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Discussion Starter #1
So, Diezel is four months old and I was thinking that when he hits the golden 5 month age that I would get him fixed, but i'm worried that he's so rambunctious that he might hurt himself or rip his stitches out or something terrible will happen. I need some advice for me to get through his pre and post fixing and what ages everyone got their dogs fixed at? I thought 5 months would be a good age but I wanted to know what age everyone got theirs fixed at. Any advice please :)
 

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I got mine fixed at 6 mos, b/c it was Labor Day and I was home to watch him for a few days. I had a similar problem. And, the surgery is so 'routine' that many dogs feel just fine the next day. Talk to the Vet, some Vets have printed handouts of what to expect. But, if there is a concern, you can go with an Elizabethan collar for a week, so that he can't get at the site, and will be less included to run around...

You can also keep him crated and on leash. BTW, when my dog was allowed to run around... he was worse than before the surgery :) ... b/c he had been cooped up and not allowed to run.
 

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My doberman is 19 months now and still intact. I wanted him to finish growing, especially since he's a bigger dog, before I got him fixed. Of course, this was a decision I had to make after figuring out if I wanted to (and could be) responsible for an intact dog and that's not for everybody.

Many puppies get neutered young and are perfectly fine. Since Diezel is a male you don't really need to worry so much. It's a quick and simple surgery and not anywhere near as major as a spay. Running around a little shouldn't harm him. I'd suggest lots of short controlled walks and mental games/training post-surgery to tire him out since you do want to try to keep him from being super active. Minimize the jumping too.
 

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When Jasper was neutered he was near 100% recovered the next day. We didn't really do very much different really. We just didn't engage him in play and I took him outside on leash for a couple of days.
Your boy will be fine. :)
 

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I adopted Hamilton the day after he was neutered. He was two days shy of 8 wks. He was 100% fine when I adopted him, never went after the (dissolving) stitches, didn't even seem to notice anything happened!
 

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Eddee did everything he was NOT supposed to do ... even with putting all my effort into doing what the instructions said to do! I could not keep this little live wire down! Luckily he did fine and acted like he never knew what happened. :)
 

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Our latest pup was neutered right before we got him they guesstimate at about 12weeks. He was rambunctious and his stitches opened slightly but he healed just fine. I just wrote a research paper for school on spaying/neutering and from what I found in a few different articles it is best to spay before the first heat cycle and neuter before 6months. Neutering before 6months eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer. The AMVA (I have sense some people on here arent fans of them I'm just stating what i've found it was also backed by Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the American Animal Hospital Association ) suggests pediatric spay and neuter are the best. Pre-pubescent procedures are quicker then adult dogs therefore less time under anesthesia and less complications. They also say younger dogs heal better then adults. The procedure is being done as young as 6weeks now.
 

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Our latest pup was neutered right before we got him they guesstimate at about 12weeks. He was rambunctious and his stitches opened slightly but he healed just fine. I just wrote a research paper for school on spaying/neutering and from what I found in a few different articles it is best to spay before the first heat cycle and neuter before 6months. Neutering before 6months eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer. The AMVA (I have sense some people on here arent fans of them I'm just stating what i've found it was also backed by Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the American Animal Hospital Association ) suggests pediatric spay and neuter are the best. Pre-pubescent procedures are quicker then adult dogs therefore less time under anesthesia and less complications. They also say younger dogs heal better then adults. The procedure is being done as young as 6weeks now.
I don't necessarily agree with the AVMA on anything - they support frequent vaccination and are trying to get rid of raw food (obviously due to the fact that they work had in hand with pet food companies.) They aren't impressing me at all, especially since, it's been proven that it can affect growth rates to neuter early.

We are waiting until 18 months, if we do it at all. I have no problem containing an intact dog, but others do.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thank you all for your input, i have to get him neutered before 6 months anyways since rescuing a dog at least in michigan is law to have them neutered. or else they can come to my house and take him back. which i doubt they would do but who knows. I know that my vet wanted to wait till after 6 months to do it but i told him my situation and i want to get it done at 5 months before he starts becoming way too much of a handful.
 

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I don't necessarily agree with the AVMA on anything - they support frequent vaccination and are trying to get rid of raw food (obviously due to the fact that they work had in hand with pet food companies.) They aren't impressing me at all, especially since, it's been proven that it can affect growth rates to neuter early.

We are waiting until 18 months, if we do it at all. I have no problem containing an intact dog, but others do.
Thats why I said I know many on here don't agree with them but to each their own, different studies say different things but the veterinary journals I was reading stated that stunted growth has been proven false. They said removal of the hormonal influence actually delays the closure of the growth plate and dogs who underwent pediatric neuter had bones slightly longer then their counterparts neutered after 6months of age, but still in proportion.

I like to bring my dogs to the dog parks and out in our doggie walk group and aside from my personal opinions on neutering your dog, a lot of these parks/groups mandate dogs who participate be fixed or it can create issues with other members of the group.
 

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Eddee did everything he was NOT supposed to do ... even with putting all my effort into doing what the instructions said to do! I could not keep this little live wire down! Luckily he did fine and acted like he never knew what happened. :)
This was my Dycen and he was 10 months when he was neutered.
 

