spey

anonymous asked:

I loved reading your reply about spaying and neutering in dogs. I was wondering if you could talk about the pros and cons for cats.

The age of desexing cats is not discussed as much because there is far less controversy compared to dogs. Cats are already very long lived and are prone to less variety of cancers compared to dog breeds.

The benefits of desexing female cats are:

  • Population control
  • Uterine infection prevention
  • Mammary cancer prevention
  • Prevents undesirable or distressing oestrus behaviour (eg screaming like they have a broken back)
  • Less attractive to tom cats (as in, neighborhood toms wont come to your house and piss on everything. Your cat will still be as lovely as she always was.)

The risks of desexing female cats are:

  • Weight gain.
  • Conditions associated with weight gain.

The benefits of desexing male cats are:

  • Less desire to roam (and be hit by car)
  • Less offensive smell
  • Less urine marking
  • Less likely to fight (and get associated FIV infection)

The risks of desexing male cats are:

  • Weight gain
  • Conditions associated with weight gain, including urinary blockage.

It used to be thought that desexing male cats to early would result in an underdeveloped penis and higher risk of urethral blockage. This hasn’t proved to be the case, and we have large numbers of cats in long term studies that have been desexed at the youngest possible age (1kg bodyweight, usually under 12 weeks) and the risk of urethral blockage correlated with weight gain and inactivity, not age of desexing. The same is true of UTIs and FLUTD in female cats.

Accidental pregnancy is a major concern in managing cat populations, even now. There are so many people who still simply don’t do it. It’s maddening.

So desex your cats. We still need a strong message going out to the public for population control, because there are always more kittens than there are homes every year.

Cats do not have the same risk factors in juvenile desexing that dogs might (size and breed dependent) so desexing at 6 months (or earlier, some go through puberty at 4 but from 8 weeks still seems to be no greater risk) is fine. Younger animals also tend to have shorter surgery time, and seem to recover quicker.

The delayed desexing of dogs post is here.

glassslippers-and-tinywhiskers  asked:

Could you discuss delayed desexing and the alternatives like an ovary sparing procedure? It seems clear that in breeds like the GSD it benefits their health, but do we know much in regard to smaller breeds? (I know this topic can be controversial so if you'd prefer not to delve into it, or already have I understand) Also I've been loving the breed posts, thank you for taking the time to write them up!

I don’t at all mind discussing the topic when everyone remains civil about it. It’s very interesting and an aspect of veterinary medicine that’s bound to change as we gather more information. I’m happy to discuss it as long as all participants refrain from making personal insults.

It’s a long discussion folks. I’d grab a cuppa tea if that’s your thing. Also, unfortunately I can’t hide it under a ‘read more’ because it’s an answer to an ask, and Tumblr will eat the hidden part if I do. I will try to make it look pretty if you’re not interested.

Traditionally in dogs we have performed desexing (spey) by performing an ovariohysterrectomy, removing both ovaries and the uterus. Some alternatives have been suggested including tubal ligation, hysterectomy (removing only the uterus), ovariectomy (removing only the ovaries) or doing nothing. This is good. Science as a process should periodically review data, question the knowledge base and make recommendations based on new research. Otherwise it’s just dogma.

I don’t think you can claim that it is ‘clear’ that leaving the ovaries benefits the health of breeds like the GSD. The practice is still controversial at best, with some veterinarians outright labeling it at malpractice. There is some breed variability in terms of what relative benefits and risks might be expected, but I really wouldn’t call it ‘clear’.

Originally posted by wolfyoubemyvalentine

Before I talk about various cancer risks, let’s talk about relative risks of non-cancerous conditions.

With an ovariohysterectomy (traditional spey)that is properly performed, there is zero risk of pyometra. Stump pyo can occur if remnants of the uterus or ovaries are left behind. Cruciate tears are affected by multiple factors, but desexed dogs seem more prone to them than entire dogs. Weight gain and obesity is more common in desexed dogs.

The relative risk of pyometra in non-desexed dogs is about 25%. Risks typically increase with age.

With an ovary sparing spey (hysterectomy), only the uterus is removed. Pregnancy is prevented. Pyometra can still occur if any uterine or cervix tissue remains (a stump pyo). With the apparent influence of oestrogen, these dogs may be less at risk of cruciate disease and are less at risk of obesity.

With an ovariectomy, only the ovaries are removed. This renders the dog infertile and removes the influence of oestrogen. The uterus will atrophy and shrink down without stimulation from female hormones, rendering the risk of pyometra basically zero. It may still increase the risk of obesity and cruciate disease like the traditional spey.

