Are You Smarter Than a Vet Student About Neutering Dogs?

Janet Palma is the “beach dog whisperer.” Photo Credit: Shirley Zindler

Some new information about the effects of neutering dogs has emerged over the last decade or so. Let’s find out if your knowledge is up to date. I suspect we will all learn something along the way.

If you are new to “Are You Smarter Than a Vet Student?” here’s how it works. Answer the questions below and then send your responses to me in the comments below.  I will enter your name into a drawing to win the book of your choice, either Speaking for Spot or Your Dog’s Best Health. I will post the answers to these questions in one week. Now, let the games begin!

1.  The term “neutering” refers to:

a.       Castration.

b.      Ovariectomy (removal of the ovaries but not the uterus).

c.       Ovariohysterectomy (removal of the ovaries and the uterus).

d.      All of the above.

2.  Pyometra (pus within the uterus) does not occur in:

a.       Dogs less than two years of age.

b.      Dogs who are being used for breeding.

c.       Dogs who are not being used for breeding.

d.      Dogs who have been spayed by ovariectomy (removal of the ovaries but not the uterus).

3.  Male Golden Retrievers neutered before one year of age have an increased incidence of:

a.       Hip dysplasia.

b.      Torn cruciate ligaments.

c.       Lymphosarcoma (a common type of cancer in Golden Retrievers).

d.      All of the above.

4.  Rottweilers neutered before one year of age have:

a.       The same average lifespan as unneutered Rottweilers.

b.      An increased incidence of bone cancer later in life.

c.       Much the same conformation (body size, shape, and structure) as unneutered Rottweilers.

d.      All of the above.

5.  Neutered Vizslas are: 

a.       Less likely to develop cancer.

b.      Less likely to have behavioral issues.

c.       Less likely to have prostate gland disease.

d.      All of the above.

6.  Labradors neutered before six months of age have an increased incidence of:

a.       Hip dysplasia.

b.      Torn cruciate ligaments.

c.       Elbow dysplasia.

d.      All of the above.

7.  Castration prevents:

a.       Prostate gland infections (bacterial prostatitis).

b.      Benign prostatic hyperplasia (age related prostate gland enlargement).

c.       Testicular tumors.

d.      All of the above.

8. Neutering at a young age:

a.       Does not impact adult conformation (body size, shape, and structure).

b.      Increases the likelihood of urinary incontinence in female dogs.

c.       Decreases the likelihood of developing hypothyroidism (inadequate thyroid hormone production) later in life.

d.      Prevents most undesirable behaviors.

9.  Neutering helps prevent:

a.       Mammary (breast) cancer.

b.      Prostate gland cancer.

c.       All types of aggression.

d.      All of the above.

10.  Neutering should ideally be performed:

a.       Between four and six months of age.

b.      Before one year of age.

c.       After a female’s first heat cycle.

d.      If and when deemed appropriate based on the individual dog, its intended purpose, and living situation.

Thanks for playing along! How do you think you did? Don’t forget to submit your responses to me in the comments, and you just may receive a book in return.

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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32 Comments on “Are You Smarter Than a Vet Student About Neutering Dogs?

  1. I am by far not an expert or profess to be such when it comes to spaying or neutering. However all of our pets have been spayed or neutered after their first year. Of the last eight dogs we have had three were spayed or neutered before two years, one at 20 months, one at 22 months and the other at three years, as she was hoped to have been breed, but showed confirmation faults and then was spayed for the betterment of the breed. The remaining five were all in their second year of age. My answers, right or wrong, are based on what I supposedly know but I am one that is always willing to admit I’m wrong and learn the right answer. 1D,2D,3D,4B,5D,6D,7D,8B,9D,10D.

