable to disease than he would otherwise have been. He's got the right to be treated with the respect due another species. And he's got the right to protection from me against my species, by my training him to live in this insane world, by standing up for him.

I don't put the good of many above the good of one. That's what it comes down to. It makes no difference to me at all that my vet learned enough about TBD from my Thunder to save other dogs from dying of it. You want blunt? That is not the slightest consolation to me. Their lives are nothing in the scale against his.

I do value my dogs, I do cherish them and I see no reason to alter my dogs or my behavior, to subject them to being castrated because everyone else thinks I should. When I say that mine are never bred, they're all the more adamant that I should whack them. That makes a difference? What it actually means is that they see dogs as, above all, puppy-making machines and me as too stupid or too irresponsible to prevent unwanted breeding.

Do you see a whole bunch of evidence that spaying and neutering is emptying the shelters? You couldn't prove it by me, not while I get bombarded by the anguish of caring people who are up to their hips in unwanted dogs despite all the spay/neuter propaganda.

I reject the judgment that I am part of the problem if I don't go along with it. I am not. I have always been someone who is responsible for and even over-protective of her dogs. And for their sake, I have no problem saying that it's not spay/neuter programs that are going to put an end to shelters, it's forcing a change in people. Social pressure and education are what's needed, not scalpels.

Lew Olson

You still haven't told me the value of the testicles. Why is being castrated something you see as a negative?

I will say the only dogs I have owned that have had prostate problems or cruciate tears were intact... and my feeling is that doesn't prove anything either.

Are you saying an unaltered dog is happier? Healthier? Better off for it? Emotional and physic well being is more stable?

I am an advocate for altering and I carry the message. I explain to people that their males will be better behaved around other dogs, and their females won't come into heat. I tell them it will stop their males from roaming and stop the risk of pyometra in their girls.

If my dogs don't pass health clearances, they are altered. Of my 19 dogs here, I have two unneutered males and two unspayed females. Some of these are rescues as well. Can you imagine what my place would be like if all were intact? Instead of large, grassed fenced yards an acre or more each, I am guessing I would have kennel runs to separate everyone. (not a kennel run on my place, I don't consider that 'natural' but that is another topic to debate)

What I am saying is if dogs were less numerous, if they were more valuable and cherished, if times weren't so hard so people could take an interest in dog welfare rather than making enough dough to feed the family and put a few gallons of gas in the car...then this conversation would be taking a different turn on my part.

And I can take this subject into a deeper turn.. It isn't natural to fence dogs either, or have them live indoors, choose what they eat and let them out at our convenience. Maybe the only people who should own dogs should live in outlaying areas, where dogs can run free, hunt for their own food and be able to live in a pack as nature intended...

By the way, the Bean was neutered Thursday... besides his renal problems, his prostate was becoming enlarged and harboring cysts and infection. I also know the rationale for neutering is emotional, as I had been putting it off even knowing that I was jeopardizing his health... I wanted to hang on to those darn balls for dear life.. even if it meant putting him in danger. Does Bean care? Nah. But people do, and they put a big emotional investment in it, that is more about us than them..

Lew

"You still haven't told me the value of the testicles. Why is being castrated something you see as a negative?"

No? I believe I said it right up front. "He's got the right to live without being made more vulnerable to disease than he would otherwise have been."

And yes, I do believe he's "more likely" to be healthier with all his hormones available. Why would making him less than whole make him more stable? What it does, if it has any effect on his temperament at all, is make him a perpetual puppy since neutering is usually done before the dog is grown. If that's what people want...well, I can't say that's fine because I believe it's awful.

I don't believe I said a word about "natural". I didn't say a dog should live in "natural" conditions, whatever those are. Dogs cast their lot in with us a long time ago and I don't know that you can say it's not natural for them to live with us, companions instead of wild animals, getting food and shelter in return for what they give us.

Dogs can be trained to behave around other dogs; they don't need to be neutered.

Now if you're talking about running loose with other dogs they don't even know, at dog parks, say, "behaving" in a situation like that is about as natural to them as flying. Dogs are pack animals and pack animals can't be expected to be teddy bears, tolerant and accepting of all comers. Many people do, of course, but that's outright ignorance of the nature of the dog.

Your situation is way different from that of most people and you make your decisions based on criteria that apply in your situation. Neutering Bean was rational and kind, it was done for him, not to prevent his breeding but to keep him living. I have no quarrel with that.

