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What age is too young to spay a dog?

lil_kirk
November 23rd, 2004, 08:32 AM
Hello all: I am trying to do some research on spaying--so that I am prepared when I get my own little furbaby. I've been reading some of the old threads on this topic (which all seem to go off topic) so I was wondering if we could try this again.

In the Spring we will be getting our new puppy---a small breed "toy" dog. Some breeders we have talked to mention that their pups of 3 or 4 months will come spayed or neutered already. These are CKC registered breeders who participate in showing their dogs.

What is the general opinion on an appropriate age for spaying small breed females? I am under the assumption that this is ok--from what I have read online--but welcome any personal feedback from the board.

Thanks!

Cinnabear
November 23rd, 2004, 10:03 AM
I know that they are spaying or neutering around 8 weeks. Small breeds it shouldn't matter what the age is, but for larger some people think you should wait until they're over 6 mos for developmental reasons. I would talk to a vet to see what they say. Have you researched this on the net?

lil_kirk
November 23rd, 2004, 10:16 AM
I have been searching the net--but as you know there are so many unofficial sites out there which simply flood my google searches with perhaps false information. I've noticed that there are quite a few people on this board who work in rescues and have had much more experience with dogs than I have...which I why I posted this question here!

I will try calling a few vet clinics this afternoon to find out their standards on this subject--thanks for the idea (I should have thought of that myself) :)

Heinz57
November 23rd, 2004, 10:23 AM
From what I've read and have spoken to two vets this past week about this subject, here's what I have on the subject.
Both vets said the hormones are not needed for development of "house pets". I don't know about show dogs because I've never entered that aspect of owning a dog. The hormones needed for growth and development are produced by the liver as well. (I'd want more info as to why house pets and show dogs are different before I made a decision.) The anesthetic is harder on a younger pup, the main thing lowering body temperature as well as hypoglycemia (sp) risks. The reason for starting the early spay/neuter was to prevent unwanted puppies from dogs adopted from humane societies and shelters in the US, so they started fixing all puppies before they left the shelters. Now it's that way in Canada too. For a larger dog, it's also cheaper to have it done while they are younger and weigh less. Underweight puppies should NOT be altered, nor a suspected sick puppy. Benefits of altering younger are less tissue to remove resulting in a quicker recovery. I'd make sure I asked around more before I made a choice. Every pup here in Calgary is altered before leaving any shelter. Good luck with your new pup.

mastifflover
November 23rd, 2004, 10:26 AM
Small and toy breeds can be spayed I would do it around 5-6 months. For larger breeds around 8 months but giant breeds 18 months is the recommended age for developemental reasons especially bones and joints.

DogMa
November 23rd, 2004, 11:53 AM
What I have read is that hormones do play a part in the growth of the dog. It has been found that male dogs who are neutered early, tend to grow taller and leaner (ie not as broad through the chest as the breed should). This fits in with what Heinz57 says, show dogs needing to develop.
I am finding that people who want to do sports with their dogs wait until they are over a year before neutering, so that the body is fully developed, has the proper depth of chest, height of dog and strength of bone.
Now with female dogs, "they" are finding that some dogs are affected by early spaying, and that they end up having urinary tract problems throughout their lives, because the urinary tract system didn't get to mature fully.

All of this depends on the dog. Some dogs are more affected by earlier neutering, some are not. So you cannot find enough hard evidence to say that earlier spaying/neutering is definitly a bad choice.
In North America, vets are leaning toward earlier spay/neuter in order to prevent unwanted pups.
In much of Europe, they tend to neuter later.

melanie
November 23rd, 2004, 04:19 PM
:D i did my German Shep X girl (charlie) at just on 3months old. it was not cheaper, but 8 yrs ago it cost me $190 (australian) to get her done and she was still small.

i dont know if it was the right thing to do, i did not know a thing about dogs and was really scared of her going into heat, i had visions of pups and knew i could not afford 8 dogs as a student, i could barely afford one at the time, and would never be able to give them away it would break my heart, so i did it as soon as the vet would agree.

she is a normal girl, very healthy, no problems, very protective of me and normal behaviour and learning, it has not affected mental development. but she has only developed 3 nipples and they are just spots not what i owuld consider nipples. over the years they have developed a bit more but not much. she does have slight hormonal incontinance which is related to spaying but not the age i odnt think, you will have to check with lucky or mona on that one. and she has always had a weight problem and her weight is hard to control.

