Many puppy owners are advised by their vet to spay their bitch puppy or neuter their dog puppy.  Unless there is a valid medical reason for doing so, such as a pyometra in a bitch, or a testicular cancer in a dog, neither procedure should be undertaken lightly or as a matter of course, as both procedures can have long term health effects for the dog or bitch.

Before you decide to go down this road please stop and think about the consequences.

Long Term Health Effects of Spaying Bitches

Positives

  •  If done before 30 months it greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumours, the most common malignant tumour in female dogs.
  • Much less risk of pyometra.

Negatives

  • Done under general anaesthetic which always carries a slight risk.
  • Triples the risk of obesity and its many associated health problems.
  • Causes urinary ‘spay incontinence’ in between four and twenty percent of bitches.
  • In the Irish Setter, it affects the coat very noticeably. It becomes dry and woolly and can become very curly and owners sometimes find it difficult to groom.

Long Term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs

Positives

  • Eliminates the small risk of dying from testicular cancer.
  • Reduces risk from non-cancerous prostate disorders.

Negatives

  • Done under general anaesthetic which always carries a risk.
  • Triples the risk of obesity and its many associated health problems.
  • In the Irish Setter, it affects the coat very noticeably. It becomes dry and woolly and can be very curly and some owners find it difficult to groom.

There are also other health issues which you may like to discuss with your vet.

Both bitches in the photo below are spayed and show how the coat can change, even though the owner tries hard to keep them tidy.

spayed bitches