Monday, July 3, 2017

Spay And Neuter Consequences: What I Learned From My Dogs Injury

I written extensively in the past about spay and neuter consequences.  See here, and here,.  There is a growing body of scientific evidence which indicates that the procedure may impact animal welfare later in life. While the AVMA advocates for the sterilization of any dog not intended for breeding, it does acknowledge that there are spay and neuter consequences.  In spite of this, many veterinarians do not tell their patient owners about these consequences, leaving owners to make uninformed decisions.

One of the big consequences reported is a higher likelihood of CCL ruptures.  The cranial cruciate ligament is in the knee, synonymous with the ACL that football players frequently tear.

If you look at the studies, dogs spayed before 6 months had a higher occurrence of CCL tears later in life than those dogs who were intact.  But here is a very important item:  the intact group of dogs did not have zero tears.  Just a lower occurrence.  Another thing to note is that the desexed dogs did not have a 100% occurrence either. 

I've had owners contact me...distraught at learning this information, convinced that their dog's current condition was caused by spaying at 6 months of age.  Understand this: if and when you choose to desex your dog is not a guarantee nor is it a sentence.  It merely adjusts the odds.

By Florian Scheuerer (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Shiloh's Knee Repair
My dog is now 7 years old.  Today I brought him back from the clinic after his CCL was repaired in his left leg.  He was in perfect health.  Perfect weight.  Intact.  If ever there was a dog that was "supposed" to not hurt his knee, it was him.  But still it happened.

Several months ago, Shiloh decided to chase deer.  With great zeal and over a long distance.  After he came back, with his cat-ate-the-canary grin, I noticed something.

The Limp.

We took him to the vet, who prescribed him rest.  Which we did, and things look good for a while.  Then one day...a day where nothing spectacular happened, he stopped using his back leg.  X-Rays confirmed the worst: a complete ligament tear.

We worked hard to prevent this from happening.  But it did.  And it may yet happen again on his other leg.  Only time will tell.

As you consider spay and neuter consequences, please keep this in mind: there are no guarantees.

No comments:

Post a Comment