Reproduction of companion animals

Expertise

Currently, the team of reproduction of companion animals is focusing on the following research research line:

Impact of neutering bitches on long-term health

The first advantage of neutering bitches, and the main reason why vets recommend it, is limiting the prevalence of unwanted litters (population control) in shelter dogs, dogs with hereditary diseases, dogs not meant for breeding. Besides that, prevention of heat symptoms is an important reason: unwanted sexual behaviour, run away from home and vaginal blood loss bother some of the owners.  Finally, neutering decreases the prevalence of pyometra and mammary tumours.

Unfortunately, neutering has also some disadvantages. It has been known for a long time already that neutered bitches are at higher risk for obesity and coat changes, but also that anxiety and aggressive behaviour might be amplified. Furthermore, there is an increased risk for certain orthopaedic problems (e.g. hip dysplasia, ligature of the cranial cruciate ligament) in bitches that were neutered at early age. Besides that, it is also well known that there is an increased risk for urinary incontinence after neutering. Recently, some recent studies pointed out that for certain breeds there is an increased risk for the development of some types of neoplasia (e.g. mast cell tumour, lymphoma/lymphosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma) in neutered bitches.

We are currently investigating if we can observe these recently documented side effects more common in neutered bitches compared to intact females, presented at the faculty of veterinary medicine. More in detail, we focus in our study on orthopaedic problems and the prevalence of certain tumours.