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A quick note...With the current studies leaning away from early de-sexing and towards waiting til near or full physical maturity, many of us have found that our vets are stuck in the old mind frame.
We show them the studies and/or stand our ground for what we believe will give our dogs their best chance for a long, healthy life after looking at current findings.
 

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I'll add or emphasize that in an early spay/neuter before physical maturity is complete, the dog's legs will be longer - but their overall bone density is thinner.

You mentioned concerns that never spayed females are more likely to get cancer. Most quoted on the Internet are results from this original study done in Mexico and published in 2015, titled:
Epidemiological Study of Mammary Tumors in Female Dogs Diagnosed during the Period 2002-2012: A Growing Animal Health Problem

The odds are still quite low if spayed after the first heat but before the second.

"...In Veterinary medicine, mammary tumors represent the most frequently diagnosed neoplasm in intact female dogs, and 50% of these are malignant [1]. A study focusing on the incidence of canine mammary tumors found tumors in approximately 0.05% of females that were spayed before their first heat cycle. This figure increased to 8% or 26% when the animals were spayed after their first or second heat, respectively. However, if the animals were spayed later, the risk of developing malignant tumors (MN) was the same as for an intact bitch [2]..."

It strikes me as a gamble on what any owner would choose:

You could spay before her first heat, using as a guide when the puppy's mother, aunts or grandmother had their first heat. The outcome is a taller poodle with thinner bone mass, and any other associated problems and benefits as described here. One benefit would be extremely low odds (0.5%) of ever getting a mammary tumor or reproductive cancer.

Or you could wait until a few months after her first heat. Her bones will be stronger, and she'll have other benefits from waiting until her body is closer to full adult stage, but her odds are 8% that she'll get mammary tumors or cancer when she's 9 to 12 years old. That's still 92% odds that she won't.

I guess the first thing I would do is try to find out when her mother and any close maternal relatives had their first heat; this will give you a clue when your puppy will have hers. Hopefully after 14+ which I've read here on PF is sort of benchmark. After that, it's consider all available info, flip a coin or go with your gut. Good luck!
Vita, this is great info, but I would like to offer a correction on the source. That 2015 paper is merely citing a much older paper from 1969 that looked at a very small sample of less than 100 dogs with mammary cancer. And the data was not obtained the way you would think. They didn't take a cohort of dogs and look at which ones developed mammary cancer the way a current study would. Instead, they looked at a group of dogs that had mammary cancer, and then looked at how many of those dogs were neutered at various ages or intact. They used a chi squared test to get their data which is extremely oldschool. I don't think this study is up to today's standards. I have serious doubts about the validity of the findings. I will keep looking for a more current study. Everywhere seems to just cite this old one! I find it kind of crazy.

Here it is:
Schneider Dorn & Taylor, 1969
 

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Based on what I've seen here and linked articles, we'll have Happy spayed sometime between the 1 and 2 year mark - probably closer to 2. I think there's lots to be said for allowing our dogs to fully mature before removing the sex hormone. Thank you to all the smart folks here...
 

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Vita, this is great info, but I would like to offer a correction on the source. That 2015 paper is merely citing a much older paper from 1969 that looked at a very small sample of less than 100 dogs with mammary cancer. And the data was not obtained the way you would think. They didn't take a cohort of dogs and look at which ones developed mammary cancer the way a current study would. Instead, they looked at a group of dogs that had mammary cancer, and then looked at how many of those dogs were neutered at various ages or intact. They used a chi squared test to get their data which is extremely oldschool. I don't think this study is up to today's standards. I have serious doubts about the validity of the findings. I will keep looking for a more current study. Everywhere seems to just cite this old one! I find it kind of crazy.

Here it is:
Schneider Dorn & Taylor, 1969
Thank you, but I'm wondering that if this is true, the study was very misleading.
It says:

"Epidemiological studies enable us to analyze disease behavior, define risk factors and establish fundamental prognostic criteria, with the purpose of studying different types of diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the epidemiological characteristics of canine mammary tumors diagnosed during the period 2002-2012. The study was based on a retrospective study consisting of 1,917 biopsies of intact dogs that presented mammary gland lesions."

