Neutering a Vizsla is often an emotive subject. People, especially those involved in animal welfare, are adamant on the subject and insist that it must be done. Some owners can’t bear the thought of putting their dog through the surgery. Men owners are especially squeamish about neutering male animals. Some Vizsla owners feel they would like to breed a litter. How do you, as a responsible pet owner, navigate this minefield.
Vizslas, who are pets and hunting dogs, will be better off being neutered. It makes them easier to manage and generally more pleasant companions. A neutered working dog has more focus. Breeding Vizslas should be left to dedicated, knowledgeable individuals who have counted the cost of breeding.
There is a wealth of information on neutering dogs on the internet. It can be overwhelming and make deciding on whether or not to sterilize your Vizsla unnecessarily complicated. In this article, you will find a comprehensive guide on the pros and cons of neutering, information on correct ages to neuter, and health considerations. Each owner must carefully weigh all the pros and cons regarding neutering his/her Vizsla and decide in their dog’s best interest. The owner should consult with his/her veterinarian, especially if the dog has a health issue warranting special care.
What Does Neutering Mean?
Neutering an animal is defined as the removal of sexual organs to render the animal incapable of reproducing. It refers to both male and female animals. People sometimes use the term to refer only to male animals, but this is incorrect. The term castration refers to only male animals, and spay refers to female animals only.
Is Your Vizsla Good Enough To Breed?
Anyone deciding to breed a Vizsla needs to have extensive knowledge of the breed to assess if your Vizsla is good enough to breed. Breeders need to know the correct conformation, health, and temperament that determine good quality in Vizslas. Breeding sub-standard dogs is detrimental to the breed and contributes to many problems encountered by the puppies’ future owners. These problems give the breed a bad reputation and contribute to undesirable characteristics in the breed. Breed standards for Vizslas can be found on the American Kennel Club website.
Health Concerns That Breeding Vizslas Can Perpetuate
All dog breeds have health problems that occur in that breed, and the Vizsla is no exception. Vizslas are prone to the following health issues:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia
- Persistent right aortic arch
- Hip Dysplasia
Some of these health conditions can be screened for by genetic testing. Hip dysplasia is assessed by x-raying the breeding dog’s hips under anesthetic. The radiographs must be done under anesthetic as the veterinarian must bend the hips at extreme angles to obtain the correct views of the hips. The breeder must therefore be prepared to bear the considerable cost of the testing. Other health conditions cannot be genetically tested. Knowledge of healthy bloodlines allows the breeder to ensure as far as possible that the Vizsla is from healthy genetic lines.
Ethical Breeding Of Vizslas
An ethical breeder will take full responsibility for each dog that he/she breeds for the rest of that dog’s life. If the new owner is ever in a siruation where he is unable to keep his dog, the breeder must be willing to take the dog back and either keep or responsibly rehome the dog. This is a significant commitment and should not be taken lightly.
Breeding Vizslas is not for the faint-hearted. A caesarian- section may be necessary if there are birth complications. A cesarian section can range in price from $500 to $5000 depending on the clinic and emergency of the situation.
Breeding Vizslas Requires Dedication
Breeding Vizslas does not always go to plan. The breeder may find that the bitch does not have enough milk, or a puppy is too weak to drink by itself. The breeder must then bottle feed the puppies. Bottle feeding/ hand rearing puppies is hard work with little sleep. The puppies need to be fed every two hours for the first two weeks. If the litter is large, you may only finish with the last puppy when it is time to begin again with the first puppy. It is expensive to rear puppies correctly, and there is little or no money to be made by breeding Vizslas.
Mating Injuries In Vizslas
It is possible that during mating, either the male or the female Vizsla may be injured. This kind of injury is more common with young inexperienced dogs that panic when a mating tie is achieved. A tie is when two glands on either side of the base of the penis enlarge and the female’s vulva clamps. The dogs cannot be pulled apart without damaging them. A heavy, large stud dog used on a smaller female may cause damage to the female’s back and hips.
Are There Enough Homes For All Your Vizsla Puppies?
