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My husband and I have been confronted by folks on both sides of the spay/neuter-and-when? argument.

We've also read a few research papers that support either side--but not too many.

As I've said before on the forum there is scientific data out there that can support almost any claim.

In any event, we were contemplating doing our own literature review of the data out there for people to use but I came across one today. This is a review of quite a few papers with real science behind them. The review is unbiased and references a few of the common papers people draw their arguments from.

Personally, after reading the review I still feel like waiting for the first heat will be our position but it's because of our dog as an individual. If she were a different dog with a different anatomy, perhaps my position would be different.

Anyhow I encourage you to read this as I know it's been a discussion topic here before.

http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
 

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This is an interesting article. And I really appreciated understanding neutering and spaying from an individual health point of view. But for me, neutering and spaying needs to also be looked at from a societal point of view. We have seen enough accidental breedings on this forum in the past few months to know that dogs will find a way to mate if possible! The risk of owners waiting to spay and neuter their dogs for too long must mean that the risk of accidental breedings goes up. So I still think it's right for veterinarians and other animal health specialists to advocate for blanket spay and neutering times.

Having said that, I also think every owner must have individual choice. If someone is confident in their ability to be aware of their dog being in heat or other dogs being in heat and in their ability to prevent accidental breedings, then they should do whatever feels right for them and their dog.
 

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This is an interesting article. And I really appreciated understanding neutering and spaying from an individual health point of view. But for me, neutering and spaying needs to also be looked at from a societal point of view. We have seen enough accidental breedings on this forum in the past few months to know that dogs will find a way to mate if possible! The risk of owners waiting to spay and neuter their dogs for too long must mean that the risk of accidental breedings goes up. So I still think it's right for veterinarians and other animal health specialists to advocate for blanket spay and neutering times.

Having said that, I also think every owner must have individual choice. If someone is confident in their ability to be aware of their dog being in heat or other dogs being in heat and in their ability to prevent accidental breedings, then they should do whatever feels right for them and their dog.
I like that you brought up accidental breeding. This is indeed a problem if folks aren't able to give that constant guarding to their pets. And especially a problem because it contributes to the overpopulation problem.

For us, we're able to very closely watch our pup for this this first heat that she will come into. We are very adamant that she is not accidentally bred.

But I do think in general, there are lots of sweeping generalizations about important issues such as spaying and neutering and sometimes people cling to those generalizations rather than evaluating individuals.
 

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I would have to say that my opinion has really changed about this topic over the years. When I first worked at a vet hospital (I started there when I was in high school 18 years ago), the common guideline was spay or neuter when your dog turned 6 months old. Then, early spay and neuter came onto the sceen and since I also volunteered with a rescue, I was a big believer in it. For many years, I thought "the younger, the better" when it came to sterilization.

However, new studies that I've read in the past few years have really made me think. Now I don't think there is one right answer, expecially after seeing the recent Rottweiler study that found Rotts that were spayed after 4 years of age lived longer than those spayed before 4 years of age.

The last dog I had was a mixed breed from a rescue, and he was neutered at 10 weeks old. For my mini poo, I am going to wait until he's older (maybe 10 to 12 months old) to neuter him, based on my breeder's advice.

I do think the bottom line is we as dog owners should all have a CHOICE when it comes to decisions about our dogs' health, spaying and nautering included. No state or city should be able to force you to spay or neuter at a certain age, and it's really scary that so many are trying to do so.
 

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It really should be an individual decision based on the dog/owner. I chose to neuter Vinnie at a year old. If he would have been better about having his jewels, I would have waited longer. But, he is a macho little guy and quite full of himself. He does not mark in my house, but did try to mark in my parents house several months ago. I do NOT want this type of behavior to become a habit. Also, I needed to be careful about height with him, so last month I xrayed him to check growth plates - they were closed, so we neutered.

Robin, my Whippet, on the other hand was not neutered until 4 1/2 years. He was showing in the breed ring and was VERY good about having jewels. He could probably still be intact today (at 12 years) and not have any problems.

Frank was neutered at nine months when we did his Legg-Perthes surgery as it was convenient.

All very individual...
 

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If you are a responsible dog owner then I say wait until you feel comfortable in having it done but 90% of the population in America who own dogs/cats are not responsible or in most cases completely ignorant.

I have been rescuing dogs and cats for almost 8 years now and I will always, no matter what scientific study's say, advocate for companion animals to be spayed or neutered before 6 months of age.

The one thing people argue over is health reasons, its not just the health of the animal its the fact that millions of unwanted dogs and cats die because people did not have their animal spayed or neutered. If there ever comes a day that we no longer put animals down do to lack of homes then I will say spay or don't that's up to you but right now in the USA its just not an option and it must be done (in paring with public education on animal ownership.)
 

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If you are a responsible dog owner then I say wait until you feel comfortable in having it done but 90% of the population in America who own dogs/cats are not responsible or in most cases completely ignorant.

I have been rescuing dogs and cats for almost 8 years now and I will always, no matter what scientific study's say, advocate for companion animals to be spayed or neutered before 6 months of age.

The one thing people argue over is health reasons, its not just the health of the animal its the fact that millions of unwanted dogs and cats die because people did not have their animal spayed or neutered. If there ever comes a day that we no longer put animals down do to lack of homes then I will say spay or don't that's up to you but right now in the USA its just not an option and it must be done (in paring with public education on animal ownership.)


This is where my thoughts are - always have been. It is a huge problem.
 

