Advantages and disadvantages of castration in dogs

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Advantages and disadvantages of castration in dogs

The advantages of castration on dogs are obvious: a male dog can no longer be disturbed by bitches in heat, and the bitch does not experience heat with all of its accompanying symptoms. But: Castration is not a means of correcting behavioral disorders or compensating for errors in upbringing. At most sexually hyperactive male dogs can be “cured” of their bad habits by castration.

Difference between castration and sterilization

During castration, the gonads are surgically removed under general anesthesia – the testicles in males and the ovaries in females. This prevents the production of sex hormones and prevents sexual behavior.

In contrast to castration, the spermatic ducts or fallopian tubes are only severed during sterilization. A sterilized animal is just as sexually active as it was before the procedure – it just cannot father or have offspring. Therefore, many veterinarians castration more often on both bitches and males.

Neutering protects the dog from disease

With a castration in the dog one can prevent certain diseases: in the male the testicular cancer as well as some diseases of the prostate and in the bitch the dreaded uterine suppuration and tumors of the milk bar. If the bitch is neutered before the first or second heat, her risk of developing breast cancer is reduced. It is possible that castrated bitches are better protected from diabetes mellitus than their intact female counterparts.

Risks of castration

Although castrations are routine interventions in every veterinary practice, there is still a residual risk: incidents of anesthesia and complications during surgery or wound healing are rare, but possible in principle. And: In bitches, castration is an even more profound intervention than in males and is therefore associated with greater pain, since it is an abdominal operation.

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Disadvantages of castration in dogs

When deciding to neuter medical reasons should not only be in the foreground, but the biological development of the dog should also be taken into account:

  • Puberty is an important biological process in the dog’s maturation. Bitches in particular have a strong mental development boost after the first heat.
  • The decision about neutering should always be made dependent on the type of dog. The large dog breeds need much longer for their mental and physical development than dwarf or small dog breeds. Large breed bitches (Newfoundlanders, Leonberger, Great Danes) in particular have a higher risk of developing urinary incontinence than dogs weighing less than 20 kg. There are also bitches of certain breeds (Boxer, Doberman, Giant Schnauzer, Bobtail, Irish Setter or Collie) who become incontinent more often after castration than, for example, German Shepherd bitches.
  • The disadvantage of castration in bitches of certain types of dogs (e.g. breeds with an innate protective instinct or bitches with a tendency to social intolerance) can lead to increased aggression against female mates.
  • Medically not a problem, but a blemish is the possible development of puppy fur in long-haired breeds. Here, the undercoat overgrows the shiny outer hair – the fur looks shaggy and dull. Puppy fur can occur in both the bitch and the male, but it is far less common in the latter.
  • Another side effect can be an increased appetite due to the loss of sex hormones. There is no longer any hormonal brake. Retrievers, cockers and beagles are particularly affected. If the dog is fed unrestrictedly, obesity can quickly develop. You can counteract this with consistently reduced feeding and sufficient exercise.
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    The right time to castrate bitches

    The right time is based on two points: On the one hand, the age of the bitch and, on the other hand, the time of the cycle. If you have decided to have a castration, then this may take place at the earliest two months after the heat. There is no right answer to the question of the appropriate age. While some studies recommend early castration because the risk of incontinence and weight gain are lower, other studies prove the opposite. It only makes sense to castrate the bitch early (before or at the latest after the first heat) because of mammary tumor prophylaxis.