Skip to content
Previous article
Now Reading:
Hormone-sparing sterilization can prevent serious health problems in dogs
Next article

Hormone-sparing sterilization can prevent serious health problems in dogs

Enjoy Dr. Dobias’ interview with a board-certified canine reproduction specialist, Dr. Michelle Kutzler DVM PhD, DACT 

Dr. Dobias: Dr. Kutzler, I am so glad to have you here! I couldn't wait to speak to you because there are so many questions that dog lovers around the world have about the side-effects of conventional spay and neuter procedures, and how to protect our dogs from and prevent dog homelessness at the same time. 

Tell us how your journey started early on.

Dr. Kutzler: I started this journey, probably like most veterinarians. In veterinary school, we were pretty much taught that if it was a dog or a cat, they needed to be surgically sterilized as early as possible.

What that really meant was removing their gonads. Since this is what I was taught in veterinary school, I didn't question it. At that time, veterinarians recommended waiting until a dog had gone through puberty and was six to twelve months old. 

Over time, the age of sterilization started to incrementally decrease to the point where it was considered quite common to sterilize pet dogs and cats as early as three months.

Dr. Dobias: What led you to question this conventional approach? 

Dr. Kutzler: It was a combination of personal and professional experiences. My in-laws had several Rottweilers, and over a few years, all of them died from cancer. This raised concerns about environmental factors and the health implications for humans. 

Around the same time, I attended a lecture by Dr. David Waters on the effects of ovaries on longevity in Rottweilers. This lecture, combined with my observations, sparked my interest in the long-term health effects of gonad removal.

Dr. Dobias: Can you explain the health issues associated with conventional spaying and neutering?

Dr. Kutzler: When the gonads are removed, levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) rise significantly and remain elevated for the rest of the dog's life. LH receptors are present throughout the body, not just in the reproductive organs.  

High LH levels can activate these receptors, causing problems in various tissues. Issues linked to high LH levels include urinary incontinence, skin problems like allergic dermatitis and alopecia, hypothyroidism, ligament disorders, and an increased risk of cancer, particularly lymphoma. Behavioral issues like anxiety may also be connected.

Dr. Dobias: Is there any scientific evidence for all this?

Dr. Kutzler: Absolutely. The scientific evidence supporting hormone-sparing sterilization is robust and growing. For instance, studies have shown that high levels of LH, which occur after gonad removal, are associated with various health issues.

Dr. Dobias: What alternatives exist to conventional spaying and neutering? 

Dr. Kutzler: Hormone-sparing sterilization methods, such as hysterectomy for females and vasectomy for males, are available. These procedures render the dog infertile but avoid the health issues caused by gonad removal. Unfortunately, these alternatives are not widely offered by veterinarians.

Dr. Dobias: Can you explain how hormone-sparing sterilization methods, such as hysterectomy and vasectomy, work to prevent these issues?

Dr. Kutzler: Hormone-sparing sterilization methods work by removing the reproductive organs responsible for fertility while preserving the gonads, which produce essential hormones. In females, a hysterectomy involves removing the uterus while leaving the ovaries intact. 

This prevents pregnancy and eliminates the risk of uterine infections like pyometra, but it allows the ovaries to continue producing hormones that are vital for overall health. 

In males, a vasectomy involves cutting or sealing the vas deferens, which prevents sperm from being released during ejaculation. This renders the male infertile without affecting the production of testosterone by the testes. 

By preserving the gonads, these methods maintain normal hormone levels and avoid the health issues associated with high LH levels.

Dr. Dobias: How can dog owners and veterinarians learn about these alternatives?

Dr. Kutzler: Education is key. Dog owners should be informed about hormone-sparing sterilization and request it from their veterinarians. The Parsemus Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fertility control solutions, provides resources and a list of veterinarians who perform these procedures. 

Dr. Dobias: What challenges do you face in promoting hormone-sparing sterilization?

Dr. Kutzler: One major challenge is convincing veterinarians to adopt these methods. Despite the evidence, many are not convinced or are hesitant to change their practices. Additionally, funding for research and education is limited. However, I am committed to training veterinarians and educating dog owners to create a demand for these procedures.

Dr. Dobias: How do you feel about the impact of your work?

Dr. Kutzler: It's both rewarding and frustrating. While I can't help every dog, I can raise awareness and provide information that empowers dog owners to make informed decisions. Seeing the positive impact on individual dogs and knowing that more veterinarians are learning about these alternatives keeps me motivated.

Dr. Dobias: How can we overcome these barriers and promote the adoption of hormone-sparing sterilization?

Dr. Kutzler: Education and advocacy are key. We need to raise awareness among dog owners and veterinarians about the benefits of hormone-sparing sterilization. Dog owners can play a crucial role by requesting these procedures from their veterinarians and sharing information with other pet owners. 

Veterinarians can seek out training and resources to learn how to perform these procedures. Organizations like the Parsemus Foundation provide valuable resources and support if they are interested in hormone-sparing sterilization. 

Dr. Dobias: Are you planning more research?

Yes, we need to continue conducting research and publishing studies that provide more scientific evidence for the benefits of these procedures. By building a strong evidence base and promoting education and awareness, we can drive change within the veterinary community and improve the health and well-being of dogs.

Dr. Dobias: If you could send a message to all dog lovers and veterinarians, what would it be?

Dr. Kutzler: My message would be to stay informed and open-minded. The field of veterinary medicine is constantly evolving, and it's important to stay up-to-date with the latest research and advancements. 

