Early neutering triples risk of joint disorders in German Shepherd Dogs

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A new study finds that neutering German Shepherd Dogs before 1 year of age triples the risk of the dogs developing one or more joint disorders.

German Shepherd Dog

Lead investigator Dr. Benjamin Hart and other researchers from the University of California-Davis published “Neutering of German Shepherd Dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence” online May 16 ahead of print in Veterinary Medicine and Science.

The researchers examined records over a 14 1/2-year period on 1,170 sexually intact or neutered German Shepherd Dogs for joint disorders and cancers that have been associated with neutering. The dogs were followed for diseases through 8 years of age, with the exception that female dogs were followed for mammary cancer through 11 years of age.

One or more joint disorders were diagnosed in 7 percent of sexually intact males, compared with 21 percent of males that had been neutered prior to 1 year of age. In sexually intact females, 5 percent had one or more joint disorders; whereas in females that were neutered prior to 1 year of age, this measure was significantly increased to 16 percent.

Mammary cancer was diagnosed in 4 percent of sexually intact females, compared with less than 1 percent of females neutered before 1 year of age. Urinary incontinence, not diagnosed in sexually intact females, was diagnosed in 7 percent of females neutered before 1 year of age.

The study is available here.

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Study shines spotlight on neutering (Nov. 1, 2013)

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