Should I spay or neuter my pet? Debunking myths & embracing benefits

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Should I spay or neuter my pet? Hi I’m Dr. Sean McPeck I am the owner and CEO of Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center. This has evolved over time. We go back 20, 30 years we even saw a Bob Barker on The Price Is Right, saying spay and neuter your pets right. What were they doing at a very young age? I mean, pets. You know, we’re eight weeks old and they spaying and neutering them. What we found recently with some research is that spaying and neutering your dogs, specifically the study dealt with dogs, especially larger dogs.

We were actually causing orthopedic issues to develop later in life. They were more prone to anterior cruciate ligament ruptures or a cranial cruciate ligament rupture or a CCL is what we call it in a dog. We were actually more prone, that dog, to get some type of hip dysplasia. And that’s because we were removing that normal sex hormone in the body at a very early age before their growth plates were able to close. And so the bones were not fully developed. The plateau of the tibia was not fully grown.

The acetabulum, which is in the hip that covers that, that femoral head was was too shallow, wasn’t growing enough to cover it. So we were actually inducing orthopedic issues. And so what they found is that if you can wait until at least 15 months of age in some of the larger dogs, we can completely eliminate those orthopedic issues. So that’s one big consideration that you need to take into when you’re thinking about it. And that applied for both spaying and neutering. Another part of spaying was the issue of dealing with mammary chain tumors. And if you go back and what we were taught is that if that dog went into its first heat cycle and was much more prone to getting mammary chain tumors, it went through two heat cycles. It was going to get mammary chain cancer. And so they wanted you to spay that dog really early. Well, we found out that that is not true. And so, again, they benefit from having those normal sex hormones present in the body for at least 15 months.

Now, here, here’s the caveat to that. Right. The reason we encourage spaying and neutering one, we don’t get unwanted pregnancies. We don’t have stray animals and unwanted dogs or cats. Two specifically females. We’re setting them up for having what’s called a pyometra. Dogs are very prone to getting a pyometra if they’re left intact. That is a disease process that is 100% preventable by spaying your dog. The other thing that they are much more prone to, if they are left intact, their entire life is, yes, mammary chain cancer. So there are some things with female dogs that we have to consider, but the unwanted pregnancy is a big one. Now, let’s look at the male dogs. So I talked about some of the benefits there, but some of the negatives are also behavior related.

Intact males are more prone to guarding and aggression. They’re more prone to leaving to try to seek mating. Running away. They’re more prone to marking inside your house, marking territory. And there can be issues with the body, too.

Testosterone 100% drives prostate cancer. Prostatitis, obviously testicles being present, there can be testicular cancer. And then there’s other hormone driven things that have to do with what we call anal sac adenocarcinomas and other hormone related issues. So it’s a balance that you have to look at and what you are what is right for your life and lifestyle.

There’s no right answer. I see dogs live happy, healthy lives being intact, but there are risks to that. And the older the dog or cat gets, those problems are exacerbated. So there are benefits to it for sure, 100%. And there’s but there’s benefits to waiting. Have that conversation with your doctor and see what fits right in your lifestyle and what is right for your pets and your family.

Dr. Sean McPeck

A 2010 Graduate of Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Sean McPeck developed his leadership as a Sniper Team Leader and Veterinarian with the US Army Special Operations, 75th Ranger Regiment.

Dr. McPeck has multiple combat deployments, totaling almost 2 years in combat theaters of operation.

He is the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, and is Ranger, Sniper, and Airborne qualified. While serving as an officer in Special Operations, Dr. McPeck was repeatedly recognized for his Honor, Integrity, Courage and Selfless Service in the name of the United States. He was recognized with not one, but two, Meritorious Service Medals.

Under his leadership, Dr. McPeck worked with Working Dog handlers, and canine units, to detain and seize enemy combatants. The canines that Dr. McPeck worked with are credited with savings thousands of United States soldiers deployed in combat areas.

Dr. McPeck authored The RCAP, Ranger Canine Athletic Program, which was the 1st comprehensive Military canine conditioning program.

His specific training and certification classes for Dog handlers to be proficient in Canine Tactical- Combat Casualty Care, and knowledge of current medical equipment and procedures, which led to the successful life saving interventions by handlers in real world operations.

Dr. SaraRose McPeck graduated from Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. A Massachusetts native who attended Becker College for her undergrad, Dr. McPeck has lived and worked around the country and even the world. She served four years in the United States Army as a Veterinary Officer, during which she was stationed in Fort Benning, Georgia, and completed a 12-month tour in Afghanistan.

Her time serving in the Army provided her the experience as the primary veterinarian for over 350 Military Working Dogs, in which she provided all emergency, trauma, surgical, critical, and primary care. In addition to caring for animals, she trained, mentored, and led six Non-Commissioned Officers and twelve junior enlisted Soldiers, giving her not only impressive veterinary experience but also exceptional interpersonal and leadership skills.

As a Veterinary Corp Officer, she received a variety of awards, including a Bronze Star, a NATO Medal, a GWOT Medal, two Army Accommodation Medals, among many others. She gained experiences in which she exemplified impressive leadership skills and the ability to adapt to both clinical and combat support situations. Her years of experience serving our country and in veterinary medicine have equipped her with the knowledge and skills to provide exceptional care to our patients.