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Information on the science behind the procedure

Following on from our article last month about bitch neutering, we take a look into some of the questions that we get asked about male dog castration. We’ve delved into a number of veterinary resources and taken a look at the science behind the procedure that will help you decide when and why you should have your dog castrated. As always, if you have any questions about any of the points raised in this article contact our team today.

Why do vets recommend that I castrate my dog?

There are a range of reasons why neutering is advisable for pet owners, from behavioural control, to population control, to health reasons.

Neutering is a vital part of population control and without castrating your male dog, hormone driven behavioural problems can arise if your pet comes into contact with an unneutered female. Male dogs will often stray and run off after bitches in oestrus, and if you do decide against castration you should always be prepared for any such contact.

Dog castration can also help improve your dog’s overall behaviour as it can help root out aggressive and protective behaviours that tend to be more common in male entire dogs. However, to help prevent or reduce these issues castration should be performed before the dog has learnt them as acceptable responses. This is also the case with sexual behaviours such as ‘mounting’ and ‘humping’.

In addition, castration removes both testicles, which removes the risk of any health issues directly associated with them such as testicular tumours. It can also reduce the risk of any hormone driven diseases such as prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and perianal adenoma (tumour).

Rachel Caines MRCVS

Castrating your dog can have a range of behavioural and health benefits. 

Dr Rachel Caines, MRCVS BVSc CertAVP(VD)

Castration can prevent tumours and hormone driven diseases

Are there any disadvantages to castrating my dog?

Although castration can help ease dominant and aggressive behaviours, it is important to remember that a dog can ‘learn’ that they are acceptable behaviours and actions. Therefore castration does not guarantee that these behaviours will reduce or stop.

It is recognised that neutering can increase the likelihood of your dog becoming overweight later in life due to the reduction in hormones associated with lean metabolism. To combat this we always advise reducing the amount you feed your dog immediately following neutering to prevent weight gain. Castration can also affect the texture of your dogs coat as hormones influence the growth.

When is the right time to castrate my dog?

The recommendation of castration timing is performed on a case by case basis as there are different factors to consider. The minimum age for castration is considered to be 6 months old as testosterone is required for growth. However, whilst this might be appropriate for rapidly maturing small breed dogs, castration of a large or giant breed at this age may impair correct growth of bones and development of joints. Here at Knutsford Veterinary Surgery we usually advise delaying castration in these large breeds until skeletally mature which can be anywhere from 10 – 18 months old.

If undesirable behaviours are noted then castration at the onset of these behaviours may be beneficial except in the case of fear or anxiety related behaviours. Behavioural responses can rapidly become learnt behaviours and behavioural therapy is more likely to resolve these issues than just castration.

Your team at Knutsford Vets can offer castration and neutering services in our state of the art surgery. To find out more contact the surgery or register your pet today and book your appointment online.

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