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Discussion Starter #1
When I first adopted Trucker I was told by our vet that I was lucky he had not been Neutered as a puppy but rather only been Neutered when he was pulled by the local Rescue that I adopted him from. She said that a dog needs to reach puberty before being altered in order to avoid health complications down the line. I had never heard of this before.

I wonder why places like the SPCA and Animal Control are preaching to Spay/Neuter young pets if it really does result in health complications later in life.

Does any one else know about this? And when did you Spay/Neuter your pets or did you choose not to at all?

Here is the research I found on this:
The Pros and Cons of When to Spay or Neuter Your Dog - Petful
AKC Canine Health Foundation
Spay & Neuter — We Care For Animals
When To Spay When To Neuter
Your Dog Needs To Be Spayed Or Neutered - Right? - Dogs Naturally Magazine
10 Reasons not to spay and neuter a dog until after puberty
 
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I wish shelters and other organizations that carry out pediatric de-sexing would use the procedures that spare the hormones of these babies, OSS (ovary sparing spay) and vasectomies. Both procedures can be done on young animals and both result in sterilization. More and more vets are now learning this procedure, although it isn't taught in veterinary school.


The Debate Over Neutering - This is an article that mostly focuses on the behavioral/sexual implications of neutering male dogs.

My boy is five years old and intact and I plan to keep him that way. If I was compelled by a breeder contract to sterilize I would use either OSS or vas to be in compliance. IMO hormones matter.

Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs - http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
 

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Both of my pets are neutered according to the contracts I signed with the breeders. They probably couldn't hold me to it (especially since I live hours away), but it seemed reasonable, so I didn't think twice about it. Levi was castrated at 6 months, and Heidi will be spayed at 7 months.

I think the SPCA/Shelters spay early (before puppies are released) because they are worried about future litters. My dog park friend has an English Mastiff that she got as a puppy from the local humane society. She was spayed at 8 weeks. Obviously that is not ideal for a giant breed, and it seems very young to do a serious operation on. She has a little bit of incontinence, which they believe is due to the early spay.

I think spaying that young is too young, but waiting until puberty/maturity can result in problems for the average/novice dog owner, so early spaying/neutering is the best way to prevent unplanned litters.
 

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I generally spay after the first or second heat depending on the dog. I don't plan on neutering our male at all though if I have to I will wait until he is around 3yr of age to do so!

I think "spaying and neutering" has become so ingrained in people that they are often afraid to even ask questions about it! because only 'bad irresponsible' people don't alter their dogs.
 

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The puppy spay/neuter is to guarantee that dog they're adopting out doesn't make more dogs. It is worth a slightly higher risk of cancer to them to guarantee there isn't dozens more puppies because 'oh we forgot' or the owner just randomly decided to not get their dog fixed. Studies suggest while there is risk later in life, generally it's not very high.

Normally we spay/neuter at about eight months, hopefully BEFORE a heat or sudden jonesing for going roaming for the ladies. They're certainly not adult by then but they have more growth time. We wait this long mostly so the parts they need to remove are big enough to be easily found as opposed to the tiny itty bitty puppy versions. There is no science to back up our decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My cat was neuter early (at 8 weeks) as I got him through a human society that contracted me to it. and I am not sure if I would or wouldn't have neutered Trucker if he had not been neutured by the Rescue. If I ever get a dog where I have the option not to, I plan to do my research first.
 

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I'm not convinced it's as important as people say it is sometimes. I am against the ridiculously(like 3 months and earlier) early spaying/neutering, because that has for sure been proven to cause problems. But beyond that, I've not seen ill effects from being fixed as a puppy. There's health risks on both sides, but for me, getting them fixed overall outweighs the risks.
 

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It would take me forever to really type out even the cliffs notes of what I've researched, so I'll try to keep it brief!

There is a TON of information available out there, including peer-reviewed research articles and a myriad of well-executed studies that are spay/neuter related, you just have to search them out!

I had been planning to spay my current dog at 4 years old, but delayed the op as I continued to do some personal research. After researching, I had decided to keep her intact, especially since the only other dogs she lives with/stays with are all altered. However, this summer she developed Pyo, so we went ahead with the spay (at just shy of 9 years, and she recovered REALLY well!).

Any of my future dogs will likely be altered, but I will delay until after 2 years if at all possible.

Taking your dog's breed into account may make a difference in your decision on spay/neuter (or other sterilization options). Having an early spay/neuter may affect some breeds more dramatically (or traumatically) than others. Asking your (responsible) breeder about their thoughts/research/experiences is always a good idea. They know their breed, and they definitely know their dogs!

