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Dr Shams Mir

Does it make sense to neuter a male dog?

Long before male puppies begin to approach puberty, many will already have started to display various reproductive behaviours, which are unproductive and undesired for a pet dog.

Performing mock sexual activity on other dogs or the legs of humans is often the start of the process. The sexually driven territorial instinct of the growing male dog can also manifests itself in gradually increasing aggressive responses to other dogs, and to humans in some cases. A male dog can sense the scent of a bitch in season even when far away from sight and earshot, and the relentless pursuit of the bitch in question lands many dogs into trouble.

The scant yellow green pus like secretion normally seen at the prepucial orifi ce of the young dog continues to increase gradually over the years. The excessive enlargement of the prostate gland in some older dogs leads to continual dribbling of urine or diffi culty passing urine or motions. The prostate gland becomes prone to infection, inflammation and development of prostatic cysts and tumours, the latter can prove to be fatal. Furthermore, male dogs are prone to certain type of tumours and hernia formation around the anus. The incredible thing is this: all the above described problems are the repercussions of the male sex hormone; testosterone!

The simple, most reliable and least expensive solution to controlling all of the above described problems and to eliminate the possibility of testicular tumours is to have a dog castrated.

Most of those who have previously had their dogs castrated will generally make this decision for their new young dog without any problem. But first time dog owners sometimes struggle to reach this decision – taking note of various myths about castration.

One of the profound but unfounded concerns is that the castration may change a dog’s behaviour. Yes, it does but for the better. It does not change a dog’s personality, if we can call it so. A castrated dog is a calm, composed and perhaps a little more thoughtful dog, rather than the one which is always hyper excitable and impulsive. If a dog is aggressive to humans, castration is less likely to change that especially if the castration is left for too late.

It is true that a castrated dog is likely to put on more weight. This is not purely because of castration but more so due to the dog not spending too much energy on unproductive behaviours.

Some may say that castration predisposes a male dog to other uncommon clinical conditions, but a dog that has not been castrated is more likely to succumb to many of the above outlined testosterone dependent diseases compared to a castrated dog developing any uncommon condition.

The ideal time to castrate a puppy is when they attain the age puberty, usually by around 7 – 9 months, but large breed dogs may be ready much earlier. However, it is never too late to castrate, as the procedure becomes rather inevitable when prostatic problems emerge which usually happen in older dogs.

The surgical procedure of castration is performed under general anaesthesia and is essentially simple, but different vets perform the procedure slightly differently. Some vets prefer to remove the scrotal sac, but at ‘Sunrise’ we perform the procedure in the least invasive way, through a small incision, which is closed without any visible sutures. Thanks to our modern anaesthetic protocols and equipment, most dogs are up on their feet within 10-15 minutes of completing the surgical procedure and usually ready to go home within a couple of hours. Since we opened doors for service over three years ago, we have never needed to keep a patient in overnight after surgery – minor or major.

If you need more information or wish to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your dog, please give me a ring on 01257 463 142 and I will try my level best to help.

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