Early neutering of bitches increases incontinence risk

incontinence in bitches

The age at which female dogs (bitches) are neutered is associated with early-onset urinary incontinence, academics from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in the UK, have revealed.

The link between urinary incontinence and neutering in bitches has previously been suspected, but this new study— published by the Journal of Small Animal Practice—now provides real evidence on the extent of this relationship.

The study—the largest cohort study on incontinence in bitches carried out worldwide to date—also indicates that bitches of certain breeds including Irish setters, Dalmatians, Hungarian vizslas, Dobermans and Weimaraners are more prone to early-onset urinary incontinence than other breeds.

“Neutering is something that every owner will need to consider at some stage but there has been limited information on the risks of urinary incontinence following surgery up until now,” lead researcher Camilla Pegram said.

“The decision to neuter a bitch is complicated but the results of this study suggest that early-age neuter should be carefully considered, particularly in high-risk breeds and bitches with larger body weights, unless there are major other reasons for performing it.”

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