Early Spay / Neuter is Very Controversial


“Over the decades, as animal sheltering has increased in visibility and animal rescue has become more popular, spay/neuter has hardened into an almost militant social policy.”-Whole Dog Journal

Early neutering is a controversial topic. After reading over 30 articles and numerous blogs from veterinarians, I have summarized  the Pros and Cons identified in the last few years. For every article against early neutering, there is another for it.  and both sides support their cases with facts. The choice is really an individual one, depending on the pet breed and  whether you plan to continue the lineage of a showdog.

Early Neutering Debate: 

1. Less Obesity
2. Less aggressive
3. Less likely to have “male” behaviors: fighting, jumping a fence, or getting hit by a car.
4. Less chance of Testicular Cancer

CONS of not neutering
1. Higher chance of Cancer and joint problems.
“ Both the joint problems and the cancers that they have linked are relatively common in large-boned dogs, so the challenge is to prove whether the early neuter actually caused an increase in the incidence. There have been no studies that prove this.” -American Kennel Society.

2. Higher chance of CCL rupture (Canine cruciate ligament) in neutered dogs

“For years the veterinary community has been aware that early-spay and neuter may impact orthopedic health in dogs. Through a very detailed analysis and inclusion of body condition score as a risk factor, Dr. Hart was able to show that timing of spay and neuter does indeed have health implications,” said Dr. Shila Nordone, Chief Scientific Officer for the AKC Canine Health Foundation

3. Slightly longer legs and less “masculine” muscle development

4. Possible endocrine problems:
“Dr. Becker noticed many of her canine patients were developing endocrine-related disorders. After a conversation with an expert in the field of veterinary endocrinology, Dr. Becker realized her practice of insisting on early spays or neuters for every dog patient had left many of them with serious health problems.” – Healthy Pets.com

5. Scientific evidence is mounting that gonad removal can deliver serious consequences to a dog’s future health. Among those consequences: shortened lifespan, atypical Cushing’s disease, cardiac tumors, bone cancer, abnormal bone growth and development, CCL ruptures, and hip dysplasia.

Early Spaying Debate:

1. Spaying females before 6 months is less controversial than neutering; preventing the first heat nearly eliminates the risk of breast cancer which is much more common than bone cancer.

2.  Spayed dogs no longer experience the hormonal changes during heat cycles that turn your pet into a nervous dog that cries incessantly and attracts unwanted male dogs.

3. Prevention of  Pyometra, a “uterine disease that occurs most often in intact female dogs six years or older that have never been pregnant. Pyometra is a hormonal abnormality with or without the presence of a secondary bacterial infection.” – Universityvet.com

CONS  to spaying early
1. Missing female hormones.

2. Delayed Closure of Growth Plates.

Females “spayed at 7 weeks had significantly delayed closure of growth plates as compared to those spayed at 7 months, and those spayed at 7 months had significantly delayed closure of growth plates as compared to those left intact”. – Canine Athlete.com

One question owners should ask: “Is there an alternative procedure that can be done so that my  pet is fixed but not losing its sexual gonads with the important hormones they secrete. That’s a whole different Blog…


“Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers” http://www.akcchf.org/news-events/news/health-implications-in-early.html#sthash.Hs5baSmn.dpuf