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Are there alternative methods to neuter a dog other than castration?

Q: I just bought a 7 mo old AKC Reg. english toy spaniel with the hopes of breeding him to my 3 yr old female AKC reg english toy spaniel at her next heat which will be about 6 more months.  He has his gonads, but I noticed 2 small scars one on both sides of his penis.  Is it possible this dog has been castrated via an alternative method other than removal of his gonads?  I am not sure I trust this breeder, and worry that they have gone out of thier way to disguise the neutering of this animal.  She sold him to me with the understanding that I wanted to breed him to my dog.  I can send you a photo if you like.  Thanks

A: A typical neuter (castration) in a male dog includes removing both testicles through one central incision near the scrotum, the scrotum is still in place but you would not be able to feel the testicles.  It is possible to sterilize a male with a vasectomy procedure (the testicles are left in place to produce testosterone but the vas deferens which transports sperm is transected or blocked) but this is rarely done in dogs and very unlikely to have been requested by a breeder.

From your description, if there are surgical scars near the penis it is possible that this puppy had congenital (present at birth) inguinal hernias that were repaired.  An inguinal hernia is where tissue (usually fat but occasionally intestinal loops or other organs) protrudes through the inguinal ring which is where the muscles of the abdomen and inner leg meet and the testicles descend down during development.  In this case your dog should still be fertile and able to father puppies, however hernias are an inherited trait and it is not recommended to breed these dogs since they can pass the tendency to develop hernias down to their offspring.
If you have further questions, please bring your puppy in for an exam with one of our veterinarians

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