If you’ve recently neutered your elderly male dog or you are considering neutering the dog in your life, you might be wondering if any problems will accompany having this procedure done on your canine companion.
Below are answers to some of the most common questions people have about these surgeries.
What Is Neutering?
Neutering (also referred to as orchiectomy or castration) is the practice of sterilising male animals by removing the testes.
Neutering, or castration, is often performed under general anaesthesia and it is a simpler surgery than a spay. An incision is made near the front of the scrotum, then the testicles are removed through that incision.
The penis is not operated on during this procedure, and the outer sac that once held the testes is left in place.
Neutering is usually performed between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months; however, it can be performed on older animals as well as long as an animal is in overall good health.
Male dogs generally recover much more quickly following neutering than females do from spaying since spaying is much more invasive and results in a larger incision.
Can a dog get more aggressive after neutering?
Some older neutered dogs may be seen to be less boisterous and quieter than before, while some may remain the same. It is often seen that older dogs remain territorial. In some instances, some older dogs become increasingly aggressive towards people and other animals following the neutering procedure.
Before covering the problems and side effects that come with neutering your elderly dog, let’s consider the benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Neutering a Male Dog?
A Lot Less Homeless Pets
Local dog shelters often have too many dogs and not enough prospective dog parents. If all pet owners neutered their elderly dog, local dog shelters would have fewer dogs without a home to worry about.
This would lead to fewer dogs without a home and being euthanised, on the plus side, it would also increase the space available in dog shelters.
Significantly Reduced Risk of Cancer
Neutered older male dogs are expected to have a lower chance of testicular cancer. They also experience a reduction in non-cancerous prostate disorders and are also believed to have a lesser chance of having diabetes.
A neutered male dog might also have less desire to roam.
Problems of Neutering
When thinking about neutering an older dog, the benefits must be weighed against any risks associated with anaesthetic and surgery.
As the neutering procedure itself is not usually associated with any complications, it is the anaesthetic that is the primary concern. If neutering is being recommended as a separate procedure for a medical reason such as prostatic enlargement or testicular tumours then there is a huge advantage to your dog’s health and long life, in having the procedure done.
If your dog is showing undesirable behaviours that might be improved by neutering – behaviours such as – roaming, masturbation, mounting, inter-dog aggression, excessive sexual interest or marking, then there can be some benefits to considering having your dog neutered.
Although not infallible, a physical examination, a series of blood and urine tests and any additional screening that your veterinarian may feel is warranted for your dog (e.g., ECG, chest x-rays), can help to determine if your pet has any significant anaesthetic risks. These tests can also help the veterinarian determine which anaesthetic protocol would be safest for your pet.
Since many older pets require anaesthesia for other procedures (e.g., growth removal, preventive dentistry), the benefits can often be further increased, and the number of anaesthetic procedures reduced by performing the castration along with the other procedure.
Neutering Your Older Male Dog – The Experience
After anaesthesia is administered, breathing is ventilated and vitals are monitored, the fur in front of the scrotum is clipped or shaved, and the skin is sterilized using a topical antiseptic wash.
A small incision is made in that location using sterile surgical tools. For puppies with both testicles descended, the next step is the clipping of the vas deferens and the removal of the testicles, which takes 10 to 20 minutes.
The vas deferens and the blood supply to the area are tied off, and the small incision is closed with surgical glue, staples, or in rare cases, sutures.
Will Neutering a Dog Calm him down?
A number of recent studies have shown that neutering a dog is just as effective at calming him down and reducing male associated behavioural issues.
It has also been advocated that neutering be performed at a practical young age also ensuring that the procedure is done before the dog breeds.
This is often the case in dog shelters as it allows them to ensure that every dog adopted has already been neutered. A lot of dog shelters now routinely begin neutering as young as two months of age. To date, studies have shown that castration at this early age is safe, and has no long-term effects on health or behaviour, regardless of the age that it is performed.
It has been suggested that surgery at this age is shorter, that recovery is quicker, and that there is less post-operative discomfort for these younger animals.
How can I find out about low-cost spay/neuter programs in my area?
Check out the links below:
Neutering your pet – PDSA