Pet owners are encouraged to sterilise their dogs in an effort to help control the pet population; however, the study is now suggesting that the procedure is also good for a dog's overall health.

Researchers looked at a sample of 40,139 death records from the Veterinary Medical Database from 1984–2004. They determined that the average age of death for dogs that had not been spayed or neutered was 7.9 years vs. 9.4 years for dogs that had been sterilized.

Researchers also found that the reasons behind why intact dogs (dogs that had not been spayed or neutered) and sterilized dogs died were different. Dogs who had been sterilized were more likely to die from cancer or autoimmune diseases, whereas those who still had their reproductive systems at death were more likely to die from infectious disease and trauma.

Dr. Kate Creevy, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, said that while the study does suggest that sterilized dogs do live longer, pet owners who have their dogs spayed or neutered should still be be aware of the possibility of immune-mediated diseases and cancer.


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