A study conducted at the Gerald P. Murphy Cancer Foundation and published in the December, 2009 issue of Aging Cell, has found a correlation between the age at which female rottweilers are spayed and their lifespan.The study compared long-lived female rotties (those with a lifespan of 13 or more years) with a group who lived a usual lifespan of about nine years.
"Like women, female dogs in our study had a distinct survival advantage over males," said the lead researcher David J. Waters, associate director of Purdue University's Center on Aging and the Life Course and a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. "But taking away ovaries during the first four years of life completely erased the female survival advantage. We found that female rottweilers that kept their ovaries for at least six years were four times more likely to reach exceptional longevity compared to females who had the shortest lifetime ovary exposure."
Because death from cancer is so prevalent in rottweilers, researchers conducted a subgroup analysis of only dogs that did not die of cancer. This focused research further proved the strong association between intact ovaries and longevity.
Even in dogs that did not die of cancer, the female rotties that kept their ovaries the longest were nine times more likely to achieve exceptional longevity (13+ years).
Simply put, study results indicate removal of a dog’s ovaries significantly increases the risk for a major lethal disease.
Interestingly, the rottweiler research lines up with findings from another recent study of women who had undergone hysterectomies. In that study, women who lost their ovaries prior to age 50 were at greater risk of death by causes other than breast, ovarian and uterine cancer than women who kept their ovaries until age 50.