To neuter or not to neuter. This is definitely a very tricky decision for Golden Retriever owners to make. What’s making it more difficult is because it is irreversible. There are innumerable articles written about spaying and neutering that should help owners come up with a decision. Unfortunately, most of them seem to make owners more perplexed due to contrasting views. But fret not, in this article, we will clear up common misconceptions about spaying or neutering. We will also weigh the significance and factors of this operation.
Significance of Spaying and Neutering Golden Retrievers
Spaying or neutering Golden Retrievers have been a common practice in dog shelters and rescue centers since the 1960s to curb their population. Other than population control, there are many significant reasons why individual Golden Retriever owners would have their fur buddies spayed or neutered.
Every year an estimated 3.3 million dogs are rescued and put in shelters. Unfortunately, around 670,000 of them are euthanized each year. The biggest reason for this is the reality that as soon as owners discover the disadvantages of having pets around, they abandon them.
Golden Retrievers are in heat for 2 to 4 weeks. Naturally, female Goldens will attract male Goldens and other male dogs that will mark their territory around your house by urinating. Now, imagine how messier it can get when the female Golden produces bloody discharges that can stain your sofa, carpet, beds, etc.
Intact Golden Retrievers will naturally try to escape and roam around which will more likely put them in danger of getting lost or figuring in an accident. Their sex hormones will also make them aggressive, especially the male Goldens. Imagine, a walk in the park will become a sniffing session with male dogs for your female Golden and a violent dogfight with other male dogs for your male Golden Retriever. You might even end up getting injured in the process.
Neutering or Spaying Golden Retrievers and Cancer
Golden Retrievers are hounded by a lot of hereditary diseases, especially different types of cancer. Neutering or spaying may help cut down their chances of early cancer development.
- Mammary Tumors
Causes of canine mammary tumors are yet to be understood. However, heat cycles encourages these tumors to grow. Thus, the longer the delay of spaying, the more they are in danger of developing tumors. As a preventive measure, vets and experts agree that spaying can lower the risk of mammary tumor growth.
Golden Retrievers are one of the dog breeds that have a higher risk of having Pyometra. A Golden’s uterine lining naturally swells every time it goes into heat in preparation for pregnancy. Sometimes, the swelling doesn’t go away due to a bacterial infection and may eventually rupture and cause sepsis.
- Prostate Cancer
Golden Retrievers afflicted with prostate cancer are increasing by the number as the age of onset is getting younger. What’s worse is that Goldens are 60% more likely to get prostate cancer than any other dog breeds. Reasons are yet unknown but according to clinical studies, neutering can help decrease the chances of having this kind of cancer.
- Genetic Disorders and other Cancers
Goldens who are intact are more likely to pass down genetic conditions such as ichthyosis, thyroid disorders, cataracts, chest issues, lymphosarcoma, and osteosarcoma to name a few. These disorders can only be prevented by spaying or neutering Golden Retrievers.
Important Factors to Consider about Neutering or Spaying Golden Retrievers
There have been many studies about neutering and spaying. Their common goal is to inform Golden Retriever owners. Instead, it has caused fear and misinformation. Here are factors that will help clear up the confusions.
More and more people say that spaying and neutering can cause cancer in Golden Retrievers. In reality, not all Golden Retrievers have cancer genes. Asking your breeder about the lineage of your Golden Retriever will help you find out if your Golden is at risk. It is also important to note that cancer can also be caused by food, environment, etc.
When to spay or neuter a Golden Retriever?
The answer to these questions is proper timing. Spaying as early as 2 months old or after their first heat is encouraged for Goldens that have a family history of developing Mammary tumors and Pyometra. However, early neutering and spaying can also have long-term effects. For instance, spaying or neutering Golden Retriever at an early age can encourage overgrowth in height which will cause early onset of joint problems, knee injury, and other bone disorders. Hence, it is recommended that the best age to spay a Golden Retriever is when they have fully developed bodies which would be at two years old. The same goes with the best age to neuter a Golden Retriever. Realistically, the danger of bone disorders are more likely to happen than developing cancer.
Recovery From Neutering or Spaying
Deciding whether and when to neuter a Golden Retriever will also determine their recovery period. Since spaying and neutering are both major operations, this means Goldens will be under general anaesthesia. The operation itself is very routine and quick. It usually takes 15 to 20 minutes for neutering male Goldens, while spaying will take about 25 to 90 minutes. After 6 to 7 hours, Goldens are ready to go home. Here are some tips to remember during the recovery period:
- Bear in mind that a Golden in pain will be aggressive, so keeping them in a confined area is safer for everyone.
- Don’t be alarmed if your Golden will skip meals for 1-2 days, they might still be feeling nauseous.
- Keep the incision area dry.This means no cleaning of the incision area nor allowing Goldens to lick their wounds as this will cause infection. You may use a dog collar to stop this behavior.
- Discourage activity to prevent incision area from opening.
- Do note that swelling of incision area, seeing a small amount of blood and redness are natural but anything in excess should warrant an emergency veterinary care.
We should always remember if and when to neuter a Golden Retriever puppy will solely depend on the decision of the owner. At the end of the day, what matters most is what works best for both owners and Golden Retrievers likewise the overall health and disposition of their Goldens.
Owners who don’t have the luxury of time and patience should obviously opt for neutering their Golden Retrievers. But for owners who intend to breed their Goldens, it is important to know when do Golden Retrievers go into heat and appropriate gestational age to avoid complications. Most of all, they should be committed enough to care for their Goldens’ litters while being aware when to have their adult Goldens spayed or neutered.