Great Debate: Is spaying your bitch worth the risk of urinary incontinence?


A new study, carried out by the Royal Veterinary College’s (RVC) VetCompassTM programme, has revealed that spaying female dogs trebles the risk they may develop urinary incontinence (UI). The link was suspected for a long time, but not proven; the new knowledge will owners to make an informed choice when it comes to spaying.

Neutering one’s dog is strongly recommended by welfare organisations seeking the reduce the numbers of unwanted litters; most rescues neuter the dogs in their care or, if not yet possible, require their new owners to do it in order to rehome them.

People who support spaying argue that, as UI affects around 3% of bitches in primary veterinary care in England, the risk is not significant enough for them not to spay – especially as there are other factors at play, and that spaying has some health benefits as well. An unplanned litter, they argue, would be much more of a problem. 

On the other hand, there are people who’d rather not spay at all, opting to be careful when their dog is in season. The risk of unwanted litters, they say, can be greatly reduced with some common sense and without increasing the dog’s chances of UI.

Is spaying your bitch worth the risk of urinary incontinence?

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