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Hi,

I have a 2.5 year old intact male Doberman Pinscher. I'm trying to research the positive vs. negative with neutering him. Also tacking stomach to prevent bloat while neuter surgery is done, is that a good idea since they are prone to bloat? We are not having any issues with him, other than being attacked by other males occasionally.

Because he is intact there's been difficulties with boarding/daycare when needed, a lot of places doesn't accept intact males, but most of the time we are able to have a sitter in our home/or their home to care for him.

I really just looking to make the best decision based on his health and living the best life he can.
 

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My personal opinion on males is to leave them intact. I've only had one male dog so far who I didn't neuter, but when I get a male shepherd down the road I will not be neutering him just because of the issues it can cause for their hips and joints, and if I had to neuter for whatever reason I'd wait till he was about the age of your pupper. I tacked my girls stomach just to be safe, she has had a slight issue with the stitches knots not dissolving in a timely manner and has an irritated spot there that they may have to dig the knot out if it doesn't dissolve in the next month. So that's something that I did not realize could happen before choosing to do that, but overall I'm happy I had it done for peace of mind.
 

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I leave my males intact. First of all I get puppies with conformation shows in mind (I do performance with them after they are out of the show ring).

I want to correct something that Arrow^^^ said--leaving a dog of any breed intact versus neutering them will not affect hips and joints. Short of accidents what affects hips and joints is genetics and the dogs heredity. I've been hearing the theory that males who are neutered may develop hip displaysia, and that just isn't true--not for shepherds and not for Dobermans or any other breed you might name.

The biggest issue with males of any breed is the possiblity of prostatitis--in adult males. So my males stay intact--some of my older males got neutered at fairly advanced ages due to chronic prostatitis--neutering will usually eliminate that.

tennsdotter,

There have been studies done and they all indicate that leaving males intact is a more healthy option than neutering them early. Yes, prostatitis is a possibility and testicular cancer (male specific issues) but it doesn't actually make them more or less prone to any of the other health issues.

The question of stomach tacking for a male is, for me, a non-issue. While the possibility of bloat with or without actual torsion is a scary thought. And while Dobes fit the conformation profile of bloat likely breeds and the internet rumor mill tends to regard them as very likely to bloat in my over 60 years with the breed have not seen enough incidences to convince me to do stomach tacks on any of my dogs.

Neutering is a pretty simple surgery--it's not invasive and stomach tacking is even when done as a laprascopic procedure. If I had a male with one or both testicles retained I would probably do a tack because they would be inside the dog (usually ) for that. For a bitch (which I don't even keep) if I was spaying (and I would spay a bitch because open or close pyometras are so common in older bitches that I would spay at four or five years (or earlier if I wasn't planning on breeding the bitch)--I might have them tacked.

But tacking doesn't reduce the incidence of bloat is does reduce the possibility of torsion.

The problem with boarding and/day care is a real one--many places simply don't take intact males over 6 months. I've worked that out with reciprocal arrangements with friends who have Dobermans and who know how to deal with intact males--so I dog sit for them when needed and they do the same for me.

But it's just an opinion for me--you can find proponents of pro and con neutering and tacking...

dobebug
 

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This is something I'm up in the air about too. My German Pinscher boy, Gibbs, is the first male I've had who wasn't a rescue, whether short-term as a foster, or for life when adopted, but there was never any decision to be made about neutering with them.

Gibbs is on a pet contract which mandates neutering only after 12 months and before 18 months. However, when I mentioned to his breeder how it was the best contract I'd seen in that regard and I was pleased not to have to try to negotiate something other than the standard "by 6 months" in the usual contract, she remarked that with experienced, responsible homes she didn't care if they never neutered because it's healthier for a male. I checked with her again after Gibbs turned a year and she reiterated that it's up to me. The only advantage she sees to me is that since I want to do things like rally and obedience, neutered males can be easier to get to focus.

So early on I decided I wouldn't neuter him at that 12-months mark unless he showed some of the male behaviors I'm not willing to live with such as marking or humping everything in sight. He really hasn't been obnoxious about that kind of thing at all. He's more into Teagan's (my spayed female Rottie) bottom than ideal, but nothing I can't live with, and she's finally figured out how to back him off if he pushes her too far.

So he's 17 months now, and I'm still holding off. If once I'm ready to start working with him in heavily distracting environments with lots of other dogs he truly can't give attention, I'll probably neuter, but I've seen a lot of intact males doing just fine in dog sports, so I'm hopeful. Time will tell.
 

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I will add this about stomach tacking--bug mentioned that it won't prevent bloating, just torsioning...quite true.

Bloat is always an emergency, torsion or not. But a torsion can kill a dog very quickly, sometimes in an hour or even less after symptoms show up. If the dog has been tacked, you have a little more time to get the dog to a vet for treatment. A bloat with torsion will require surgery; a bloat without torsion can generally be treated with fluids and medications.

If I have a dobe who has to have abdominal surgery, or spaying, I would go ahead and do a stomach tack, if the dog's condition allowed it. For a neuter, unless there was a family history of bloat (there is some tendency for the condition to run in families) I would not have a gastropexy done.
 