But I don't see that it's even remotely fair to toss the charge of being "emotionally involved" in her dog's balls at someone simply because she doesn't agree that neutering is in her dog's best interest.

Katie McCormick

Here are some other good articles on this topic:

http://www.littleriverlabs.com/neuter.htm
http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

I am holding off on neutering my 14 month old lab because he has mild elbow dysplasia. From the standpoint of joint and bone health, there is no upside to neutering, as far as I can tell. I want to get him neutered eventually for the sake of his social life, but I'm hoping to put it off until he's at least 2. I'm glad to see some sane discussion of this topic. I wish that s/n were a black-and-white issue, but unfortunately it's not.

Katie

Nancy Campbell

Just as a dog shouldn't be altered on the premise of lies, nor should a dog be left intact by a fool.

A person should be fully informed so that they can make the decision that fits them and their pet(s). Nobody should be manipulated into neutering. Not with guilt or lies. If a person wishes to leave their pet intact and are willing to make a commitment to socialization, training, mental stimulation and the prevention of unwanted offspring, then by all means...leave the nuts.

To the lot of them I'd really rather say, "look, you're an idiot. You don't know how to control your intact dog. You don't spend any time socializing your pet or teaching it obedience. You do nothing with your dog except tie it to a tree or let it roam the neighborhood. It would be in the best interest of you, your dog, your neighbors and your neighbor's pets to neuter your dog. While you're at it make an appointment with your own doctor." ;-)

kim

Bless you, Lew.

Gil, I think the problem with the keep-the-goods argument is that you represent 0.0001% of the dog-owning population.

Not a SINGLE day goes by when I don't speak to someone who mentions in passing "I'd really like pups out of him/her." Of course, these are the same people who are in my retail establishment asking me how to treat their dogs epilepsy/allergies/arthritis/dysplasia/chronic pick-a-malady.

We are pushing for a mandatory spay/neuter law in our city. Cats and dogs over 6 months of age will hopefully be required to be speutered and microchipped, unless the dog is actively showing in recognized conformation rings (AKC/CKC etc). This time of year, our local humane society euths around 300 cats a week. Dozens of dogs end up in the shelter daily, and most are euthanized or fall to people like myself to rescue them.

I for one, am SICK and TIRED of being responsible for the mistakes of others. Because some Joe Schmoe bred Fifi on a whim (Because she's purebred - as if that's reason enough) and sold the puppies to the first takers, I have to deal with the end result. If not me, some other sucker, or the local SPCA with MY tax dollars.

So yes, I am guilty of raining down stories of breached births and pyo, mammary tumors and mastitis, vicious intact males and bleeding-in-heat females... if it will mean that even ONE litter of cock-a-poo/puggle/combination of two neighbours purebred anythings, will not come into creation.

I apologize for the rant... but when you have to actually witness crap like this:

http://www.brightlion.com/inhope.aspx

On a weekly basis, your outlook hardens.

Go, Bob Barker, Go.

Margaret

This blog is written like most people who have spayed/neutered pets chose to do so. For those of us who get our pets from shelters and rescue groups, we don't have any choice in the spay/neuter issue. The pets come spayed/neutered to us from the shelter or group. The only people who have a choice in this matter are people getting their pets from breeders, pet stores or strays off the street.

I agree, spaying is major surgery. Our dog was spayed the day we got her from the shelter and it took her a couple of weeks to recover and she was very bruised. I do agree with spaying/neutering for most pets because so many pets are euthanized in this country due to pet overpopulation (and many pet owners are idiots). But people should also be informed of the drawbacks so they know what to do with their pet afterwards.

Gil.

"We are pushing for a mandatory spay/neuter law in our city.

What a crock. Laws like that are aimed at breeders as much as the nitwit who wants to see the miracle of birth. Just how many of their breeding bitches do you think are being actively shown at any one time? What if the dog has retired from the ring, eh? What if the best stud has never been near a conformation ring?

You're tired of taking responsibility for others mistakes? So you feel that gives you the right to control what I do? Well, let me know where your oh-so-PC community is so I'll never make the mistake of moving there.

Katie

"We are pushing for a mandatory spay/neuter law in our city.

That is absolutely horrifying. It is hard to believe that ANYONE would see a mandatory spay/neuter law as being a good thing.

Any legislation that allows a government body the power to further diminish our rights as citizens scares me.

