Risks vs. Benefits of Spaying and Neutering
Tags: dogs, risks, benefits, spay, neuter, health, behavior, changes, pets, show dogs
Benefits of Spaying and Neutering a Dog
Comment 1: My mom's nine year old dog, an intact female Lab, came to me this past weekend because mom was going out of town and she was "very pregnant" according to mom (we won't go into why was her nine year old Lab pregnant as my blood pressure can't handle that conversation again). One look at her and I knew if she was pregnant we were in BIG trouble. Profound loss of body condition, NO milk, hugely distended abdomen. Bloodwork on Monday (got back Tuesday) was perfectly normal including no pregnancy, heart was fine (she looked just like a heart failure dog - thin, sagging belly, etc), aside from not eating she felt great was happy and bouncy. Tuesday Xrays showed lots and lots and lots of fluid in the abdomen and nothing else b/c the fluids obscured it. We tapped her abdomen and got off over 2 L (over 1/2 gallon) of straw colored fluid. Repeat Xrays showed nothing b/c there was still fluid in there. We hoped she would start eating again with the fluid reduced to pick up her body condition before surgery. No go - still not eating.
So today we did an exploratory surgery. As soon as the incision was made into the abdomen she turned into a fountain. At LEAST 10 L (2.5 gallons) of fluid came out of her - a 5 gallon bucket was filled 1/2 way - and this does not account for the fluid that did not flow into the groove under the surgery table into the drain hole which was a LOT! We were expecting something very "icky" in the abdomen but LUCKILY it turned out to be "just" an ovarian cyst. We are not sure yet if the ovarian cyst is cancerous or not (is going to the pathologist tomorrow).
This would have been 100% preventable if she had been spayed when she should have been (next time I am "kidnapping" mom's bitch and spaying her when she should be!). So just add this to the "reasons why you should spay" list. The dog is okay but still not out of the woods. Hopefully this will not be a fatal lesson
Neutering and Spaying Solves Many Problems
I offer the following as an alternative line of thought. I was taught
by my mentor and also the Meisterfeld method not to think of dominance or
alpha. I was taught to earn the title of "family leader" and to do so from
mutual respect for and from the dogs. I also combine this with a thought
from Dr. Myrna Milani in one of her books in discussing "dominance vs.
dominion". I prefer to think that I "have dominion" over my animals which to
me fosters a much more benevolent thought process and implies that I have a
responsibility to care for them as well as be their leader. To dominate in
my mind suggests the possibility of a force being used, either mental of
physical. It suggest the exertion of ones will over that of another being.
Some or many may ask if the last sentence is not what we do when we train
dogs to which I answer yes. How we go about it is where the crux of the
matter lies. Teaching down is an example. Some trainers show taking the lead
and stepping on it and drawing the dogs head to the floor. This is
domination. A different approach is to use a treat in front of the nose
slowly lowered to the floor for the dog to follow. I suggest this is using
dominion. Both methods use saying the word down while performing the task In
the second we have allowed the dog to make a choice and are teaching a
thought process. We are teaching the dog how to learn for the future. We
establish our selves as the "family leader" and are respected by the dog. We
offered a way to get positive results for the dogs effort.
I feel strongly that our dogs can read our minds and emotions far beyond our understanding. I know that sometimes I see a dog that needs a mental pick me up and that I can fix that right away by going to the dog and telling them they are a "proud dog" as I emote a vision of a proud happy dog. I see heads come up and smiles appear on their faces as I do this. It then follows that if I lead my dogs thinking of "family leader" they will pick up on that also. If I were to go about thinking "I need to dominate them" they will pick up on the negativity of that too. Meisterfeld teaches much about our mindset when we deal with our dogs and how important a factor it is for success.
A multi species family that has a strong, respected and benevolent and fair family leader does not need an "ALPHA" animal. Their will be structure amongst those animals but if it is controlled and established with consent and assistance of the human leader the "family" members will each find a niche. There do exist certain instances where some dogs can't get along no matter what just as with we humans but this should be rare.
I offer a caution to the suggestion that neutering will solve many ills. It will help in behavior in some and I whole heartedly agree with neutering any nonbreeding dog, but more for preventing unwanted pregnancies as well as the disease associated with unneutered animals. We just rescued a Berner that was neutered and had ADHD and separation anxiety. He left us in Sept. for his new home after 5 months with us a much calmer dog. He had lacked structure and leadership in his former homes and it was displayed in his behavior. Leadership fixed his behavior not neutering. Our calmest dog is our Golden stud of 5 years. He takes each new PITA in stride and teaches them how to behave by example. Our newest project ( read forever dog ) came to us neutered but he had no leadership and structure in his previous home. We are having to teach him how to learn so he can succeed in his life with us. Also our dogs are always "allowed" on our beds. The key is "allowed" by our consent. We have the dogs in our bedroom as we saw it completely transform our first two once we understood that a dog family sleeps together. It is the normal order of things and has a calming effect.
Again, this is offered only as an alternative that we have success with.
Dogs Getting Pregnant
Comment 3: Oooog, awful! No offense to your mom or your point but, isn't this the kind of thing that could have been nipped in the bud a little sooner had her condition been watched more carefully (loss of body condition, no milk, etc...), also if she was being properly isolated while in heat and that way the owner would know she SHOULDN'T been pregnant--hence doing something about the distention in the first place when it started? And if the owner did think she was bred (either by accident or not) aren't bitches supposed to go in for a checkup when they're 4 weeks or so along? Even if the owner had purposefully bred her, this would be the time when she would find out that that swelling wasn't puppies and that she should be looked at more closely. Not trying to say that spaying after retirement isn't a good idea, just that it seems like there is more wrong in this situation then that and that if those things were NOT wrong, then the problem wouldn't have gotten so bad (spayed or not).
