Pediatric Puppy Neutering?
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Thread: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

  1. #1
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    Question Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    I noticed that Animal Shelters neuter dogs starting at 8 weeks old.
    (The one near me does. It's a County Animal Shelter)

    I want to adopt my first puppy from a high kill animal shelter in order to save a dog that could potentially be euthanized.

    I'm concerned that biologically speaking; a puppy that was neutered that early could potentially not develop fully, since sex hormones control a lot of different systems in a dogs body.

    It just sounds like the dog might have problems later on in life with its health.

    Does anyone here share a home with a dog that was neutered at a very young age?
    If so, how is its health?

    Should I just adopt an older puppy maybe 6 to 9 Months old instead that was neutered at that time?
    (All dogs get neutered at the shelter before leaving to their new home)

    I have 2 adult male cats that were both neutered when they were 1 year old. They are healthy as oxen (Knock on wood) at 4 years old now.

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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    Shelters have been doing that for years now, and the vast majority of dogs who were neutered young do fine. There is some evidence that neutering too young isn't the best, but shelters gotta do what they gotta do.

    So, if you get a puppy that was neutered young, he/she will most likely be fine, if you don't want to do competitive sports. But if it makes you feel better, nothing wrong with getting an older dog that was neutered later. I prefer to skip the young puppy stage myself .
    "Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man."
    Arthur Schopenhauer, The Basis of Morality

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    Senior Member Hiraeth's Avatar
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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    I have a bit of a different view on it than Willowy. I think whether or not the dog will be fine is questionable, and breed dependent. If you're looking at a smaller breed puppy, the odds of it developing and being okay are decent. However, if you're looking at a large to giant breed dog, the odds of complications due to an early alter increase drastically.

    I've owned two early neutered large/giant breed males. One died at 6 of osteosarcoma. One died at 8 of splenic hemangiosarcoma and had hip issues since the age of 4. BOTH of those cancers have shown up in multiple scientific surveys as being at an increase risk of occurrence in early neutered dogs.

    My dad has also owned an early spayed female (procedure was done at 8 weeks). We had to euthanize her at the age of 2.5 due to cruciate tears in both hind legs.

    I also happen to participate in multiple Dane-specific groups, which range in size from 8,000 to 16,000 members. I see young early altered dogs diagnosed with osteo and cruciate tears often - multiple dogs a month, at minimum. I also know a few members whose females struggle with spay incontinence because they were altered at 8-10 weeks of age.

    And for non-anecdotal information, in some recent studies, Rottweilers neutered after a year had a 1 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with osteosarcoma. Rotts neutered before 6 months had a 1 in 4 chance. In a survey done on Goldens, 1 in 10 early neutered males developed hip dysplasia, which is double the occurence of HD in intact males. Also in the Golden survey, not a single intact male or female had a cruciate tear, but 5% of early neutered males and 8% of early neutered females had a CCL tear.

    The thing to keep in mind is risk factor. If your breed has a .05% risk of osteosarcoma, then increasing that risk by 5 times isn't that big of a deal. If your breed has a 10% chance of osteosarcoma, increasing that risk by 5 times is a HUGE deal. Same goes with the other increased risk factors shown by these surveys. They greatly impact some breeds, especially those that are already cancer- and HD-prone, and they don't impact others as much.

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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    Wow...I can't believe vets would neuter that young in those large breed dogs. I feel bad for your dogs that passed away and your fathers dog..2.5 years old is so young.

    Why doesn't early neutering impact small breed dogs?
    What about medium sized dogs?
    Or were they not included in the studies/research?

    I'm thinking of getting a male small dog, but if I don't find a small dog that fits my criteria then I will get a medium sized dog instead.

    I'm planning to feed an all raw meat diet to my future pup to make sure the dog stays healthy just in case. I've done some research on raw meat diets and they seem like a good idea for my future dog.
    Last edited by HeatherFeather; 12-08-2016 at 02:56 PM.

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    Senior Member Hiraeth's Avatar
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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeatherFeather View Post
    Wow...I can't believe vets would neuter that young in those large breed dogs. I feel bad for your dogs that passed away and your fathers dog..2.5 years old is so young.

    Why doesn't early neutering impact small breed dogs?
    What about medium sized dogs?
    Or were they not included in the studies/research?

    I'm thinking of getting a male small dog, but if I don't find a small dog that fits my criteria then I will get a medium sized dog instead.

    I'm planning to feed an all raw meat diet to my future pup to make sure the dog stays healthy just in case. I've done some research on raw meat diets and they seem like a good idea for my future dog.
    Well, shelter vets alter that young in order to control the stray pet population. Their concern isn't (and arguably shouldn't be) for the health of the individual animal so much as it is for the minimization of the population of homeless dogs as a whole. If one dog in ten dies at a young age because of increased disease risk, that's not as big of a concern to them in the face of the thousands of animals that are euthanized every day due to homelessness. If they started adopting out non-altered pets, the odds of accidental or back yard bred litters obviously increases.