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I almost wish I had not seen this thread...Conan is scheduled to go in tomorrow morning--he's just a week shy of 6 months old and now I'm kind of freaking out about it.
 

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The thing is there are health risks in either situation early or later.

Don't freak out, I have done most of mine before 6 months (many have) .....I am very cautious of my pets and they are almost always supervised but I have a fence and anything can happen and I have just never never been one to risk an unwanted breeding.
 

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I'm not concerned at all about the breeding, it's the bone cancer!!!

let me rephrase--there is about a .00000001% chance of an unwanted breeding (he's my only dog, there are no immediate female neighbor dogs, he does not go outside without a human or off leash)
 

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......Maybe you need to reschedule. I think there is a lot more to consider when animals get the later on health problems - knowing what we know or read there are suppliments, how people feed and exercise their dogs - with the statistics we shold always be aware and educate ourselves but with statistics - you have to consider all factors you know:) because these stats as with most they are only taking very few things into consideration.
 

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I'm not concerned at all about the breeding, it's the bone cancer!!!

let me rephrase--there is about a .00000001% chance of an unwanted breeding (he's my only dog, there are no immediate female neighbor dogs, he does not go outside without a human or off leash)
I don't think this article gives enough information about that area.

It says "A multi-breed case-control study of the risk factors for osteosarcoma found that spay/neutered dogs (males or females) had twice the risk of developing osteosarcoma as did intact dogs."

But what is the risk of intact dogs developing osteosarcoma? If their risk is .001 and a neutered dog's risk is .002, is that something to be overly concerned about? Phrases like "double" or "three times" are meaningless IMO without knowing the base risk number. If the base risk is 10% then it doubles to 20%, then I might be worried, but if it's a low risk overall that is doubled then that alone would not be anything I would be overly concerned about.

The article does give more specific information on Rottweilers, but it says that they are a breed that is already high at risk for osteosarcoma. So really for poodles you need to look at the risk for developing osteosarcoma in the first place, and then whether you are comfortable with that risk potentially being doubled...
 

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I canceled for the moment. I had felt a little pressured into it anyway and then on top of what I had just started reading, it just increased my anxiety and there's no need for that. So I'll keep reading for right now.
 

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I don't think this article gives enough information about that area.

It says "A multi-breed case-control study of the risk factors for osteosarcoma found that spay/neutered dogs (males or females) had twice the risk of developing osteosarcoma as did intact dogs."

But what is the risk of intact dogs developing osteosarcoma? If their risk is .001 and a neutered dog's risk is .002, is that something to be overly concerned about? Phrases like "double" or "three times" are meaningless IMO without knowing the base risk number. If the base risk is 10% then it doubles to 20%, then I might be worried, but if it's a low risk overall that is doubled then that alone would not be anything I would be overly concerned about.

The article does give more specific information on Rottweilers, but it says that they are a breed that is already high at risk for osteosarcoma. So really for poodles you need to look at the risk for developing osteosarcoma in the first place, and then whether you are comfortable with that risk potentially being doubled...
I agree with a lot of the points mentioned this post. I also agree that rescheduling the appointment was not a bad idea because at least whatever your decision is in the end, you know you've put in the effort and research to do what was best for your dog.

It may be valuable to look at the specific studies that were reviewed in this literature review (they're listed on the last page) to get a better idea of how these things apply to your dog. The reason I put the review up on the site was actually double--1.)to show that there is a lot of information out there that is pertinent to canine health and 2.)that generalizations based on statistics from one or two studies can't be applied to all dogs.

People throw around stats all the time but it's like Cdnjennga said
"If their risk is .001 and a neutered dog's risk is .002, is that something to be overly concerned about? Phrases like "double" or "three times" are meaningless IMO without knowing the base risk number."

We had a very kind and informative vet the other day who was concerned that we weren't spaying our dog right now at 6 months. Unfortunately, she was one of the people who referenced only one study and blew the stats from that study way out of proportion. Had we not been the discerning and doubtful scientists we are and rather just trusting pet owners, we may have been swayed by her opinion. But now that we've done our own research, we feel like we're making an educated decision.

We may be wrong and we may find out 12 years from now that our dog has an illness related to her spaying after the first heat but at least we gave it our best shot and didn't read just one pamphlet before she went under the knife.
 

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I agree--I am a skeptic as well and nothing irritates me more than a "pushy" vet taking advantage of the trusting pet owners. In fact that in itself has made me almost overboard on the doubting side. I hate feeling like I have to go in "armed and ready" every time we visit the vet.

However, the more i think about it the more it "just makes common sense" to not mess with hormones until they have had a chance to do the majority of their growing...I'm all for the most natural methods whenever possible.
 

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I agree--I am a skeptic as well and nothing irritates me more than a "pushy" vet taking advantage of the trusting pet owners. In fact that in itself has made me almost overboard on the doubting side. I hate feeling like I have to go in "armed and ready" every time we visit the vet.

However, the more i think about it the more it "just makes common sense" to not mess with hormones until they have had a chance to do the majority of their growing...I'm all for the most natural methods whenever possible.
Well no one can say you're not looking out for your poodle!
 

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Well no one can say you're not looking out for your poodle!
it's our job right??! :) I don't think anyone on this forum could be accused of not wanting the best for their pups--which is why we'll never understand those who don't care. how you could look at their sweet faces and not care is beyond me!!! ps thanks for posting the original link.
 
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