NEUTERING FACTS

There are many unwanted dogs in the world, having your dog spayed/castrated will ensure that there are less unwanted puppies in the world. There are not enough homes for them all!

MALES

WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS TO THE DOG?

There are several health benefits to neutering. One of the most important concerns the prostate gland, which under the influence of testosterone will gradually enlarge over the course of the dog’s life. In age, it is likely to become uncomfortable, possibly being large enough to interfere w/defecation.  The prostate under the influence of testosterone is also predisposed to infection which is almost impossible to clear up without neutering. Neutering causes the prostate to shrink into insignificance thus preventing both prostatitis as well as the uncomfortable benign hyperplasia (enlargement) that occurs with aging.  It is often erroneously held that neutering prevents prostate cancer but this is not true.

Other health benefits of neutering include the prevention of certain types of hernias and tumors of the testicles and anus.  Excessive preputial discharge is also reduced by neutering.

WHAT BEHAVIORAL CHANGES CAN BE EXPECTED AFTER NEUTER?

The only behavior changes that are observed after neutering relate to behaviors influenced by male hormones. Playfulness, friendliness, and socialization with humans are not changed. The behaviors that change are far less desirable.  The interest in roaming is eliminated in 90% of neutered dogs. Aggressive behavior against other male dogs is eliminated in 60% of neutered dogs.  Urine marking is eliminated in 50% of neutered male dogs. Inappropriate mounting is eliminated in 70% of neutered dogs.

WHAT EXACTLY IS DONE SURGICALLY?

An incision is made generally just forward from the scrotum. The testicles are removed through this incision. The stalks are tied off  and cut. Castration is achieved.  If the testicles are not removed, the desirable benefits listed above cannot be achieved. The skin incision may or may not have stitches.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT UPON DISCHARGE FROM THE HOSPITAL?

The scrotum is often swollen in the first few days after surgery, leading some people to wonder if the procedure was really performed. If the dog is immature at the time of neutering, the empty scrotum will flatten out as he grows. If he is mature at the time of neuter, the empty scrotum will remain as a flap of skin. Sometimes the incision is mildly bruised but this is not unduly sore for the dog and pain relief is almost never necessary post neuter. Most male dogs are eager to play by the day after surgery but, to keep the incision intact, it is best to restrict the dog from boistrous activity.

WILL HE GET OVER-WEIGHT OR LETHARGIC?

Activity level and appetite do not change with neutering.  A dog should not gain weight or become less interested in activity post neuter.

WILL HE STILL BE INTERESTED IN FEMALES?

His interest will be reduced but if he is around a female dog in heat, he will become aroused by her.  Mounting behavior often has roots in the expression of dominance and may be expressed by a neutered male in a variety of circumstances that are not motivated by sexuality.

WHAT IF A DOG HAS AN UNDESCENDED TESTICLE?

Undescended testicles have an  increased tendency to grow tumors over descended testicles. They may also twist on their stalks and cause life-threatening inflammation.  For these reasons, neutering is recommended for dogs with undescended testicles. This procedure is more complicated than a routine neuter; the missing testicle can be under the skin along the path it should have descended to the scrotum or it may be inside the abdomen. Some exploration may be needed to find it thus there is often an incision for each testicle. The retained testicle is sterile and under-developed. If there is one descended testicle, this one will be fertile but since retaining a testicle is a hereditary trait, it is important that the male dog not be bred before he is neutered.

FEMALES

MAMMARY CANCER

A female dog spayed before her first heat will have a near zero chance of developing mammary cancer. After the first heat, this incidence climbs to 7% and after the second heat the risk is 25% (one in four!). It is easy to see that an early spay can completely prevent what is frequently a very difficult and potentially fatal form of cancer.

But is it too late if a dog is already past her second heat? No, in fact spaying is important even in female dogs who already have obvious tumors. This is because many mammary tumors are stimulated by estrogens; removing the ovaries, the source of estrogens, will help retard tumor spread.

Spaying removes both the uterus and both ovaries and is crucial in the prevention as well as the treatment of mammary cancer.

SIMPLE CONVENIENCE

The female dog comes into heat every 8 months or so. There is a bloody vaginal discharge and attraction of local male dogs. Often there is an offensive odor. All of this disappears with spaying.

PYOMETRA

"Pyometra" is the life-threatening infection of the uterus which generally occurs in middle-aged to older female dogs in the six weeks following heat. The hormone "progesterone," which primes the uterus for potential pregnancy, does so by causing proliferation of the blood-filled uterine lining and suppression of uterine immune function. It is thus easy during heat  for bacteria in the vagina to ascend to the uterus to cause infection. The uterus with pyometra swells dramatically and is filled with pus, bacteria, dying tissue, and toxins. Without treatment, the pet is expected to die.  Despite her serious medical state, she must be spayed quickly if her life is to be saved.

THIS IS AN EXTREMELY COMMON DISEASE
OF OLDER UNSPAYED FEMALE DOGS!

PYOMETRA IS NOT SOMETHING WHICH "MIGHT" HAPPEN;
CONSIDER THAT IT PROBABLY WILL HAPPEN.

The older unspayed female dog has an irregular heat cycle. There is no end of cycling comparable to human menopause. If you still decide against spaying, be very familiar with the signs of pyometra. (These include loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, excessive thirst, marked vaginal discharge).

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