Males Behavior Changes with Neuter
Actually, they want intense drive & since testosterone is the aggression hormone, they generally go with males & most often do not neuter! I think the main thing with females is they don't want to deal with hormonal fluctuations when they come into heat. Males are more "even" or consistent. I know people who will not neuter the agility dogs because they think it reduces their drive. Some of this I actually put in the 'old wives tales' category. I'd hate to imagine Arwah intact if neutering him took the "edge" off! LOL. Like some people still believe spaying & neutering makes dogs fat & lazy. They obviously have not met Arwah! LOL.
Fighting Lessons with Neuter
Comment 4: Lately even my 7 month old puppy bitch has had this ever increasing, deep growl toward her litter mate brother that is getting worse. If I gave my littermates each a piece of rawhide, within five minutes they would be lying facing each other with their heads on the floor and one piece of rawhide between them and the other on the far side of the room. They would lie like that without moving except for long sustained growls. If I picked up both pieces of rawhide and gave them each one, they'd simply go back to their routine. I finally decided that it was some kind of game, and the point may have been to see who gave up first. They never fought over the rawhide or escalated beyond lying down and growling.
Show Dogs Getting Fixed
Comment 5: Here comes the opinion of someone who is relatively new to the show world. When I have watched the shows in the past, I have always wondered why. Why a purebred dog? What are they competing for, anyway? What is wrong with a regular dog from the pet store? Who are these people? These must be dog actors! What's the prize?
I think there is an underlying reason for these questions. The public is not informed enough about breeding animals or animal shows. First, A lot of people have not lived on a farm or near a farm community. There someone might know something about a prized cow or other animal. Secondly, this wonderful country we live in promotes things like compassion for the disabled, interracial relationships, immigrants from all over the world and many other social situations common in today's society. The underlying message is the same. If you are different its okay. Thirdly, genetic testing, selecting who breeds and who doesn't, even neutering and spaying can make someone cringe. "What if they ever start doing this with people? " No one will say it, but its there in the back of their mind. So they go to their local pet shop who promotes procreation of the dogs at a very human level. After all, those poor dogs at the pound are there because there is something wrong with them. These puppies at Bob's pet shop are good otherwise people wouldn't pay for them. If you don't agree people think about these things just think what Hollywood has come out with in their recent Sci-fi movies. We don't even want genetically engineered food in some cases.
I think the best thing David Frye could say is how great breeders are and why. Focusing on the positive aspects of dog breeding under rules and goals. Explaining common questions that the average breeder takes for common sense. It would do a great service to the show and the breeders. Break some ground with the uninformed, for the better of dogs. After all if you are a breeder who exhibits, you generally go out of your way to get informed. How about the fact that a lot of toy poodles with American blood lines are being bred by the Japanese and produce some really incredible dogs that they bring to America and kick American breeder butt with.
So many things could be said other than what dog someone should look out fo because that one will probably win. I am not suggesting what to say or how to say it. I am only a newcomer who can still see outside some of my newly found perspective. I hope these comments can stir some thought in the people who do have authority and knowledge on "what to say?"
Why We Spay and Neuter Animals
Comment 6: The dogness of dogs has become problematic. We want an animal that is,
in some respects, not really an animal. You'd never have to take it out.
It doesn't shed. It doesn't bark. It doesn't do stuff.
For better or worse, we've turned the dog into a record of our priorities, of everything we actively select for and against, but also of what creeps in and we don't bother to expel, including, of course, genetic diseases. You've removed natural selection and replaced it with artificial selection. Dogs are now subject to the whims of humans. And as soon as humans get involved, all hell breaks loose.
This is to say, what we label a dog - how we brand it - doesn't necessarily have much bearing on its quality. Ultimately, the value of any dog, purebred or hybrid, is bound up in the priorities of the people stewarding it through the hazards of nature and nurture. Money spent on a dog may be best justified as a premium paid for knowledge about its human breeder: an investment in how deftly he can shape and distinguish a dog's bloodline from randomness and how reliably he can tell us what to expect from that dog. Of course, there are doubtless many breeders of both designer dogs and purebreds who churn out animals far inferior to the proverbial mutt down at the pound with three or four breeds haphazardly tangled in it. Nearly half of American dog owners have long possessed this sort of less purposeful mixed breed. Surely, many dogs are breeding just as good, if not better, dogs than a lot of humans.
This may be the good intention at the root of all the excruciating politics around our dogs. Evolutionarily speaking, the puppy is a compassion machine. The first domesticated dogs, one theory posits, were underdogs - softies cast out of the wolf pack who shambled deferentially into the corners of our camps to scavenge crumbs as many as 50,000 years ago. Eventually, we seized upon the best hunters and bred them to be better. We bred those with the cutest, flattest faces to have cuter, flatter faces - until, in breeds like the pug, they were nearly as flat as the faces of our own babies. This kindled an even stronger urge to nurture them, to protect them from the wilderness. By now, we have commandeered the dog so fully that the only thing left to protect it from is ourselves.
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