the only thing i have noticed about her is that she has a certain amount of attraction to stuffed toys, i dont know if that is her personality or something to do with never going into heat. but she has lots of stuffed toys that she cuddles and is very protective of.

old farmers often say you cant get it done before they go into heat the first time, but the vets i have asked have said that is a wives tale. :D

but all in all she is a normal 8yo girl and happy and healthy, she is not immature or anythign and matured normally, reached mental maturity at around 4yrs which is normal. let us know what you find out :D

LL1
November 23rd, 2004, 04:32 PM
I'm glad they do that in Calgary Heinz - it is not being done in Ontario unfortunately. Way to go Calgary!

The reason for starting the early spay/neuter was to prevent unwanted puppies from dogs adopted from humane societies and shelters in the US, so they started fixing all puppies before they left the shelters. Now it's that way in Canada too. Every pup here in Calgary is altered before leaving any shelter. Good luck with your new pup.

Schwinn
November 23rd, 2004, 05:05 PM
I don't know much about the why's, but my understanding was you had to wait until at least 6 months. I'm assuming it has something to do with hormonal development, but I'm just guessing.

lil_kirk
November 23rd, 2004, 05:32 PM
Thanks for all the great imput everyone! I appreciate hearing your own personal experiences with it. We are trying very hard to find reputable breeders and these are the sorts of details that I am not qualified yet to determine what is right or wrong (though I do know a spay or neuter contract is a must!).

Thanks again :)

MIA
November 23rd, 2004, 06:36 PM
I've done rescue pups as early as 10 weeks! I do smaller dog rescue and my vet has no issue doing it! A breeder I know does all her pet pups so that there is NO chance of them ever being bred! I think it's a great idea!!!! :p

Writing4Fun
November 23rd, 2004, 06:54 PM
Sorry for the silly question, but is there a health risk with a dog who did not grow to its full potential size? I'm asking because, if you have a dog that is "pet quality" as opposed to show quality, you can never show her/him, therefore who cares if the chest or head isn't as wide as it could be? In the end, isn't it about preventing pregnancies and possible cancers?

Phoebe is a mutt ("All Canadian", as the obedience school has classified her ;) ). We had her spayed at 5 mths. Was her growth stunted because of it? Who knows? I think she's the perfect Phoebe, period! :D

MIA
November 23rd, 2004, 06:58 PM
The breeder I know has done it for 10 years! If you put the pet dogs next to the show dogs you can't really tell the difference (as long as you aren't a MinPin judge) they are same size, fully developed etc... I would use a little caution with giant breeds but like you say, who cares if it's just a pet?!

I know for me as a rescue NO dog leaves my home with it's bits.... I refuse to risk the chance that it doesn't get done and the dog gets bred. If I were a breeder it would be the same! :p

Schwinn
November 23rd, 2004, 07:00 PM
Sorry for the silly question, but is there a health risk with a dog who did not grow to its full potential size? I'm asking because, if you have a dog that is "pet quality" as opposed to show quality, you can never show her/him, therefore who cares if the chest or head isn't as wide as it could be? In the end, isn't it about preventing pregnancies and possible cancers?

Phoebe is a mutt ("All Canadian", as the obedience school has classified her ;) ). We had her spayed at 5 mths. Was her growth stunted because of it? Who knows? I think she's the perfect Phoebe, period! :D

That is actually a good point. I don't know anything about the procedure. Do they just cut the, uh, erm..."flow" to and from the reproductive organs, or is everything removed? If it's like a person, I would think that it doesn't affect growth. (I know this contradicts what I said earlier...I'm still hypothesizing). And if it does affect growth, does that mean spaying your 8 week old great Dane will turn him into a regular dane?

Writing4Fun
November 23rd, 2004, 07:20 PM
Now, don't cringe, Schwinn. ;) I believe the procedure involves removing all of the "bits", not the same as in a human vasectomy. So, yeah, once they're gone, they're gone. I'm hoping someone can clarify the Dane thing you mention (very cute, by the way). I think it boils down to your potentially 120lb Great Dane is now only going to make it to 100lbs (I don't know what the breed standard is for Danes, so please don't call me on this detail).

doggy lover
November 23rd, 2004, 08:22 PM
My six month border collie just went in tonight to get fixed tomorrow, all my dogs and cats have been fixed at six months male and female. That is when my vet prefers to do it, and I trust his judgement.