Welfare centers are overrun with unwanted animals. Many of them come from improperly planned litters. Before deciding to breed your Vizsla, you must ensure that you have sufficient homes for all the puppies. The best way of doing this is by only breeding when you have a waiting list for at least six to seven puppies and preferably more.
Incorrect Beliefs About Breeding Vizslas
There are many myths surrounding dog reproduction. A common belief is that a male or female dog will be emotionally scarred by not mating or having a litter. This belief is utterly unfounded as dogs do not have expectations and goals for their lives. They live in the moment and will not be affected by not reproducing. Another belief is that having a litter will improve a female’s temperament. Unfortunately, this is not the case. A bad temperament is a bad temperament, and the dog should not be bred. Nothing is going to improve the temperament. It is more likely that she will pass on that bad temperament to her puppies.
When Are Vizsla’s Ready To Mate?
Vizsla’s usually mature sexually at around six months of age. A female will have her first season at approximately six months, but there can be individual variation. Some females will only have their first season at eighteen months to two years. Males can impregnate a female at around six months, but this may vary amongst individuals. It is not advisable to breed young dogs as both males and females are still growing and are emotionally immature – it is the same as teenage humans having babies. They are not ready, and there is a higher chance of complications.
Keeping Unsterilised Vizslas
Unsterilized male dogs are prone to urinating to mark their territory. Unfortunately, this includes in your house and on your furniture. Some males are worse than others with this behavior, but almost all unsterilized males cock their legs in inappropriate places. Unsterilized females will have heat seasons. The heat season includes vaginal discharge, which is usually bloody. Most people are not too pleased with bloody drops and smears spread throughout their homes. Unsterilized dogs, both male and female, are more prone to wandering in search of a mate.
Hunting With Unsterilised Vizslas
A working or hunting dog needs all his focus for the work. An unsterilized male will be easily distracted if he catches a whiff of a bitch in season in the area. Males can usually smell females in season from several miles away. The male Vizsla will become fixated on finding the female, and his mind will not be on his job. Females in season cannot usually be used for hunting. Not only will you have many unhappy fellow hunters, but it is unlikely the female will do her job. Females in season can be obsessed with finding a male. They can have behavioral changes such as timidity, anxiety, and high-pitched whining, which are not conducive to hunting. Having unsterilized dogs in a hunting pack will result in more dog-on-dog aggression.
When Should a Vizsla Be Neutered?
Now that you have decided to neuter your Vizsla, you must consider when is the best time to do it. Welfare societies advocate early sterilization – some as young as 10 – 12 weeks. There are, however, serious health issues that may arise from this practice. Early neutering can lead to growth issues and leaking bladders. In Vizslas, it has been noted that early sterilization leads to a higher incidence of lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and hemangiosarcomas. The risk of anesthesia is much higher in such young puppies and may lead to the puppy’s death.
Veterinarians usually recommend sterilizing dogs at six months. This has been the standard practice for many years. Recent studies have suggested that sterilizing after one year of age or after puberty is preferable. Behavioral issues such as separation anxiety and fear of storms are also more common in Vizslas sterilized before puberty. The owner must ensure that no breeding occurs if the female has a season before one year of age.
Male Vizsla Reproductive issues
Unsterilized male dogs are at risk of some health issues. Testicular cancer is a common form of cancer in unsterilized male dogs. Many owners do not know that it is necessary to check that both testicles have descended into the scrotum. When testicles are undescended, it is known as cryptorchidism. If the testicles have not descended into the scrotum, there is a very high chance that the undescended testicle will become cancerous. Cryptorchidism is a genetic condition, and dogs showing it should not be bred. Testicular torsion may also be seen in unsterilized males, but it is quite rare in dogs.
Female Vizsla Reproductive issues
Unsterilized females are prone to infections in the uterus. The condition is known as pyometra. Immediate veterinary attention is required as pyometra is life-threatening. Uterine cancer is another condition that can be avoided by sterilizing your female. Some cancers are more common in unsterilized females.
