There has been a big debate over the past 20 years on spaying and neutering. Depending on the paper you read or who you talk to you will get a million different reasons on why you should or shouldn't "fix" your dog. My stance isn't to pursue you one way or the other. It's to protect my dogs and lines. Because of there in every pet home contract, there is a section on spaying & neutering. After research and discussions with many vets, along with knowing what most pet owners do and don't want to deal with, we have come up with timeline when you are required to spay/neuter your puppy from us. This is between 12-18 months of age. If an owner wishes to wait longer I will almost always agree to a point, however on the opposite side I will almost never agree to alter my contract's health guarantee because someone wants to spay/neuter earlier then agreed on in the sales contract. Here are my reasons why.
Do Your Own Research
There are hundreds of journals and studies on this topic. If you are wanting a great starting point in your own research, I would CLICK HERE to start. This letter below is from a very well-know and respected veterinarian regarding altering your animals.
In order to be considered a "responsible" breeder I am required to ensure the people buying puppies aren't allowing for mistakes to happen by having unaltered pets. Because of this, my contract is the happy medium I have found in ensuring my puppies stay healthy their whole life without inconveniencing the people bringing them into their homes. The hope is they have grown and developed enough to be well rounded and mature dogs before removing all of their hormones or giving them an opportunity to breed with the neighbors dog. Rhodesian Ridgebacks do not go into heat the first time until they are 13 to 20 months old. Males do not even come close to filling out until they are at least 24 months old.
New Research That Raises Questions About Current Neutering Recommendations
Nancy Kay, DVM
Results from a hot-off-the-press study published by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, raise questions about traditional neutering recommendations within the United States where most veterinarians advise that dogs be neutered at a young age in order to induce sterility and eliminate behavioral issues before they have a chance to begin. This new information along with data from other recent studies are a prompt for all of us to reconsider current neutering dogma.
The title of the newest study is, “Evaluation of the risk and age of onset of cancer and behavioral disorders in gonadectomized Vizslas.” The word “gonadectomized” is medical jargon for “neutered”. The research included 2,505 dogs and was supported by the Vizsla Club of America Welfare Foundation.
Effect of neutering on the incidence of cancer
Here is what the researchers learned about the prevalence of cancer as it relates to neutering:
Mast cell cancer: 3.5 times higher incidence in neutered male and female dogs, independent of age at the time of neutering.
Hemangiosarcoma: 9.0 times higher incidence in neutered females compared to nonneutered females, independent of age at the time spaying was performed. No difference in incidence of this disease was found for neutered versus nonneutered males.
Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma): 4.3 times higher incidence in neutered male and female dogs, independent of age at the time of neutering.
Other types of cancer: 5.0 times higher incidence in neutered male and female dogs. The younger a dog was at the time of neutering the younger the age of the dog at the time the cancer was diagnosed.
All cancers combined: 6.5 times higher incidence of cancer in neutered females compared to nonneutered females; 3.6 times higher incidence of cancer in neutered males compared to nonneutered males.
Effect of neutering on the incidence of behavioral issues
The research documented that dogs neutered at or before 6 months of age were at greater risk for developing a variety of behavioral issues including: separation anxiety, fear of noises, fear of gunfire, timidity, excitability, submissive urination, aggression, hyperactivity, and fear biting. Neutering after 6 months of age did not create increased risk. Fear of storms was the behavioral exception. Regardless of age at the time of neutering, neutered Vizslas were at greater risk for developing fear of storms than their nonneutered cohorts.
What does all this mean?
Interesting stuff, eh? From my perspective, I think this is a good wakeup call for anyone still clinging to the notion that all dogs not used for breeding purposes should be neutered at a young age. The recent studies that challenge traditional neutering recommendations seemingly raise more questions than they answer. All have studied large breed dogs (Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, and now Vizslas). Do these results translate to small and medium sized dog breeds as well? Would similar studies within every breed produce differing results? Should males and females be spayed at a different ages? Are the effects of neutering on behavior breed-specific?
Clearly, there is much more research to be done before determining exactly how current neutering recommendations should be altered (pun intended). For now, what makes the most sense is one-on-one discussion between family veterinarians and their clients to determine how factors such as current knowledge about the effects of neutering, intended use of the dog, breed, temperament, and the way in which the dog will be housed and cared for influence the decision of whether or not to neuter and, if so, at what age.
Would recent research results influence your decision of whether or not to neuter your dog?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award