UGA research finds sterilized dogs live longer
Posted June 19, 2013
Spaying and neutering of dogs is associated with an increase in life span and alters the risk of specific causes of death, according to a study published April 17 in the online journal PLOS ONE.
Researchers with the University of Georgia looked at a sample of more than 40,000 dogs that died in veterinary teaching hospitals from 1984-2004. The mean age at death for sexually intact dogs was 7.9 years, versus 9.4 years for sterilized dogs.
Dogs with functional reproduction systems were more likely to die of infectious disease or from trauma. Those that had undergone a gonadectomy were more likely to die from cancer or autoimmune disease.
“The overall average life span is likely shorter than what we would observe in private practice, because these were dogs seen at teaching hospitals, but the difference in life span between sterilized and intact is real,” said Dr. Kate Creevy, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine and co-author of the study. “The proportionate effects on causes of death are translatable to the global dog population, and it will be interesting to see if explanations for these effects can be found in future studies.”
The study, “Reproductive Capability Is Associated with Lifespan and Cause of Death in Companion Dogs,” is available here.