Is neutering a senior dog a good idea?

Xandra

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#1
Roman turned 8 last month and I have to take him in for his first dental soon. I'm sure I'll be asked about neutering him again. I've been told by the vet and I've read elsewhere that intact male dogs commonly get an enlarged prostate which is typically avoided or remedied by a neuter. Since he hates the vet's it would be much better to have this all done in one fell swoop if a neuter really is in his best interests at this age. Plus, it is no doubt safer to neuter now than as a sick, older dog.

For some reason I'd really rather he wasn't neutered... it just seems odd after he's been intact and well-mannered so long, but that's not really a good basis for decision making. I know there are problems associated with neutering (which IIRC are mainly developmental issues and an increased, but still small risk of some rarer cancers), but does that still hold true for senior dog neuters? And if so, are the risks associated with intact dogs (testicular cancer, enlarged prostate) greater?
 
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#2
I had two dogs neutered at 8 years old.

I was pressured into getting DJ done by my colleagues in the rescue community. I very much regret doing it. He went his whole life without producing a litter and he was perfectly healthy. I ended up having to euthanize him a year later due to behavioral issues.

I adopted Kaiser from the shelter I worked at. He was actually a "forever foster." My boss said I didn't have to get him done because 1. senior and 2. great dane. However, when I took him in for a vet check, she strongly recommended I get him neutered because he had a severe case of prostatitis. The neutering took care of the issue. He also died about a year later, on his own. Due to old age I suppose. Vet wasn't sure what was going on.

Would I do it again? It depends on the dog and the other dogs I have in the home. If I had a senior pet and an intact female show dog, I'd get the male done. If I didn't have any intact females and he got along with my other dogs, I'd probably leave him intact.
 

MrsBoats

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#3
My Lars will be 8 in December and he's still intact. I'm in the camp of I'll only neuter him unless medically necessary...meaning stuff like prostate problems we can't get under control or cancers directly related to him being intact.

My BFF is also my dogs' vet so I know she and I can have frank discussions about this sort of stuff without me being pressured into things.
 
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#4
My Lars will be 8 in December and he's still intact. I'm in the camp of I'll only neuter him unless medically necessary...meaning stuff like prostate problems we can't get under control or cancers directly related to him being intact.

My BFF is also my dogs' vet so I know she and I can have frank discussions about this sort of stuff without me being pressured into things.
Me too, I only neuter in such situations. Do not be pressured without knowing what exactly it is you are getting into.
 

Xandra

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Thanks for the replies.

Like I said, I don't particularly want to neuter but I'm concerned about whether telling him "no" is an intelligent decision at this point. Apparently 80% of intact males get an enlarged prostate... I'm not sure how often there are complications stemming from that though. If it is quite a high risk I think it might make more sense to have a preventative neuter done while he's already under anesthesia for his dentistry. I worry about the risk of anesthesia, especially if he has to be put back under when he's 12 and under the weather.
 
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*blackrose

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#6
Thanks for the replies.

Like I said, I don't particularly want to neuter but I'm concerned about whether telling him "no" is an intelligent decision at this point. Apparently 80% of intact males get an enlarged prostate... I'm not sure how often there are complications stemming from that though. If it is quite a high risk I think it might make more sense to have a preventative neuter done while he's already under anesthesia for his dentistry. I worry about the risk of anesthesia, especially if he has to be put back under when he's 12 and under the weather.
Honestly, I'm in the camp if "the fewer times under anesthesia the better". And while I believe that anesthesia is safe and everything is done to keep it that way, I'd personally rather prevent an elderly dog going back under anesthesia if I could. Neuters aren't long, involved procedures that would be more risky with an older, more ill dog, but at the same time...it's still anesthesia.
 

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