Managing your dingo’s sexuality
The methods, risks and benefits
With so many studies and articles of information out there, it can be hard to decide on the best choice for your dingo when it comes to birth control. Advancements in science and research leads to safer and more effective methods of care. As advocates for responsible ownership, we believe your Dingo’s health and wellbeing should be the highest priority in every decision you make. This article is a compilation of information readily available to the average animal carer that weighs the pros and cons of common birth control methods. Desexing your dingo doesn’t have to be the only answer to managing birth control.
It is always recommended to discuss your options with a trusted animal health care professional to assess your individual animal’s needs and care.
SPAYING AND NEUTERING
Spaying and Neutering are surgical procedures in which your animal’s entire reproductive tract is removed. Spaying involves the removal of the uterus and ovaries in females, and neutering involves the removal of the male’s testicles. The umbrella term for the two procedures is commonly referred to as “desexing” or “castration”. It is a 100% effective permanent birth control method, that leads to reduced behavioural issues during breeding season and reduced “mess” from females on heat.
Canines desexed pre-puberty (especially before 8-12 weeks of age) have now been linked to potential health risks and diseases (RSPCA, 2010). While desexing post-puberty greatly reduces the chance of developing these issues, there is still an increased chance of developing long-term health diseases and problems.
Before puberty, the endocrine, glandular and hormonal systems have not fully developed and a complete removal of the ovaries or testicles leads to additional pressure on the adrenal gland (Geothem et al., 2006; Kustritz, 2007). The adrenal gland becomes greatly taxed overcompensating for the removed sex hormones, which leads to an increased risk of adrenal diseases such as:
The removal of oestrogen-producing organs, in both immature males and females, can cause the growth plates in an animal’s bones to remain open (Grumbach, 2000; Howe et al, 2001). As a result of this, canines desexed before the age of 12 months will grow significantly taller than sexually intact canines, as shown in studies conducted by Howe et al. (2001) and Kustritz (2007).
These animals continue to grow, leading to:
Tumours and Cancers
Common belief has connected spaying of female dogs to a decrease in mammary tumours or breast cancer, while neutering a male dog prevents prostate cancer. However, in both instances, studies have been debunked showing no direct correlation between these factors (Beauvais et al, 2012). Countering this, Kustritz (2007) shows that neutering male canines can potentially increase the rate of developing prostatic cancers by up to 4.3 times, when compared to that of sexually intact canines.
The risk in developing cardiac tumours in desexed canines is considerably increased when compared to their sexually intact counterparts (Ware and Hopper, 1999). Males have almost 2.5 times the relative risk and females over 4 times when comparing the risk of growing cardiac tumours. In desexed female hemangiosarcomas, the most common cardiac tumours identified, the risk is increased over 5 times when compared to sexually intact females (Ware and Hopper, 1999).
Other Health Risks
Tubal ligation is an alternative method of birth control that leaves your animal’s sexual organs intact. There are many different methods and approaches to conducting this surgery. Rather than removing the reproductive tract, the reproductive tubing (be it uterine horns or the vas deferens) is “tied” or ligated. While not proven to be 100% effective, when performed correctly it can be a safe and less invasive way of preventing unwanted pregnancy whilst still leaving your animal with the hormones it needs (Geothem et al., 2006). It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian who is comfortable and practiced in the procedure.
Benefits of tubal ligation:
The Superelorin is an implant (males) or injection (females) that acts as temporary birth control. While effective for dogs, there is a risk of 30% failure rate for Dingoes. The implant or injection reduces the production of sperm or ova minimising fertility and libido for either a 6 or 12 month period. This is a readily available treatment at most veterinary clinics.
Benefits of Suprelorin:
Remaining entire is the most natural state for a dingo, however it does risks and some downfalls, including:
As a nation-wide rescue service we have assisted many dingoes that were the result of accidental pregnancies, planned pregnancies that resulted in pups not finding a home, or dingoes that were bred and sold then unwanted once they grew out of puppy-hood. We strongly advocate for the responsible management of birth control to prevent cases of dingo displacement like these.
We also advocate that birth control measures are conducted by owners in a well thought out manner; keeping the dingo's long term physical and cognitive health as priority.
We hope this information assists dingo owners in making informed choices in the management of their dingo's sexuality.