Thursday, March 5, 2009

One more reason to neuter

Brent was so proud of little Sensi, growing up so fast.
There’s just something about a man and his dog.
Part of that something, for Brent, meant balking at the thought of neutering Sensi. Brent was just full of compassion and empathy for Sensi when we talked about it.
“It’s just not right,” Brent said often.
We decided that we would wait until Sensi was a little closer to adulthood to give him the snip.
About the time Sensi was seven months old, we started noticing some hair loss on his tail. When we went to the vet, they gave us some pills for it. The pills didn’t work, so I went back and they gave us a cream for it.
The cream didn’t work, but they told us to stick with it and give it some time.
In December that year — Sensi was nine months old — we made the appointment to have him neutered.
I asked again about his tail.
“Hmmm,” the vet said while he rubbed the hairless spot, the skin cracked and dry. “I just don’t know. Do you want me to take a biopsy?”
Biopsies are expensive, and we had just spent quite a bit of money to get Sensi neutered. We declined.
A few months later, a friend convinced me to try her vet and I set up an appointment.
When the vet came in the exam room, I explained my dilemma to her and how the other vet seemed to have not the slightest clue why his hair was falling out on that two-inch-long spot on his tail.
“Oh that?” she said incredulously. “That’s nothing to worry about — it’s just stud tail.”
“It’s what?” I asked.
“Stud tail,” she said. “When the dog begins sexually maturing, they have a hormone gland right there on the tail that often swells. In many dogs, the swelling can cause hair loss and dry skin. It’s really quite common, not a big deal.”
Thanks to our decision to wait on neutering Sensi, he had time to sexually mature and became one of the many dogs to have a “Stud tail.”
If we had neutered him before he matured, the gland would not have swollen, the hair would still be growing and the skin would be healthy.

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