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The influence of spaying and its timing relative to the onset of puberty on urinary and general behaviour in Labrador Retrievers


Balogh, Orsolya; Borruat, Natalie; Meier, Andrea; Hartnack, Sonja; Reichler, Iris M (2018). The influence of spaying and its timing relative to the onset of puberty on urinary and general behaviour in Labrador Retrievers. Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 53(5):1184-1190.

Abstract

Benefits and risks of spaying on the behaviour of female dogs are controversially discussed. Increased aggressiveness and male urinary behaviour were postulated to be the consequence of masculinization after spaying in some female dogs. To investigate if spaying or its timing relative to the onset of puberty may have a masculinization effect, urinary behaviour, that is, frequency of urination, urinary posture and ground scratching after urination were recorded in 58 female Labrador Retrievers during 15 min of a daily walk with their owners. General behaviour of the dogs during the walks was assessed using an owner questionnaire. Data were analysed for age, reproductive status, lifetime of ovary exposure and/or time interval since spaying. Urinary behaviour of intact females (n = 12) and dogs spayed before (n = 17) or after (n = 29) puberty was similar and not influenced by age, lifetime of ovary exposure and/or time interval since spaying. Owners of spayed dogs described more frequent or more intense fear reaction in their animals in response to loud noises, unfamiliar objects approaching on or near the sidewalk, or if they were approached by unknown dogs barking, growling or jumping. In conclusion, we found no evidence of a masculinization effect after spaying on urinary behaviour in female Labrador Retrievers. In contrast to popular belief, gonadectomy did not inevitably result in a behaviourally more stable dog. Extrapolation of our findings from female Labrador Retrievers to other breeds should be performed with caution, as the effect of spaying on behaviour may differ among dog breeds.

Abstract

Benefits and risks of spaying on the behaviour of female dogs are controversially discussed. Increased aggressiveness and male urinary behaviour were postulated to be the consequence of masculinization after spaying in some female dogs. To investigate if spaying or its timing relative to the onset of puberty may have a masculinization effect, urinary behaviour, that is, frequency of urination, urinary posture and ground scratching after urination were recorded in 58 female Labrador Retrievers during 15 min of a daily walk with their owners. General behaviour of the dogs during the walks was assessed using an owner questionnaire. Data were analysed for age, reproductive status, lifetime of ovary exposure and/or time interval since spaying. Urinary behaviour of intact females (n = 12) and dogs spayed before (n = 17) or after (n = 29) puberty was similar and not influenced by age, lifetime of ovary exposure and/or time interval since spaying. Owners of spayed dogs described more frequent or more intense fear reaction in their animals in response to loud noises, unfamiliar objects approaching on or near the sidewalk, or if they were approached by unknown dogs barking, growling or jumping. In conclusion, we found no evidence of a masculinization effect after spaying on urinary behaviour in female Labrador Retrievers. In contrast to popular belief, gonadectomy did not inevitably result in a behaviourally more stable dog. Extrapolation of our findings from female Labrador Retrievers to other breeds should be performed with caution, as the effect of spaying on behaviour may differ among dog breeds.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Farm Animals
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Chair in Veterinary Epidemiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Uncontrolled Keywords:female dog; gonadectomy; masculinization; micturition; side effect; time of spaying
Language:English
Date:October 2018
Deposited On:05 Nov 2018 17:32
Last Modified:05 Nov 2018 17:32
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0936-6768
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/rda.13225.
PubMed ID:29974985

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