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Survey of veterinary practice policies and opinions on neutering dogs
  1. G. Diesel, BVSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1,
  2. D. Brodbelt, MA, VetMB, PhD, DVA, DipECVAA, MRCVS1 and
  3. C. Laurence, BVSc, MRCVS2
  1. 1Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA
  2. 2Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley Street, London EC1V 7RQ
  1. E-mail for correspondence: gilldiesel{at}


A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2008 to obtain information on the advice veterinary practices currently give to their clients and the opinions of veterinary surgeons regarding neutering of dogs. An additional survey of dog owners was conducted to obtain information on the neuter status of the general dog population in Great Britain. A significantly higher proportion of practices had a policy for the age of neutering bitches than for dogs. The average recommended age for neutering bitches was 6.5 months (95 per cent confidence interval [CI] 3.1 to 9.7 months) and for dogs it was 7.5 months (95 per cent CI 1.4 to 13.6 months). There was very little agreement between veterinary practices as to whether bitches should be allowed to have their first season before neutering, with 164 of 973 respondents (16.9 per cent) always recommending this, 198 (20.3 per cent) recommending it most of the time, 203 (20.9 per cent) sometimes, 203 (20.9 per cent) rarely and 201 (20.6 per cent) never recommending it. The owner study showed that 54 per cent of dogs (233 of 431) were neutered, with the North region having the lowest proportion of neutered dogs (11 of 25; 44.0 per cent).

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