Some breeders may require spay/neuter by a certain age in their purchase contracts, so that is always something to think about when researching and contacting potential breeders. As an example - even in the past few years, I have noticed a change in GSD breeders' required spay/neuter timeline. Many breeders will now request that you delay the spay/neuter as long as possible - at least until 18mo old or so. (GSDs are one of my breed loves, and likely my next puppy, so they're an example of a breed culture that has changed over time. I just happened to notice because I'm more aware of the breed)
 

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I wonder why places like the SPCA and Animal Control are preaching to Spay/Neuter young pets if it really does result in health complications later in life.
The easy answer is because a slight health issue (My Stella has a damaged urethra from a VERY early spay), is not as big a problem as further exploding pet populations, more homeless animals, and having to put down more animals in shelters.

If you have the option of neutering your dog when you so choose, I think it should be done between 6-18 months. If possible I don't think bitches should be spayed under 7 months, I'd prefer it's before their first heat. For males, I don't really think it's that serious an issue unless it's a massive breed like Bernese or something, but I know it can cause some issues with bone growth. In general I've seen more females with issues than males, but that's expected since the spay is much more invasive.

That said, many dogs get pediatric neuters and don't suffer any negative consequences.
 

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I feel if you have no plans on breeding a female, then spay her. The risks of pyometra in my opinion out weigh any possible benefits of her being intact. I get incredibly sad seeing these beautiful 5-8 year old, otherwise healthy dogs, come into our clinic having to be pts or endure an emergency surgery because their owners felt it was better for them to remain intact instead of having them spayed. That said I have no issues with males, if they have owners that aren't clueless and are able to manage them, being intact.

I personally spayed Tessa at 6 months, though she was officially "adopted" from our shelter which the contract I signed stated I had to in order to have my deposit returned. If I didn't have that contract, then I would have spayed her at 8-10 months to give her joints a little more time. I would have still done it under a year because I have no desire to experience a heat cycle.
 
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I defiantly am clueless so it is interesting to see the different takes on the matter. My boy has some pretty bad scar tissue from his neuter (the vet believes that is is due to it being a late neuter) that results in him actually not looking like he is fixed at all. But I can't really form an opinion one way or another without really delving into the research, which I would do if I had to make the decision.
 

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I recently had a talk with my vet about spaying my female.

From what I heard about from my vet is that it depends on the breed. Labs and Goldens should be spayed after their first heat. They run a higher risk of a certain health problem that I can't remember. (I believe it was a bone growth problem, chronic arthritis or something) yet it hasn't been a problem in Aussies. He also mentioned that mamarian cancer has become more problematic and that can be for any female that has gone through a heat cycle. So he says do it before her first heat to avoid it but never before 4 months.

Also he said that contingency problems can happen pretty much regardless of age. It has more to do with the hormones regulating the sphincter than doing damage. Once you remove the hormones, whether it be in a 5 month old or a 5 year old runs the same risk of having contingency problems.

Just so most people know the average heat cycle happens around 6 months of age from what I know. So those wanting to avoid the heat cycle might want to consider that. Small breeds have been known to go around 4 months while large range from a year to two years. I will be spaying Aayla around 6 months.
 
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I think it should be the owners decision. I for one do plan on getting a female papillon and the breed I have is okay with my decision so long as it gets done. ( I have thought about 6 months, but now I'm thinking a year to a year and a half.) But that depends if I can make sure no male dogs get to her. If I feel I can't handle it, she gets spayed. Either way my limit is 6+ months for spaying or neutering.

If you can handle and be responsible with ur female dog to wait then you should wait, but if you think you can or have doubts spay/neuter. Or alter.. But in all opinion, when it comes down to it, its ur choice. Unless you go through a responsible breeder then you can ask them their opinion as they know their dogs best as another member pointed out.
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I should mention that all rescues and shelters in my area only provide owners with either a gift certificate or a rebate for when their pet is spayed/neutered at 6 months, though the Humane Society makes the appointment for you and pays for the entire procedure and vaccines if required.

The only people in my area that I've even heard of spaying at 8 weeks have been doodle breeders....
 

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Shelters that have a high intake of stray/unwanted dogs and cats have to spay/neuter to prevent the birth of more unwanted puppies and kittens. It would be wonderful if everyone who adopted from a shelter was responsible about not allowing their pet to breed but this is not the reality in many areas of the United States. Most shelters around here speuter all animals that are old enough to have the procedures safely performed.

OSS or a vasectomy for males is not practical financially for most municipal shelters, especially those in rural areas or those in cities that are overwhelmed with unwanted cats and dogs.

I've usually waited until puppies reached a year in age. I've no problem with people never neutering or spaying their animals if they're responsible about ownership and breeding.
 
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