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Which is endlessly frustrating to pet owners who have read up on tubal ligation and vasectomies for canine sterilization and decide this approach might just be best for their pet.

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Pet Sterilization

Of all the e-mails and phone calls the last five years of blogging has brought my way, the most commonly queried issue has to do with how to source a tubal ligation or vasectomy for dogs. Apparently, it’s near impossible to find veterinarians willing to take on these simple procedures in some parts of the country.

Which is endlessly frustrating to pet owners who have read up on tubal ligation and vasectomies for canine sterilization and decide this approach might just be best for their pet. As in:

My breeder/community/veterinarian suggests that I spay or neuter my dog. I’d rather not because

a) I want him to compete athletically.
b) I’m not convinced of the health benefits of removing her sex organs entirely.
c) I’m concerned about the health risks of spaying and neutering (obesity, osteosarcoma, cruciate ligament disease, longevity studies in Rottweilers, etc.).
d) He or she has no imminent health or behavior problems that require a zero-sex-hormones approach. All I want is to keep him from potentially adding to the pet overpopulation problem.

I don’t know about you, but in light of this kind of well-reasoned argument, I’m not capable of standing in the way of two procedures that bring me more intelligent—if somewhat eccentric—clients, and are simpler and less traumatic to perform than their alternatives.

At any rate, these owners are typically so adamantly opposed to a gonadectomy that

a) I’d be unlikely to succeed in changing their hearts and minds even if I tried.
b) They’re absolutely willing to take the socially responsible approach and sterilize their dogs anyway.

Pros and Cons

So what’s to complain about? After all, veterinary medicine is slowly but surely coming around to the notion that ovariohysterectomy (or ovariectomy) and castration are not one-size-fits-all procedures—not for our dogs, anyway.

Though the spay and neuter mantra still holds extrafirm among most of us when it comes to population control, the jury is still out on whether it’s best for dogs to retain their gonads in the absence of disease or any another immediately compelling reason (aggression, marking, roaming, etc.).

Vasectomies and tubal ligations then would seem a reasonable alternative to those who argue they’d rather take their chances.

“At least let me vasectomize him so he won’t contribute to the pet overpopulation problem” has met with increasing success in macho-minded Miami, where intact males are all the rage and most bitches keep their parts, “just in case I want to breed her later.”

What’s more, from a public policy standpoint, vasectomization and tubal ligation offer a less invasive, more rapid brand of sterilization. (Read: less expensive = more dogs sterilized = tempered overpopulation). And an owner can always choose to completely gonadectomize later. No harm, no foul.

In terms of public health—human or canine—it’s only in the event of testosterone-related aggression that the public loses out. And it’...

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