useful working life and impact
its role as a family member,”
said Benjamin Hart, lead inves-
tigator and distinguished pro-
fessor emeritus in the UC Davis
School of Veterinary Medicine.
“Simply delaying the spay/neu-
ter until the dog is a year old can
markedly reduce the chance of a
Dog owners in the U.S. typ-
ically choose to spay or neuter
their dogs prior to 6 months of
age to prevent pet overpopula-
tion or avoid unwanted behav-
iors, Dr. Hart said.
During the past decade, some
studies have indicated that ear-
ly spaying or neutering can have
several adverse health effects for
certain dog breeds. For exam-
ple, a 2014 study published in
PLoS ONE and also led by Hart
examined the health records of
more than 1,000 golden retriev-
ers and found that breed faced
four times an increase in one or
more joint disorders associated
with early spay or neuter (be-
fore 1 year of age). In the same
paper, joint disorders increased
by two times in Labrador re-
trievers spayed or neutered in
the first year.
In UC Davis’ study, research-
ers examined veterinary hos-
pital records over a 14.5-year
period on 1,170 intact and neu-
tered/spayed German shepherd
dogs for joint disorders and can-
cers previously associated with
neutering. The diseases were
followed through 8 years of age,
with the exception of mammary
cancer in females, which was fol-
lowed through 11 years.
Joint disorders and cancers
are of particular interest be-
cause neutering removes male
and female sex hormones that
play key roles in important
body processes such as closure
of bone growth plates.
The study found:
• Seven percent of intact
males were diagnosed with one
or more joint disorders, com-
pared to 21 percent of males neu-
tered prior to 1 year of age.
• Five percent of intact females were diagnosed with
one or more joint disorders; in
females neutered prior to 1 year
of age this measure increased to
• Mammary cancer was diagnosed in 4 percent of intact
females compared with less than
1 percent in females neutered before 1 year of age.
• Seven percent of females
neutered before 1 year of age
were diagnosed with urinary incontinence, which was not diagnosed in intact females.
Hart said that he hopes
the findings provide evi-dence-based guidelines for deciding the best age to spay or
neuter a puppy to reduce the
risks of such disorders.
This research was supported
by the Canine Health Foundation and donors to the Center for
Companion Animal Health.
NEW SURVEY SAYS PETS
LIFT WORKPLACE SPIRITS
A Wellness Natural Pet Food
survey reveals pets boost mood
at the office.
Pets have long been a part of
the family, and now pet owners
want them to be a part of the
workforce, as well. According to
a new survey by Wellness Natural Pet Food, 46 percent of U.S.
dog and cat owners say bringing their pet to work would improve their mood. The survey
found that those most proud of
being pet “parents” are millennials. Of respondents, millennials ( 65 percent) are most likely
to have their mood improve if
they were to bring their pet to
work and are also more likely
to display photos of their pet
at work than are gen-Xers and
The findings came just before
Take Your Dog to Work Day on
June 24. Wellness Natural Pet
Food polled more than 1,000
dog and cat owners in the U.S.
to uncover how pet owners feel
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