SPAYING AND NEUTERING
This video by Dr Karen Becker provides an informative position on why canines should NOT be SPAYED or NEUTERED unless for the unquestionable medical health of the canine in question, not for the convenience of pet owners who haven't effectively embraced the responsibilities of pet management.
VonBIOS has formed the view that none of our working line German Shepherd Dogs should be sterilised before they have been appropriately assessed for breed worthiness in terms of health, structure and of course, temperament.
If they are worthy for breeding and their puppies can be readily placed with persons and families and teams that will manage the puppies in a responsible manner, then, they should not be sterilised. The corollary, of course, is that, in the event that such a Dog/Bitch is not breed worthy, then a more measured and considered sterilisation should be undertaken, along the lines espoused by Dr Karen Becker in her video (on the left).
Any review of Government web sites in Australia, as well as many, if not most Veterinary practices, identifies the promotion of sterilisation of pets, without any due consideration for the health impact on the companion animals in question, let alone the responsibility that owners have in securing the health and welfare and containment of their pets through proper fencing, leash training, voice control/obedience for off-leash exercise and sports, like chasing a ball or dumbbell, flyball/frisbee, etc., or undertake agility, obedience, herding, etc.
Dogs Victoria's Position Statement on Mandatory Spaying and Neutering Strategies
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) states the following -
"The AVA does not support the compulsory desexing of privately owned animals and considers that owner education is the most effective approach to encouraging owners to have their pets desexed."
In part, the AVA got it right, "Owner Education". However, to advocate desexing is only contributing to the inadequacy of the owner taking full responsibility for their Pets' behaviour. Education is a two way street for both the Veterinary Industry as well as for Pet Owners.
VonBIOS sees no reason to support the promotion of desexing for any reason, other than the clearly identified health of the canine in question; not for the convenience of the human-associated with a canine companion.
A response to the question of "whether to sterilise your Dog/Bitch" should be considered with more information in mind.
I noted the following "comment from someone in Canada" who espoused their thoughts, which are worth displaying here, as they are in support of Dr Karen Becker's video presentation -
Although there are many potential benefits to spaying or neutering dogs, there are also many risks, and I think it is less than honest not to list the downsides. It is a simple matter of giving people all the facts to allow them to make an informed decision.
(1) Neutered dogs have been scientifically shown to be 2 times more likely to suffer from prostate adenocarcinoma, 4 times more likely to suffer from prostate carcinoma, 4 times more likely to suffer from malignant bladder cancer, and 8 times more likely to suffer from prostate transitional cell carcinoma. (Source, "A population study of neutering status as a risk factor for canine prostate cancer" by the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, University of Missouri, see
(2) Spayed and neutered male dogs have a significantly increased risks of anterior cruciate ligament injuries
(3) Spayed females have 2 times the risk of a spleen tumour and 5 times the risk of a heart tumor
(4) Neutered males have 2.4 times the risk of a heart tumour
(5) Spaying or neutering reduces a dog's metabolism, increasing the risk of obesity. This is not insurmountable: an owner simply needs to feed less and exercise more, but the risk should not be ignored.
(6) The risks of anaesthetising a dog for the surgery increase rapidly after one year of age. If it is carried out at all, spaying and neutering should be done sooner rather than later.
All of this is not to say that people should not spay or neuter their dogs. But if you do so, make sure it is because you have carefully thought out what is best for your pet, and not acted on half-truths from people pursuing their own agendas instead of the best interests of your best friend.
The question of whether to Sterilise (Spay or Neuter) your companion animal has been around for awhile, but hasn't attracted a lot of Media attention due to their interests possibly lying elsewhere. However, an article for your consideration can be found from, ironically, NBC News, This is an interesting article as it does to some degree provide medial reasons for not sterilising your Canine Companions.
Fortunately here in Australia, we don't have compulsory sterilisation laws, except for "Restricted Dogs" (like American Pit Bull Terriers, as I recall) and that is still on a State by State basis.
Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs
The following are the Conclusions reached by Laura J. Sanborn, M.S. in her paper, entitled as above and available in the following link -
An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the longterm health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs.
The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject. On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs to prevent future health problems, especially immature male dogs. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases. For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may exceed the associated health problems in many (not all) cases. On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds.
The traditional spay/neuter age of six months as well as the modern practice of pediatric spay/neuter appear to predispose dogs to health risks that could otherwise be avoided by waiting until the dog is physically mature or perhaps in the case of many male dogs, foregoing it altogether unless medically necessary. The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Breed, age, and gender are variables that must be taken into consideration in conjunction with non-medical factors for each individual dog. Across-the-board recommendations for all dogs do not appear to be supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature.
