Assisting decision-making on age of neutering for 35 breeds of dogs: Associated joint disorders, cancers, and urinary incontinence

Journal club resource:

Assisting decision-making on age of neutering for 35 breeds of dogs: Associated joint disorders, cancers, and urinary incontinence

Hart, B.L. et al. (2020) Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence Frontiers in Veterinary Science7, 388.
[Open Access]

Neutering of dogs is a routine procedure in small animal practice. However, there is an increasing body of literature being published about the risks and benefits of neutering in respect of particular conditions and in particular breeds.


This paper used hospital records, covering a 15-year period, from the Veterinary Medical Teaching hospital at the University of California, to analyse the risk of specific joint disorders and cancers associated with neutering at various ages.

This is a complex paper reporting on a wide range of conditions in 35 different breeds, so before making decisions about how to apply the findings to your practice it is helpful to critically appraise the paper. One way to do this would be to use the paper as the basis of a journal club within your practice so that everyone can have an input into any changes in practice protocols and the advice that you give to clients over the most appropriate timing to neuter their dog.

The October 2020 edition of inFOCUS contains a summary of this paper

Support with assessing the relevance of this paper

We have produced a guide that you can use to work through this paper as a practice.  For those less confident in assessing published papers there is a partially completed guide.

For those new to journal clubs, we have a step-by-step guide you might find useful: Setting up and running a journal club

Further Reading

Benefits and risks of neutering pets – what is the evidence? [inFOCUS] [online] Available from: [Accessed 15 February 2020]

Pegram, C. et al. (2019) Associations between neutering and early‐onset urinary incontinence in UK bitches under primary veterinary care. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 60, (12), pp. 723-733
An inFOCUS summary of this paper is available

Hart, B.L. et al. (2014) Long-term health effects of neutering dogs: comparison of labrador retrievers with golden retrievers. PLoS ONE, 9 (7), e102241

Hart, B.L. et al. (2016) Neutering of German Shepherd dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence. Veterinary Medicine and Science 2 (3) pp 191-199

Hart, B.L. et al. (2020) Assisting decision-making on age of neutering for mixed breed dogs of five weight categories: associated joint disorders and cancers. Frontiers in veterinary science7, p.472.

Torres de la Riva, G. et al. (2013) Neutering dogs: effects on joint disorders and cancers in golden retrievers. PLoS ONE, 8 (2), e55937

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