Neutering means surgically preventing pets from reproducing. In males, the operation is called castration and in females it’s called spaying.
With castration both testicles are removed which takes away the main source of the male hormone testosterone.
With spaying, both the ovaries and the uterus are removed which means the female is unable to become pregnant.
It is a medical fact that in some cases spaying and castration can prolong the life of our pets and may reduce the number of certain health problems in later life.
A female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs.
Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases. Neutering greatly reduces the risk of them getting breast cancer, particularly if carried out before the first season, and infection of the womb (called pyometra). Both of these are seen quite often in older, unneutered dogs and they can be fatal.
Many unneutered female dogs have a false pregnancy after a season and, although this is natural, it can cause behavioural and even medical problems. Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and several prostate problems.
Your spayed female pet will not go into heat. Your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways escape from the house. Once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals. Your neutered male may be better behaved.
Unneutered dogs are more likely to mark their territory by spraying strong smelling urine all over the house. Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people and inanimate objects after he is neutered. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering or can be reduced.
As with any surgical procedure, immediate complications of neutering include the usual anesthetic and surgical complications. These risks are relatively low in routine neutering; however, they may be increased for some animals due to other pre-existing health factors. Spaying and castrating dogs may increase the risk of obesity if nutritional intake is not reduced to reflect the lower metabolic requirements of neutered animals.
Studies of cardiac tumors in dogs showed that there was a 5 times greater risk of hemangiosarcoma (cancer of blood vessel lining), one of the three most common cancers in dogs, in spayed females than intact females and a 2.4 times greater risk of hemangiosarcoma in castrated dogs as compared to intact males. Spaying and castrating is associated with an increase in urinary tract cancers in dogs, however the risk is still less than 1%. Neutered dogs of both sexes have a 27% to 38% increased risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations. However, the incidence of adverse reactions for neutered and intact dogs combined is only 0.32%. Neutered dogs have also been known to develop hormone-responsive alopecia (hair loss).
Specific to males
About 2% of castrated male dogs eventually develop prostate cancer, compared to less than 0.6% of intact males.
Neutering also has been associated with an increased likelihood of urethral sphincter incontinence in male dogs.
Specific to females
There is some weak evidence that spaying can increase the risk of urinary incontinence in dogs, especially when done before the age of three months.
Up till 12 months of age, the risk decreases as the age at spaying increases. Spayed female dogs are at an increased risk of hypothyroidism.
The surgeon makes a small incision just in front (towards the pet’s head) of the scrotum (sac that contains the testicles).
Each testicle is removed separately, and the blood supply and vas deferens (spermatic cord) are ligated (tied off). The subcutaneous layers are sutured together with an absorbable thread, then the skin is closed with either skin staples, absorbable (hidden) sutures, or sutures that will be visible and need to be removed 10-14 days after surgery.
Spaying a female dog is the surgical removal of a female dog’s internal reproductive structures including her ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterine horns (the two long tubes of uterus where the fetal puppies develop and grow) and a section of her uterine body.
Basically, the parts of the female reproductive tract that get removed are those which are responsible for egg production, embryo and fetus development and the secretion of the major female reproductive hormones (oestrogen and progesterone being the main female reproductive hormones).
After Surgery Care
We strongly recommend to keep your pet confined in a crate or small room the night after surgery. This will give your dog the time to recover in a safe and quiet environment.
• Your pet may be groggy when you get home, experiencing a hang over from the anesthesia. Your pet will typically require 18-24 hours to recover from the general anesthesia. Most animals will be back to normal when the anesthesia leaves their system entirely
• Your pet may sleep much more than normal for 18-24 hours following surgery
• Your pet may be a little agitated or aggressive due to the after-effects of anesthesia. Avoid handling the animal too much as he/she might be uncomfortable and needs rest
• Isolate the animal from children and other pets. He or she maybe more prone to snapping or nipping at other pets or even children due to the after effects of anesthesia and if he or she is happy the dog might get to excited or playful in the company of other dogs which can cause problems for the stitches and the overall recovery.
• Your pet may have poor balance. This will make climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car more difficult than usual, so be ready to assist. Help your dog in and out of the car as sudden movements can damage his stitches. Lift the dog by wrapping your arms around the dog’s chest and back legs.
• Make sure your dog has a comfortable spot to sleep in a confined, secure, quiet place. Once they are settled, they are more likely to sleep it off and will be fine upon awakening.
• There should be no drainage. A very small amount of redness/swelling at incision may occur.
• If animal allows, check incision site once daily for one week. Check for excessive redness, swelling, discharge, blood or if incision site is open.
• Do not clean or apply any topical ointment to the incision site.
My opinion and experiences
The topic of neutering dogs is one that is always filled with a lot of heated discussions; should all male and female dogs be neutered? What is the right age to neuter a dog? Will there be changes to the dogs character or energy levels after the surgery?
A lot of questions come up. This is what I can tell from my own experiences. First of all I am an advocate to neuter all dogs, not only because of the overpopulation of dogs and the amount of dogs looking for a loving owner in shelters but even more so because of the medical benefits. Especially for the female dogs it can prevent a lot of fatal diseases and it will also have the practical effect that your dog will no longer be in heat (so no more troubles at the dog park with male dogs trying to mount her) and no more blood loss around the house or having to wear doggy diapers.
I do think it is best to wait till puberty and with females to do the procedure before her first heat cycle. With male dogs it can prevent unwanted behaviour like mounting or humping other dogs, marking outside or even inside the house and the loss of moisture.
Some people worry that their dog’s personality will change. In my experience this does not happen, you might see a fall in certain behaviour, but those are mostly the unwanted behaviours like roaming, mounting, fighting or spraying urine. People also worry that their pet will get fat. Neutered animals might have slightly lower food requirements so you just need to feed them a little less. Neutering your dog will have an effect on the production of hormones but it will not effect the dogs character or energy levels.
Make sure to find a vet that specializes in the Bulldog breed. Cause of their short noses the Bulldog requires specialized vet care when it comes to anesthetics. Talk to your vet and let him or her inform you about the surgery, the risks and benefits and make sure to prepare a safe and quiet recovery place at home.