Dog spays and neuters
Dr Jan recommends to wait until your puppy, especially a large breed, reaches full maturity, which varies from breed to breed, and individual to individual. ‘Fixing” a dog will not solve behavioural problems. The message of rescue and activist groups is to “prevent litters while there are dogs needing homes”. There are health hazards to paediatric spaying and neutering. Many spay/neuter and rescue organizations spay and neuter as early as six weeks! Why then do so many vets recommend early spay/neuter? Partly because of social messaging from spay/neuter activists, and partly because of outdated studies that have concluded that spay/neuter solves behavioural problems. Spaying and neutering at 6 months has become part of the zeitgeist, without examining the long-term effects. There is much research suggesting that it’s best and healthiest for your dog to wait until he or she achieves maturity before you spay or neuter. It depends on how much you’re willing to take on in order to give your dog the implied health benefits of waiting. For intact male dogs you have to be ready to intervene if he begins to exhibit sexual behaviour with a female. For a female dog, waiting means providing the extra care needed if she goes through her first heat cycle before you spay. She’ll go into her first heat cycle at 6-12 months old. Once she’s had her first heat cycle, she’ll go into heat about every six months.
Remember, your dog relies on you to make decisions that are best for him or her.
If you’d like to read further on this subject:
- Risk factors for excessive tibial plateau angle in large breed dogs with cranial cruciate ligament disease, by Dr. Felix Duer, December 2007
- Early Spay- neuter considerations, one vets opinion, By Dr. Chris Zink, 2013
- Dr. Mercola – “Don’t make this mistake”
Cat spays and neuters
The jury is still out on the most appropriate age to spay and neuter your cat. Dr Jan is of the opinion that pediatric spays and neuters (less than 6 months), should be avoided if possible.
This X-ray shows the bladder of a neutered male cat post relief of a blocked urethra (blockage is far less common in intact male cats).