Weighing in on the risks & benefits of Early Sterilization in Rottweilers
A 1 year old Rottweiler puppy, playing rambunctiously w/another dog, cried out. "I heard him yelp and went to investigate" said the owner. A trip to the Vet. proved a ruptured cranial cruciate ligament (CCL). Unfortunately a fairly routine occurrence in Rottweilers and other large-breed dogs. A quick surgery repaired the knee but as expected, 6 months later, the other knee went as well. By two years old this rottweiler had already suffered two major orthopedic traumas.Though the owner was unaware of a possible correlation between the dog's very young neuter, she was convinced it contributed to the dog's susceptibility to the injuries.
Sterilization affects life span
Research also suggests that intact females live longer than spayed females. "We found that how long females keep their ovaries determines, in part, how long they live," says David J. Waters, DVM., PhD, DACVS, director of the Center for Exceptional Longevity Studies at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation. "Importantly, our study showed that bitches that kept their ovaries until they were at least 6 years of age, were 4.6 times likely to reach exceptional longevity than those w/the shortest ovary exposure."
The researchers also found out that removing the ovaries before 4 years of age reduced longevity by an average of 1.4 years and reduced threefold the likelihood of reaching exceptional longevity. The results suggest that the ovaries have a protective effect on the body and that the removing the sexual glands puts bitches at higher risk for developing diseases.
Keeping dogs intact longer may contribute to reduced risk of certain cancers. For example in Rottweilers, the prevalence of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and hemangiosarcoma (cancer of the lining of blood vessels) is greatly reduced in intact dogs. It is found that altering before one year of age increases the incidence of both cancers. Both aggressive cancers occur frequently in the Rottweiler breed.
As much as a decade ago we knew that spayed females had a five x greater risk of developing hemangiosarcoma, and neutered males had a 2.4 x greater risk.
Water's research team at the Murphy Cancer Foundation and Purdue University made the same findings in 2002. The risk of developing bone cancer was greatly influenced by the age of the dog when altering took place. Both males and females altered before 1 year of age had a 2 or 3 x higher risk of developing bone cancer.
Spay & Neuter Surgery Alternatives
Alternatives now include vasectomy for males and tubal ligation for females therefore retaining the hormone producing testes and ovaries. Bitches can also have a hysterectomy which removes the uterus but retains the ovaries. Canine birth control medications and hormone-replacement therapy is being studied.
The best advice, Dr. Bailey says, is to approach spaying and neutering of dogs on an individual basis.
***On September 17th 2010 (Tolkien's 13th Birthday) Eternal Moon is proud to announce that "Tolkien" BISS AOM-MRC A/C/U CH Eternal Moon Lord Of the Ring CGC TDI CGN TT CI RN am/Can-CD was entered into the Exceptional Longevity Program under David J. Waters, D.V.M., Ph.D.,DACVS
Tolkien was in the program for over two years and died shortly after his 15th birthday (No bone cancer, no cruciate rupture and no hemangiosarcoma). He was intact all his life.
I encourage you to see this updated youtube video (Sept 23rd 2013) here (Dr. Karen Becker interviewing DR. Michelle Kutzler) about this subject. It is 30+ min. long but there is a lot of great, easy to understand, information that I wish my "puppy people" would hear.
Please forward this article here to your Vet before deciding to spay or neuter your rottweiler. Your Vet will probably thank you!
Anyone reading this page is more than welcome to share this page address and especially to e-mail the link to your Veterinarian.