To date, the routine sterilizing procedure for male dogs is castration – usually referred to as neutering. This procedure is performed on fully mature male dogs under a general anesthetic and results in both testicles being removed. A dog that has been neutered is no longer susceptible to testicular cancer, and some prostate problems that can occur as they age. Other benefits of neutering include inability to reproduce (the first and best reason neutering procedures became routine) as well as a decrease in some unwanted behaviors such as mounting, and urine marking (worst problem occurring in the house).
Until recently, the only downside of neutering was known to be a decrease in metabolic rate leading to weight gain. Now research has found that neutering dogs is correlated in the specific breeds studied to increase the incidence of development of anxiety, earlier onset of dementia and an increased incidence of certain kinds of cancers.
This new information has led to questions about the routine advice to neuter all male dogs. Depending on their breed, lifestyle and temperament, some families are choosing to forego neutering. Others are needing to ensure their dog’s inability to breed – due to breeder contracts, and circumstances of where they live. Because of this need, we now offer the option of performing a vasectomy instead of castration (neutering).
At Lakewood Animal Hospital, we have performed a number of vasectomies over the past several years. The cost and procedure is similar to neutering. This procedure is less painful, and leads to a quicker recovery.
If you have any questions, or would like to consult with one of our veterinarians before making your decision, let us know!