I thought the study meant to be of 1,917 dogs during that 2002-12 time period. 😀 It does have a lot of footnotes including the small study from 1969 you mentioned.

There were also a lot of graphs, and as the title of the study suggested, they found an increase in mammary tumors and cancer during that ten year time period. I wondered then if this had anything to do with environmental issues in the area where they examined these deceased dogs or increased technology to better identify cancer during that ten year period.

I'd like to see a more current study from nationwide vets. Seems do-able if enough can be found to go along with this.
 

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Thank you, but I'm wondering that if this is true, the study was very misleading.
It says:

"Epidemiological studies enable us to analyze disease behavior, define risk factors and establish fundamental prognostic criteria, with the purpose of studying different types of diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the epidemiological characteristics of canine mammary tumors diagnosed during the period 2002-2012. The study was based on a retrospective study consisting of 1,917 biopsies of intact dogs that presented mammary gland lesions."

I thought the study meant to be of 1,917 dogs during that 2002-12 time period. 😀 It does have a lot of footnotes including the small study from 1969 you mentioned.

There were also a lot of graphs, and as the title of the study suggested, they found an increase in mammary tumors and cancer during that ten year time period. I wondered then if this had anything to do with environmental issues in the area where they examined these deceased dogs or increased technology to better identify cancer during that ten year period.

I'd like to see a more current study from nationwide vets. Seems do-able if enough can be found to go along with this.
So I took a closer look at what the 2015 study is reporting.

From Methods: "In every case study, the information about age, sex, breed and hormonal status was obtained. None of the dogs were spayed before the third heat. In fact, most of the animals were spayed at the time of the mastectomy. "

This study isn't looking at the effect of spaying at all. They cite the 1969 study multiple times in the introduction and discussion, but this is just to provide background info supporting why their study is important. Every incidence where they mention the 0.5/0.08/0.26 rates have a citation to the 1969 paper.

The 1969 paper is truly very outdated to be cited as much as it is.
 

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...This study isn't looking at the effect of spaying at all. They cite the 1969 study multiple times in the introduction and discussion, but this is just to provide background info supporting why their study is important. Every incidence where they mention the 0.5/0.08/0.26 rates have a citation to the 1969 paper. The 1969 paper is truly very outdated to be cited as much as it is.
(Deep sigh.) Thank you Ranidrops. It sounds like we need a brand new study to see if the other(s) would be duplicated or turn up new data showing it's better or worse to spay. Politically that would be a hot potato if it negatively affects the income of vets, like rabies shots vs. rabies titers.
 

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(Deep sigh.) Thank you Ranidrops. It sounds like we need a brand new study to see if the other(s) would be duplicated or turn up new data showing it's better or worse to spay. Politically that would be a hot potato if it negatively affects the income of vets, like rabies shots vs. rabies titers.
I'm still looking in case there is some data out there. Maybe one of the big cohort studies looked at it. Just seems odd there isn't something more recent. Makes me very frustrated.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
A quick note...With the current studies leaning away from early de-sexing and towards waiting til near or full physical maturity, many of us have found that our vets are stuck in the old mind frame.
We show them the studies and/or stand our ground for what we believe will give our dogs their best chance for a long, healthy life after looking at current findings.
If there are any links to the current studies that show this please throw the links in! As for the ones I've read here particularly the study across several breeds there's not a great deal that advises against spaying at 6 months onwards.... Unless I've missed something, which is also quite possible haha.
 

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I listened to this podcast. (2018) She refers to no long term studies done over 10-12-14 years. There now have been, the UCDavis study. The preliminary study does suggest waiting to 1 year for females to reduce risk of Addisons and 2 years to reduce risk of lymphoma.
The larger UCDavis study also above only mentioned joint disorders and unspecified cancers.

What there does not seem to be is any disagreement that allowing the dog to develop to maturity before de-sexing to allow the "balance of hormones" to do their proper job is the best course.

