by: Louise Langlais-Burgess, D.V.M.
Hespeler Animal Hospital • 210 Pinebush Road, Cambridge, ON • Tel.: (519) 740-7706

Q. Why don’t veterinarians perform vasectomies on dogs instead of neutering them?

A. This is a frequently asked question. The reason we don’t perform vasectomies instead of castration on male dogs or cats is that none of the advantages of neutering would be obtained.

For you to understand this, we should first of all review the reasons neutering the male dog is recommended and then you will understand why a vasectomy would be pointless.

One of the reasons we neuter dogs is to prevent behavioral problems such as urine marking “attacking” people’s legs, and the tendency to wander or to try to escape from home. You won’t have to explain to your young child what Fido is doing to his or her stuffed toys.

The neutered dog is calmer, easier to train, more attentive to his owners, and less aggressive.

Neutering the male dog will help prevent unnecessary frustration and agilation on his part. It really isn’t fair to leave him with his sex drive intact if he is never going to be bred, and yet letting him run at large to breed any female dog he may come across isn’t exactly an intelligent or responsible solution.

Neutering him is, and by doing so you will be doing him a favor in the long run.

Very importantly, castration helps prevent many diseases the male dog will be prone to when he gets older, such as cancer of the prostate (one of the “hottest” cancers encountered) growth of the anal tissue called perianal adenomas, enlargement of the prostate, infection of the prostate, and cancer of the testicles.

All of the above problems encountered in the intact male dog are dependent on the presence of testosterone, a hormone produced by the testicles. And so, the only way to prevent these problems is to remove the source of the testosterone.

A vasectomy, where the tube called the vas deferens, that transports sperm from the testicles to the penis, is tied off, will certainly provide birth control and prevent the propagation of unwanted litters of puppies, but will not offer any of the other advantages that neutering can provide.

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