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I also find it easier as a pup because after they are potty trained, the crate just becomes their "house" and doesnt get closed. If I do it while they are younger and still being crate trained they are easier to contain while healing.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I also find it easier as a pup because after they are potty trained, the crate just becomes their "house" and doesnt get closed. If I do it while they are younger and still being crate trained they are easier to contain while healing.
diezel doesn't have a choice whether the door is open or not. he would sleep in bed with us if he could but we don't have enough room so he has to sleep in the crate lol
 

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Our latest pup was neutered right before we got him they guesstimate at about 12weeks. He was rambunctious and his stitches opened slightly but he healed just fine. I just wrote a research paper for school on spaying/neutering and from what I found in a few different articles it is best to spay before the first heat cycle and neuter before 6months. Neutering before 6months eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer. The AMVA (I have sense some people on here arent fans of them I'm just stating what i've found it was also backed by Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the American Animal Hospital Association ) suggests pediatric spay and neuter are the best. Pre-pubescent procedures are quicker then adult dogs therefore less time under anesthesia and less complications. They also say younger dogs heal better then adults. The procedure is being done as young as 6weeks now.
I'd like to know the source, AVMA is faulty at best. Research is showing a HUGE increase in terminal cancers such as Hermagiosarcoma and Osteosarcoma in dogs Spayed or Nuetered before 1 year of age.

From "Long-term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter in Dogs". Laura J Sanborn, MS., 2007


An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the longterm health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject. On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs, especially immature male dogs, in order to prevent future health problems. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases. On the positive side, neutering male dogs

  • eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer
  • reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders
  • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
  • may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)
On the negative side, neutering male dogs

  • if done before maturity, increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer) by a factor of 3.8; this is a common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis.
  • increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
  • triples the risk of hypothyroidism
  • increases the risk of geriatric cognitive impairment
  • triples the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
  • quadruples the small risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer
  • doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract cancers
  • increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
  • increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations
Female Dogs


For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may exceed the associated health problems in some (not all) cases. On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the female dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds. On the positive side, spaying female dogs

  • if done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumors in female dogs
  • nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
  • reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
  • removes the very small risk (0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors
On the negative side, spaying female dogs

  • if done before maturity, increases the risk of osteosarcoma by a factor of 3.1; this is a common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis
  • increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by factor of >5; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
  • triples the risk of hypothyroidism
  • increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6-2, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems
  • causes urinary "spay incontinence" in 4-20% of female dogs
  • increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4
  • increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs spayed before puberty
  • doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumors
  • increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
  • increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations
One thing is clear - much of the spay/neuter information that is available to the public is unbalanced and contains claims that are exaggerated or unsupported by evidence. Rather than helping to educate pet owners, much of it has contributed to common misunderstandings about the health risks and benefits associated of spay/neuter in dogs.

The traditional spay/neuter age of six months as well as the modern practice of pediatric spay/neuter appear to predispose dogs to health risks that could otherwise be avoided by waiting until the dog is physically mature, or (perhaps in the case of many male dogs) foregoing it altogether unless medically necessary. The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Across-the-board recommendations for all pet dogs do not appear to be supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature.


Prostate Cancer



Much of the spay/neuter information available to the public asserts that neutering will reduce or eliminate the risk that male dogs develop prostate cancer. This would not be an unreasonable assumption, given that prostate cancer in humans is linked to testosterone. But the evidence in dogs does not support this claim. In fact, the strongest evidence suggests just the opposite. There have been several conflicting epidemiological studies over the years that found either an increased risk or a decreased risk of prostate cancer in neutered dogs. These studies did not utilize control populations, rendering these results at best difficult to interpret. This may partially explain the conflicting results.

More recently, two retrospective studies were conducted that did utilize control populations. One of these studies involved a dog population in Europe5 and the other involved a dog population in America. Both studies found that neutered male dogs have a four times higher risk of prostate cancer than intact dogs. Based on their results, the researchers suggest a cause-and-effect relationship: "this suggests that castration does not initiate the development of prostatic carcinoma in the dog, but does favor tumor progression" and also "Our study found that most canine prostate cancers are of ductal/urothelial origin... The relatively low incidence of prostate cancer in intact dogs may suggest that testicular hormones are in fact protective against ductal/urothelial prostatic carcinoma, or may have indirect effects on cancer development by changing the environment in the prostate."

This needs to be put in perspective. Unlike the situation in humans, prostate cancer is uncommon in dogs. Given an incidence of prostate cancer in dogs of less than 0.6% from necropsy studies, it is difficult to see that the risk of prostate cancer should factor heavily into most neutering decisions. There is evidence for an increased risk of prostate cancer in at least one breed (Bouviers)5, though very little data so far to guide us in regards to other breeds.

