wellness (3)Spaying and neutering your pet has long been considered a key element of responsible pet ownership and preventative care, benefiting not only the pet but also helping prevent further pet overpopulation. In fact, surgeries are being performed in younger pets each year, even as young as several months old before a pet develops sexually.

Interestingly, researchers have been exploring the potential role that sex hormones play in a pet’s overall health. In fact, there appears to be a link between a reduction of risk for many non-reproductive diseases including joint disorders and cancer.

A more detailed discussion of this scientific study is available at: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055937

As research continues and increased knowledge evolves, many scientists and veterinarians are re-evaluating the recommended treatment protocol which would eliminate pet reproduction while retain the male’s gonads and as a result, his sex hormones. A vasectomy offers a solution.

What is a vasectomy?

A Canine Vasectomy is the same procedure that human males have had for years to prevent reproduction. The reproductive organs are left intact, thus hormone production will still function. As a result, the dog will still have all the same urges and drives that intact dogs experience such as hormone induced/ related behaviors (marking of territory, roaming to find a mate, aggression and mating urges). It is very important for pet owner’s who are considering a vasectomy to be aware of these behaviors and how sex hormones affect your dog.

So, why would a pet owner choose to have a vasectomy performed on their pet instead of a traditional neuter? Evidence supports that that a dog’s health can benefit from circulating sex hormones and this procedure actually may actually help our male dogs live healthier lives while still preventing reproduction. This procedure is intended primarily for those owners who are opposed to removal of the gonads (testicles) and as a result, his sex hormones, but who would like to prevent their dogs from reproducing.

What happens during a Canine Vasectomy?

A skin incision is made in front of the scrotum, the testicular cord is located and brought through the skin opening. The tissue surrounding the cord is removed and the vas deferens is identified. The vas deferens is tied off in two locations and the tissue between the ties is removed (approximately 1/2″ of vas deferens is removed to prevent transport of sperm from the testicle). The cord is replaced and the skin incision is closed with suture and tissue adhesive. The cord sample tissue is removed and biopsied to be identified and to ensure surgery was successful. This surgery is not reversible.

***IMPORTANT*** A vasectomy does not remove the testicles therefore it does not remove testosterone, the male sex hormone which stimulates “male” behaviors in the dog. For all intents and purposes the dog will remain “fully male” but will be sterile and unable to impregnate females. He will have his testicles so will be considered an intact male by city/county licensing entities (meaning higher fees for licensing). It is important to note when the testicles are not removed as with traditional neutering, males will still be at risk for testicular cancer and hormone induced prostate disease.

Interested in learning more?

For additional information, please feel free to contact our office at 513-424-1626