When people talk about legislation they need to think of how it could be enforced. Enforcement of a law such as that could be done through entering a persons private home, seizing the dog and dragging it off to God knows who is on the payroll for surgery.

The points made about quality studs and bitches that people have worked hard to breed, show and promote need to be heard.

Education NOT legislation is always the best. I, for one, do not trust politicians, govermental bodies or officials to make those decisions that should be made only by me.

Katie

Lana

Hi,
I just wanted to say what a wonderful article this is. Thank you for the wonderful information and foot notes. It is so difficult to find any rational information on spay/neuter. It's always either "You are a horrible dog owner if you don't do it" or "You are mutilating your animal if you do"
I am not a fan of extremists, I am a fan of the truth. Thanks for throwing this out there.

michael

Thank you Christie for speaking about this subject as if there is actually a hint of rational thought going on behind the scenes.
This does not happen when the writer is a radical, brainless spay/neuter nazi who speaks to people as if they are as stupid as the spay/neuter nazi propagandist.

But some of these people are not as stupid as they sound. They are devious, sinister and evil. They care nothing about dogs or their owners. They care about money, power and control. Case in point. Marcia Mayeda.

It is time for dog owners to start standing up for themselves and revolt against the totalitarian madness of Mayeda and her ilk.

Here is some info on mandatory spay/neuter in Los Angeles county. As a result of this law, I am a fugitive. I can be put in jail, and then my dogs can be seized and killed because there will be no one to take care of them. Of course their balls will be cut off before they are killed because of "lack of space and resources."

http://dogtv.com/dogtv_release_5_3_2006.pdf


--
this is michael
reporting live...
http://dogtv.com

Ally

Even though I know the risks of spaying and neutering, I think with all the homeless dogs, and the ones I see constantly put down in the shelters because they could not find there forever home soon enough, is more then reason enough for me to get my dogs spayed and neutered. I would feel better knowing I never contirbute to the needless death of thousands of dogs.

I do however believe that yes all the lies are to convince careless and irresponsible owners to spay and neuter there pets. It's the careless and irresponsible owners that are responsible for the pet over population and half of the deaths in shelters. They don't need another excuse to not spay or neuter. If those lies are to stop animals from needlessly dieing... I would be more then happy to spread them myself. Nothing a small lie does to those who are responsible, even comes close to the massive amount of deaths created by those who are irresponsible.

after2months_of_reading

I for one have decided not to neuter my dog. I have read high and low for 2 months. I read every article I can find, whether it be pro-neuter articles or otherwise. I read everything I could possibly read and not just articles by the Humane Society but research studies as well! Although I very much appreciate the effort of the Humane Society to reduce the population of unwanted pets, I for one can control my dog and am not worried he will accidentaly impregnate a female dog. I am very responsible for my furbaby. If you read enough, neuter might not be as good as you think for the well-being of your dog. Sorry, I just don't buy it that it is BETTER for their health because it isn't. And I will make sure my dog will not contribute to any litters/puppies.

Letty

Thank you, Christie for this wonderfully insightful article of information - I especially love that you listed a bibliography. So often people will state inforamation as "fact" without being able to back it up. I applaude you!

One thing that I often wonder about is why do the pets' organs have to be removed at all in order to be sterilized? Over the past 10 years I have taken my pets (four domestic rats and a dog) to a vet that performs laser vasectomies/tubal ligations. As the vet explained it, the laser "alteration" requires the pet to be under anesthesia for much less time; there is less chance of "bleeding out"; the pet experiences less pain and discomfort following the proceedure; the healing time is nearly cut in half; because the organs haven't been removed, there is less risk of obesity, UTIs, incontinence, and certain cancers. Behavioral benefits are nearly the same as traditional sterilization. The downfall? Price. The laser equipment is quite expensive and the training to use it, extensive. Overall I felt the cost ($160 for my male rat/$180 for each female rat/$240 for my rescued 5 y.o. female dog) was well worth it.

To this day, however, I've yet to hear anyone promote this kind of sterilization, and information about it is almost non-existant on the web, where most people go for basic information. Disappointing, as it seems a much kinder alternative to traditional methods.

Tam

In over 50 years with dogs I've found that many dogs get more aggressive not less after alteration. I may spay a female, and may not, when I don't wish to breed her but I don't find altering males to be of any benefit. We keep several intact males in the house as well as some spayed females and a neutered male. The neutered male is the onyl one who ever attacks another dog unprovoked.

