Sterilisation questions - timing, conventional vs alternative

Dr. Sara

Veterinarian
HA! Faculty
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
319
This is a question that was posed, and my answer. The questioner is a new member - welcome!!
Sara

I just watched Dr. Sara’s wonderful neutering course. I still had a couple of general questions I was looking to get help with (and maybe I missed this)…

- Dr. Sara strongly advices never to conventionally spay until the dog is sexually mature. For a new puppy who is 3 months old (shepherd//husky mix) does this mean I should be waiting at least 2 years to do so? My concern is how to make sure she would not get pregnant when sometimes around other dogs at the park, etc. We don’t have another dog but I’m curious the chances with normal interaction with others on walks and in parks.

- If I was to opt for the Hysterectomy OSS procedure, I’m aware that she would maintain her hormones and that she would be attracted to males when in heat. Would male dogs that are neutered be attracted to her and trying to get in her business (so to speak!)?. This sounds silly, but what behaviors would she show in being attracted to males.

I’m just trying to figure out if the OSS procedure would be too much for me to necessarily manage in terms of getting used to things. My former dog of 14 years was 1 year old and just had puppies. I had her conventionally spayed after that. I’m trying to figure if the health benefits are really that much more fantastic, and/or if I could wait a year or two to do the more easier option.

I so appreciate your help and time!

Kindly,
Christina

Dear Christina,
I am delighted that you enjoyed the neutering course. Thank you for your thought provoking questions.
The answers depend upon your pup, your situation, and yourself, as we try to consider the complete picture when we are taking the holistic view.

For all dogs, retaining the gonads life long decreases the incidence of urinary incontinence, anxiety related behavioral problems, and cancer. Some breeds are less prone to these problems, so the benefit may not be as great.

If at all possible, I would wait until two years to remove the gonads of any large or giant breed dog. This allows the joints to develop fully and normally, and greatly decreases the risk of joint problems later in life.
For small breeds, there is less benefit to retaining the gonads for the first two years, as they have a lower incidence of joint problems. The exception to this is the chondrodysplastic (long backed breeds) like dachshunds, basset hounds, etc; they have increased incidence of back problems if neutered before the growth plates close at about two years of age.

The dog’s situation can make a major difference in a guardian’s choice of what sterilisation procedure they choose, and when they choose to do it.

Vasectomized male dogs have a completely normal sex drive; they just 'shoot blanks’. If a male dog is highly sexually motivated to roam, a vasectomy will not change this behaviour. Castration will decrease the desire to roam, if (and only if) it is sexually motivated.

Hysterectomised females smell interesting to intact male dogs. A hysterectomised female may have a small amount of clear to cloudy discharge during her attractive period, and some will act flirty or moody; that is individual, kind of like with people. Some bitches may be highly motivated to seek out males, though that is unusual. Most bitches are only receptive to males for a week long period in the middle of estrus, which is when they will allow mating and are fertile.

Some neutered males are interested in hysterectomised and intact bitches in heat, most are not. Neutered males can have an erection. Some neutered and intact males (and females) will mount animals / things / people. This is masturbation, and the individuals mount and ‘hump' because it feels good. It is not related to whether the individual is intact or not.

My own fully intact bitches are far more interesting to males than are my hysterectomised bitches. A certain degree of the attractiveness is undoubtedly due to the volume of discharge released from the uterus during estrus by an intact bitch. My hysterectomised females have never been bothered by males. However, I do not take them to dog parks, or let them run loose; they are leash walked or supervised in enclosed areas. You can read about the experiences of others with hysterectomised bitches if you join the FB group Ovary Sparing Spay and Vasectomy.

As you can see, there are more management concerns with a fully intact or hysterectomised female. The choice and timing of sterilization must take into account what will be manageable for your lifestyle and sensible for your individual’s long term health.
I hope this helps with your choice of sterilisation option!
Regards,
Sara
 

cindypinera

All Access Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
Messages
41
Have you heard of the non surgical way to sterilize male dogs by injecting zeuterin (zinc gluconate) into each testicle? Apparently the testosterone is reduced by 50% so perhaps better than castration but not as good as a vasectomy as far as retaining some of the male hormones. Also the cost is low and no surgical complications. What do you think?
 

Dr. Sara

Veterinarian
HA! Faculty
Joined
Dec 30, 2018
Messages
319
At this time, Zeuterin (zinc gluconate) is not widely available to private practitioners in the US, though the company is holding training events to increase accessibility. There were problems with incorrect administration in the initial roll out.

There is certainly less pain from Zeutering than from full castration, however general anesthesia is required, both for the injections and tattooing the 'Z' in the groin. About 1% of Zeuter patients do have side effects of pain and swelling in the testes and/ or intestinal upset. The low cost does make Zeutering an attractive shelter option,

Zeutering is certainly quicker than vasectomy, and in dogs with adverse behaviors related to testosterone (roaming, fighting other intact males) it may be helpful. Vasectomy, performed correctly, should be similar in Zeutering in terms of pain, as the tiny incision and removal of a small piece of the vasa is minimally invasive. Millions of men have vasectomy as an outpatient procedure. (I'm not a man, but it seems to me that injection of a substance in the testicles actually sounds more painful than an incision near the testicles!)

I hope this helps!
Sara
 

cindypinera

All Access Member
Joined
May 8, 2018
Messages
41
Thanks Sara this definitely helps. I will be getting a female standard puppy in November so I need to do something about my 2 1/2 year old male. So now I have three choices. My male seems to be a little aggressive. So perhaps decreasing the testosterone without completely eliminating it may be helpful. I think there is a vet in West Palm Beach Florida that does zeutering.
 

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