Considering that pyometra is often lethal, while cruciate disease is painful but treatable, personally I would err on the side of preventing pyometra. Also keep in mind that obesity in dogs can be moderated with owner control of the diet, and obesity will predispose to cruciate injury. I would recommend removing at least the ovaries.

Male dogs have less surgical options. Vasectomy can be considered, but these dogs are basically entire but infertile.

An entire male dog is more at risk of perineal hernia, benign prostatic hyperplasia, perianal adenoma and inter-male aggression. A castrated male dog is relatively more at risk of, again, obesity, cruciate ligament disease, and possibly diabetes.

With the information above, and I haven’t brought cancers into the equation yet, you might wonder of preventing obesity in desexed dogs might reduce the incidence of cruciate disease and subsequently other conditions that we know are more common in obese dogs, namely cruciate ligament disease and diabetes. You might conclude that there is little benefit to leaving a dog entire if you’re able to control its weight.

I think that’s a reasonable assumption so far, though it’s clear to me that the benefits of traditional desexing are more pronounced in females.

Originally posted by heartsnmagic

Now lets talk about cancers.

There are multiple types of cancer. Some are more devastating than others. Some are more common than others. In terms of highly malignant cancers that show up relatively commonly in dogs, the ones we talk most about, and of most interest in this topic, are mammary cancer, haemangiosarcoma (HSARC), Mast Cell Tumor (MCT) and osteosarcoma (OSC).

  • Mammary cancer is extremely common in entire female dogs. In European countries where prophylactic desexing is not routinely performed mammary tumours make up 50-70% of all cancers seen. They are relatively rare in countries with a high desexing rate but extremely predictable in dogs desexed late in life or not at all. Speying earlier appears more protective compared to being left entire: speying before the first heat reduces risk to 0.05%, before second heat to 8%, and before 3rd heat to 26%. after the third heat there is negligible reduction in risk of mammary cancer compared to intact dogs.
  • Osteosarcoma may be three times (3x) more common in desexed large breed dogs.
  • Mast Cell Tumors maybe up to three times (3x) more common in desexed dogs of certain breeds. Lymphoma may be up to 10% more common in desexed dogs of certain breeds.
  • Haemangiosarcoma may be more common in neutered dogs of some breeds, but less common in neutered dogs of other breeds.

There isn’t much consensus across ALL dog breeds in ALL situations. There are numerous retrospective studies, and more coming out all the time (Science!) but more data needs to be analysed.

What is fairly clear is that there is a dramatic reduction in otherwise common mammary cancers by early desexing of females. There is probably some benefit in reducing other cancer risks to later desexng, or not desexing, dogs also.

So do you? Or don’t you?

There’s certainly more incentive to desex female dogs, as even pyometra on its own is a sneaky, life threatening condition. I recommend desexing most female dogs in their senior years if they haven’t already been done for this reason alone.

Assuming you do chose to desex, and I’m talking about procedures that involve at least removal of the gonads, it becomes a matter of when. If you don’t remove the ovaries then you have no benefits from desexing other than infertility. There’s no significant benefit in leaving the ovaries compared to leaving the dog entire.

For a small dog, OSC is incredibly rare. HSARC is rare. MCT can happen to anything. We weight up those relatively low risks compared to the very high risk of mammary cancer and pyometra, and I would advise speying before the first heat. With males timing is not as critical unless behavioural factors are involved.

For a larger dog, I personally think it’s worth delaying desexing to between the first and second heat. I would get too nervous about mammary cancers to wait beyond the second heat but there may be some benefit in preventing osteosarcoma by delaying surgery until more skeletal maturity, and same for cruciate injuries.

(I have a theory that osteosarcoma occurs in its predilection sites due to increased bio-mechanical forces in these areas, so waiting for skeletal maturity before removing the gonads might be helpful.)

On the other hand, screening for hip dysplasia and desexing if the dog definitely has it so you can perform a JPS also has benefits, because you’re addressing pathology the dog definitely has right now.

There are so many unknowns in these hypothetical scenarios. This makes it a challenge to make recommendations when clients just want the ‘right’ answer.

The best plan for the individual dog may depend on breed or breed mix (genetic testing would be ideal, but an added cost) or any known predispositions within the family or bloodlines.

So, this explanation is getting rather long, but there’s so much interesting information on this topic and it’s growing all the time.

Originally posted by mensweardog

TL:DR there is probably a benefit to delayed desexing in dogs prone to OSC, cruciate injury and HSARC. Some of the other risks may be mitigated by weight control. There is minimal if any benefit, and definitely some risk, in delaying desexing for small breeds.

But this field may change as more information is gathered. It will be worth watching over the next decade.

NB: shelters and rescues will always desex as young as possible, because their primary aim is population control. They are justified in doing this and their cases shouldn’t be considered in these scenarios.

(Majority of these statistics come from ‘The spay/neuter controversy’ presented at the OVMA by John Berg, DVM, DACVS and ‘ Long-term health effects of neutering dogs: comparison of Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers‘ by Hart, Hart, et al)

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jambansoak  asked:

Hello drferox, please tell me about your opinion about unwanted pregnancy in dog/cat. Especially about sterilization during pregnancy. Thank you very much.

There are still too many unwanted dogs in society, and the problem is worse in cats. Healthy adult dogs and cats are put down daily in shelters around the country, and so are puppies and kittens on a regular basis. If you raise an unwanted litter to an age where they can be adopted, then they are bot using up resources and potentially taking away homes that other animals, already born and living, could have had.

The dogs and cats already walking around on this Earth need to take priority over the unborn, even if the younger ones are ‘cuter’.

There is an abortion injection available for dogs, but it’s not 100% and has significant risk of causing pyometra, which will endanger the dog. It’s only worth considering if the dog was intended to be bred in the very near future.

Desexing (spay/spey) in early pregnancy has minimal increase risk to the female cat or dog, possibly slightly less than doing it in heat. Desexing in very late pregnancy is more difficult, and from a veterinary medicine standpoint should me treated more like a caesarian with an unfortunate outcome in terms of supporting the patient’s anaesthetic.

Dogs and cats who have been pregnant but not gone through parturition are not ‘expecting’ to have little neonates when they wake up. They don’t seem to have any behavioral change from a pregnant spay.

Unborn puppies and kittens don’t have very much in the way of senses. They want to be kept warm and secure, so once the uterus is out of the patient, the fetuses should be euthanised before the organ gets cold.

It’s unfortunate when a pregnant spay has to happen, since it is effectively aborting puppies and kittens, but the pregnant animal’s interests should be the priority. The unborn do not have more rights than the adult animal. This is especially true when the adult animal doesn’t have a home, and her kittens or puppies are likely to be adopted before she is. The potential exists in shelter situations for the pups or kittens to all be adopted, and the mother left languishing until her time is up and she’s euthanised. Morally, I think this is worse than a pregnant spay.

anonymous asked:

There's a service dogblr who says that spaying and neutering are more invasive and worse for a dog than cropping and docking. But you said they're not comparable. Can you elaborate?

If you mean the post by a 18 year old kid who has falsely been told that speying and neutering removed the genitals of dogs then I can certainly elaborate. I am a practicing veterinarian who decided long ago she wasn’t going to perform procedures that were ethically questionable, so I think I have a decent background knowledge with these things.

First, let me talk about desexing dogs, only briefly from a pain perspective.

Speying - for female dogs, a small incision is made through the flesh of the abdomen, ideally through a band of fibrous tissue called the linea alba. The ovaries (gonads) and uterus are removed. The dog retains her vagina and all external genitals. This is the equivalent of an ovariohysterectomy in humans and only soft tissue need to heal.

Neutering/castration- for male dogs, a small incision (sometimes only keyhole) is made between the penis and the scrotum to remove both testicles only. The dog retains its penis, prepuce, scrotum and all the internal bits. Only soft tissue needs to heal.

Soft tissue damage is considered to be lower on the pain scale than bone or other tissues.

Tail docking - amputation of the tail involves soft tissue damage, plus disarticulating bone, severing tendons and cutting the end of the spinal cord. This often results is abnormal sensation, increases sensitivity at the amputation site and painful neuromas. The frequency at which neuromas develop would be reason alone to ban cosmetic tail docking of dogs. 

Ear cropping - Surgically amputating up to 2/3 of a dog’s ear flaps, consisting of skin and cartilage. Ears are then generally bandages up to ‘train’ the ears into the desired shape, which the puppy may have to endure for several weeks.
The pain is at least as much as desexing. It is not like poking a tiny hole in an ear for an earring stud.

So from that information you might conclude that tail docking is the most painful, both short and long term. Desexing and ear cropping may induce similar levels of surgical pain, though ear cropping requires more discomfort while training the ear.

So why do we do any of this in the first place?

Well Anonymous, certain breed enthusiasts spend their time fear mongering about trauma, specifically ripped off tails and ears. Let me tell you that in all my years in practice, including with farm dogs, bush dogs, two police dogs and a suburban emergency clinic the ONLY times I have ever seen a ear or tail “ripped off” or damaged badly enough for amputation was either the result of a dog fight or a car accident. I practice in Australia where ear cropping and tail docking are not legal, so you would think if this was a real problem my colleagues and I would be seeing it.

Numerous reviews of these practices have resulted in many countries banning them for cosmetic purposes, and many more veterinary bodies urging for them to be banned in their country.

The only reason the practice continues at all is that breed enthusiasts in those countries like the ‘look’ that results from these procedures. There are zero medical benefits and some surgical/post-op pain. In a cost-benefit analysis, there is no reason for the dog to have this done. This is why veterinary organizations condemn these procedures. This is why I don’t do them.

The only reason cosmetic ear cropping and tail docking are done is because the human that owns the dog believes their desire to have an aesthetically pleasing dog is more important than the dog’s pain at and after surgery.

Moving on to speying and neutering (desexing), there’s no denying they cause some surgical/post-surgical pain, but we perform these procedures to benefit the animal and that is why I almost always recommend desexing at some point in a dog or cat’s life.

Pets that are desexed, on average, liver longer. They are less likely to roam and face those associated dangers. Females have almost zero risk of ovarian and uterine cancer, and speying is the best method to prevent pyometra (which is basically lethal without an emergency spey, and that is not the relatively minor procedure a routine spey is by any stretch of the imagination). Females are also at less risk of mammary cancer, and the sooner they are speyed the lower their risk. Males that are castrated eliminate the risk of testicular cancer and lower the risk of perianal adenocarcinoma.

There was a study to suggest that some cancers were more common in desexed golden retrievers. Though the study was good, the results weren’t replicated in Labradors, so you can’t extrapolate 100% to other breeds. Also, the tumors ‘prevented’ by keeping those dogs entire were already relatively uncommon, compared to something like mammary cancer which will affect 1 in 20 of female entire dogs.

There may be something to be said for delaying desexing in large breed dogs, but that also needs to be weighed against the potential benefits of PennHip radiographs and hip dysplasia risks. The time of desexing should be planned on an individual basis to manage all the potential risks and benefits.

Some owners don’t wish to desex their pets. That’s fine, so long as they’re aware of the risks and capable of managing them.

Speaking of evaluating things individually, ear cropping, tail docking and desexing should also be assessed individually. Just because a procedure like declawing or tail docking is worse than ear cropping, it doesn’t make it okay when it still provides zero benefit to the dog.

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Oregon Chrome Part 2

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Oregon Chrome Part 1

aelthen  asked:

i have a question. i've often read online that it's best to wait to spay/neuter until the dog has fully finished growing, so around a year, 2 for giant breeds. are there any benefits to waiting until then / drawbacks to not waiting? or is it just personal preference?

There’s not really a ‘perfect’ timing, and so much depends on individual situations.

With female dogs, we know that malignant mammary cancers are extremely common in dogs that are left entire, to the extent that approximately 1 in 20 entire female dogs will die from it. If you desex a female dog before her first heat, the odds of her getting this otherwise common cancer is only 1 in 10,000.

Each heat cycle she goes through increases her relative risk. 1 in 1,000 after the first heat, approximately 1 in 100 after the second and so on.

For a small dog without much skeletal growth to do, I aim to desex before the first heat (barring urogenital abnormalities) to minimize this risk, at around 6 months of age.

For a large or giant breed dog, I may consider delaying this. They usually come on heat later anyway, so waiting until 8 or 9 months usually does not increase their risk of mammary cancer.

The reasoning behind delaying desexing until skeletal maturity is that it’s thought to reduce the risk of some rarer cancers, and cruciate disease. If the owner can adequately manage the pregnancy risk associated with an entire female dog, they may weigh up the pros and cons of waiting those additional months.

HOWEVER in breeds notorious for hip dysplasia, or puppies with an abnormal gait, I instead recommend PennHip Xrays at 16-18 weeks of age to determine whether that individual dog has conformation associated with hip dysplasia. If they do, then I recommend to desex and perform a JPS procedure (Juvenile pubic symphysiodesis) then. This vastly reduces their risk of suffering symptoms of hip dysplasia as an adult, but these dogs should never be bred from.

A particularly concerned owner may elect to have their dog undergo two anesthetics instead of one - PennHip Xrays and JPS at 16-18 weeks, and desexing once skeletally mature, though so far in my experience no owners have elected to do so.

For males the timing of desexing is not critical, though my personal preference is not to leave it too many years due to the inevitable ‘sag factor’ of the empty scrotum.