At around 6 minutes she states that early neuter is "atrocious" especially for larger breeds. She mentions prior to the US popularizing early neutering, they (vets) were trained to wait til the growth plates were closed and that more than just the medical side should be looked at. "All" their developments are affected (by the early spay).
Around 10 minutes she refers to the ovary sparing option and she has "slight concerns" because she feels more long term studies need to be done.
Around 12:15 minutes she mentions her own 15m old lab still unspayed.
Around 15m she states "do not spay before first heat" "do not spay before fully toilet trained"
Around 19m she states to take extra care of any dog spayed early, to monitor potential issues.
Around 22m she states to wait as long as possible to spay/neuter
She keeps referring to latest studies but doesn't name them :(


This field of study, the effects of spay/neuter is still relatively recent, so there simply aren't that many published yet.

I'll add as I find info.
 

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Please do that would be great! The 3 month spay is strange, I hadn't heard of it until starting to research the 6 month option. Not sure if there are any benefits to it?
 

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I listened to this podcast. (2018) She refers to no long term studies done over 10-12-14 years. There now have been, the UCDavis study. The preliminary study does suggest waiting to 1 year for females to reduce risk of Addisons and 2 years to reduce risk of lymphoma.
The larger UCDavis study also above only mentioned joint disorders and unspecified cancers.

What there does not seem to be is any disagreement that allowing the dog to develop to maturity before de-sexing to allow the "balance of hormones" to do their proper job is the best course.

At around 6 minutes she states that early neuter is "atrocious" especially for larger breeds. She mentions prior to the US popularizing early neutering, they (vets) were trained to wait til the growth plates were closed and that more than just the medical side should be looked at. "All" their developments are affected (by the early spay).
Around 10 minutes she refers to the ovary sparing option and she has "slight concerns" because she feels more long term studies need to be done.
Around 12:15 minutes she mentions her own 15m old lab still unspayed.
Around 15m she states "do not spay before first heat" "do not spay before fully toilet trained"
Around 19m she states to take extra care of any dog spayed early, to monitor potential issues.
Around 22m she states to wait as long as possible to spay/neuter
She keeps referring to latest studies but doesn't name them :(


This field of study, the effects of spay/neuter is still relatively recent, so there simply aren't that many published yet.

I'll add as I find info.

Thanks, Rose! I added it here since it's on YouTube:
"Spaying a Bitch. Should You and If So, When? - Podcast 15"


Dr. McGrandles is a Surgical Vet and Clinical Director of Glenbrae Veterinary Care, which she founded 30 years ago in 1990. This is in the UK. She has three clinics which do conventional and holistic animal care. I thought she was on point and very knowledgeable.
 

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Please do that would be great! The 3 month spay is strange, I hadn't heard of it until starting to research the 6 month option. Not sure if there are any benefits to it?
she states that early neuter is "atrocious" especially for larger breeds.
?????
How did you get to there from the information given in the podcast, or anything that has been written in this post?
There are no benefits to any dog by spaying early.
According to your own source de-sexing should not be done before growth plates close, and for a female, certainly never before a first heat.
 

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3 month spay is popular in shelters where they worry about pet overpopulation. The benefit to it is - no chance of the dog having puppies, which is a societal benefit, not an individual dog


Standard poodles
"
For females, delaying spaying females until they are at least a year old seems to avoid increasing the risk of Addison’s Disease, and waiting until 2 years avoids the possible increased risk of lymphoma. Delaying spaying does not appear to increase the risk of mammary cancer, and even leaving a female intact raises the risk to only 4 percent." Basically - they found no benefits to a 6 mo spay (usually quoted the mammary cancer benefit) at all! Addisons is a particularly nasty thing to deal with, and quite common in poodles.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
?????
How did you get to there from the information given in the podcast, or anything that has been written in this post?
There are no benefits to any dog by spaying early.
According to your own source de-sexing should not be done before growth plates close, and for a female, certainly never before a first heat.
I'm lost? Where does it say in my comment I agree with spaying at 3 months? Like you said I would not take the advice of one podcast I'm looking for a collection of studies to advise people in a similar situation to us.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
3 month spay is popular in shelters where they worry about pet overpopulation. The benefit to it is - no chance of the dog having puppies, which is a societal benefit, not an individual dog


