Laura J. Sanborn, M.S., May 14, 2007
Dog owners in America are frequently advised to spay/neuter their dogs for health reasons. A number of health benefits are cited, yet the evidence is usually not cited to support the alleged health benefits.
When discussing the health impacts of spay/neuter, health risks are often not mentioned. At times, some risks are mentioned, but the most severe risks usually are not. This article is an attempt to summarize the long-term health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs that can be found in the veterinary medical literature. This article will not discuss the impact of spay/neuter on population control, or the impact of spay/neuter on behavior.
Nearly all of the health risks and benefits summarized in this article are findings from retrospective epidemiological research studies of dogs, which examine potential associations by looking backward in time. A few are from prospective research studies, which examine potential associations by looking forward in time.