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Neutering Male Dogs

Narayani Karthik Apr 27, 2020
Neutering male dogs involves the surgical procedure of removing the reproductive organs of the dog suffering from ailments like prostate cancer. There are several pros and cons of this process which are listed in this post.
Testosterone is an anabolic steroid/hormone. Any variation in its normal level can lead to cancer symptoms in dogs. As far as a dog's health is concerned, this procedure becomes necessary only in certain cases.
It is usually done by a surgical method (removal of testicles) or injection of Neutersol to reduce the testosterone production. Following are a few serious forms of dog illness caused by altered levels of testosterone, in which case neutering becomes necessary.
  • Some of the major prostate problems in dogs are caused due the influence of testosterone. 
Prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate in dogs), prostatic carcinoma (a metastatic cancerous affliction), prostatic abscess (a bacterium caused infection in prostate gland), and prostatitis (chronic inflammation of the prostate gland) are the most common prostate ailments.
  • Altered testosterone levels can lead to cases of scrotal hernia, inguinal hernia, and perineal hernia in dogs. Surgical correction is the only remedy for it.
  • Canine cancer is often associated with testosterone levels. Sertoli cell tumors, perianal adenocarcinoma, seminomas, intestinal cell tumors, and Leydig cell tumors in dogs are often caused by altered levels. Surgery/chemotherapy is recommended by vets for such ailments.
  • Chronic infections like brucellosis and balanoposthitis can cause severe pain in dogs. In the latter case, the dog suffers from pus secretions from the opening of its prepuce. Other infections like paraphimosis (inability to resolve penile erection) and rectal fistulas (rectal bleeding) are also caused due to changed testosterone levels.
It is in case of these ailments that neutering may be recommended by the vet.

Pros of Neutering

Controlled aggression

Neutered male dogs are believed to be less aggressive towards other animals (especially males) and people.

Marking by urinating

Neutered dogs are less likely to mark their surroundings by urinating to make their presence known. Dogs can mark both inside the house as well as outside.

Decreased mounting

Dogs that are neutered are less likely to mount other animals, objects, and even people. When the behavior is sexual and not playful, there is a strong chance of it decreasing after neutering of the dog.

No tumors

Neutering reduces the possibility of testicular tumors (both malignant and benign). Usually in canines, certain tumors (like perianal tumors) are stimulated by testosterone hormones. These malignant tumors occur in dogs which are at least 7 years old. Neutering procedures have aided in eliminating many cancer symptoms in dogs.

Fewer hernia cases

Hernia is a painful condition in which there is a protrusion in the organs (like colons, prostate glands, or urinary bladder). If these conditions are left untreated, the organs can get damaged completely. Neutering stalls such agonizing conditions.

Less prostate problems

Research has shown that about 80% of dogs which are not neutered are more susceptible to prostate diseases. Most of the diseases involve cysts and benign enlargement of prostate glands. Neutering aids in eliminating such symptoms.

Improving genetic traits

In many cases, harmful genetic traits (like epilepsy) are aggravated by rising testosterone levels. Neutering prevents continuation of these diseases to the next generation.

Side Effects

Change in behavior

The behavior of dogs after neutering definitely shows a noticeable change that deviates from their normal demeanor. Their temperament drastically calms down, which is quite unlike the playful, naughty, and lively pets they were before neutering.

Excessive weight gain

After neutering, many dogs have the tendency to put on weight. This is because their metabolic rate is said to go down. Hence, neutered dogs are recommended to be fed lesser than they were being fed before the procedure (at least 25 to 30% lesser calorie intake) as they otherwise run the risk of becoming obese.

Loss of valuable traits

Along with harmful traits, even the possibility of passing on of valuable traits and good qualities to future generations is eliminated.

Health risks

Neutered male dogs are at a slight risk of developing hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia (if done before 1 year of age), and marginally increased chances of osteosarcoma and hemangiosarcoma.

Recovery Phase

Once a dog is neutered, he takes about 18-24 hours post surgery to recuperate. Some major symptoms that follow are grogginess, lethargy, lack of balance, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting. So when a neutered male dog arrives home, lot of care needs to be taken for a fast recovery. Some tips for care are as follows.
  • Bring the dog to his bed. Allow him to sleep as the rest is very much required.
  • Keep other pets (if any) away from your dog as he will be in a disoriented state.
  • Take the dog out frequently for relieving his bladder. Due to a lot of IV fluids injected into his body, pet owners must take extra care tending to his bathroom needs.
  • Due to surgery and general anesthesia, dogs tend to lose appetite and eat little food. Feed him homemade food containing bland-tasting skinless chicken or boiled hamburger with rice, which will go easy on his stomach. Also confirm the appropriate food to be given to him with your vet.
  • For a faster recovery, limit the activity of your dog. This is because the incision after surgery takes time to heal. Pet owners can take dogs for small walks 10-14 days post surgery.
  • Clean the incision on a regular basis using a bit of betadine to disinfect the area. Make sure that the dog doesn't lick the wound, which might lead to chances of infection. Putting an Elizabethan collar around your dog is a good idea.
  • A fortnight after neutering, monitor the dog's incision to check for any signs of infection. If any, seek immediate medical attention.
Costs vary from USD 50 - USD 300 depending on the breed, weight, and build of the dog, and the clinic from where you get it done. Neutering is a very serious procedure. Hence, it is usually best recommended only if health problems are recurring and persistent in the dog.