Several weeks ago I artificially inseminated a dog for one of our clients. This is a service that we regularly provide for our clients, but this situation was a little unique, so I thought I would share it with you. As you will see, this story is not really about breeding dogs!
We work with a number of dog and cat breeders. Most of our dog breeders either have a male or female, but the client that I was working with a couple of weeks ago had both. In this case, their female (Layla) was the dominant dog, and would not let the male (Jake) breed her, which is why we used artificial insemination.
Each time Layla comes into heat, poor Jake is beside himself. Male dogs can smell a female in heat from miles away, and in this case she was in the same household. Jake’s owner spent several minutes describing to me how crazy he got – constant whining, not eating, in a frenzy, when he was outside he wanted to come in and when he was inside he wanted out, losing weight, etc. Basically Jake was in a dilated pupil, love crazed state, 24/7 for the 2-3 weeks Layla was in heat.
Normally he is a typical calm, laid back Golden Retriever.
Which brings me to a day back in February when I was at the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association meeting. I was attending a talk about the risks/benefits of spaying and neutering at 4-6 months of age vs. waiting until later in life (there has been a lot of misinformation on the web about having those surgeries done later in life, so this speaker had pulled together all of the science available so that we would have solid information to give our clients).
When discussing pro’s and con’s of waiting to neuter/spay, the speaker made a comment that came back to me as I listened to our client describe the changes to their Jake. It went something like this:
“Very few pet owners have a good image in their mind of the power that these hormones have over their pets. The degree to which their pet’s personality can change, and the degree of their unwavering focused to breed. The lengths they will go to in trying to escape their home and travel toward that scent of another dog or cat in heat”.
In effect, those powerful hormones can be dangerous to your pet
None of us expect our dog to escape from home – that’s why it is called an accident. But a significant percentage of dogs and cats that we get to fix after being hit by a car are not spayed or neutered. I guess their mind is focused on something other than looking both ways before crossing the street.
So we recommend getting your pet spayed or neutered unless you really know that you will breed them. If you planned to breed them but change your mind as they got older, remember that we perform those surgeries on pets of any age. Eliminating those powerful hormones decreases the chance of dangerous roaming and other undesirable behaviors, decreases many types of cancer, and in the females it decreases the chance of uterine infection.
If you have any questions about the benefits of spay/neuter surgeries at different ages please don’t hesitate to give us a call!
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