Standard poodles
"
For females, delaying spaying females until they are at least a year old seems to avoid increasing the risk of Addison’s Disease, and waiting until 2 years avoids the possible increased risk of lymphoma. Delaying spaying does not appear to increase the risk of mammary cancer, and even leaving a female intact raises the risk to only 4 percent." Basically - they found no benefits to a 6 mo spay (usually quoted the mammary cancer benefit) at all! Addisons is a particularly nasty thing to deal with, and quite common in poodles.
As a counterpoint, lymphoma was quoted to be a modest and non significant risk before 1 year. Addison's becomes a risk when spaying before 6 months. I hope I'm not coming across as argumentative because I have no where near enough knowledge to have an opinion yet but this study seems as unsure as I am.
 

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To put it another way - what ADVANTAGES do you see to a 6 mo spay? I will agree spaying in general poses advantages over non spaying (neutering is a bit less clear) but i havent found any references other than the mammary cancer risk, which is reported as pretty low even in intact standards (4% vs. the 20-25% risk reported for other breeds).

Heres another interesting summary, which links to the relevant studies at the end.


ACL rupture, not controlled for age, but assume 6 months for most, as that is the most common ag of spay.
https://www.ors.org/Transactions/50/1311.pdf
 

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We are going to get my spoo spayed at 2.5 years based on recommendations from our vet. It was something that we talked about, got his opinion (which was to wait), and did a bunch of research.

He offers the option of doing an X-ray to verify that the growth plates are closed prior to the spay/neuter.
 

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Discussion Starter #39
To put it another way - what ADVANTAGES do you see to a 6 mo spay? I will agree spaying in general poses advantages over non spaying (neutering is a bit less clear) but i havent found any references other than the mammary cancer risk, which is reported as pretty low even in intact standards (4% vs. the 20-25% risk reported for other breeds).

Heres another interesting summary, which links to the relevant studies at the end.


ACL rupture, not controlled for age, but assume 6 months for most, as that is the most common ag of spay.
https://www.ors.org/Transactions/50/1311.pdf
After researching I can't see any reason to rush a spay at six months. I do agree that the benefits of getting it done that early don't appear to be that great. However waiting for the first heat does not seem to offer a huge amount of benefits either. Based solely on my limited research and what is in this thread. None of the studies show a great increase in risk spaying around the 1 year mark. At least that's how I'm leaning today, it could change tomorrow haha!
 

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The 3 month spay is strange, I hadn't heard of it until starting to research the 6 month option. Not sure if there are any benefits to it?
I'm lost? Where does it say in my comment I agree with spaying at 3 months? Like you said I would not take the advice of one podcast I'm looking for a collection of studies to advise people in a similar situation to us.
I was puzzled as to why you were asking about benefits to a spay at 3 months when I thought there was enough information presented to indicate that it wasn't beneficial to the dog in any way to do an early spay.

I'm not going to have the time to do the searches in the immediate future after all so here's where and how and I do my searches:

Where
Google
Google Scholar

I take medical information only from trusted medical sites.
I take study information only from teaching universities, genetic labs, accredited sources.
I look at the date the study was published. I look at older sources they cite to build a sort of timeline of learning.
I look at the tangents that come up in the course of the search and do the same process there.
I build a web of information so I can see a sort of map of the whole of what I find. That's the hardest part to describe to others.

I will look at opinion articles and papers and then review their sources. I keep drilling til I find the original source/s for the opinion. If their source is not noted, I look for quoted phrases or other names to do a search on and see where else that comes up.

How
I start with a simple search term and add or subtract modifiers for each search
(risks of) (effects of) (early) spay standard poodle (for orthopedic conditions) (hip dysplasia) (CCL) (growth plates) (etc)
Ditto>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(for endocrinology conditions) (Addisons) (Diabetes) (Cushings) (etc)
Ditto>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(for cancers) (lymphoma) (mammary) (etc)
Ditto>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>(behavior) (etc)

Here's the links I've remembered to save since I started looking at this topic before neutering my mini boys at just over 1 year old, which is considered mature growth for the variety.

(Right click functions not working for some reason, can't cut/copy/paste. I'll post this for now and see if I can't get them in later. Must go bathe and groom my two now :) )
 
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