West Lafayette, Ind. — We know that women tend to live longer than men, but a new study shows that the same may be true in dogs, especially if a female dog’s ovaries are not surgically removed early in life.
A study conducted at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation compared the medical histories, ages and causes of death in 119 long-lived rottweilers with a longevity of at least 13 years with 186 rottweilers with a normal longevity of about 9 years. The study was published in the December issue of the journal Aging Cell.
“Like women, female dogs in our study had a distinct survival advantage over males,” said the lead researcher David J. Waters, associate director of Purdue University’s Center on Aging and the Life Course and a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. “But taking away ovaries during the first four years of life completely erased the female survival advantage. We found that female rottweilers that kept their ovaries for at least six years were four times more likely to reach exceptional longevity compared to females who had the shortest lifetime ovary exposure.”
This study’s findings are in line with those of a study conducted earlier this year at the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., of 29,000 who had hysterectomies because of benign uterine disease. Although those women whose ovaries were removed before 50 years of age were protected against ovarian, uterine and breast cancer, increased mortality from other causes was noted compared with those who had their ovaries for at least 50 years.
Both studies call into question the automatic removal of the ovaries when hysterectomies are performed in dogs and women.
For more information on the long-term risks and benefits of spay/neuter, read this article