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To castrate or not to castrate II. – Dogs

author Lucy Byrne | Care and raising

As I wrote the last time, opponents of castration oftentimes base their opinion on lack of information. Naturally, everyone can make up their mind, I don’t want to persuade anyone to do anything. However, before we even take a stand, it is a good idea to take into account as much available information as possible.

Castration of dogs isn’t as widespread among dog owners in the Czech Republic as the castration of bitches is. However, it can be recommended for all dogs that are not intended for breeding. For example, in the US, around 70% of bitches and dogs have been castrated, and this is for several medical reasons:

Prostate illness

About 60% of dogs are at risk of prostate illness. Enlargement of the prostate causes incontinence (faecal and urinal), perineal hernia (widening of the anus with serious complications), bleeding, issues with evacuation and not in the least, also malignant cancer.

Testicular cancer

Testicular cancer occurs in around 40% of dogs. These tumours appear mostly in older dogs, about 9 years of age. Enlargement of the testicle and scrotum appears in the dog. Hormonal changes occur, oestrogen levels increase and as a result, the animal is feminised. By castration, 100% of cases of this disease are prevented, since in castration, testicles are removed.

Tumours of perianal glands

Perianal glands are located around the rectum’s circumference. In older dogs, depending on hormonal changes, it is precisely these glands that oftentimes develop tumours. These types of tumours often relapse, ulcerate and bleed. Castration decreases the risk of this disease by up to 70%.

Undesirable behaviour

Besides that, castration also prevents undesirable sexual behaviour of dogs. Escapes are eliminated, along with copulatory behaviour towards “every living creature”. Castration is also often recommended for limitation of dominant behaviour of a dog and to mitigate aggression. Apart from other things, it reduces dog’s frustration from the impossibility to be serviced. And as we are aware, stress increases the risk of some diseases, for example, cancerous ones.

Negative effects of castration

Of course, that castration also carries possible risks. After all, it’s a surgical procedure. Same as with bitches, it is mainly the risk of narcosis. That’s why it is appropriate to carry out a pre-surgical examination.

Among the most common complications in dog castration belong the bleeding in the place of the surgical wound and swelling of the scrotum. The swelling of the scrotum occurs relatively often. In these cases, it is necessary to see the veterinarian, so that they assess the situation and suggest further approach. However, the treatment is usually simple and without complications. In castrated dogs, urinal incontinence may rarely occur as well.

If it concerns me, the risks of castration in a dog are absolutely insignificant comparing to their positives: same as in a bitch. As I wrote the last time, I speak from my experience. I’ve yet to encounter an animal of my friends that would have some of the after-surgical complications.

And to the contrary, there were plenty of cases when the dog died of a disease, that could have been prevented by castration. This applies mostly to bitches. In case of dogs, I would hear mainly about complications and the necessity of a surgery at a more advanced age – and thereby of also a relatively risky procedure. Despite that, I think, that prevention in the form of castration is a better, safer and cheaper solution.

In these two articles, I aimed to summarise as much information about dog and bitch castration as possible, so that everyone could make up their own mind about this topic with a clear conscience, based on facts. Along with this, I also wanted to present my opinion. I hope, that I’ve achieved both my goals.