Amanda

My reason for not wanting to get my cats spayed ever again - My cat -DIED- from being spayed. She died. Died died died died and I will never see her again, and this was like a child to me. I was never warned that cats could have things like Hemophilia! The only risk discussed with me was allergies to the medicine used to knock her out. And then to find out they don't even TEST for these things! And for what? So my precious cat couldn't overpopulate the world? When shes indoors, was afraid of outside? She wouldn't even sit on an open window! I think these things really need to be discussed with people. I have two females who are fat tubs of laziness now, and they barely eat! I wish to god I never got them fixed. Even the vet doesn't know what to do with my one cat who is so large and lazy she can't even jump up now. I have tried everything with her. Not all cats and dogs are part of the population problem, so everyone who protests that they are need to pull their heads out of their butts.

Janet

You've hit the nail on the head with this article. Good for you! Spay/neuter has become a political issue, and the very people we entrust the care of our animals to (vets) have become politicized. We pay these individuals for medical advice -- pay them very good money and all pet owners -- even the idiots, unfortunately -- deserve to know ALL of the facts when making decisions.

azuritemor

Look at naiaonline.org "the benefits and risks of spay/neuter in dogs." for all the scientific data about this. I ve been told all the lies too. I found out the truth about 15 years ago and haven t had a s/n dog since . my males have vascetomies to make sure theres no accidents. Hysterectomies (uteres only) work well for females and prevent pyrometes. You may have to look around for a vet who will do it. If sterilization alternatives were offered probably more would be done.

Jogusto

I have to wholeheartedly agree with you on two points: all information should be available for folks to use in making a decision; and, most people are not just idiots, but irresponsible idiots! Forget about pets, I wish there were some way we could keep them from breeding themselves. How's that? There, I said it!

On the whole, however, the world is a much better place with most animals neutered. I am against the California law requiring neutering animals released from shelters, regardless of their age. I have waited to have my dogs neutered until they have had a chance to develop and mature sexually, believing it produces an anatomically healthier animal.

Cliff Abrams

Our rescue dog was neutered when we got him. However, he seems… intact. Is the procedure now performed internally so that all the external parts are there? Thanks.

Christie

No, it's not... he needs to see a vet. He could have an infection... this is not normal.

Margot

I live in a Scandinavian country that neutering is frowned uppon is not exactly true. However, it is not advocated as such, and it is left up to the pet owners to decide, there is no public campaign to get people to do it. It would be more likely here that your vet would give you the facts and advise against it. What is true is that there are few unwanted dogs in shelters. Nation wide you can count them on your fingers and toes (noted this when I was looking for a cat from a shelter, also not so many around but more than dogs).

I have an intact male dog and there is simply no good reason to neuter him. He is great. Yesterday he spent the day with 3 neutered female golden retrievers and 2 intact male golden retrievers. They had a lovely time after the two youngest males, mine included, had sized each other up and decided they could be friends.

Great article by the way, maybe you should try to tackle the global warming debate, that is an example of global manipulation.

Jack

A wonderful post. I can understand why shelters and whatnot perform such surgeries, but for a pet owner it's about responsibility. Either you're going to pay attention to what your dog is doing (and keep him out of trouble) or you're going to be lazy and lose track of him, so to make up for your own shortcoming you're going to alter the dog.

brokeharvardgrad

I haven't posted on this yet on my blog, but I did do a review of the studies on long term effects of gonadectomy, and you wouldn't believe how many of those were done by vets who work for shelters and then only studied dogs for 4 years (which makes me question the "long term" aspect of their study), in comparison with the epidemiological study which looked at cause of death. Studying an animal for 4 years isn't the same type of study as examining why animals have died and then looking for a similar thread to link them, early spay/neuter was linked directly with increased rates of cancer-causing deaths. Crazy how the information is being manipulated. We have decided not to adopt rescue dogs because there are mandatory spay/neuter dates, and they won't allow us to wait until our male puppy reached maturity. People who are informed are not rescuing animals as frequently. I have read many blogs in the last few days with informed dog owners citing similar issues. It's a problem because informed dog owners, those who are most capable of controlling populations, aren't the ones adopting from shelters or doing rescues anymore. Additionally, simply spaying or neutering an animal doesn't fix the fact that some people only want a puppy, not an adolescent or adult dog, and so shelters will never go away...

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