Testicular Cancer


Since the testicles are removed with neutering, castration removes any risk of testicular cancer (assuming the castration is done before cancer develops). This needs to be compared to the risk of testicular cancer in intact dogs. Testicular tumors are not uncommon in older intact dogs, with a reported incidence of 7%8. However, the prognosis for treating testicular tumors is very good owing to a low rate of metastasis, so testicular cancer is an uncommon cause of death in intact dogs. For example, in a Purdue University breed health survey of Golden Retrievers, deaths due to testicular cancer were sufficiently infrequent that they did not appear on list of significant causes of "Years of Potential Life Lost for Veterinary Confirmed Cause of Death" even though 40% of GR males were intact. Furthermore, the GRs who were treated for testicular tumors had a 90.9% cure rate. This agrees well with other work that found 6-14% rates of metastasis for testicular tumors in dogs. The high cure rate of testicular tumors combined with their frequency suggests that fewer than 1% of intact male dogs will die of testicular cancer.

In summary, though it may be the most common reason why many advocate neutering young male dogs, the risk from life threatening testicular cancer is sufficiently low that neutering most male dogs to prevent it is difficult to justify. An exception might be bilateral or unilateral cryptorchids, as testicles that are retained in the abdomen are 13.6 times more likely to develop tumors than descended testicles12 and it is also more difficult to detect tumors in undescended testicles by routine physical examination.

OSTEOSARCOMA


Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) A multi-breed case-control study of the risk factors for osteosarcoma found that spay/neutered dogs (males or females) had twice the risk of developing osteosarcoma as did intact dogs.

This risk was further studied in Rottweilers, a breed with a relatively high risk of osteosarcoma. This retrospective cohort study broke the risk down by age at spay/neuter, and found that the elevated risk of osteosarcoma is associated with spay/neuter of young dogs14. Rottweilers spayed/neutered before one year of age were 3.8 (males) or 3.1 (females) times more likely to develop osteosarcoma than intact dogs. Indeed, the combination of breed risk and early spay/neuter meant that Rottweilers spayed/neutered before one year of age had a 28.4% (males) and 25.1% (females) risk of developing osteosarcoma. These results are consistent with the earlier multi-breed study13 but have an advantage of assessing risk as a function of age at neuter.

The researchers suggest a cause-and-effect relationship, as sex hormones are known to influence the maintenance of skeletal structure and mass, and also because their findings showed an inverse relationship between time of exposure to sex hormones and risk of osteosarcoma. The risk of osteosarcoma increases with increasing breed size and especially height. It is a common cause of death in medium/large, large, and giant breeds. Osteosarcoma is the third most common cause of death in Golden Retrievers and is even more common in larger breeds. Given the poor prognosis of osteosarcoma and its frequency in many breeds, spay/neuter of immature dogs in the medium/large, large, and giant breeds is apparently associated with a significant and elevated risk of death due to osteosarcoma.

Mammary Cancer (Breast Cancer)


Mammary tumors are by far the most common tumors in intact female dogs, constituting some 53% of all malignant tumors in female dogs in a study of dogs in Norway15 where spaying is much less common than in the USA. 50-60% of mammary tumors are malignant, for which there is a significant risk of metastasis16. Mammary tumors in dogs have been found to have estrogen receptors17, and the published research shows that the relative risk (odds ratio) that a female will develop mammary cancer compared to the risk in intact females is dependent on how many estrus cycles she experiences.

Mammary cancer was found to be the 10th most common cause of years of lost life in Golden Retrievers, even though 86% of female GRs were spayed, at a median age of 3.4 yrs10. Considering that the female subset accounts for almost all mammary cancer cases, it probably would rank at about the 5th most common cause of years of lost life in female GRs. It would rank higher still if more female GRs had been kept intact up to 30 months of age. Boxers, cocker spaniels, English Springer spaniels, and dachshunds are breeds at high risk of mammary tumors. A population of mostly intact female Boxers was found to have a 40% chance of developing mammary cancer between the ages of 6-12 years of age.

There are some indications that purebred dogs may be at higher risk than mixed breed dogs, and purebred dogs with high inbreeding coefficients may be at higher risk than those with low inbreeding coefficients20. More investigation is required to determine if these are significant.

In summary, spaying female dogs significantly reduces the risk of mammary cancer (a common cancer), and the fewer estrus cycles experienced at least up to 30 months of age, the lower the risk will be.

Female Reproductive Tract Cancer


Uterine/cervical tumors are rare in dogs, constituting just 0.3% of tumors in dogs. Spaying will remove the risk of ovarian tumors, but the risk is only 0.5%. While spaying will remove the risk of reproductive tract tumors, it is unlikely that surgery can be justified to prevent the risks of uterine, cervical, and ovarian cancers as the risks are so low.

Urinary Tract Cancer


An age-matched retrospective study found that spay/neuter dogs were two times more likely to develop lower urinary tract tumors (bladder or urethra) compared to intact dogs. These tumors are nearly always malignant, but are infrequent, accounting for less than 1% of canine tumors. So this risk is unlikely to weigh heavily on spay/neuter decisions. Airedales, Beagles, and Scottish Terriers are at elevated risk for urinary tract cancer while German Shepherds have a lower than average risk.