Hormone-sparing sterilization is a promising alternative to traditional spaying and neutering that can improve dogs' health and well-being. I encourage dog owners to discuss these options with their veterinarians and advocate for the best possible care for their pets. 

Together, we can positively impact dogs' lives and ensure they live long, healthy, and happy lives.


To our community and readers, please share this important article with your friends. Since I started working with Dr. Kutzler, I have experienced an incredible transformation in my dog, Pax, who has suffered from repeated injuries and muscle loss that started within six months of him being neutered. I strongly believe that hormone-sparing sterilization may help to prevent serious, chronic problems in dogs. 

If you suspect your dog is suffering from spay or neuter-related issues, share your experience with us here so we can document and compile cases and eventually create a concise plan to help the affected dogs. 

With Gratitude,
Dr. Peter Dobias

About the author

Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM is an Integrative veterinarian, nutritionist and creator of natural supplements for dogs and people. Helping you and your dog prevent disease, treat nutritional deficiencies, and enjoy happier, healthier, and longer lives together.

Most Popular

  • Flying with dogs
    In my article, I share the personal story of how I'm able to fly with my dog, Pax, thanks to overcoming challenges with sleepwalking and night terrors. This unique experience not only allowed me to travel with my service dog but also serves as a reminder that even difficult situations can have positive outcomes.
  • dog and pony
    Successful communication is essential for building healthier and more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. In this article, I'll share with you 8 communication hacks to help you avoid unnecessary drama, prioritize active listening and address conflicts effectively.
  • Dalmatian eating fruit
    Can dogs eat bananas, apples, strawberries and other fruit? What about grapes? Find out what fruits are safe, toxic, and healthy for dogs. Learn about the potential health benefits and risks of feeding fruit to your canine companion, and get tips on the ideal time to feed it.
  • Illustration of the anatomy of a heart
    As dog lovers, we all want our beloved pups to live long and healthy lives. Protecting your dog's heart from potential health issues is important, and in this blog Dr. Dobias shares some key points that you might not yet be aware of, read on to find out what you can do to keep your dog's heart safe. 

Dog Health

  • Husky lying on blanket with heart toy
    Dogs have our hearts and that is why we need to protect their heart. Dog’s as they age often face muscle problems and spinal misalignment and you might be surprised to know how that can hurt their heart. Learn how to protect your dog’s spine and by extension their heart.
  • The secret ingredient for a perfect No. 2
    Dogs and humans have evolved side-by-side but they are still quite different when it comes to their digestive tracts and dietary habits. We have studied their original environments such as the soils of the African savanna and consulted with top experts in the field of probiotics and microbiology to come up with a combination that reflects healthy bacterial flora of canines.
  • Man being pointed at
    Criticism can hurt a brand, but constructive feedback can help it grow. In this blog Dr. Dobias talks about the differences between these approaches, and how to handle the power of influence and opinion with care. 
  • Broccoli with vitamins and minerals
    Are you worried that your and your dog's diet is missing something? Maybe you're worried about toxin levels in food, the environment, or flea and tick products. Let's face it; we can't remove ourselves entirely from our toxin-filled world, but we can do things to reduce our exposure to harmful substances. 

Human health

  • Dr. Dobias with Pax
    How do you navigate the seas of life? How do you deal with disappointment? Whatever life throws at us, we can always rely on our dogs to bring joy into our days. In this blog I share my thoughts on the support our dogs provide during the difficult moments in life. 
  • Why 1 in 4 Americans suffer from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
    Learn more about the alarming prevalence of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) affecting 1 in 4 Americans. Discover its main risk factors, diagnosis methods, and treatment options to better manage or prevent this silent yet severe condition. 
  • A new perspective on brain health, memory loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and dementia in people and dogs
    The Science of DHA and the Brain: Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily DHA, are the unsung heroes of brain health. They play crucial roles in brain physiology and biological activities, with exciting links between Omega-3 levels and cognitive function. Higher DHA levels have been shown to preserve the integrity of the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), your brain's security system
  • Dr. Dobias and Pax
    It appears that most of the world is ready for change, but whenever I think about the solutions to any of the problems that plague our world, I can’t prevent myself from thinking that we humans are acting like little toddlers who have broken a toy and do not know how to fix it. Despite my generally optimistic attitude, I have had a hard time staying positive at times because I know how complex this all is. Read here for some tools that make me feel good about the world, which I would like to share with you.

News, stories and good life

  • Dr. Peter Dobias with his dog Pax on his lap
    Do you have trouble staying positive during difficult times? These days we are surrounded by a lot of negative messaging, and it's easy to let that get you down. Here are some of my tips for remaining positive, and don't forget to share your tips with me!
  • Man raising fist on a mountain
    Most of us have been exposed to panic-inducing information about the virus spread, however, I have noticed the general absence of one piece of information, how to make your immune system stronger and body more resilient. (It will definitely not happen by stockpiling toilet paper!) I have always loved immunology and the current situation has prompted me to put together two simple lists on how to increase your dog’s and your own immunity.
  • Man with dog wearing a collar
    Does your dog have ear problems, nasal or oral tumors, reverse sneezing or an  itchy head or hair loss on their head? Learn how you can address some of these problems and save thousands in vet care costs.
  • Terrier eating raw food
    Now there is no need to guess if there is something missing in your dogs diet.  The HairQ Test is a highly accurate test for mineral deficiencies, toxins and heavy metals in dogs to finely tune your dog’s diet and supplement schedule.



Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping