November is here, or should we say, “Movember”? It is quite intriguing and fun to suddenly see all of the moustaches showing up around this time of the year.
While the Movember movement is a lot of fun with all the events and moustaches involved, it is about a lot more than just that. It is about the acceptance and recognition of the fact that awareness around men’s health is vital.
An important facet of the Movember movement is to raise awareness regarding prostate cancer and illness. Man’s best friend, the dog, also tends to get various kinds of prostate illness (including cancer).
An important difference is prostate problems in dogs are easily avoided. Neutering (or castration) of male dogs is a safe surgical procedure wherein the testicles are surgically removed. Various veterinary associations and veterinarians recommend neutering pets within the first year of life across Canada.
In this day and age, this recommendation is mostly aimed at decreasing illnesses seen in non-neutered dogs. Decreasing inter-pet aggression and unwanted puppies are also known benefits of neutering.
There are various myths about neutering in pets. Dogs will reach their adult weight and size based on a combination of genetics, nutrition, exercise, environment, socialization, and hormones. Neutering a pet does not affect the eventual size of the dog and generally does not alter how muscular (or cute) he may look. While neutering at around 6 months of age is ideal, there is no harm if a pet owner decides to pursue the neuter surgery for the pet at around one year of age. Generally speaking, any non-neutered dog is prone to testicular or prostate illness after a year of age.
Neutered dogs are much less likely to have health problems such as prostate infection, testicular tumors, and prostatic cancer. Non-neutered or intact dogs with such problems may show signs such as difficult urination, blood in urine, hair loss, and changes in behaviour during early illness. If diagnosed early, neutering the pet can easily treat such illnesses. If, however, an infection or tumor has progressed to a certain stage, more complex treatments and a poor outcome may be possible.
As we raise awareness and learn more regarding health issues for men, it is important not to forget man’s best friend. A timely neuter procedure may well add years to your pooch’s life.
By – Dr. Bajwa,
Veterinarian at Hastings Veterinary Hospital, Burnaby.