Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Early neutering of bitches increases incontinence risk
Bitches of certain breeds are more prone to early-onset urinary incontinence
Research reveals link between age and onset

Urinary incontinence affects around three per cent of bitches in the UK. The condition can be distressing and costly for owners and also harm the welfare of affected dogs, owing to an increased risk of urinary infection and dermal lesions stemming from urine-soaked skin.

The link between urinary incontinence and neutering in bitches has previously been suspected, but a study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice provides real evidence on the extent of this relationship.

The results identified an increased risk of 2.12 times of urinary incontinence in neutered bitches compared with entire individuals. Further to this, it identified an increased risk of 1.82 of urinary incontinence in bitches neutered before six months of age compared with those neutered from six to 12 months within the first two years following surgery.

Although there are many benefits to neutering bitches, these results will help veterinary professionals to make evidence-based recommendations on the timing of neutering, whilst taking other considerations into account.

Other key findings include:
  • average age at diagnosis of UI was 2.9 years
  • average time from neuter to UI was 1.9 years.
  • bitches weighing over 30kg had 2.62 times the risk of UI compared with bitches weighing under 10 kg
  • increasing bodyweight was also associated with an increased risk of early-onset urinary incontinence.
The study also indicates that bitches of certain breeds – Irish setters, Dalmatians, Hungarian vizslas, Dobermans and Weimaraners – are more prone to early-onset urinary incontinence than other breeds; which highlights that special care needs to be taken when deciding on whether to neuter these breeds.

The research was supported by BSAVA Petsavers and collected data from anonymised veterinary clinical records of 72,971 bitches.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."