  2. I will probably be spurned for my comments but, alas, I must speak.
    I realize that newly emerging studies have cited an increase in some cancers and other ailments relating to the age of dogs when neutering is performed.
    I am a dog lover. I currently have 4 rescued dogs.
    I had a dog, my Shadow, that I found wandering on a busy highway. He was 7 months old…plus or minus a few months and very much intact. Once it was decided that he was staying, I had him neutered (less than 10 months).
    He developed lymphoma at 11 years old. Chemo therapy prescribed by Dr. Nancy Kay, gave me another 4 years with him.
    Sam, a Neapolitan Mastiff, came to me freshly neutered at 3 years of age from a mastiff rescue. He developed lymphoma at 11 years of age. He passed away shortly after diagnosis. To my understanding, in any situation, 11 years is considered geriatric for a mastiff.
    Animals are going to get illnesses and develop joint issues etc.
    Tens of thousands of unwanted litters of puppies end up euthanized in shelters across this country every year.
    Early spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters…or we can not spay and neuter and just kill the puppies.

    Be responsible! Treat your dogs’ ailments and illnesses that develop.
    If you cannot afford vet care, you can’t afford a pet.
    Prevent unwanted litters…SPAY AND NEUTER EARLY.

  3. 1) d
    2) a
    3) d
    4) b
    5) d
    6) d
    7) c
    8) b
    9) a
    10) c

  4. 1. D
    2. D
    3. D
    4. B
    5. C
    6. D
    7. D
    8. B
    9. A
    10. D

  5. 1. D
    2. D
    3. D
    4. B
    5. C
    6. D
    7. D
    8. B
    9. A and B
    10. D

  6. 1. D
    2. It can occur in any of the choices, though much less likely in a young dog
    3. D
    4. B
    5. C
    6. D
    7. C
    8. B
    9. A
    10. D

  7. 1. D 9. D
    2. D 10. D
    3. D
    4. B
    5. D
    6. D
    7. D
    8. B

  8. 1d, 2a, 3b, 4b, 5b, 6d, 7c, 8b, 9a, 10d

  9. 1. A
    2. A
    3. B
    4. B
    5. D
    6. D
    7. D
    8. B
    9. B
    10. D

  10. 1. D
    2. D
    3. D
    4. D
    5. D
    6. D
    7. D
    8. D
    9. D
    10. D

  11. Lorraine
    1.a 2.d 3.c 4.d 5.c 6.a 7.d 8.a 9.d 10.d

  12. ** Although I agree with Casy’s comment above about the Vizsla question. :)

  13. 1. d.
    2. d.
    3. d .
    4. b.
    5. c.
    6. d.
    7. b.
    8. b.
    9. a.
    10. d.

  14. Thank you for alerting dog owners to the possible dangers and certain effects of early neutering. Vets and shelters who neuter dogs early (before full maturity – a year at least, usually) are practicing bad medicine. I understand the reason that some do it but responsible, honest vets should advise owners of the adverse conditions that may result. Shelters should figure out a way to help pay for neutering after x number of months if the adopters agree to defer but accomplish it. If a middle age or older dog, for ex, becomes incontinent due to early neutering, the owners may dump it or return it to shelter for PTS.
    Please continue to advise that dogs need their hormones to grow and thrive!! Thanks-

  15. 1d,2d,3d,4b,5d,6d,7d,8b,9d,10d
    Thank You for the fun and informative quiz

  16. 1. D
    2. A
    3. D
    4. B
    5. C
    6. D
    7. D
    8. B
    9. D
    10. D

    Question 9 – There are studies stating that spaying females showing certain types of aggression, can actually increase the aggression, since traditional spaying removes the estrogen producing ovaries.
    Respectfully,
    Joellen

  17. 1.a
    2.d
    3.d
    4.b
    5.c
    6.d
    7.d
    8.b
    9.b (unclear)
    10. d

  18. After reading through the Vizsla study publishing by Zink, et al, I feel I need to point out that there is no correct answer to #5 or #9. There is no mention in the study of “prostate gland disease”, however it is noted that there is an increased risk of “prostate cancer,” which I believe to be the same health issue. Therefore, I can only conclude the answer to #5 to be “none of the above,” per the results of the study, as well as others. As for #9, stated again in Zink, et al’s study, a recent systematic review of all peer-reviewed articles regarding mammary cancer found that the evidence that neutering reduces the risk of mammary cancer is weak. Therefore, with a known increased risk of prostate cancer, and many studies showing increased behavioral issues, including, but not limited to aggression, I can once again only conclude that the answer to #9 should be “none of the above.”

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