Why are you- making funny- noises at me :(
|Barked: Thu Mar 10, '11 5:09pm PST |
|I've never kept an intact male dog so I would have to look into their specific needs. Making sure the dog doesn't roam, discouraging humping behaviors, and possibly aggression toward other males? My current dog is a neutered male- could that cause any problems? And if I ever choose to keep another intact male or he meets one, would there be problems?
Roaming is certainly a worry if there are intact females around where you live. Not all intact dogs react the same (colloquially, I have heard that it is usually dogs with prior experience breeding that can get a little out of hand) so that may not even be an issue.
Humping is - 99% of the time - not sexual, but dominance-related. Neutering really won't affect this unless your dog humps as a - and forgive the crudeness - a masturbatory aid.
Same-sex aggression is related to the presence of testosterone but if you neuter to "fix" a bad relationship, it's not going to do anything - the feelings are already there. It's actually (and again, this is colloquially, I don't have statistics to back this up) neutered dogs that tend to be aggressive toward intact males. I think this is probably because the scent of an intact male feels "dominant" to their own scent, and this can spark "disagreements" to put it lightly.
In an established relationship, however, it's unlikely to cause problems. Jake was castrated at 15 months well after him and Samson were already friends and it has not altered their relationship any. They both flip out whenever they get a play date .
I do question the validity of this study about SSA being more common in intact dogs - I would agree this is true with an in-heat female as a provocative factor, but testosterone plays a very minor role in aggression - it is mostly androdgen which controls aggression.
I am curious however what the benefits to leaving the dog intact are.
Me, I consider it necessary for a dog's entire well-being and development. Physical, mental, and emotional health, particularly while the dog is developing. Not so important after *full* maturity is achieved, but still not something to brush aside. That's sort of the general holistic approach, I guess.
Medically speaking, you're looking at more risks for a neutered dog than an intact one. Generally, however, we're looking at small percentages (1% vs 3%, etc) so it isn't a huge deal, but if you have the choice - why not avoid them?
What you're getting into with an intact dog - by age 10, he's almost certain to have "BPH" which stands for "benign prostate hyperplasia" which I stress is a BENIGN enlargement of the prostate. Plenty of neuter-nazis will go bananas over this but it is, in almost all cases, asymptomatic. It can cause difficulty in elimination when it happens but this is easily cured by temporary drugs (70-80% success rate IIRC) or castration at time of diagnosis.
Testicular cancer is exceedingly rare and has no mortality rate to speak of (less than 1% of dogs will get this). It's something so ridiculous to neuter for that I barely give it mention. At any rate castration is 100% curative.
Um, let's see what else...again, from the behavioral side of things, you're looking at potential roaming behavior which can be dangerous. Castration will *likely* stop this since he is less likely to respond as strongly to the scent of a bitch in heat. Proper containment and behavioral training will also stop this. For a mostly inside dog, depending on where you live...this really isn't a problem to worry about.
With a GSD, unless you have a showline dog, you're looking at a pretty "drivey" dog. Castration took the "edge" off Jake's behavior but I would hesitate to say that is something that you can expect - you're removing a dog's primary hormone system and the effects of that are going to be very complex and varied from dog to dog.
There are precious few medical problems which are reduced by neutering...don't be taken in by the B.S. Don't be taken in by the B.S. coming from the other side, too - you are signing your dog's early death sentence by getting him castrated. Like I said, it's small risks - single digit increases in risk. Think of it this way - often you'll hear your dog is "four times more likely to get prostate cancer if he's neutered!"
Well...true, but the risk of prostate cancer in an intact dog is .6%. That means for an neutered dog it is 2.4% (minimum, I think the max on that range was 3.5, I can't find the study atm).
At any rate, you're looking at a 99.4% chance of your dog not having prostate cancer ever versus a 97.6% chance of your dog not ever having prostate cancer.
Not a big difference...but my standpoint is...why take the chance, even a tiny one if you are otherwise capable of owning an intact dog? Everything is vital for a dog's proper development and well-being - you can't isolate the testicles and the hormones they produce from the rest of the body and say they don't do anything but make a "bad dog."
So my answer is...no, you aren't really putting your dog in any danger or killing or hurting him by having him castrated...but in the same vein of thought, is it really necessary? My attitude is a "wait and see" sort of thing...if he needs to be castrated, that will become apparent. As a prophylactic (preventative) I consider it unnecessary (for the individual owner...for shelters, that is another story).
If you are worried about his ability to procreate, however - consider searching out a vet that will do a vasectomy. That way you get all the benefits (and yes, detriments) of a hormonally intact dog that is still sterilized and unable to reproduce.
My philosophy is containment. And it's not even a worry over reproduction - it's a worry over his safety. The same precautions I have to keep him *safe* also, as a side effect, keep him from reproducing.
The big thing you might have to alter is if you live in a city and frequent dog parks, many will not allow intact dogs in. Some do, but you have to be on your guard for in-heat females when people are dumb enough to bring them around.
I am going to make a post in a couple minutes with a bunch of links for further reading.
ETA: Yes, testosterone plays a big role in developing and maintaining muscle mass. If you've ever seen a dog castrated at 8 weeks he will look a lot like a female in adulthood. If you live around farms, take a look at the steers (castrated male cow). They look very much like the females...and if the farmer has a bull, they look very, very different.
Same with geldings/stallions. The gelding will look a lot like a mare, the stallion has very definitive muscle definition.
You *CAN* maintain muscle mass after castration but you need to be vigilant about exercising your dog. Jake for instance is 115lbs of pure muscle despite not having any balls :3.
Edited by author Thu Mar 10, '11 5:12pm PST
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