Objective: To investigate associations between age at gonadectomy and estimated risk or age at diagnosis of neoplastic and behavioral disorders in Vizslas.
Design: Retrospective cohort study.
Animals: 2,505 Vizslas born between 1992 and 2008.
Procedures: Data on demographics, gonadectomy status, and age at diagnosis of disease or disorder were obtained with an anonymous online survey and analyzed.
Results: Dogs gonadectomized at ≤ 6 months, between 7 and 12 months, or at > 12 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing mast cell cancer, lymphoma, all other cancers, all cancers combined, and fear of storms, compared with the odds for sexually intact dogs. Females gonadectomized at ≤ 12 months of age and males and females gonadectomized at > 12 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing hemangiosarcoma, compared with the odds for sexually intact dogs. Dogs gonadectomized at ≤ 6 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing a behavioral disorder. The younger the age at gonadectomy, the earlier the mean age at diagnosis of mast cell cancer, cancers other than mast cell, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, all cancers combined, a behavioral disorder, or fear of storms.
Conclusions and clinical relevance: Additional studies are needed on the biological effects of removing gonadal hormones and on methods to render dogs infertile that do not involve gonadectomy. Veterinarians should discuss the benefits and possible adverse effects of gonadectomy with clients, giving consideration to the breed of dog, the owner's circumstances, and the anticipated use of the dog.