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Spaying Neutering, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs
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Spaying Neutering, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

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Although a lot of people out there will still claim that spaying females and neutering dogs is a “cruel” or “inhumane” practice, the fact is that generally speaking, an early gonadectomy will prevent dogs of both sexes from suffering certain diseases as they grow old that would cause tremendous stress and plenty of problems to them and their owners. Other than this, early spaying and neutering will also prevent dogs to roam endlessly and to produce unwanted puppies whose fate would be death or abandonment, because of overpopulation and not being wanted.

I truly and personally feel, as a responsible breeder, that dogs are living creatures that ought to be treated with respect and that the fact itself that spaying and neutering, although for some a cruel practice, prevents many health problems, is a reason strong enough to convince any dog lover and every responsible dog owner. Just as it is a must that only responsible breeders should be left to breeding. To be honest, dogs do not need us around to produce progeny; they can do very well by themselves, when given the occasion. Thus, if we decide to put a female and a male together to have puppies, it must be with just one idea in mind: improve the quality of the newborns. And this is not a matter of sheer chance nor causality and very much on the contrary it is the result of a well done job and a perfectly planned mating.

Many scientific studies have proved the immense benefits that early gonadectomy has to dogs, males and females. The surgical removal of the reproductive organs in bitches (ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes), called ovariohisterectomy and the surgical removal of testicles in males, known as orchectomy or castration, will avoid dogs from roaming around, preventing them from being involved in traumatic accidents, such as being hit by a car or a train, if they run out on the wild, and this for itself is already a very good reason to consider this surgery.

But it isn’t the only one. In fact, neutering a dog will decrease the chances of it developing prostatic disease and hernias, and will completely eliminate the changes of developing testicular cancer at a middle or late age, just as it will eliminate another the risk of prostatitis and prostatic cancer to appear at some stage. It will also reduce territorial problems and sexual aggression, inappropriate urination and other undesirable behaviours related to males, just as it will decrease the possibility of over-dominance before the owner or the owner’s family.

In females, early spaying puts down to a minimum the chances of breast cancer (in fact the rate will go down to minus 1% if done before the first heat cycle and to 1 to 10% if done between the first and the second heath cycles!), while eliminating the high chance of it developing a very serious and life threatening infection of the uterus which is experienced by a high percentage of young and mature unsprayed female Bullmastiffs, which is called Pyometra.

Early spaying in females will also eliminates all the mood and behavioural changes associated with each heat cycle, and other undesirable behaviours, such as female to female aggression and it will certainly keep all the macho man dogs away from your yard as she will no longer be potentially “attractive” to them every six months!

To say it in short, gonadectomy will increase the lifespan of your pet and will highly improve its quality of life as well!

I personally recommend all the “CASTRO-CASTALIA” Bullmastiffs owners, to consider early spaying their females two months after the first heat is finished; I do this because I believe that the Bullmastiff girls need these first six to eight months to complete their overall growth, and that spaying them before this could interfere in their perfect physical development. Another interesting issue is that once the first season is over and two months have elapsed from the time they were bleeding, their uterus is back to a “quiet” period of nil activity, and thus the surgery is performed in a much easier scenario, with fewer risks of internal bleeding during the procedure and further infections. In fact, just a few hours after surgery the female will be back to her old self, running and jumping around like a crazy goat, without knowing what has gone on.

With regards to males, again, I personally suggest that they are neutered once they have celebrated their 8th month birthday; by then the first stage of growth is also perfectly completed and with the masculine hormones that have already been shed into the bloodstream, the dog will have more than enough to become a good looking male in the future, when he is fully grown (anytime after 3 or sometimes even 4 years of age). Yet there will not be enough macho hormones around to make him a very stubborn and dominant dog towards its own kind and its owner and the rest of the human family. This too is an easy surgery, provided that the two testes are fully descended into the scrotum. If the dog is cryptorchid, then the surgery will last a few more minutes, as the surgeon will have to work through the abdomen, but still this is a rather clean, fast and easy procedure.

In short, the benefits of early spaying are many:

  1. It stops females from having regular or irregular period cycles
  2. while eliminating the heat cycles it also stops the female from producing the typical sounds and behaviours in heat, trying to get out to find a male
  3. It stops females from having false pregnancies
  4. It stops females risking to become pregnant unexpectedly
  5. it stops females from risking to suffer serious problems such as cystic ovaries, metritis and nymphomania, particularly if the spaying is done at an early age
  6. It stops females from risking to suffer other life threatening conditions such as pyometra (infection of the womb, which can be fatal) breast cancer and cancer of the uterus, the fallopian tubes and the ovaries
  7. It eliminates sexual discomfort, distress or distraction and certain sexual related behaviours such as female to female aggression and territorial drive
  8. It stops the urge to roam and avoids the risk of the female getting involved in a fight, get injured or become a victim to cruelty, poison or traffic
  9. It stops unwelcome males from trying to seek out your female periodically

There are also many benefits for neutered males, such as:             

  1. Reducing the distracting and destructive behaviours associated with the dog’ effort to get out and try to find a female mate.
  2. Reducing the urge to ram, making it less likely to lose the dog, which in turn makes it less likely to contract a disease, get in a fight, get injured, or become a victim to cruelty, poison or traffic.
  3. Eliminating sexual discomfort, distress or distraction.
  4. Eliminating the chance for testicular tumours to appear.
  5. Eliminating the chance for prostate gland problems and cancer to appear.
  6. Eliminating or strongly reducing dominance towards other dogs and people, particularly children.
  7. Eliminating territorial aggression.
  8. Eliminating the urge to fight.
  9. Stops the dogs from masturbating, humping pillows, legs and furniture.

With all this in mind I honestly foresee no reason for which a responsible owner will not neuter or spay its Bullmastiff after six to eight months of age. And in fact, I personally enforce this to happen by asking the owner-to-be to sign a mutual agreement contract for early spaying and neutering of the “CASTRO-CASTALIA” Bullmastiff.

Only very exceptionally will I accept that a “CASTRO-CASTALIA” Bullmastiff is not early spayed or neutered provided that it will make part of a responsible breeding programme elsewhere in Europe or abroad. But this happens only very seldom.

I may also say that I too spay my females after they have whelped their second, occasionally their third litter (that is at approximately 5-6 years old) and my male dogs once they are 10 years of age, as that is the age when the F.C.I. will not allow a dog to render as a stud anymore. From then on, they become the grannies of the rest of the gang, living to an old age in perfect harmony and content with their lot.

(Original text written by Christina of Lima-Netto and Federico Baudin specifically for this web page and protected with Copyright. Not even whole can be reproduced not partially by any way, without Castro-Castalia's express assent in writing).

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