Spaying and neutering - Dog Cancer Blog

Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide.

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Spaying and neutering

In pages 83-85 of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide Dr. Dressler and Dr. Ettinger discuss spaying and neutering as it relates to cancer in dogs. This is a complicated subject, but the evidence shows (and remember, in Full Spectrum Cancer Care we approach things from an evidence-based orientation), early spay and neuter may raise the risk of dogs developing cancer later on in their life.

Please note that in vivo and clinical use citations were included whenever possible. We have also include links to the papers, where available. Most of the papers are found on the National Institute of Health’s online library, PubMed.

For a provocative look at the health considerations of spaying and neutering, see:
Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs

The effect of neutering on the risk of mammary tumours in dogs–a systematic review. Beauvais W, Cardwell JM, Brodbelt DC.J Small Anim Pract. 2012 Jun;53(6):314-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-5827.2011.01220.x. Review.

Reproductive Capability Is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs. Jessica M. Hoffman, Kate E. Creevy, Daniel E. L. Promislow. Published: April 17, 2013. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061082

Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers. Gretel Torres de la Riva, Benjamin L. Hart, Thomas B. Farver, Anita M. Oberbauer, Locksley L. McV. Messam, Neil Willits, Lynette A. Hart. Published: February 13, 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055937

Factors influencing canine mammary cancer development and postsurgical survival. Schneider R, Dorn CR, Taylor DO. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1969 Dec;43(6):1249-61.

Hormonal and Sex Impact on the Epidemiology of Canine Lymphoma. Villamil, JA, et al. J Cancer Epidemiol. 2009; 2009: 591753.

Endogenous gonadal hormone exposure and bone sarcoma risk. Cooley DM, et al. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2002 Nov;11(11):1434-40.

A population study of neutering status as a risk factor for canine prostate cancer. Bryan JN, et al. Prostate. 2007 Aug 1;67(11):1174-81.

Castration for treatment of perianal gland neoplasms in the dog. Wilson GP, Hayes HM Jr. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1979 Jun 15;174(12):1301-3.

Effect of spaying and timing of spaying on survival of dogs with mammary carcinoma. Sorenmo KU, Shofer FS, Goldschmidt MH. J Vet Intern Med. 2000 May-Jun;14(3):266-70.

Long -term risks and benefits of pediatric gonadectomy in dogs. Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA, JAVMA. 2004. 224(3):380-387.

Canine prostate carcinoma: epidemiological evidence of an increased risk in castrated dogs. Teske E, et al. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2002 Nov 29;197(1-2):251-5.

Hormonal and Sex Impact on the Epidemiology of Canine Lymphoma, Villamil JA, et al. J Cancer Epidemiol. 2009; 2009: 591753.

About the Author: Dog Cancer Vet Team


There is a whole team of dog lovers behind Dog Cancer Vet and DogCancerBlog.com, and we're here to help, because we understand what it's like to deal with dog cancer. We publish the Dog Cancer Kit, which includes paperback and digital copies of the best-selling animal health book Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity, which is written by our veterinarian bloggers Dr. Demian Dressler, and Dr. Susan Ettinger, DVM, ACVIM (Oncology). It also includes "Ask Dr. Dressler" webinars going back to March of 2009, the mp3 audiobook The Dog Cancer Coping Guide, and for a limited time, a free bonus coupon good on Amazon.com for $30 off Apocaps.