Spaying and Neutering Your Dog

February 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I read an interesting article from my friend and fellow veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker on her blog/website – Mercola Healthy Pets – This One Procedure Could Reduce Your Pet’s Lifespan by Over 30% The article is based on a study done by the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation in which David Waters, DVM and others discovered that female Rottweilers that kept their ovaries for at least 6 years were 4 times more likely to have exceptional longevity.

After reading this article I am not ready to jump ship and say that I am not going to spay or neuter anymore. I agree with Dr. Becker in that each case is an individual situation and that there is no specific age right for all dogs. I believe owners should be informed of all the pros and cons of the procedure and make the decision based on all the information. One thing that I will say is that dogs should be older not younger to have the procedure done. The hormones are NEEDED for growth plate closure, which means most dogs will be over a year of age, except for toy breeds, and giant breeds may be closer to 2 years of age before neutering/spaying.

I also believe that certain situations were left out in the study as well. Now I have not read the study (yet), but there are some things that need to be noted when believing that not spaying or neutering increases the lifespan of the dog. I can not argue the fact and the common sense behind that a dog needs hormones, just as humans do, to have a properly functioning body and taking away the hormones can cause health issues. Leaving them in also causes health issues such as some cancers, some hormonal diseases, prostate issues and pyometras. So it is not the health issues that I can argue with, since there are advantages and disadvantages to both sides, but rather the social issues in today’s society that dogs have to live. The life span of an un-altered male or female can and does decrease with an increase in accidents from the desire to breed, such as being hit by a car in search of a mate. Un-altered dogs are much more likely to find ways to escape and get out. The desire to breed is very strong and for the average owner it is not possible to train them to not listen to that instinct. Multi-dog households will have an increase in fighting between unaltered animals. Male dogs as with most males of all the animal kingdom have much more aggressive attitudes and tend to have behavior problems associated with this, such as aggressive dominance and a more willingness to fight both other dogs and humans. Even if you did vasectomies and tubal ligation these behavior/social issues will still exist.

Another major decrease in life is of the unwanted puppies that are euthanized due to unwanted pregnancies due to accidental breedings. Even the most responsible, conscientious dog owner can have an accident happen and then it will affect the lives of not only their own dog but to the average of 6 other puppies that can be born of that accident.

So I am not in complete believe that not spaying or neutering will increase a dogs life because in many instances especially in today’s society it will lead to a decrease in life span. However it does warrant more investigation and it definitely is an individual thing for most owners and their pet.

Other articles related to Spay/Neutering

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With the new research coming out with the negatives of spaying and neutering, I would think that buyers with a proven record of responsibly owning intact dogs would not be required to s/n a “pet” dog. I know that I would be willing as a …

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Aside from spaying or neutering your pet to help with the overpopulation crisis, spaying and neutering has both medical and behavioral benefits for your dog and cat. Neutering male dogs and cats make them less likely to fight with other …

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Gone to the Danes: Thoughts on spaying my dog

I went to a Chris Zink seminar recently and the spay talk was very interesting. She said that the hormones are needed to tell the dog to stop growing and to close growth plates by the time they are 15 months. She said that is why early …

Publish Date: 12/19/2009 22:28

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February is Dental Health Month for Dogs

February 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

It is Pet Dental Health Month, February is Dental Health Month for Dogs (Cats too). The importance of keeping your dog’s teeth clean is more than just having pearly whites. It actually has a major impact on the dog’s health.

If plaque is allowed to build up on the dogs teeth it can cause a variety of other health issues. Of course the dog can have pain from bad teeth and lose the teeth, have tooth abscesses, gingivitis, periodontitis, and even bone infection but there are greater dangers. The plaque is composed of bacteria – those bacteria can get into the bloodstream via mucus membranes (the gums) especially when they are inflammed and bleeding.

The bacteria then seeks out other areas in which it can attach and form plaque such as in the liver, kidneys, and on the heart valves. Dental disease is one of the major causes of kidney disease.  If plaques form on heart valves then heart disease can occur. So as you can see it is vital to have clean teeth in your dog.

