Q: My male dog, whom I found on the street, is seven to nine years old, according to the vet who takes care of him. The vet has recommended having him neutered. I understand doing so may help prevent the dog having certain cancers later on. And he does try to mount other dogs in the park all the time, which annoys the owners of those dogs. But I wonder if, for various reasons, I would be making a mistake if I did this. Please tell me what you think. Thank you very much. Valerie
A: Neutering a male dog at 7-9 years of age can be done with little risk as long as he is healthy. Your vet mentioned reducing the risk of certain cancers by castration. This is true. Testicular cancer will be outright avoided by neutering, although testicular cancer in dogs is usually curable by castration if it is ever diagnosed. They may also develop benign masses called perianal adenomas. The risk of these growths may be diminished by neutering. Thirdly, as intact males age they are prone to prostatic enlargement which may cause some difficulty with urination. This problem is fixable by castration. Lastly, the issue of him mounting other dogs may improve by neutering but it far from guarantees that the behaviour will stop. So, the bottom line is that neutering him now may avoid some medical issues down the road, but none of these problems are life threatening. Additionally, some of them could be dealt with quite easily by neutering him at the time should they arise.