When the mantra of spay/neuter leads to the compromise of vet care.
I wanted to breed a litter of puppies this spring. I found the boy I wanted to father the pups. He was a little older, but still in good shape, wonderful personality; just a big sweetheart of a dog. He was a perfect match for my girl.
Unfortunately he was unable to breed on his own, so we tried helping, which involved AI (artificial insemination). Shortly afterwards, he developed a prostate infection. Not uncommon in older breeding males, it should have been relatively easy to get appropriate vet care. This big beautiful boy should still be with us; however, even though he went to a highly rated vet training facility, the students and staff vets expressed such distain about this being not only and intact dog, but a breeding dog, that it compromised his care.
The medications were initially given, but midway through his treatment, the medications were stopped allowing the infection to persist longer then necessary. Complications arose in the form heart arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat). This wonderful dog suffered needlessly for weeks with a highly treatable condition, resulting in a premature death. He left us years too soon because the primary donors to the school will only fund the teaching of “the only good pet is a spayed/neutered pet”.
As one of this country’s highest-ranked vet schools, it’s sad to think there might be a generation of graduating vets that know as much about pet reproduction as Jane and Joe down the street that now have a box in the grocery store parking lot with the word “free” printed on the side.
When our breed national competition rolls around again, it will be bitter-sweet for me. The beautiful boy I chose to father the puppies should be proudly in the running for father-of-the-year, showing off his kids. Instead he will be remembered in memorial.
Spay and neuter has its place. If you don’t ever plan to breed a litter, by all means, don’t risk and unwanted pregnancy. I agree with spay and neuter; however, I am a much stronger proponent of responsible ownership and ethical breeding practices.
It just bugs me no end when I hear people talk about getting money quickly from a litter of puppies. With all the potential risks, vet bills and food, and time investment, the only way to “get rich quick” from breeding is to be a shady dealer that doesn’t care for the parent dogs who will destroy sick or handicap puppies at birth. Even with a healthy litter where everything goes well, a breeder is lucky to break even with their investment in the puppies. The loss of the parent dogs, puppies, and/or both are very real risks. With each litter I’ve bred, I was very pleased to be able to take a week of time off work when the puppies were born. My first litter did have puppies that needed additional vet care. I don’t breed for money; I breed for the passion of a well bred dog.