Certified Professional Trainer
Training and Behavior
A week ago I stumbled across a news story of Duke's last day. Duke was adopted a few years back, then was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last year. One of Duke's legs was amputated due to the cancer, but it unfortunately spread. On July 7th his owners said goodbye to Duke.
I encourage you to take a few moments and visit the photo blog of Duke's last day here. While tearful, I found it a beautiful tribute to a canine life well-lived. The video below shows Duke before he fell ill.
Dogs have always impressed me with their ability to live in the moment - to enjoy life as it unfolds. Being strong for an ill or declining dog is hard, but helpful to them as they are very responsive to our own emotions. Saying goodbye in a loving and caring way is something I feel every good dog deserves. It looks like Duke got that, and it was moving to see his family share not only his final moments, but his life through the video. I hope, as time passes, their good memories grow stronger and the tearful ones fade...
Last week's post discussed whether spaying or neutering carried undesired health and behavioral issues for our pets. Like all things human, everyone has an opinion! As a follow up this week, I wanted to post some links to several studies related to health and spay/neuter. As mentioned last week, while I support efforts to reduce pet overpopulation, the question in my mind is whether alternatives to removing hormone producing tissue would be beneficial for dogs.
The following list contains studies pertaining to this topic. If you know of others, please feel free to contact me and I will be happy to update this post.
2013 - Univ of CA/Davis - Golden Retriever Study finding higher health risks regardless of early or late age spay/neuter.
2013 - Univ of GA - Study of 40,000 dogs finding spayed/neutered pets live longer but have higher incidence of cancers.
2009 Journal Article - Cohort study finding intact female Rottweilers have better longevity.
2004 JAVMA Article - Retrospective cohort study suggesting early neuter of male dogs offers more benefits than risks.
2004 Record Study - Intact dogs less likely to develop anterior cruciate ligament ruptures.
2002 Cohort Study - Intact Rottweilers less likely to develop bone cancer.
2001 JAVMA Article - Cohort study suggesting intact male dogs less likely to have cognitive impairment with aging.
2001 JAVMA Article - Cohort study suggesting no health or behavioral issues for 4 years following pre-puberty neuter of male dogs.
1999 Database Study - Neutered/Spayed dogs have higher incidence of cardiac tumors.
1998 Database Study - Neutered/Spayed dogs at 2x risk for osteosarcoma.
1994 Case Study - Intact dogs less likely to suffer from hypothyroidism.
ASPCA Web Page - position and justifications for spay/neuter.
For all of my life life I have lived with rescue dogs in our homes. While the pet over-population problem is very real and requires serious thought and solutions, more people are beginning to question the wisdom of routine spay and neuter procedures. Even with decades of robust spay/neuter programs in place, pet overpopulation has not significantly improved. Recently, more and more studies are suggesting that spay/neuter may be contributing to many health and behavioral issues in our pets. The 30 minute video below offers many points for serious consideration from a holistic Veterinarian.
Because many owners adopt mixed dogs from shelters as I do, they often have no choice in whether their pet is spayed/neutered (usually done before adoptions, sometimes as early as 10-12 weeks of age). So this topic is important not only for owners having a choice to make, but for society in general. If routine spay/neuter is impacting the long term health, longevity, and behaviors of our dogs, what are the alternatives?
There are medical procedures and newer medications that allow sterilization without removal of tissues generating needed hormones. Also, responsible ownership may be a far more important component in avoiding undesired pregnancies than de-sexing pets. Intact pets don't have to breed, and many European countries have preferred training and management options over spay/neuter for decades.
So my purpose here is not to criticize those who support spay/neuter, but rather to spark some discussion on whether there are better alternatives Dogs are a blessing in this world, and humans are responsible for their care and management. Responsible ownership means doing our best for them in every way. Are we doing this when it comes to spay/neuter?
As many take a few days off to celebrate this country's "birthday", please remember that our freedoms are not free. The courage of the men and women of our armed services have allowed us to enjoy those freedoms. Please remember them today, and every day.
The video below is a few years old, and discusses legislation that would have reclassified our country's military working dogs s member's of the armed forces vs simply equipment. The legislation didn't pass intact, and you can find more details here. While I hope to see more work on the reclassification front, the video is worth 7 mins of viewing time IMO. It's a great reminder of the people (and dogs) that make this country great.
Greetings July 2014;
The noises associated with the 4th of July can be stressful for many dogs. Start today to prepare anxious dogs for the 4th. The single most useful preparation is challenging your dog mentally. Obedience is the #1 tool to challenge, tire, and calm dogs before a stressful day / evening. More thoughts and a few other suggestions can be found here.
July 2014 CALENDAR
Days: All American Pet Photo Day 07-11 / Pet Fire Safety Day 07-15 / Parent's Day 07-27 / Mutt's Day 07-31 /
CHA Pets at Gallery Hop 07-05 / Cols Mingle with Our Mutts 07-06, 07-20 / Dayton Mingle With Our Mutts 07-13 / CHA Picnic with the Pups 07-12 /
Further details can be found on the community page of my website: http://thek9guy.com/community.shtml
IN THE NEWS
Recent news stories important to owners....
Shelter's Power Hour Program
Shelter Dogs on Field Trips
Canine Vaccination Debate
Felony Charges for Owner in Lowes Dog Bite Case
Dog Grooming and Keeping Cool in Heat
Links to these and other daily stories are available at http://thek9guy.com/ddn
Everything is green, and outdoor activities are very welcome this time of year. Make sure your pet is protected from mosquitoes and other parasites. Heartworm prevention is important in Ohio for the entire year, but annual testing and prophylaxis is a must. Ticks can carry many blood borne diseases. Consult your Veterinarian regarding your dog's protection.
More biters and fighters over the past weeks. Obedience is the single most important item in getting a dog's best behavior. While some dogs may always tend toward aggressive behaviors, without obedience, owners cannot help a dog reach its full potential.
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