“Spaying or neutering large-breed dogs can put them at a higher risk for obesity and, if done when the dog is young, nontraumatic orthopedic injuries,” was the lead in a July 17, 2019, Morris Animal Foundation press release. The release detailed a study the Foundation conducted that found dogs that were spayed or neutered were 50% to 100% more likely to become overweight or obese, regardless of a dog’s age at the time of surgery. The study also concluded that dogs spayed or neutered before 6 months of age were at a 300% greater risk of sustaining nontraumatic orthopedic injuries. The goal of the press release was to provide dog owners and veterinarians new information to consider when deciding on when to spay or neuter their dog, especially when considering the long-term health of their pet. The release performed very well, with 164 total stories and a potential circulation of more than 187 million. This is considerably more successful than most Foundation press releases, which usually average less than 10 stories. A third of those stories ran in October, after a pitched Washington Post story revived interest in the controversial topic.
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