Hemangiosarcoma


Hemangiosarcoma is a common cancer in dogs. It is a major cause of death in some breeds, such as Salukis, French Bulldogs, Irish Water Spaniels, Flat Coated Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Afghan Hounds, English Setters, Scottish Terriesr, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, and German Shepherd Dogs. In an aged-matched case controlled study, spayed females were found to have a 2.2 times higher risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma compared to intact females. A retrospective study of cardiac hemangiosarcoma risk factors found a >5 times greater risk in spayed female dogs compared to intact female dogs and a 1.6 times higher risk in neutered male dogs compared to intact male dogs.25 The authors suggest a protective effect of sex hormones against hemangiosarcoma, especially in females. In breeds where hermangiosarcoma is an important cause of death, the increased risk associated with spay/neuter is likely one that should factor into decisions on whether or when to sterilize a dog.

Hypothyroidism


Spay/neuter in dogs was found to be correlated with a three fold increased risk of hypothyroidism compared to intact dogs. The researchers suggest a cause-and-effect relationship: They wrote: "More important [than the mild direct impact on thyroid function] in the association between [spaying and] neutering and hypothyroidism may be the effect of sex hormones on the immune system. Castration increases the severity of autoimmune thyroiditis in mice" which may explain the link between spay/neuter and hypothyroidism in dogs. Hypothyroidism in dogs causes obesity, lethargy, hair loss, and reproductive abnormalities.

Obesity


Owing to changes in metabolism, spay/neuter dogs are more likely to be overweight or obese than intact dogs. One study found a two fold increased risk of obesity in spayed females compared to intact females. Another study found that spay/neuter dogs were 1.6 (females) or 3.0 (males) times more likely to be obese than intact dogs, and 1.2 (females) or 1.5 (males) times more likely to be overweight than intact dogs.

A survey study of veterinary practices in the UK found that 21% of dogs were obese. Being obese and/or overweight is associated with a host of health problems in dogs. Overweight dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with hyperadrenocorticism, ruptured cruciate ligament, hypothyroidism, lower urinary tract disease, and oral disease. Obese dogs are more likely to be diagnosed with hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, ruptured cruciate ligament, and neoplasia (tumors).

Diabetes


Some data indicate that neutering doubles the risk of diabetes in male dogs, but other data showed no significant change in diabetes risk with neutering31. In the same studies, no association was found between spaying and the risk of diabetes.

Adverse Vaccine Reactions


A retrospective cohort study of adverse vaccine reactions in dogs was conducted, which included allergic reactions, hives, anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, cardiovascular shock, and sudden death. Adverse reactions were 30% more likely in spayed females than intact females, and 27% more likely in neutered males than intact males. The investigators discuss possible cause-and-effect mechanisms for this finding, including the roles that sex hormones play in body's ability to mount an immune response to vaccination. Toy breeds and smaller breeds are at elevated risk of adverse vaccine reactions, as are Boxers, English Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos, Weimaraners, American Eskimo Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds, Welsh Corgis, Siberian Huskies, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and Akitas. Mixed breed dogs were found to be at lower risk, and the authors suggest genetic hetereogeneity (hybrid vigor) as the cause.

Urogenital Disorders


Urinary incontinence is common in spayed female dogs, which can occur soon after spay surgery or after a delay of up to several years. The incidence rate in various studies is 4-20% 33,34,35 for spayed females compared to only 0.3% in intact females36. Urinary incontinence is so strongly linked to spaying that it is commonly called "spay incontinence" and is caused by urethral sphincter incompetence37, though the biological mechanism is unknown. Most (but not all) cases of urinary incontinence respond to medical treatment, and in many cases this treatment needs to be continued for the duration of the dog's life.A retrospective study found that persistent or recurring urinary tract (bladder) infections (UTIs) were 3-4 times more likely in spayed females dogs than in intact females39. Another retrospective study found that female dogs spayed before 5 ½ months of age were 2.76 times more likely to develop UTIs compared to those spayed after 5 ½ months of age.

Depending on the age of surgery, spaying causes abnormal development of the external genitalia. Spayed females were found to have an increased risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, vaginitis, and UTIs. The risk is higher still for female dogs spayed before puberty. Pyometra (Infection of the Uterus) Pet insurance data in Sweden (where spaying is very uncommon) found that 23% of all female dogs developed pyometra before 10 years of age. Bernese Mountain dogs, Rottweilers, rough-haired Collies, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Golden Retrievers were found to be high risk breeds . Female dogs that have not whelped puppies are at elevated risk for pyometra43. Rarely, spayed female dogs can develop "stump pyometra" related to incomplete removal of the uterus. Pyometra can usually be treated surgically or medically, but 4% of pyometra cases led to death. Combined with the incidence of pyometra, this suggests that about 1% of intact female dogs will die from pyometra.

Perianal Fistulas


Male dogs are twice as likely to develop perianal fistulas as females, and spay/neutered dogs have a decreased risk compared to intact dogs. German Shepherd Dogs and Irish Setters are more likely to develop perianal fistulas than are other breeds.

Non-cancerous Disorders of the Prostate Gland


The incidence of benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH, enlarged prostate) increases with age in intact male dogs, and occurs in more than 80% of intact male dogs older than the age of 5 years45. Most cases of BPH cause no problems, but in some cases the dog will have difficulty defecating or urinating. Neutering will prevent BPH. If neutering is done after the prostate has become enlarged, the enlarged prostate will shrink relatively quickly. BPH is linked to other problems of the prostate gland, including infections, abscesses, and cysts, which can sometimes have serious consequences.

Orthopedic Disorders


In a study of beagles, surgical removal of the ovaries (as happens in spaying) caused an increase in the rate of remodeling of the ilium (pelvic bone)46, suggesting an increased risk of hip dysplasia with spaying. Spaying was also found to cause a net loss of bone mass in the spine. Spay/neuter of immature dogs delays the closure of the growth plates in bones that are still growing, causing those bones to end up significantly longer than in intact dogs or those spay/neutered after maturity48. Since the growth plates in various bones close at different times, spay/neuter that is done after some growth plates have closed but before other growth plates have closed can result in a dog with unnatural proportions, possibly impacting performance and long term durability of the joints.

Cranial Cruciate Ligament Rupture



Spay/neuter is associated with a two fold increased risk of cranial cruciate ligament rupture. Perhaps this is associated with the increased risk of obesity or to changes in body proportions in dogs spay/neutered before the growth plates in the bones have closed. Spay/neuter before 5 ½ months of age is associated with a 70% increased aged-adjusted risk of hip dysplasia compared to dogs spayed/neutered after 5 ½ months of age. The researchers suggest "it is possible that the increase in bone length that results from early-age gonadectomy results in changes in joint conformation, which could lead to a diagnosis of hip dysplasia". In a breed health survey study of Airedales, spay/neuter dogs were significantly more likely to suffer hip dysplasia as well as "any musculoskeletal disorder", compared to intact dogs, however possible confounding factors were not controlled for, such as the possibility that some dogs might have been spayed/neutered because they had hip dysplasia or other musculoskeletal disorders. Compared to intact dogs, another study found that dogs neutered six months prior to a diagnosis of hip dysplasia were 1.5 times as likely to develop clinical hip dysplasia. Compared to intact dogs, spayed/neutered dogs were found to have a 3.1 fold higher risk of patellar luxation. Geriatric Cognitive Impairment


Neutered male dogs and spayed female dogs are at increased risk of geriatric cognitive impairment compared to intact male dogs. There weren't enough intact geriatric females available for the study to determine their risk. Geriatric cognitive impairment includes disorientation in the house or outdoors, changes in social interactions with human family members, loss of house training, and changes in the sleep-wake cycle. The investigators state "This finding is in line with current research on the neuro-protective roles of testosterone and estrogen at the cellular level and the role of estrogen in preventing Alzheimer's disease in human females. One would predict that estrogens would have a similar protective role in the sexually intact female dogs; unfortunately too few sexually intact female dogs were available for inclusion in the present study to test the hypothesis."

Conclusions


An objective reading of the veterinary medical literature reveals a complex situation with respect to the longterm health risks and benefits associated with spay/neuter in dogs. The evidence shows that spay/neuter correlates with both positive AND adverse health effects in dogs. It also suggests how much we really do not yet understand about this subject. On balance, it appears that no compelling case can be made for neutering most male dogs to prevent future health problems, especially immature male dogs. The number of health problems associated with neutering may exceed the associated health benefits in most cases. For female dogs, the situation is more complex. The number of health benefits associated with spaying may exceed the associated health problems in many (not all) cases. On balance, whether spaying improves the odds of overall good health or degrades them probably depends on the age of the dog and the relative risk of various diseases in the different breeds.

The traditional spay/neuter age of six months as well as the modern practice of pediatric spay/neuter appear to predispose dogs to health risks that could otherwise be avoided by waiting until the dog is physically mature, or (perhaps in the case of many male dogs) foregoing it altogether unless medically necessary. The balance of long-term health risks and benefits of spay/neuter will vary from one dog to the next. Across-the-board recommendations for all dogs do not appear to be supportable from findings in the veterinary medical literature.
 

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The article I used was from the Vetrinary Medicine Journal publication

An overview of pediatric spay and neuter benefits and techniques
Many veterinarians now perform these procedures in dogs and cats at an earlier age. The surgery is faster, the perioperative complication rate is lower—even the healing time is shorter than in adult animals.
Feb 1, 2011
By: Philip A. Bushby, DVM, DACVS, Brenda Griffin, DVM, DACVIM
VETERINARY MEDICINE




(VETTA/GETTY IMAGES)
Each year in the United States, millions of homeless or unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters and humane societies. While precise numbers are difficult to obtain, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year.1 Many factors have led to the overpopulation of dogs and cats, and the solution will be multifaceted, as well. Until safe and effective chemical or immunologic sterilization is available, ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy will be the cornerstone of any program to reduce the overpopulation and, thereby, reduce the number of animals relinquished and euthanized each year.

The most effective way to ensure that animals adopted from shelters do not reproduce is to spay or neuter them before adoption. Voucher programs or prepaid spay-neuter programs in which arrangements are made at the time of adoption to have an animal spayed or castrated at a later date simply do not work for the majority of these animals. The national compliance rate of these programs is < 40%.2-4 With preadoption spays and castrations, compliance is not an issue, obviously.

In the shelter environment, we recommend spaying or neutering dogs and cats before adoption and as young as 6 weeks of age. In a practice treating owned animals, we recommend scheduling one more appointment at the end of the puppy or kitten vaccination series. With this schedule, puppies and kittens are spayed or neutered before 5 months of age, before sexual maturity.

