Dog neutering on the agenda at London Vet Show

Dog neutering on the agenda at London Vet Show

Vets have attended a BVA Congress panel discussion at the London Vet Show about the risks and benefits of neutering dogs, as new evidence suggests the answer might not be as clear cut as previously thought.

‘Is neutering dogs doing more harm than good?’  explored the latest research into the science of neutering and its impact on dog health and welfare, particularly on behaviour, and will also consider the role of non-surgical alternatives.

The session was chaired by BVA President Dr Anna Judson, joined by:

  • Dr Sarah Heath, Veterinary Specialist in Behavioural Medicine, Behavioural Referrals Veterinary Practice
  • Dr Neil Mottram BSc (Hons) BVSc MRCVS, Technical Manager, Virbac
  • Nicola Lakeman, Nutrition Manager, IVC Evidensia
  • Dr Michelle Kutzler, Full Professor, Oregon State University

The BVA says statistics from its Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey show that among clients who chose to neuter their dogs last year, only 6% picked non-surgical options.

Awareness of these options is low, with vets reporting that 9% of their clients had requested information about non-surgical options when considering neutering, such as sustained-release implants to suppress testosterone production in male dogs.

Among those who considered non-surgical options, clients cited the cost and need for repeat treatments as their main concerns (mentioned by 67% and 58% of vets, respectively), followed by individual variation in the effect and duration of non-surgical alternatives (22% of vets).

Anna said: “Canine neutering is a firmly established part of preventive pet healthcare in the UK, but it is also very much a live discussion within the veterinary profession, with a healthy ongoing debate around its merits and risks, based on evolving evidence.

“BVA’s survey shows low awareness among clients about all available neutering options for their pets, with only a tiny percentage choosing to go down the non-surgical route.

“Our BVA Congress discussion offered  vet professionals in small animal practice insight into the latest research on neutering, including potential longer-term impacts on a dog’s health and behaviour, and views on what that might mean for how vets discuss neutering options with clients.

“The panellists slso shared useful tips on how to deal with clients’ questions about surgical and non-surgical options for their pets.”

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