Why Your Male Dog Should Be Neutered

Unless you have a purebred dog with impeccable bloodlines that you are planning to breed, having your dog neutered at a young age can protect him from the two most common cancers of intact, older male dogs – prostatic and testicular cancer.

Both types of cancer are caused by the overabundance of testosterone common in male dogs that results in a proliferation of abnormal cellular growth – what the general public calls tumors. In both prostate and testicular cancer, these tumors grow and occupy space outside of the particular organs involved, typically metastasizing to the abdomen, lungs, and bones. In addition, some testicular tumors produce estrogen, resulting in your male dog becoming more feminine.

If not caught very early, both kinds of cancers can prove fatal.

Symptoms of prostate cancer include incontinence, blood in the urine, or an inability to urinate without straining. You may notice your pet has a watery, bloody discharge from his penis and may be straining to defecate, or may even be constipated. As the disease progresses, dogs with prostatic cancers may show signs of rear end lameness, increasing signs of pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. Some animals will hold the tail in an unusual position due to discomfort.

Clinical signs of testicular tumors include swelling in your dog’s groin or scrotum, an abdominal mass, or the “feminization” that occurs when affected organs begin producing estrogen instead of testosterone. You may see enlarged mammary glands and nipples, a smaller-than-normal penis, and a sagging prepuce – the covering over the penis.

The treatment for both types of cancer typically starts with veterinary castration – removal of the testicles. With prostatic cancer, the prostate is also removed. Chemotherapy and radiation may be recommended if the cancer has spread, and the prognosis typically depends on the location, size, and type of the tumor involved.

Surgical castration of young dogs automatically removes the cellular tissue and hormones that cause both diseases, and is considered a valuable preventive of both types of cancer in later life. Most veterinarians will also recommend that you get your stud dog neutered after his breeding days have passed in order to avert any problems later in life. 

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