Ovariohysterectomy or orchiectomy of pediatric dogs and cats is supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and is becoming increasing popular, especially in the shelter and high-quality, high-volume spay-neuter environments. The AVMA policy statement says, "The AVMA supports the concept of pediatric spay/neuter in dogs and cats in an effort to reduce the number of unwanted animals of these species. Just as for other veterinary medical and surgical procedures, veterinarians should use their best medical judgment in deciding at what age spay/neuter should be performed on individual animals."5 Other organizations supporting pediatric neutering are the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association,6 the British Small Animal Veterinary Association,7 and the American Animal Hospital Association.8

ADVANTAGES OF PEDIATRIC SPAY AND NEUTER

In addition to the commonly accepted health benefits associated with ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy, such as reducing the incidence of mammary neoplasia and behavioral problems, pediatric (between 8 and 16 weeks of age) spay and neuter offer additional advantages. They are effective tools for dealing with the overpopulation of unwanted dogs and cats. The surgical procedures are easier, faster, and less expensive than they are in adult animals.9,10 With shorter surgery times and shorter anesthetic episodes, the incidence of perioperative complications is low.9 Anesthetic recovery and healing are shorter than in adults as well.9,11

HISTORICAL CONCERNS

Historically, veterinarians have expressed concerns about pediatric spay and neuter. The concerns have focused on either potential long-term physiologic effects or anesthetic risk.

Physiologic effects

The adverse physiologic effects mentioned have been obesity, stunted growth, musculoskeletal disorders, perivulvar dermatitis, puppy vaginitis, feline lower urinary tract disease, and urinary incontinence. Most concerns appear to be unfounded.

Obesity. Obesity is a multifactorial problem with a tendency to occur regardless of the age at which an animal is spayed or neutered. A long-term study conducted by researchers at Cornell University followed 1,842 dogs that underwent gonadectomy and were adopted from a shelter before 1 year of age and followed for up to 11 years. The results revealed a decrease in obesity for male and female dogs that had early-age gonadectomy.12

Stunted growth. Initial concerns that pediatric neutering may result in stunted growth have proved to be false in dogs. Removal of the hormonal influence actually results in delayed closure of growth plates.13 The long bones of dogs that undergo pediatric neutering are a little longer than those of animals neutered after 6 months of age; however, the growth is not disproportionate, and the curve is the same.13 There does not appear to be any clinical relevance to the delayed physeal closure.13

Hip dysplasia. Some veterinarians have questioned if pediatric spay or neuter results in an increased incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs. Research on this subject has proved to be equivocal. A study at Texas A&M University showed no increase in hip dysplasia,14 while a study at Cornell University showed a slight increase in incidence.12 Interestingly, the Cornell study also showed that dogs sterilized at a traditional age were three times more likely to be euthanized because of hip dysplasia.12

Perivulvar dermatitis. Perivulvar dermatitis has been documented in intact and spayed female dogs. The age at the time of neutering appears to have no significant influence on the incidence.13 This condition is related to a recessed vulva and is made worse by obesity.

Puppy vaginitis. The incidence of puppy vaginitis is the same regardless of the age of the dog at the time of ovariohysterectomy.12

Feline urinary obstruction. The suspicion that pediatric castration would decrease the diameter of the penile urethra in cats and, thus, lead to urinary obstruction has proved to be unfounded. The diameter of the penile urethra in an adult male cat does not vary between animals neutered at 7 weeks or at 7 months of age or from intact males.15-17

Urinary incontinence. Studies have shown differing conclusions with respect to estrogen-responsive urinary incontinence in dogs. The Cornell study mentioned above revealed a slightly greater risk of urinary incontinence in dogs spayed earlier than 12 weeks of age,12 while the Texas A&M study showed no difference.14 A third study showed a higher incidence of urinary incontinence in dogs spayed after their first estrous cycle.18

Anesthesia

Anesthetic management in the pediatric patient can be safe, provided appropriate attention is paid to a few basic principles and to the unique concerns associated with pediatric patients.

Given that metabolic development is largely complete by 6 weeks of age, the same anesthetic protocols that are used in adults can be safely used in pediatric patients.9,19 However, pediatric patients have lower body fat percentages, a decreased ability to shiver, and a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. Each of these factors makes attention to the maintenance of body temperature critical. Pediatric patients are also at a greater risk of hypoglycemia. Body temperature and blood glucose concentration can be easily managed, allowing surgical anesthesia with minimal risk.9

Preoperative and intraoperative recommendations. Perform a preoperative physical examination on all patients.19 It is at the veterinarian's discretion whether the packed cell volume, total solids, blood urea nitrogen concentration, and glucose concentration are measured; however, these tests are usually not performed in the shelter environment.

According to the Association of Shelter Veterinarians guidelines for spay and neuter programs: "Warmth is best preserved by reducing contact with cold surfaces, limiting body cavity exposure, and providing carefully protected contact with circulating warm water or heated containers, such as carefully monitored water bottles or rice bags. Forced hot air or convective warming can also be an effective means of maintaining body temperature perioperatively."19 These measures in conjunction with a short surgical time and the reversal of anesthetic agents at the completion of surgery minimize hypothermia.20

Hypoglycemia can be avoided or minimized by restricting preoperative fasting to two to four hours, avoiding preoperative excitement, and feeding the patient a small amount of its regular food immediately upon anesthetic recovery.20,21


Table 1: Anesthetic Drug Doses for Cats*
Anesthetic and analgesic protocol. Many anesthetic protocols have been recommended for pediatric surgery. Most recommend multimodal analgesia and avoid the administration of barbiturates, likely because these patients have minimal fat.22 In our experience, an intramuscular injection of a dexmedetomidine, ketamine, butorphanol combination (Tables 1 & 2) followed by maintenance with oxygen through either a face mask or an endotracheal tube and supplemented with isoflurane, if needed, is safe and effective. Following the injection, a surgical plane of anesthesia is achieved within five minutes and will last for up to 30 minutes.

The dexmedetomidine can be reversed with atipamezole immediately after surgery and will frequently result in the patient being mobile within five to 10 minutes (Tables 1 & 2). We recommend administering a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, such as meloxicam, after induction of anesthesia and before the start of surgery for postoperative analgesia according to the labeled dosages for cats and dogs.23

ORCHIECTOMY IN PEDIATRIC CATS


Table 2: Anesthetic Drug Doses for Dogs*
Feline pediatric orchiectomy is performed essentially the same as castration in adult cats. For a surgeon just starting to perform pediatric surgery, the most difficult aspect is localizing and securing the testicles for incision. The choice of an open or closed orchiectomy technique depends on the surgeon's preference. We prefer a scrotal approach and a closed orchiectomy technique, which are described here.10 A closed technique is no more difficult to perform than an open technique in pediatric patients and it does not require entry into the peritoneal cavity.

Place the anesthetized patient in dorsal recumbency with the rear legs pulled forward. Clip the scrotum and perineal area of hair, and perform a surgical scrub. Grasp the first testicle between the thumb and index finger, and secure it within the scrotum.

Make a scrotal incision over the testicle, and exteriorize the testicle from the scrotum with digital pressure. Apply gentle traction to the testicle and spermatic cord while stripping the fat and fascia from the spermatic cord with a gauze sponge. Use a hemostat tie for hemostasis and excise the testicle. To perform a hemostat tie, place the tip of the hemostat under the cord and then rotate the tip around the cord. Open the jaws of the hemostat as the distal (testicle) end of the cord is advanced around and into the hemostat jaws and clamped. Next, transect the cord between the clamp and testicle by using a scalpel blade or scissors.

After removing the testicle, push the knot off of the tip of the hemostat. Tighten the knot to ensure its security, but leave about 5 mm of tissue distal to the knot to ensure that it does not unravel.

Perform the identical technique on the second testicle, and leave the incisions open to heal by second intention.10

ORCHIECTOMY IN PEDIATRIC DOGS

Canine pediatric orchiectomy is performed essentially the same as feline pediatric orchiectomy is. The surgical incision is made in the scrotum just as in the cat. In most patients, only one scrotal incision is needed. We prefer a scrotal approach and a closed orchiectomy technique, which are described here.

Place the anesthetized patient in dorsal recumbency. Clip the scrotum of hair, and perform a surgical scrub. Grasp the first testicle between the thumb and index finger, and secure it within the scrotum.

Make a scrotal incision over the testicle, and exteriorize the testicle with digital pressure. Apply gentle traction to the testicle and spermatic cord while stripping the fat and fascia from the spermatic cord with a gauze sponge. Use a hemostat tie for hemostasis, and excise the testicle.

Move the second testicle into the surgical wound and incise the fascia overlying the testicle. The excision and hemostasis of the second testicle is performed in a manner identical to that of the first testicle, and the incision is left open to heal by second intention.

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY IN PEDIATRIC CATS

Feline pediatric ovariohysterectomy is performed essentially the same as ovariohysterectomy in adult cats is; however, the structures are smaller and the exposure can be markedly less.

Place the anesthetized patient in dorsal recumbency, perform an abdominal surgical clip and scrub, and make an incision at the midpoint between the umbilicus and cranial brim of the pubis on the ventral abdominal midline. The incision can be as small as 1 to 2 cm in length. Excise any subcutaneous fat (there is usually none) in the surgical field, exposing the linea alba.

Make an incision in the linea alba. The linea alba is narrow in the pediatric cat, and it may be difficult to make the incision completely on the linea. There are, however, no adverse consequences if the incision is slightly paramedian. With the abdominal incision this far caudal, the urinary bladder can generally be easily visualized. Elevation of the bladder allows direct visualization of the uterine body and uterine horns. If the bladder is not visible, the uterine horn can be exteriorized with a spay hook.

Deliver one uterine horn through the incision. Apply enough caudal traction to the uterine body to expose the proper ligament and ovary. Clamp the proper ligament with a mosquito hemostat, and apply slight upward traction, exposing the suspensory ligament. Transect the suspensory ligament with scissors or a scalpel, and tear a hole in the broad ligament just caudal to the ovarian vessels. The ovarian vessels can be tied off and transected by using the same hemostat tie technique as in a feline orchiectomy.23

Gentle caudal traction on the first uterine horn will expose the uterine body and the second uterine horn. Expose the second ovary, and tie off and transect the second ovarian pedicle in a manner identical to that of the first.

