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Is hunger a side effect of neutering? - Answered by Dr. van Lienden

March 28th, 2006, 11:33 PM
Good day!

I have a 3 year old lab named "Chip". 2 months ago we had him neutered. Before Chip was neutered he would nibble at his food throughout the day and at other times he might ignore his food completely. Overall, he was a healthy dog.

Now, he gobbles his food right away. He has begun to get into the trash at night looking for scraps of food. And he is begging for food, another trait that was foreign to him before. Is this new behavior a side effect of neutering or is it a side effect that he couldn't eat the night before combined with the trauma of the surgery?

Otherwise, he is the same lovable dog. My husband and I are concerned if this is going to continue or will it subside?

March 28th, 2006, 11:41 PM
I don't know how he was before, but what you are describing is fairly common lab behavior... Ever seen a fat lab? That's why.:D

March 29th, 2006, 08:10 AM
If he hasn't been dewormed, or you think there might be a chance of that, I'd have a stool sample checked by the vet. His increased appetite might be a coincidence or as Prin said, there are plenty of overweight labs. I'd also work on his training so he's not begging, that's fairly easily corrected (see Training threads)

March 29th, 2006, 01:15 PM
Any lab I`ve ever known (including my own) have voracious appetites. I have to put a kong in his bowl to slow him down. What are you feeding your lab? And is it the same thing as before you got him neutered?

April 2nd, 2006, 12:32 PM
Hi all,

Thank you for your responses. But our dog's appetite patterns have changed since the neutering that was our first concern. We are also concerned because he is now shedding hair like crazy and the weather has not gotten warmer but actually cooled off.

We did think of worms but there don't seem to be any in his stools but we'll have a sample examined by a vet.

Is the excessive hair loss and increased appetite part of a hormonal shift caused by the neutering? Or...any other thoughts?

I thought that weight gain usually happened to female dogs after spaying and that males usually stop peeing and marking as much. But are there other side effects?

April 3rd, 2006, 08:59 AM
I think bloodwork is in order to rule out thyroid conditions that could be causing both symptoms. Also have the vet test for heartworm at the same time and if he's not on preventative, it may be time to look into that too. If you can have them take a urine sample and analyze that, I would recommend as well. Good luck and keep us posted.

April 3rd, 2006, 11:05 AM
I have never noticed any changes in my males after neutering like the ones you've mentioned. I agree with Jawert that you should get his hormones tested (I think the fur loss and increased appetite are a separate issue from the neutering).

April 6th, 2006, 10:56 PM
Hello again!

We did have the stool sample checked--no worms! Yea! However, we will get our "Chipper-Boy" in and get the heartworm test, the hormone test and the urine sample done.

Thank you for your kind advice.

Mark, Michelle & Chip :o

April 18th, 2006, 10:53 AM
Neutering is a possible cause for increased appetite, but first make certain that you are feeding him enough. The type of food, the level of activity, the season of year, the amount of social interaction all impact appetite. If he is receiving an adequate ration of a balanced good quality diet and he has plenty of social time with family members, then there is a slim chance neutering is a cause of heightened hunger (or the perception of hunger, how many people substitute food for something that is missing in their lives?).

Alternatively, a medical problem such as steroid useage, Cushings disease, hypothyroidism, etc. may cause the same symptoms. Coincidentally, the neutering unmasked the problem, and may not be a contributing factor. If no resolution with the simple things I suggested, then seek you the local veterinarian named Yoda.

Dr. Van Lienden

Dr. Raymond Van Lienden DVM
The Animal Clinic of Clifton
12702 Chapel Road, Clifton
Virginia, U.S.A. 20124

June 27th, 2006, 10:50 AM
:sorry: I know this post is a bit late but if anyone else reads it, thats great. So i got both my boys neutered and my oldest was just like the lab in this example. He had to be hand fed in order to eat, he wouldn't eat his food regularly and once I got him neutered, he ate like there was no tomorrow, he even started to drool more and more. (which he never did before) Now, I've also asked my vet, and unlike the mom in the example we are talking about, I didn't go thru all the testing to make sure nothing was wrong, and my vet said basically the same as the vet on this site did but one thing they failed to mention is that our dogs sense of smell since the neutering has increased 100%, and that is the reason why his appetite is so much greater now. So that is probably the reason why he is eating more. :pawprint: :pawprint: