Research update: Earlier age at spay/neuter a risk factor in obesity and orthopedic injuries

Research update: Earlier age at spay/neuter a risk factor in obesity and orthopedic injuries

Epidemiologist Dr. Missy Simpson shares the first prospective research from the Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.

At Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, Missy Simpson, DVM, PhD, epidemiologist for the Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, presented "Gold-mining clinical insights from the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study—3,000+ dogs strong and six years along."

Here are highlights:

About 30% of the dogs are overweight or obese based on a body condition score of six on a nine-point scale.

2,764 dogs were divided into four groups based on the age that gonadectomy was performed:

• 6 months or younger,

• more than 6 months to 1 year old,

• older than 1 year, and

• intact dogs.

Compared to intact dogs, dogs that underwent gonadectomy when they 1 year old or younger faced a two-times higher risk for overweight or obesity.
Dogs older than 1 year had a 40% increased risk for overweight or obesity. Further, Dr. Simpson shared that for every year older the dog was when gonadectomy occurred, it reduced the risk of overweight and obesity by 70%.

Another interesting point from the study: overweight or obese dogs that had undergone gonadectomy showed a 300% increased risk of chronic non-traumatic orthopedic injury (osteoarthritis, cranial cruciate ligament disease). Dr. Simpson says veterinarians should share with owners that if they keep their dogs lean, owners can reduce the risk of these orthopedic problems by almost half.

dvm360 Team Channel Director Portia Stewart caught up with Dr. Simpson to discuss these preliminary results, as well as how Morris Animal Foundation plans to make the raw data and samples from the GRLS available to researchers to mine for future insights, in this video:  


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