Boons of Castration
- Infertility (Breeding issues can be resolved with proper containment and anxiety calmed by gentling.)
- Reduction of Some Prostate Problems (Enlarged prostate be treated with Finasteride at the time of diagnosis.)
- Elimination of testicular cancer (There is a 1% chance of this cancer; about half the risk of fatal anesthetic shock or post operative complications, and it can be remedied at the time of diagnosis.)
- Reduction of Mammary Tumors (Spay must be performed before the second heat cycle to be effective. Tumors may be removed by surgery when diagnosed with a good prognosis for recovery.)
- Personality changes resulting in...
- Decreased aggression (Can be remedied with socialization and obedience training.)
- Decreased roaming (Can be remedied with proper containment.)
- Decreased chance of being hit by cars and shot by angry female dog owners while roaming (Can be remedied with proper containment.)
- Decreased urine marking
- Prevents Pyometra (Death rate is less than 1%.) and Reduces Risk of Perianal Fistulas
For many people the biggest boon of castration is that it leaves non-human beings incapable of breeding. When this unnecessary surgery is performed at very young ages it can terminate mating drive entirely, while in older dogs, especially those who have mated before castration, some mating urge may remain. Castration prevents an animal from procreating and deletes the production of sex hormones; estrogen in females and testosterone in males.
Gelded canines are unlikely to "show pink and perform riding up behavior. Spayed canines are less likely to raise tail and flex their vulva as they do in estrus. These, and other, natural behaviors embarrass owners who really don't want an animal companion, but had rather have a piece of furniture to show off to their bourgeois friends.
Proper containment (not allowing non-human beings to roam) is the natural solution to avoid puppies. This does, however, require that the human in charge exert involvement, effort, and study time on how to care for non-human companions. How unlikely this is though, as it requires responsibility; a thing most people seem incapable of. It's so much easier to have the servile plaything sexually mutilated, tie it up in the back yard or let it roam the neighborhood, and then forget about it as much as possible.
In instances where sterilization is an absolute necessity, I recommend tubal ligation for females and vasectomy for males. This will leave the gonads intact enough to produce hormones; which serve a greater function than mere mating behavior. Note that with these procedures that estrus cycles will continue and male behavior patterns will not be affected. Also note that finding a veterinarian competent enough to perform these surgeries will be a chore.
There are times when castration is medically necessary for continued health and life. Cervical, uterine, and testicular cancer are killers. A testicle that does not descend properly (cryptorchid) should also be removed, but this does not often require both testicles be removed. Castration, when medically necessary, is a lesser evil and should be employed for the health and safety of one's companion; but should not be proactively employed.
An enlarged prostate, also known as benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) is the result of an over abundance of prostate cells in the central prostate. An enlarged prostate constricts the urethra, and thus the flow of urine, making it difficult to empty the bladder. Related disorders are prostatic cysts and prostatic adenocarcinoma. BPH is a common malady, affecting as many as four out of five intact dogs over the age of five years, with about a quarter of those affected requiring treatment. Symptoms include sanguinous (frothy) prostatic fluid, constipation, and difficult or painful urination (dysuria). BPH responds to castration at the time of diagnosis and to Finasteride treatment; with a 70% success rate. Finasteride inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, which causes prostatic degeneration as cells die and reproduce themselves (apoptosis). Castration removes testosterone entirely.
Note: The risk of a malignant tumor (prostatic adenocarcinoma) is increased in neutered dogs. BPH is much less life threatening and easier to treat than prostate cancer.
Testicular tumors tend to be benign, not malignant, and may be safely treated at the time of diagnosis by castration. Thus, castration need not be employed proactively.
Some breeds of canine are at a higher risk for cancer than others. The high risk breeds are: Golden Retrievers, Boxers, German Shepherd Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, West Highland White Terriers, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Schnauzers, Flat Coat Retrievers, Burmese Mountain Dogs, Great Danes, Greyhounds, and Standard Poodles. Note that mutts tend to be the healthiest dogs; suffering from far fewer maladies than those pure bred. Apparently the genetic abomination, caused by the selective breeding of arrogant humans, can be reversed as the gene pool is returned to normal. This effect may be due to genetic heterogeneity; also called hybrid vigor.