Overview Problems Spaying and Castrating Dogs
Dog Listener UK
Spay and Castrate:
Neutering is not the answer to all dogs problems. In fact In many cases it is the cause. It may appear that I am against neutering (the generic term for castration and spaying).
In reality I am not against neutering as long as it is for the right reasons. What I am totally against is neutering dogs for the wrong reason, to the wrong dog, at the wrong age.
The wholesale belief that all dogs will benefit from being spayed or castrated is a dangerous and unscientific lie, promulgated by people that make a fat profit from this procedure.
To read the entire article, use the following link -
Scientific research studies that found spaying and neutering
does not reduce aggression in dogs
Presented by -
Deborah L. Duffy, Ph.D., and James A. Serpell, Ph.D., Center for the Interaction of Animals and Society,
School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.
Although there are scattered reports in the literature of apparently adverse effects of spaying and neutering on canine behavior, there are very few quantitative studies and most of these have employed behavioral measures of unknown reliability and validity. The present study used the Canine Behavioral Assessment and Research Questionnaire (C-BARQ) © to investigate the impact of spaying/neutering in various dog populations, including -
(1) a random sample of 1,552 dogs belonging to 11 common breeds; and
(2) a convenience sample of over 6,000 dogs of various breeds recruited via an online survey.
The C-BARQ is a reliable, standardized method for evaluating and screening dogs for the presence and severity of behavioral problems. It was developed by behavioral researchers at the University of Pennsylvania (Hsu and Serpell, 2003) and consists of a 101-item questionnaire that is simple to use, takes about 15 minutes to fill out, and can be completed by anyone who is reasonably familiar with the dog’s typical responses to ordinary, day-to-day events and stimuli.
The C-BARQ is currently the only existing behavioral assessment instrument of its kind to be thoroughly tested for reliability and validity on large samples of dogs of various breeds. This process has resulted in the identification of the following 13 distinct behavioral factors or traits that are common to the majority of dogs, regardless of breed, age, sex or neuter status:
1. Stranger-directed aggression: Dog shows threatening or aggressive responses to strangers approaching or invading the dog’s or the owner’s personal space, territory, or home range.
2. Owner-directed aggression: Dog shows threatening or aggressive responses to the owner or other members of the household when challenged, manhandled, stared at, stepped over, or when approached while in possession of food or objects.
3. Dog-directed fear/aggression: Dog shows fearful and/or aggressive responses when approached directly by unfamiliar dogs.
4. Familiar dog aggression: Threatening or aggressive responses during competition for resources with other (familiar) dog(s) in the household.
5. Stranger-directed fear: Fearful or wary responses when approached directly by strangers. Session I: Non-reproductive Effects of Spaying and Neutering Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods for Pet Population Control • 2
6. Nonsocial fear: Fearful or wary responses to sudden or loud noises, traffic, and unfamiliar objects and situations.
7. Separation-related behavior: Vocalizes and/or engages in destructive behavior when separated from the owner, often accompanied or preceded by behavioral and autonomic signs of anxiety, including restlessness, loss of appetite, trembling, and excessive salivation.
8. Attachment and attention-seeking: Maintains close proximity to the owner or other members of the household, solicits affection or attention, and becomes agitated when the owner gives attention to third parties.
9. Trainability: Shows willingness to attend to the owner, obeys simple commands, fetches objects, responds positively to correction, and ignores distracting stimuli.
10. Chasing: Pursues cats, birds, and other small animals, given the opportunity.
11. Excitability: Strong reaction to potentially exciting or arousing events, such as going for walks or car trips, doorbells, arrival of visitors, and the owner arriving home; difficulty settling down after such events.
12. Touch sensitivity: Fearful or wary responses to potentially painful procedures, including bathing, grooming, claw-clipping, and veterinary examinations.
13. Energy level: Highly energetic, boisterous, and/or playful behavior. The results of the study suggest that spayed female dogs tend to be more aggressive toward their owners and to strangers than intact females, but that these effects of spaying on behavior appear to be highly breed-specific. Contrary to popular belief, the study found little evidence that castration was an effective treatment for aggressive behavior in male dogs, and may exacerbate other behavioral problems. Further research will be needed to clarify the relationship between age of spaying/neutering and these apparent effects on behavior.
Reference Hsu, Y., and Serpell, J.A. 2003. “Development and validation of a questionnaire for measuring behavior and temperament traits in pet dogs.” J. Amer. Vet. Med. Assoc., 223: 1293-1300.
To read this entire article, use the following link -