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Neutering Causes Cancer and Joint Disease in Dogs

Feb 18, 2013 05:28 AM EST

One of the important procedures to keep dogs healthy is spaying or neutering. This procedure is important, as it prevents diseases and changes the aggressive behavior in an animal. Above all, it reduces the unwanted reproduction of pets.

Focusing on the importance of neutering, a latest study by researchers at the University of Davis suggests that neutering has to be done at the right time, or else it can harm the health of the dog. If neutering is not done at the right time, it causes cancers and joint disease.

For this study, researchers evaluated the health records of 759 golden retrievers.

Researchers looked at the health records of both male and female dogs between the ages of 1-8. These dogs were examined at the UCD's William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for two joint disorders that included hip dysplasia and cranial cruciate ligament tear, and three cancers that included lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumor.

The dogs were divided into three categories. One category was named 'intact group' in which the dogs were not neutered, next was 'neutered early group' in which the dogs were neutered before 12 months age, lastly, the 'neutered late group' in which they were neutered at or after 12 months age.

Based on the health records, it was noted that those male dogs that were neutered before 1 year of age were at a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tear and lymphosarcoma. On the other hand, cranial cruciate ligament tear was noticed among females.

The latest study clearly shows a 100 percent rise or doubling of hip dysplasia in males who have been neutered early, i.e., before 12 months of age.

"The study results indicates that dog owners and service-dog trainers should carefully consider when to have their male or female dogs neutered," lead investigator Benjamin Hart, professor in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine said in a press statement.

According to Hart, the vulnerability to various diseases differs from breed to breed. The effect of early or late neutering again varies based on the breed of the dog. The association between neutering and diseases is very complicated.

The study has been published in the online scientific journal PLoS ONE.

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