Research on spaying and neutering has increasingly provided evidence of potential negative effects on lifelong health in dogs. Hormone-sparing sterilization is a way to preserve natural hormone levels while controlling pet populations, but millions of dogs have already undergone spay or neuter surgery. Is there something we can do for spayed and neutered dogs that have health problems associated with a lack of normal hormone levels?
A case study published in Topics in Companion Animal Medicine describes the positive impacts of restoring hormone levels in a mixed-breed dog who suffered from behavioral and physical issues.
The seven-month-old dog, named Toby, was active, sociable, and healthy when he was adopted from a local shelter. He was castrated at adoption, and within a few months his health started to deteriorate. He began limping on the right hip, could not run or jump, rapidly gained weight, and became fearful around strange people.
After years of trying standard veterinary treatments without significant improvement, his owners initiated hormone therapy. This restored his testosterone levels, controlled his high level of luteinizing hormone, and increased his muscle mass. His weight stabilized, and he was able to run and play with the other family dog. His fear of new people was reduced enough so that he could go out to public parks with his owners.
The Parsemus Foundation hopes that publication of this information encourages much more research on hormone restoration in spayed and neutered dogs. Additional controlled studies are needed to identify the optimal treatment plan and discover the health conditions that may be improved through hormone therapy.