A Survey of Veterinarian Recommendations and Attitudes Towards Spay and Neuter in North Carolina

Madelaine C. Kuwada, Haley Cook, and Talia E. Brooks, Department of Animal Science, North Carolina State University, 120 W Broughton Drive, Raleigh, NC 27607. Dr. Kenneth D. Royal and Dr. Diane Deresienski, Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine, 1060 William Moore Drive, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Ovariohysterectomies and castrations, better known as spays and neuters, are two commonly practiced surgeries by general practice veterinarians; however, there are known risks and benefits of these two procedures. The purpose of this project was to gauge veterinarians’ current recommendations on ovariohysterectomies and castrations in dogs. A survey was created which asked a variety of questions about veterinarians’ general recommendations to clients for these two procedures, current age recommendations, benefits, and risk factors. The survey was sent to veterinarians on the North Carolina Veterinary Conference listserv, which consists of small, large, mixed, exotic, and research veterinarians across the state of North Carolina. Out of 345 responses, 95.6% of respondents said that they universally recommend spaying female dogs, and 87.30% said that they recommended castrating male dogs. The majority of veterinarians recommended spaying and castrating procedures for both male and female dogs at 6-7 months of age. Specific to female dogs, the highest-ranked benefits of spaying included decreasing pet overpopulation, eliminating the risk of pyometra, and decreasing the risk of mammary tumors. For male dogs, the highest-ranked benefits of castration were decreasing pet overpopulation followed by decreasing behavioral problems, and then decreasing aggression. For both males and females, the highest rank risk factor of spaying and castrating was increased risk for cranial cruciate tears and hip dysplasia. Differences in answers based on demographics were not statistically significant. The results reveal spay and castration recommendations of veterinarians in North Carolina. The results differ from past surveys of similar design by showing increased concern for cranial cruciate injuries and hip dysplasia. These concerns are likely the result of information gained from recent retrospective studies that highlight some of the health risks of spaying or neutering dogs before musculoskeletal maturity. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenters: Madelaine Kuwada, Haley Cook, Talia Brooks

Institution: North Carolina State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Animal Sciences

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 1
Date/Time: Mon 1:30pm-2:30pm
Session Number: 2013