Diet,cancer, spaying

Canine and human breast cancer share several important clinical and histologic features. A case-control study of nutritional factors and canine breast cancer was conducted at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1984-1987 by interviewing owners of 150 pet dogs diagnosed with breast cancer, owners of 147 cancer control dogs, and owners of 131 noncancer control dogs.Am J Epidemiol. 1991 Apr 1;133(7):694-703.
Body conformation, diet, and risk of breast cancer in pet dogs: a case-control study.
Sonnenschein EG, Glickman LT, Goldschmidt MH, McKee LJ.
Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical School, NY 10010.

The risk of breast cancer was significantly reduced in dogs spayed at or before 2.5 years of age. Neither a high-fat diet nor obesity 1 year before diagnosis increased the risk of breast cancer according to multiple logistic regression analysis. However, the risk of breast cancer among spayed dogs was significantly reduced in dogs that had been thin at 9-12 months of age (odds ratio (OR) = 0.04 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.004-0.4) and OR = 0.04 (95% CI 0.004-0.5) for cases vs. cancer controls and cases vs. noncancer controls, respectively, after adjustment for age at spay). Among intact dogs, the risk associated with being thin at 9-12 months of age was reduced, but not significantly so (OR = 0.60 (95% CI 0.2-1.9) and OR = 0.51 (95% CI 0.2-1.4) for the two comparisons, respectively). Results of this study suggest that nutritional factors operating early in life may be of etiologic importance in canine breast cancer
J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2004 Feb 1;224(3):380-7. : Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs.
Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA.
Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Science, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy, compared with traditional-age gonadectomy, among dogs adopted from a large animal shelter. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. ANIMALS: 1,842 dogs. PROCEDURE: Dogs underwent gonadectomy and were adopted from an animal shelter before 1 year of age; follow-up was available for as long as 11 years after surgery. Adopters completed a questionnaire about their dogs’ behavior and medical history. When possible, the dogs’ veterinary records were reviewed. Associations between the occurrence of 56 medical and behavioral conditions and dogs’ age at gonadectomy were evaluated. RESULTS: Among female dogs, early-age gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of cystitis and decreasing age at gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of urinary incontinence. Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased, whereas obesity, separation anxiety, escaping behaviors, inappropriate elimination when frightened, and relinquishment for any reason were decreased.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Because early-age gonadectomy appears to offer more benefits than risks for male dogs, animal shelters can safely gonadectomize male dogs at a young age and veterinary practitioners should consider recommending routine gonadectomy for client-owned male dogs before the traditional age of 6 to 8 months. For female dogs, however, increased urinary incontinence suggests that delaying gonadectomy until at least 3 months of age may be beneficial.<