Incise the broad ligaments to the uterine vessel on both sides to allow exposure of the uterine body. It is not necessary to remove the entire uterine body to the level of the cervix. One ligature placed with a Miller's knot without clamping the uterus is sufficient for hemostasis in pediatric patients. The suture type and size depends on the surgeon's preference; we prefer using 3-0 monofilament synthetic absorbable suture.

Create the Miller's knot by passing a length of suture material around the uterine body twice, creating a loop. Then pass the needle holders through the loop and create a standard square knot throw. Secure the knot, and tighten both loops evenly by elevating the loops as they are tightened, ensuring that the tissue is thoroughly compressed. Finish the Miller's knot with a series of square knots to prevent loosening. Then transect the uterine body distal to the ligature.

Closure consists of a simple continuous pattern in the body wall followed by simple interrupted subcuticular sutures to close the skin.10

OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY IN PEDIATRIC DOGS

Canine pediatric ovariohysterectomy is performed similar to ovariohysterectomy in a pediatric cat with only a few differences. The structures in the pediatric dog are smaller than in the adult dog. The ovaries are more easily exteriorized, and it is more difficult to exteriorize the uterine body. For these reasons, the abdominal incision in the pediatric dog is slightly caudal to that in the adult dog.

To perform this procedure, place the anesthetized patient in dorsal recumbency, perform a surgical clip and scrub, and make an incision just cranial to the midpoint between the umbilicus and cranial brim of the pubis on the ventral abdominal midline. Subcutaneous dissection on the midline exposes the linea alba, which is nicked with a scalpel blade. Extend the linea incision with scissors, exposing the abdominal contents. The urinary bladder may be visible, and if so, elevate it to allow direct visualization of the uterine body or uterine horns. If the bladder is not visible, exteriorize the uterine horn with a spay hook.

Deliver one uterine horn through the incision. Apply enough caudal traction to the uterine body to expose the proper ligament and ovary. Clamp the proper ligament with a mosquito hemostat, and apply slight upward traction, exposing the suspensory ligament. Transect the suspensory ligament with scissors or a scalpel, and tear a hole in the broad ligament just caudal to the ovarian vessels. Use a standard three-clamp technique on the ovarian pedicle, and transect and ligate the pedicle. The suture type and size depend on the surgeon's preference; we prefer using 2-0 monofilment synthetic absorbable suture. Generally, only one ligature is necessary on each pedicle in a pediatric canine spay.

Gentle caudal traction on the first uterine horn will expose the uterine body and the second uterine horn. Expose the second ovary and transect and ligate the second ovarian pedicle in a manner identical to that of the first.

Incise the broad ligaments to the uterine vessel on both sides, allowing exposure of the uterine body. One ligature placed with a Miller's knot without clamping the uterus is sufficient for hemostasis in pediatric patients. Transect the uterine body distal to the ligature.

Closure consists of a simple continuous pattern in the body wall followed by interrupted or continuous subcuticular sutures to close the skin.10

POSTOPERATIVE CARE

Even though puppies and kittens recover rapidly from sterilization surgery, it is still important to attempt to minimize activity for three to five days after surgery. Advise owners to keep surgical areas clean and dry and to seek veterinary care if bleeding, swelling, or separation of wound edges occurs.

CONCLUSION

Recognizing the shorter anesthetic and surgical times and lower complication rates for younger patients, many practitioners have begun performing spays and neuters at an earlier age in pets. Historically, practitioners have routinely seen kittens and puppies for a series of vaccinations and wellness visits between 6 and 16 weeks of age, and then advised owners to return a few months later for neutering. This gap in care may have contributed to many pets being spayed or neutered after puberty and after the birth of unintentional litters. By spaying and neutering pets at 4 or 5 months of age, two to three weeks after standard vaccinations, practitioners can allow time for the animals to develop immunity through vaccination while ensuring that they are neutered before sexual maturity. Since owners generally establish a routine of veterinary appointments for their pet during the wellness visits, there is no gap in veterinary care between the vaccine series and the surgical appointment and compliance may be improved.23

By performing spay or neuter surgery at this age, veterinarians are also able to ensure numerous health benefits for their patients, including a dramatic reduction in the risk of mammary tumors and the elimination or reduction of highly objectionable behaviors, including scent marking, spraying, fighting, and roaming. Additional benefits include avoiding the stresses and costs associated with spaying while in heat, with pregnancy, or with pyometra. Furthermore, spaying and neutering young puppies and kittens is technically easier for surgeons and more cost effective than neutering these pets once they are mature.



If someone shows their dog or is a breeder keeping a dog intact is understandable, other then that I don't think it is. Personally, I'll take the elevated risk of 1-4% for most of the things your article mentioned as opposed the the 100% reality of the millions euthanized across America each year.
 

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Yet it totally ignores the FAR more common cancers, along with the links to early S/N and those cancers as well as the link to Thyroid conditions, Hip Dysplacia and joint problems. What a shame...
 
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