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Spay Neuter Information

grooming Mini Aussie Miniature American Shepherd puppy breeder Michigan Faithwalk

As I always do, I try to stay abreast of the latest information pertaining to all aspects of dog care.  I have long felt that doing the early spay/neuters that so many rescues and shelters push is SO harmful to the animals to which it's done, and here is some documentation. I have long tried to get folks getting puppies to let them mature before having them spayed or neutered, even if this goes against the push by many in the veterinary community and rescue community.  I am all for using surgical sterilization to control the breeding of unwanted or mix breed pets, and purebred puppies sold to "pet" homes, but I urge people not to rush to have this done too early.  It may cause more harm than good.  The more I talk to dog owners that had their pets sterilized early (before maturity, usually at the 6 months or under age range pushed by many.)



     The info below is taken from an article I just read in The Journal (AKC Australian Shepherd parent club USASA publication).  It first appeared in the AKC magazine The Family Dog (Jan/Feb 2012).  The information comes from summaries of published research from the American College of Theriogenologists, The National Animal Interest Alliance, the Third International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods for Control, The Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, and the Association of Animal Behavior Professionals.

The Benefits of Spay/Neuter:

Male and Female:

  - Surgery and anesthesia times are shorter
  - Faster recovery from anesthesia and healing
  - Fewer surgical complications


  Male and Female:

  - 3 to 4 times higher risk of bone cancer if sterilized before maturity (dog finished growing)
  - greater risk of hip dysplasia if sterilized before 5 months of age
  - greater risk of ALC ruptures if sterilized before maturity
  - Risk of uneven bone growth that may lead to altered conformation and increased stress on bones and joints if sterilized before maturity.


  - 2-5 times greater risk of blood-vessel cancer of heart or spleen (hemangiosarcoma)
  - Greater risk of urinary tract infections caused by immature genitalia
  - Greater risk of urinary incontinence, especially if spayed before 3 months


  - Nearly doubles risk of blood-vessel cancer of heart (hemangiosarcoma)
  - 2-4 times greater risk of prostate cancer (yes, you read that right!)



    In reading this chart and the article that goes along with it, I will really urge puppy buyers and all dog owners to wait to neuter males until they are at least a year of age, and 18 months is better.  I know it's not always feasible, but letting a female go through one heat cycle gives her vulva a chance to mature, and drastically cuts the risk of urinary issues.  And this is only for responsible owners who are completely sure they can prevent an accidental litter.   But at least waiting to spay them until maturity helps so much.  For females with small, recessed or inverted vulvas, it is VERY important to wait to spay until they have had at least one heat cycle.  This gives the vulva a chance to enlarge and stay bigger, making the dog more comfortable and reducing the risk of infections.  All females benefit from having a heat cycle to allow their anatomy to mature.

    I have never heard of a vet recommending  a female with an inverted vulva to  be allowed to have a heat cycle before spaying.  In fact a dog belonging to a family member has one and she was spayed by 6 months of age.  She had a series of urinary tract infections, joint issues and diabetes, and is not even middle aged yet.  She's a large mix breed dog.  I believe a lot of her problems stem from being spayed so young, as she got so tall so fast that her joints are damaged. 


      I know some folks feel pressured to neuter unruly young dogs, thinking that will somehow make them "magically" well trained or behaved, but new information shows it is possible it does the opposite. Removing hormones certainly does nothing to calm a dog or make it more well trained, and may only remove the hormonal cause of certain behaviors.  However, I have had several intact males at the same time as house pets with no marking or male hormone driven poor behavior. It's all about the training! 

   If you want more info on this subject, search the internet for articles by Chris Zink DVM, PhD, DACVP and Laura J Sanborn, M.S called Long-Term Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs.  


   Here is a link to a more detailed article:



Here is another link to a good article on the subject!


"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves."   

Romans 12:10


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