Research finds that neutered or spayed dogs lead longer lives
After examining 40,139 dog death records spanning a 20-year period, University of Georgia researchers have concluded that spayed or neutered dogs tend to live longer than intact dogs.
The study revealed that sterilized dogs had an average lifespan of 9.4 years, while intact dogs lived 7.9 years on average, according to ScienceDaily.
In addition to highlighting the differing mortality rates between intact and sterilized dogs, the study also showed that these groups of dogs often die from different causes. Sterilized dogs were more likely to die from cancer or autoimmune diseases, while intact dogs tended to die from infectious disease and trauma, researchers reported.
"At the level of the individual dog owner, our study tells pet owners that, overall, sterilized dogs will live longer, which is good to know," said Dr. Kate Creevy, assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. "Also, if you are going to sterilize your dog, you should be aware of possible risks of immune-mediated diseases and cancer; and if you are going to keep him or her intact, you need to keep your eye out for trauma and infection."
According to Daniel Promislow, Franklin College genetics professor and co-author of the paper, the study has provided insights that could benefit future research into how reproduction affects human mortality causes.
"When researchers have looked at the effect of survival rates in humans, the results have varied from one study to the next. Our findings suggest that we might get a clearer sense of potential costs of reproduction if we focus on how reproduction affects actual causes of mortality rather than its effect on life span," Promislow said.
Read the full study on PLOS One