Physical Effects of Neuter

HAHD_funny-dog-cartoon-neuteredIn the healthcare and scientific communities, systematic reviews are utilized to guide medical decisions as they provide an exhaustive summary of high-quality peer-reviewed studies relevant to a research question. The foundation for our segments which outline the positive and negative effects of spay/neuter is a 2007 systematic review of more than 50 peer reviewed studies 83 in the veterinary medical literature detailing the long term physical risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. This review concludes:

“On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs, especially immature male dogs, in order to prevent future health problems. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases.”

On the positive side, neutering male dogs:

  • eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer
  • reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders 47
  • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas 46
  • may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)

HPIM1106On the negative side, neutering male dogs:

As a footnote to this discussion, we want to point out that conventional neuter surgeries are invasive procedures, and involve removal of the testes.  A Canadian study concluded that the total complications (intraoperative and postoperative) for neuter surgeries were  about 19%.4  Vasectomy, as we recommend, could be expected to have fewer complications as it is a much less invasive procedure and does not remove the testes.