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What age to neuter?

November 8th, 2006, 01:35 PM
My black lab pup Riley will be six months this weekend so my thoughts are turning to the timing to have him neutered. I am very pro spray/neuter but have developed some concerns about what age to do so at. He grew very fast (everyone can't believe he is not even six months) so am wondering if I should give him a few more months to use that testosterone to mature and settle some growing.

November 8th, 2006, 01:44 PM
I would go ahead and get it done at 6 months. Well actually, I did go ahead and get it done at 6 months:o
Hunter looked a lot like your Riley, same size, etc, at that age, and it worked out ok.:shrug:

November 8th, 2006, 02:00 PM
Buster was just over 5 months old when he was neutered. He spent the day at the Vet's, home around 5:00 pm and by the next morning was running as usual. I don't know if it makes a big difference in the size of the dog, but Buster is a tzu/bichon. :shrug:

November 8th, 2006, 02:05 PM
I had my dog done at 6 mths also.

November 8th, 2006, 02:18 PM
Boo was 75lbs at around 6 months and we had him done right away. IMO, it's not worth the behavioral problems to wait out the growing.

November 8th, 2006, 02:40 PM
My vet neuters and spays at 4 months, though we got our dogs done at 6 months just because we couldn't get in much sooner anyway.

You're not planning on breeding him so the surge of testosterone serves no purpose to you or the dog. I'm not sure what you mean by letting him "mature".

1. The longer you give him the more likely it is he'll start marking. That's a hard habit to break in some dogs.

2. If you're wanting him to fill out, it's going to make no difference whether you neuter him now or a few months from now as that takes a couple of years.

November 8th, 2006, 02:43 PM
1. The longer you give him the more likely it is he'll start marking. That's a hard habit to break in some dogs.And humping, and getting more dominant, and getting more territorial... etc etc... Sure some neutered dogs are/do all of the above, but IMO neutering early, before the behaviors start, reduces all of it a great deal.

November 8th, 2006, 02:46 PM
I'm in total agreement.

November 8th, 2006, 02:55 PM
I had my 2 lab/rotties done at 7 months instead of 6 only because we moved during their 6th month and I didn't want to add additional stress on them. I kept watching Fingal to see if he was going to start marking, but luckily he never did (in fact, he still squats instead of lifting his leg to pee :shrug: ). I'd make the appointment now.

BTW, both your labs are beautiful!

November 8th, 2006, 03:22 PM
We waited until 9 months to give the sex hormones more opportunity to close the growth plates and finish the growing process as much as possible. We were planning on waiting until a year old but the marking/behavioural issues started showing up more than I wanted.

Sex hormones have an effect on limiting the finishing height of a dog through triggering the ossification of the joint growth plates.

November 9th, 2006, 01:52 AM
I have a yellow lab that was done at 6 months and he was the same size as your Riley. He weighed about 70 lb. at the time. He's now 15 1/2 months and weighs about 86 lb. My husky was also done at that age.

November 9th, 2006, 07:43 AM
THere is some controversy when it comes to canine althletes
as far as growth a dog spayed or neutered before puberty tends to grow larger, the tibia becomes less dense longer and this can put additional stress on the cruciate ligament and result in a CCL rupture and increased risk of fractures

so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered well before puberty can frequently be identified by their longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls. This abnormal growth frequently results in significant alterations in body proportions and particularly the lengths (and therefore weights) of certain bones relative to others. For example, if the femur has achieved its genetically determined normal length at 8 months when a dog gets spayed or neutered, but the tibia, which normally stops growing at 12 to 14 months of age continues to grow, then an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle likely becomes heavier (because it is longer), and may cause increased stresses on the cranial cruciate ligament. In addition, sex hormones are critical for achieving peak bone density.(4) These structural and physiological alterations may be the reason why at least one recent study showed that spayed and neutered dogs had a higher incidence of CCL rupture.(5) Another recent study showed that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months had a significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia than those spayed or neutered after 5 1/2 months of age, although it should be noted that in this study there were no standard criteria for the diagnosis of hip dysplasia.(6) Nonetheless, breeders of purebred dogs should be cognizant of these studies and should consider whether or not pups they bred were spayed or neutered when considering breeding decisions.

There is also comments about increased risk of bone cancer in dogs neuter before puberty but I do not agree

Racing greyhounds are not neutered/spayed until after they retired from racing usually between 3 and 5 years of age and the number one cause of death is bone cancer, I know of several people who have now lost 3 and 4 of their greyhounds in a row to bone cancer and I have already lost one myself( Callie had just turned 9) , and my second is already at that age when bone cancer often strikes most often between 8 and 10 years old and anytime time one of my current 2 starts limping my heart is in my throat with dread that I am going to have to lose another to this ugly disease and I have a hard time going to the medical forum nowadays at the retired greyhound forum because of the often 2 or 3 times a week another owner announces one of their greys has osteo :sad: Their bone cancer rates simply do not suppport the study.

My current puppy was spayed at 7 months, the breeder preferred I waited simply because I purchased him at 6 months and she wanted to see him settled into his home first before putting him through surgery to lessen the stress on him, for those that purchased pups at a younger age she requires then to have the spayed and neutered by 6 months under her pet contract

November 9th, 2006, 06:14 PM
OG, you post a compelling quote that suggests that waiting to have your pets spayed or neutered is better for their health.

I'm hoping that what I post will possibly change a few perspectives.

Pediatric spay/neuter.
At the Calgary Humane Society, they began doing p. s/n of cats and dogs in the year 2001. Their reasons: every animal that left the shelter would be spayed or neutered at adoption. Prior to this, kittens and puppies under 6 months of age were sent home unaltered, and the responsibility was put on the new family to take them to their vet and have the animals altered at the appropriate age. What they found was that many people were finding their cats pregnant between 4-5 months of age, or the males wanting out to mate. The dogs were going into heat, getting pregnant or being territorial and running away (depending on the sex!). Then there were those who "forgot" to have their pets altered. The City of Calgary had a little over 5000 dogs go through their facility in 2003 (the most recent stats I can find), and a little less than 600 cats (most cats aren't picked up). If even 10% of those were "too young" to be spayed/neutered, but were actually past puberty, that's a lot of animals mating without their families knowledge.
Kittens at the CHS are spayed/neutered as soon as they weigh 800 grams (or at least this was the weight they used when I was there). Puppies, depending on the breed, need to weigh at least 4 lbs, I believe. Not sure what the numbers were on smaller dogs.
Just my 2 cents, though, the final decision is up to you & your vet.

Links on pediatric spay/neuter:


November 10th, 2006, 02:28 AM
Ben was just neutered 4days ago and he's 6 months.and he should be a big boy.the vet said neutering him now wouldn't make a difference

November 10th, 2006, 06:42 AM
My post was not meant as to discourage pet owners, but if you were raising a dog to be an athlete doing lurecoursing, agility etc then waiting till after puberty may reduce leg injuries. An average pet will not be subjected to the same leg stresses of that on a doggy athlete

for example how many pets will break a leg simply running ? they play and run and a relaxed speed, they are not running against a clock at full speed every single time and yet hundreds of greyhound have suffered from right hind leg fracture do to the tremendous force that is applied running in a oval week after week, With Sunny he was racing every 3 days from about 14 months old his last race at 3 1/2 his hock literally blew apart.

For breeds where cruciate ligament tears or ruptures are common then possibly neutering later will help but for any other pet better to neuter/spay early rather than risk accidental matings or mammary cancer which the likelihood increase very sharply after just one heat cycle or in the casse of males behaviour issues related to testosterone which can include territorial and dominance type aggression and as other mentioned marking behaviour.