Also at higher risk for testicular tumors are dogs in whom one or both testes failed to descend into the scrotum (cryptorchidism). These dogs appear to face a 13.6 times greater risk than other dogs. Additionally, dogs having suffered a hernia of the groin (inguinal hernia) have a 4.7 times higher risk.
A puppy spayed before her first heat cycle (under six months of age) has a 0.05% chance of getting mammary cancer. If spaying is delayed until after the first heat then the risk increases to 7-8%. If spaying is delayed until after the second heat the risk increases to 25-26%. Mammary tumors generally appear after 2 years of age, and most frequently in bitches over 5 years old.
Some breeds are at a higher risk for mammary cancer. These breeds include Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels, and Dachshunds. It is believed that pure breeds are at an increased risk for cancer and other health anomalies.
Early detection is the best way to protect intact bitches. There are 8 to 10 teats along a bitch's belly. Tumors tend to develop more frequently in the teats near the hind legs. Frequently inspect each mammary gland by gently rubbing it. The gland should be soft and pliant without the presence of hard lumps. If lumps are discovered you should take the bitch to a veterinarian immediately for diagnosis and treatment. The longer any form of cancer remains untreated the more discouraging the prognosis gets.
I believe that frequent massaging of the mammary glands may help to stimulate natural protections against cancer. I have no evidence of this; there are no studies, but still I gentle my bitches frequently as this seems like a natural preventative to me. If nothing else this procedure provides necessary opportunity for examination that could lead to early detection, and my bitches seem to enjoy the attention.
50% of canine mammary cancers are benign and are easily treated; usually by surgical removal. In malignant mammary tumors, 50% are worsened by the presence of estrogen, thus bitches diagnosed with malignant tumors should also get spayed at the time of diagnosis (unless they are quite old). Less than 5% of mammary tumors are of the "carcinoma" variety; which are painful, hard to treat, malignant cancers that spread rapidly. Thus the chance of an intact bitch getting a life threatening mammary tumor is still less than 1.5%.
Female Reproductive Tract Cancer
Spaying will remove all risk of this kind of cancer, but this kind of cancer is rare in bitches and account for 0.3% of all tumors in dogs. The risk of an intact bitch acquiring a reproductive tract cancer is only 0.5%; far less than the increased risk of bone cancer in a spayed bitch.
Perhaps the most popular boon of castration is "personality changes. Among the leading pro-neuter propaganda topics is how neutering acts to calm the beast and create a better behaved animal. Well, it's true. Castration has been used for centuries to devitalize living beings and make them more suited to servitude and slavery.
But once again if you just want something to cuddle up with then there's always plushies. If you lack the mentality to live with and care for an intact animal, and want a piece of furniture, I highly recommend getting a plushie. But then plushies aren't as impressive as a real, living, servile plaything, are they? Even something that's been surgically altered to behave like a plushie is better to stroke an ego up against than a mere rag doll.
Rather than make the non-human pay for your laziness, why not be a truly responsible person by learning about canine behavior and how to subvert mating urges naturally, while caring for the whole animal. You can find expert help to modify behavior though obedience training and proper socialization skills. You can try ethical treatments for poor behavior without resorting to unnecessary surgical debauchery... and leave castration as a "final solution."
Prevents Pyometra and Reduces Risk of Perianal Fistulas
Pyometra is an infection of the uterus and can be prevented by spaying. It has been determined that 23% of intact bitches get pyometra. Those diagnosed respond well to treatment, with a death rate of about 4%. The overall death rate of pyometra in intact bitches is less than 1%. Burmese Mountain Dogs, Rottweilers, Rough-Haired Collies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Golden Retrievers are at high risk for pyometra.
Perianal fistulas are abnormal openings around a dog's anus. Studies have shown that castration may reduce the risk of this malady, but no statistical information is available. German Shepherds and Irish Setters are at high risk for perianal fistulas.
"Much of the spay/neuter information that is available to the public is unbalanced and contains claims that are exaggerated or unsupported by evidence. Rather than helping to educate pet owners, much of it has contributed to common misunderstandings about the health risks and benefits associated of spay/neuter in dogs."
From "Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs
" ― Laura J. Sanborn, M.S.