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Interesting Kansadobe--but who is Karen Grzenda?--just wondered about her credentials--I don't like to lump spaying and neutering a male into one common set of information. But since I don't keep bitches and don't neuter males unless absolutely necessary for reason of health conditions that kind of covers my stance on the issue.

And I couldn't open the the attached one.

dobebug
 

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I didn't try the links to Karen Grzenda, but I think this is the study (or maybe it's only one of them) that changed some minds about early spay/neuter:

Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence

There's a table a ways down that shows the 35 breeds and recommendations for each. Dobermans are one of the 35. It's so small in my browser it's unreadabble, but when I opened just the table in a new tab and clicked on it, it enlarged to good size.

I know I saw a table once upon a time that showed the specific health problems that increased with early spay/neuter for each breed, but I can't find it now, just summaries like this:

Big Dogs Face More Joint Problems if Neutered Early

What I read originally made it look more important to leave males intact whereas for females the risk of pyo was enough that it looked like if these things concerned you, you'd avoid early spay and wait until maybe 2 or 3.
 

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Thank you for sending the whole synopsis--I can open most PDF docs. but every so often I get one that I can't.

I do see that there is a referral back to Zink's study which I never had much faith in because it was based on such a small number of dogs and on a specific breed.

But I try to read these studies as they come out--and since I've never done pediatric neuters on any of my males (and I don't keep bitches) a lot doesn't really apply to me and my dogs.

But this one was interesting.

dobebug
 

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Okay from the chart and tables combined, I'm still not seeing why Doberman males are the only breed checked as "Leave Intact" after 23 months? In my experience (limited), inter-male reactivity seems to be the biggest behavioral issue with mature male Dobes. And Pro Neuter/ Spay benefit of "Increased Life Expectancy" would be a big plus for the short-lived Doberman breed? :unsure:
 
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Okay from the chart and tables combined, I'm still not seeing why Doberman males are the only breed checked as "Leave Intact" after 23 months?
If you have or know someone who has good internet search skills, look for a more complete version of the study. I know someone posted it on an all breed forum sometime ago. It showed the reasons why for the recommendations on each breed.
 

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Same-sex aggression can occur in both neutered and entire male Dobes.

In terms of health and longevity, the only real reservation I have about leaving them entire is that prostate problems are fairly common in unneutered males as they age. The treatment is neutering, but if your dobe is developing DCM, surgery may not be an option. We had to have our first guy neutered at the age of 10 because of prostate issues--but he had never had heart trouble and lived to be almost 14.

I've had one of each (though as I said, the unneutered one did eventually end up fixed), and I really didn't see much change in their temperament before and after. Kip came to us a bit timid, although fine with a steady owner beside him, and he stayed that way without getting any worse. Caesar retained his hatred for Golden Retrievers (only Goldens--dogs can be racist too) even after he was neutered.

In the end, it all boils down to owner preference, I think. There are risks and benefits to each.
 

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I have to agree with Mel...you are certainly past the age of "early" neutering. I think it's really a personal decision and there are pros and cons on both sides. Richter had to be neutered because of a retained testicle, so I didn't have the option to leave him intact. He was neutered after maturity (age 2), and he's now 10. It's been a fine decision for us. I'm not sure if I will neuter the next male I have or not, but I will probably do a "wait and see" approach.
 

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I neutered my Harvard when he was 7 because he was getting prostate infections, otherwise, I would never have neutered him. As far as stomach tacking, I'd only do it if they were already having abdominal surgery such as a spay.
 

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And I neutered Toad at 9 because he had a bout of acute prostatitis--we sent his history (none of prostatitis until this one bout which was BAD--and some requested x-rays to the local expert on prostate issues and she sent back a report that considering his breed and his age she'd recommend neutering. So he got neutered and six months later we'd probably have been pretty reluctant to neuter him without doing something like a spinal block rather than anesthesia. Barring that I'd have let him stay intact forever--he was always the perfect gentleman.

And I've said before I wouldn't consider tacking just to tack--like Mary Jo--I might consider it if he was having abdominal surgery--but probably not even then unless he had close relatives with histories of bloat or he had had bloat issues.

dobebug
 

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Veto is being such a dick atm I'd neuter him this second if I could! He has an appointment in October - he'll be 19 months. He is a bilateral cryptorchid so he needs to be neutered for that reason alone.
Simon will be two in February, and I'm planning on doing it sometime between Christmas and his birthday, since his contract states he's to be altered between 12 and 24 months. I know it's not a "magic switch", but I'm hoping that it will drastically cut down on his obnoxious boy dog behavior, especially with Lily (who wishes that he would simply ** poof **... gone). As far as behavior goes, I don't think he could get much more reactive than he already is.

I'm still on the fence over the gastropexy. It's an additional $350 or so on top of the $190 neuter, and with the recovery time needed... A lot of people on the Poodle forum say that they'd never have a SPoo not pexied, but I didn't have Leo done (GSD are also high on the list of breeds susceptible to bloat), and she's reached the age of ten without an issue.
 
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