Desexed Dog Facts

Early desexing  not only has great health benefits for your pup but it will also ensure that you don’t run the risk of contributing to unplanned and unwanted dogs ending up being disposed of in Council Pounds and animal shelters.
The RSPCA encourage early age desexing – when the surgery is simple and recovery is rapid.

Read below the benefits of desexing:

Desexed dogs:

  • are generally less likely to suffer from disease and certain illnesses, such as mammary cancer and uterine infections in females and prostate problems and testicular cancer in males.
  • are less likely to have behavioural problems such as aggression and urine marking in males. In females, it prevents mating behaviour and false pregnancy.
    Studies have also shown that early desexing reduces other behavioural problems such as separation anxiety, roaming and inappropriate elimination when frightened. 
    Reducing the desire to roam also reduces the risk of your dog being injured in a fight or a traumatic accident such as being hit by a car.
  • prevent unwanted pregnancies. The RSPCA receives over 125,000 animals every year, and many of these unwanted animals are the result of unplanned breeding. Dogs can become pregnant as early as 6 months of age so it is important to desex them before this time to protect them from unwanted pregnancies.
  • Research also shows that desexed animals can actually live longer.

Here is a section of a comprehensive research report by the RSPCA (Early-age-desexing-of-cats-and-dogs-Research-Report-Aug-2012):
” A number of studies have compared the veterinary outcomes of Early Age Desexing (EAD) and traditional age desexing. These indicate that EAD may offer certain advantages related to surgery and anaesthesia, and health and behavioural benefits when compared to desexing at the traditional age.
There are a number of specific benefits relating to surgery and anaesthesia when desexing is carried out on younger patients (e.g. between 8-12 weeks of age):
1. Desexing surgery is faster and easier when carried out on younger patients as their anatomical structures are less developed although gentle handling of delicate paediatric tissues is required. Tissues are elastic with minimal fat with good exposure/visualisation resulting in less tissue trauma. Generally the surgical incision site is smaller and bleeding is reduced and minimal (good haemostasis), providing significant animal welfare benefits.
2. It takes less time to prepare the animals for surgery and surgery is faster which means less time under general anaesthesia. The anaesthetic recovery and wound healing time is faster providing significant animal welfare benefits including less patient discomfort.
3. Lower morbidity. The incidence of peri-operative complications is low due to significantly shorter surgical and anaesthetic times.
One study showed that there were significantly less overall and minor complications in animals desexed at less than 12 weeks and 12-23 weeks of age compared to animals desexed at over 24 weeks of age.

Here is another section from the RSPCA report:
Concerns regarding potential long-term risks
Musculoskeletal development
A cohort study was undertaken to determine long-term results and complications of desexing performed at an early age or at the traditional age in dogs.
Prepubertal desexing did not result in an increased incidence of problems associated with any body system, compared with traditional-age desexing during a median follow-up period of 48 months after desexing. A difference between age groups was not reported for overall incidence of musculoskeletal system problems or incidence of hip dysplasia. Concerns that prepubertal desexing would result in increased incidence of musculoskeletal disorders or hip dysplasia were not supported by the results of this study.

Urinary incontinence in female dogs
A recent systematic review evaluating the strength of evidence for an association between desexing, age at desexing and urinary incontinence in female dogs identified seven relevant studies: four were judged to be at high risk of bias. Of the remaining three studies (which were judged to be at moderate risk of bias), there was some weak evidence that desexing, particularly before the age of three months, increases the risk of urinary incontinence. There was no direct evidence found in the review that the occurrence or absence of oestrous before desexing plays a role in the aetiology of urinary incontinence.”

Here is a section from the Conclusion of the RSPCA report:
“Based on the available scientific evidence and extensive RSPCA experience performing EAD, the RSPCA considers EAD to be a safe and effective strategy to prevent unintended litters of cats and dogs.
Importantly, EAD also provides significant animal welfare benefits relating to anaesthesia and surgery as well as some long-term health and behavioural benefits.”

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