Changes In Male Vizlas’ Behavior After Sterilization
Many people fear that sterilizing a male will result in a dog that is not protective or is fat and lazy. Sterilized male Vizlas will be less aggressive to other male dogs. However, they will still retain their natural protectiveness towards their owners. They also will continue to work well in pointing and retrieving. They may improve on the hunting field because their minds are more focused. Some sterilized males may tend to gain some weight, but this is easily managed by sufficient exercise and diet.
Changes in Female Vizlas’ behavior After sterilization
For many years it was thought that sterilizing a female Vizsla would make her more aggressive, particularly towards other female dogs. Some studies suggested the opposite: that the female dog would be calmer and less aggressive. The latest research indicates that generalizations cannot be made. Some dogs may be more settled and less aggressive without the hormonal fluctuations brought about by having seasons. Occasionally there may be a female who is more aggressive after sterilization. Generally, it is thought that the females remain relatively constant in their aggression levels. Increases in aggression are more likely due to maturation.
A female Vizsla in season may whine a lot and will show flirtatious behavior with male dogs. If she is a particularly fussy female, she may also be aggressive to males that she does not feel are acceptable. The bitch in season can also be very clingy and anxious. All of this disappears with neutering.
Obesity After Neutering
Vizslas are prone to obesity. It is possible that after neutering your, Vizsla could show a greater propensity to obesity. Studies show this is more common in the first two years after sterilization. If obesity is managed during this period, then the tendency to gain weight seems to decline.
Risks In Neutering Your Vizsla
Both male and female dogs are anesthetized for neutering. Generally, the anesthetic for male dogs is lighter, and the duration of the surgery is shorter. Female dogs must have a deeper anesthetic as spaying is a more complex and invasive procedure than castration. Any anesthetic carries a risk for any dog. Some individual animals may show allergic, or other severe reactions to anesthetics and could die. Fortunately, this is relatively rare. Hemorrhage is a surgery risk, especially for female dogs. Your Vizsla may have some pain after surgery, especially females. The veterinarian will prescribe painkillers, and the dog should be encouraged to rest.
Vizslas Blood Diseases And Neutering
Vizslas are prone to diseases of the blood. Hemolytic Anemia, Thrombocytopenia, and Von Willebrand’s disease are all blood diseases seen more commonly in Vizslas than other breeds. Hemolytic Anemia affects the red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen. Thrombocytopenia and Von Willebrand’s disease affect the platelets and blood clotting ability. These are serious concerns for surgery. If your vet does not suggest screening for these diseases before surgery, then you need to request that he/ she does so.
Vaccinations, Breeding And Neutering Vizslas
Vaccinations must be up to date in any female Vizsla that is bred. It is essential as the mother is responsible for passing antibodies onto the puppies to protect them during the first weeks of life. Vaccines cover serious diseases such as parvovirus and distemper, which kill thousands of dogs every year. Puppies are particularly susceptible and need the best start they can get. It is crucial to ensure your Vizsla is vaccinated before neutering. Any exposure to a veterinary practice will put the dog at risk of contracting diseases. Vaccinations remove this risk.
Pros And Cons Of Neutering Your Vizsla
|Less costly than breeding.||Potentially dangerous if your dog suffers from a blood disease.|
|A more focused working dog.||It can increase the risk of certain cancers, but there are conflicting studies on this.|
|Reduces marking in male dogs.||Anesthesia risk.|
|Reduces dog-on-dog aggression in males.||Can cause obesity if weight is not monitored.|
|Removes risk of testicular cancer.||It can cause urinary incontinence if done too early.|
|No risk of mating injuries.||If all Vizslas were sterilized, the breed would become extinct.|
Neutering your Vizsla can have many positive benefits on both health and behavior. It is important that the Vizsla only be neutered after puberty to prevent unwanted problems from early neutering. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure no unwanted litters occur before neutering. If you decide to breed your dog, you must ensure that he/she is healthy, comes from healthy bloodlines. Breed standards for temperament, conformation, general appearance, and functionality must be seen in the breeding dog. It is also vital to ensure that you have homes for all puppies you breed and that you accept responsibility for those puppies for the rest of their lives.