    I think early neutering impacts all dogs. The hormones released by sex organs are essential for proper physical development in every size of animal. One of the biggest problems with early alter is that sex hormones regulate bone development and growth plate closure. However, I believe it effects smaller dogs less because their growth plates close at an earlier age (think 4-6 months), and smaller dogs are far less prone as a whole to things like hip dyplasia, cruciate tears and bone cancer. Same with medium-sized dogs, whose growth plates probably close at the 6-8 month mark. When you get into giant breed range, their growth plates don't fully close until 14-18 months, depending on the lines. So basically, when you remove hormones halfway into the bone growth and development of a small dog, it's not as detrimental. When you remove the hormones 10% of the way through the growth period of a giant (and before their massive growth spurt phase, which is between 2.5-6.5 months generally), that's a huge problem.

    The studies have all been done on dogs whose risk factors for those particular diseases is already fairly high. Rotts and Goldens are two of the top three most cancer-prone breeds, according to some vets, but they both definitely rank in the top five.

    Here are the actual links if you want to read them!:

    Surveys-

    All Breed Survey: http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf
    Vizsla Survey: http://mercola.fileburst.com/PDF/Hea...izslaStudy.pdf
    Golden Survey: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/art...one.0055937#s4
    Rottweiler Survey: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/11/11/1434.full

    Other links and resources:

    http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com...joint-disease/
    http://veterinarytechnicianguide.com...utering-a-dog/
    http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com...y-neuter-dogs/
    http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites...lth-risks.aspx
    http://ivcjournal.com/the-pros-of-partial-spay/
    Last edited by Hiraeth; 12-09-2016 at 08:11 AM.

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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    Thank you Hiraeth for all that great information. You're an amazing person on here that takes the time and effort to pull up all these studies and information. This community is truly awesome.
    I really appreciate that, since I want the best possible life for my future pup.

  9. #7
    Senior Member Shell's Avatar
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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    One thing to consider is that while early neuter may likely cause the same health problems in a small/medium breeds as in large/giant breeds (by which I mean, increasing the risk to the same degree not having the same absolute risk), that the effect isn't always the same.

    In a dog under say, 40 or 50 lbs, repairing a double cruciate tear would mean surgery yes but is totally do-able on the whole. Assuming funds are available for surgery, it is very unlikely that there would be a reason to PTS a small or medium dog for double CCL tear. In even smaller dogs, a lot of vets don't even recommend surgical repair but just physical rehab mainly. I do know one person with a Great Pyr (about 140 lbs) who did a TTA surgery on both hind legs a few years ago though. It was a lengthy rehab (6 months or so for each leg) but he is pretty well functional at I think ~6-7 years old now. Chester is ~75 lbs and took about 4-6 months to rehab from his traditional CCL repair on a single knee done at about 9 years old.

    Even leg amputation for bone cancer is far simpler in a small breed. I know a roughly 60 lb pit bull with three legs who is 9-10 years old and runs a few miles several times a week with her owner. A dog under 20-30 lbs is likely to cope even better. I've hiked with a dog around 25 lbs with a front leg amputation which is harder on dogs and she had no probs with about 3 miles.

    I don't disagree with Hiraeth that waiting to neuter is better but I also understand why it is necessary in a shelter situation. One option is to look for dogs that came into the shelter as young adult or adult strays/owner surrenders and got neutered at that time. My Eva was a stray at around 1.5 to 2 years of age and was spayed at the shelter at that time. I don't know exact age but she was full grown for sure. Since you are looking at small breed dogs, if you exclude the ones with obvious prey drive, then many should OK with cats regardless of age.
    Last edited by Shell; 12-08-2016 at 07:21 PM.

  10. #8
    Senior Member Hiraeth's Avatar
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    Re: Pediatric Puppy Neutering?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeatherFeather View Post
    Thank you Hiraeth for all that great information. You're an amazing person on here that takes the time and effort to pull up all these studies and information. This community is truly awesome.
    I really appreciate that, since I want the best possible life for my future pup.
    No problem. It's something that I've spent a lot of time researching and consulting with veterinarians about because of Loki's osteosarcoma diagnosis. The second I realized that neutering him at 7 months increased his risk for the disease greatly, I was (and will be for the rest of my life) devastated and guilt-ridden.

    I just like to make sure people have the information available so they can make an informed decision. If someone knows all of these things and still chooses to alter young, then that's fine. Not everyone's choices need to be the same, but I think everyone should have access to the same information before making that choice

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