Having a dental check up once a year to once every 6 months in older dogs is vital in keeping your dog’s teeth healthy. Other things you can do to keep your dog’s teeth healthy include brushing your dogs teeth everyday (once a week at a bare minimum), chew toys help, and smoked bones can help as well. The one problem with bones is that they can cause another dental issue – they can break teeth. A comment about rawhides – rawhides have a safety issue with them – do not let your dog chew them till they are soft and let them swallow them. A rawhide should be a plain white with a large twist given to a dog for a maximum of 10 minutes to prevent it from becoming too soft. Do not give the flat rawhides. Ideally the bone shaped rawhides that are as long as the dogs shoulders are wide given for 5 to 10 minutes each day, then taken away to allow to dry out and then can be given again the next day.

Some vets are promoting dental health month by giving discounts on dental services, so check with your vet today about having your dog’s mouth and teeth examined. It will helpo keep your dog healthy.

Other articles for Dental Health month –

Your dog’s dental health: Keeping your dog’s teeth clean is

Good dental health is necessary for a healthy dog. Preventative measures can be taken as well as having teeth cleaned by your veterinarian when needed.

Publish Date: 02/02/2010 12:54

It’s National Pet Dental Health Month

February is here, and that means it’s National Pet Dental Health Month. It can be easy to overlook your dog’s oral health on a day-to-day basis. This campaign is a great reminder to take care of your dog’s teeth now and all year round. …

Publish Date: 02/02/2010 14:54

The Days of Johann, an agility dog!: February is Pet Dental Health

February is National Pet Dental Health Month – a great time to remember how important it is to take care of our teeth – or as I like to call them toofers – because our teeth are very important to us pups! …

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Dog Dental Health

We might laugh when we are told that one of the primary defenses in maintaining good dog dental health is to brush your dog’s teeth on a regular basis. Getting the animal accustomed to having your fingers in his mouth is simple if begun …

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February is Pet Dental Health Month. We’ve all heard people say they simply won’t go so far as to brush their dog’s and cat’s teeth. But, did you know that brushing your pet’s teeth can actually extend their life by up to three years? …

Publish Date: 02/02/2010 19:37

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Horse Nutrition Protein: My irritation becomes your knowledge benefit

January 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

OK this is very irritating – one of my clients used my name to try and get the barn owner convinced that they need change the way they are feeding her horse. Now I would not have minded if the horse owner was telling the barn owner something that I believe to be true, but it is not something that I think is right for her horse.

We discussed that her horse was still a little thin but was improved from the last time I saw the horse. We also discussed that the horse could use some fat supplement to help with weight gain without making the horse excitable especially since the horse is a Thoroughbred and might be a little tough to handle if she was loaded up on a lot of grain. That was all that was said.

The owner told the barn owner that I insisted the horse be fed a specific product! To make matters worse that product is not a fat supplement but rather a protein supplement – 32% protein to be exact. Now it may be that I misheard the horse owner when she mentioned fat supplements or she thought that this particular product was a fat supplement, but in any case I would not recommend feeding a protein supplement for weight gain in horses.

A horse requires 10 to 12% protein in its diet and that is all! It does not add any benefit to add more protein as the horse does not use it to build anymore muscle but rather turns it into energy. When the body turns the extra protein into energy it produces more urea nitrogen which then passes through the kidneys and creates that horrible ammonia urine smell. Two things that make this scenario bad. One is that the ammonia produced in the urine can cause irritation to the respiratory tract which can then make the horse more susceptible to respiratory tract infections, especially in the winter time in an enclosed barn. The other is a financial issue – protein is an expensive resource to be used for weight gain – carbohydrates and fat are both cheaper and fat is the preferred for horses.

So in case that client is reading this I hope it was just a misunderstanding. I do not want you to feed that 32% protein supplement to your horse, but rather I would like to see your horse fed a fat supplement with Probiotics – something like Advanced Biological Concept’s Energy (

Other Related Articles on Nutriton for Horses

Horse nutrition

When protein is fed beyond what the horse requires, the body uses it as an energy source and excretes the unused nitrogen in the urine. Although doing so does not harm the horse, protein is a very expensive energy source. …

Publish Date: 10/15/2009 13:07

Horse Nutrition Essentials

I find many horse owners are unsure on the basic essentials for nutrition for their horse. There are thousands of supplements out there and many, many.

Publish Date: 08/30/2007 14:58

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