NEUTERING INFORMATION FOR FEMALE DOGS


What is involved?
To neuter (spey) a female dog means to do a complete ovariohysterectomy. Which means the surgical removal of the ovaries and the uterus.
There are some distinct physiological advantages to neutering females that could potentially increase life expectancy, but few behavioural benefits. For some bitches with behavioural issues such as aggression or nervousness neutering can actually be detrimental.

ADVANTAGES



Speying certainly can benefit bitches with regard to reducing the risk of mammary and ovarian cancer. It also reduces the risk of pyometra - this can occur in bitches following a season and can be life threatening if not caught early. It can be said that these advantages have to potential to increase life expectancy. The other obvious advantage is the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, reducing overpopulation.

NEUTERING AND WEIGHT GAIN



This is one concern that many people have in connections to neutering their dogs. It is true to say that some dogs may experience changes in their metabolism following neutering. This is not a problem in itself. Weight gain will occur however if the feeding levels remain the same. It is important to monitor dogs post neutering as it may be necessary to adjust food intake to balance out metabolic changes. Often it is just a case of a slight reduction of the amount of daily food given.
I always neuter my dogs, and have never had an overweight dog!

SUMMARY


Before deciding whether to spay your female dog, carefully consider all the pros and cons. If your bitch is of sound temperament, there certainly are health benefits that could potentially increase their life span.For Bitches that display aggression or nervouseness, it is advisable to seek the advice of a qualified canine behaviourist before making a decision, as speying may make these problems more severe.

POTENTIAL DISADVANTAGES



If speying occurs too early, it is common for females to suffer oestrogen deficient urinary incontinence. The lack of oestrus can cause a weakness in the sphincter muscles causing urine leakage and lack of bladder control. If this occurs it is a permanent condition that may require long term medication.

BEHAVIOURAL EFFECTS


Unlike males, speying bitches does not have a calming effect on behaviour. In fact neutering can have adverse affects on serotonin levels in the brain which can result in increased aggression, and can also increase nervousness in females that show these tendencies prior to neutering.

TIMING



It is important to allow females to mature both physically and mentally before considering surgery. Many vets recommend spaying at six months - this is far too early. Bitches should be allowed to mature enough to have had at least one season. The age that this occurs will depend on the breed and the individual. Once the bitch has had a season, you should wait at least 3 months before neutering. Bitches will produce progesterone for the normal gestation period of a pregnancy (9 weeks) following a season, whether they are pregnant or not. You should NEVER spey a bitch during this period of hormone production. Cutting off hormones in the middle of the cycle can CAUSE long term behavioural problems. Once the bitch has had a season, there is absolutely no rush. Speying before the development of sexual maturity can also cause paedomorphic behaviour, (locking dogs into a juvenile psychological state) preventing natural emotional maturity. Dogs will remain 'giddy' and retain low attention spans
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