Recently, one of our local news stations reported on a story that discussed dog spaying and why it may be better to not have your dog spayed. We would like to post this article and our opinion against it. Please read the following:
The above mentioned article is about a study that has risen in several venues around the country, and several serious flaws in the study have been pointed out in those venues
But first and foremost:
By FAR, the most common cause of death in female dogs in this country is euthanasia due to over-population. One must always keep that in mind when considering whether to spay or neuter. In the Four-States, over 10,000 unwanted dogs, at least, are euthanized every year. And the number grows every year.
As far as the study is concerned, the flaws are as follows:
- Not spaying a female dog before they are allowed to start cycling commonly leads to a life-threatening condition called pyometra (an infection of the uterus) and also results in a much higher incidence of breast cancer, which has a greater than 50% chance of being fatal. Both of these conditions usually occur before ten years of age. Un-spayed dogs are also much more likely to be hit by cars when they are younger.
- The dogs in this study were all well over ten years of age. This means that the dogs that had pyometra, breast cancer, or were hit by cars before they were ten years of age were selected out of the study automatically. This is a HUGE problem with this study! The only way to do a valid study of this type is to start with two groups of dogs at birth and follow them for 13 years, which takes time and money.
- This study failed to look at a cost-benefit analysis to evaluate the lower health care costs that likely result from early spaying.
- Finally, the study on women has also been pointed out by several proponents of no spaying, or delayed spaying. Comparing women and dogs reproductively is absolutely invalid scientifically, and I would suggest disingenuous. While estrogen is present in both reproductive systems, the similarity stops there. There is absolutely no biological relationship between the monthly cycles of a woman’s hormones and the once or twice yearly cycle of a dog. None, zip, zilch. Almost nothing in their reproductive cycles is similar.
While the “study” might be interesting to consider (but certainly not “groundbreaking’), one must be very careful to consider all the evidence before drawing a conclusion. While you could leave an ovary or ovaries in a dog after spaying, there is no valid evidence that doing so will extend the life span, and there is strong evidence that it is, in fact, likely to shorten the life span. Dog owners should make their decisions with all the evidence, not just a cute study that makes the news.