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Early Neutering: We'll Call This Myth Busted

A myth so widespread, you'd think it was backed by hundreds of studies. But nothing could be further from the truth. So if you're making a hurry-up decision based on this 'fact', slow down and think twice because your pet's health could hang in the balance.

early spaying

STORY AT-A-GLANCE

  • Spaying female dogs at a young age, especially before their first estrus cycle, has long been hailed as a method of eliminating or reducing the risk of mammary neoplasia (breast cancer). In fact, most animal welfare organizations and veterinarians are quick to list breast cancer prevention as one of the many benefits of early spaying
  • But what is the science behind this assertion? As it turns out … there isn’t much. A study conducted by the Royal Veterinary College in the U.K. points to a lack of hard evidence of a link between spaying/early spaying and a reduction in mammary tumors in female dogs
  • The U.K. study was a systematic review based on internationally recognized Cochrane Review guidelines used in human medicine. The results of the systematic review point to the need for similar high-quality research in veterinary medicine
  • Pet owners are entitled to know the risks and benefits of any procedure performed on their furry charges. In this instance, a widely promoted benefit of spaying/early spaying may not offer the level protection from breast cancer dog owners have been led to believe
  • Spay/neuter decisions by individual pet owners should be based on a holistic approach to the animal’s health and quality of life

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