Benefits and risks of neutering pets – what is the evidence – Breed specific disease risk

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Breed specific disease risk

Published 27 November 2020 | Updated 16 May 2024

Alongside evidence relating to the effect of neutering on disease risk there are now a number of published studies looking at disease risk in certain breeds. There have been a number of papers on Golden retrievers in the US, but studies of other breeds have also been published. While this information can be useful when assessing the risks and benefits of neutering to an individual it is important to appraise the evidence presented to assess whether it is applicable to your patient. This can be particularly important with cohort studies which may be reporting on the disease risk in a group of animals which may not be representative of the whole population. For further guidance on appraising cohort studies please refer to the cohort study checklist in the EBVM toolkit.

  • Doeven, L., Cardy, T. and Crawford, A.H. (2024) Investigation of neutering status and age of neutering in female Dachshunds with thoracolumbar intervertebral disc extrusion. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
  • Waters, D.J. (2017) Life course analysis of the impact of mammary cancer and pyometra on age-anchored life expectancy in female Rottweilers: implications for envisioning ovary conservation as a strategy to promote healthy longevity in pet dogs. The Veterinary Journal, 224, pp. 25-37
  • Hart, B.L. (2016) Neutering of German Shepherd Dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence. Veterinary Medicine and Science, 2 (3), pp. 191-199
  • Dorn, M. and Seath, I.J. (2018) Neuter status as a risk factor for canine intervertebral disc herniation (IVDH) in dachshunds: a retrospective cohort study. Canine Genetics and Epidemiology, 5, No. 11
  • Werhahn Beining, F. (2020) Rhodesian Ridgebacks have an increased risk to develop benign prostatic hyperplasia. Reproduction in Domestic Animals, 55 (3), pp. 283-292
  • Zink, M.C. (2014) Evaluation of the risk and age of onset of cancer and behavioral disorders in gonadectomized Vizslas. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 244 (3), pp. 309-319

Golden Retrievers

The Golden Retriever has been the subject of a number of studies relating to the effects of neutering on different disease conditions. This is not to say that the risks of neutering are greater in this breed, just that they appear to have been the first breed subject to this research.

  • de la Riva, G.T. (2013) Neutering dogs: effects on joint disorders and cancers in Golden Retrievers. PLoS ONE, 8 (2), e55937.
  • Hart, B.L. (2014) Long-term health effects of neutering dogs: comparison of Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers. PLoS ONE, 9 (7), e102241.
  • Simpson, M. (2019) Age at gonadectomy and risk of overweight/obesity and orthopedic injury in a cohort of Golden Retrievers. PLoS ONE, 14 (7), e0209131.
    This paper was also the subject of a review in InFOCUS which is available at:
  • Kent, M.S. (2018) Association of cancer-related mortality, age and gonadectomy in golden retriever dogs at a veterinary academic center (1989-2016). PLoS ONE, 13 (2), e0192578.
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