Understanding farmer’s reasons for not neutering working dogs

A cross-sectional survey of working farm dogs found that the only 6% (71/1,110) of dogs were neutered, which is low compared to a national average of 63%. A 12-month survey of reasons working farm dogs presented to veterinary clinics found that the reproductive tract was involved in 19% (197/1,024) of non-trauma related visits including 41 for mismatings, 27 for mammary neoplasia, 18 for vaginal prolapse and 17 for pyometra/endometeritis. Some of these disorders could be prevented if working farm dogs were neutered. At present there are opinions and anecdotes as to as to why farmers do not neuter their working dogs. However, there has never been an attempt to catalogue, in a systematic manner, the reasons behind farmers’ neutering decisions. Knowledge of the factors that are important in decision making around neutering will inform education campaigns aimed to increase neutering and possibly reduce the burden of disease in working dogs.

The aim of this study is to:

i) Describe the beliefs and attitudes farmers have around neutering of working farm dogs.

ii) Determine the relative frequency of the beliefs, attitudes and reasons.

The first aim will be answered using focus groups and semi-structured interviews with farmers. The results of the qualitative research will be used to design a questionnaire that will be mailed to working dog owners. In order to construct a sampling frame from which to randomly select farmers we propose partnering with several larger veterinary practices.

Researchers : Naomi Cogger

Contact Person : Naomi Cogger | N.Cogger@massey.ac.nz

Institution : Massey University Working Dog Centre