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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 :) )
Excellent post RnP. I've been working through a review in my spare time since I probably have access to some stuff through my university that others may not. But I encourage following your advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #42
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 :) )
Ah I see, it was more of a shocked reaction to the early spay rather than a genuine question. I think the tone was lost through typing haha. Thanks very much that will come in handy! Good luck with the grooming, ours had her second groom today!
 

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You're asking to see studies so I'm going to do a dump of studies here. I always prefer to go straight to the data rather than rely on others to interpret it, but there's the downside that it does require some scientific literacy so for some it is easier to hear the interpretations from other sources. I'm not including the very recent UC Davis studies as there's enough discussion of them in other threads. These are not poodle specific studies but I think they are still useful.

Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers
This is on golden retrievers. For females, it shows sharp increase in CCL tear and one of the three cancer types when neutered early. The other two cancer types actually crease for late neuters. For golden retrievers it is recommended to keep them intact (or use a sterilization technique that doesn't alter hormones) but I think the cancer risks may be breed specific in this case. The CCL risks, however, do not seem to be breed specific based on other studies.

Body Conformation, Diet, and Risk of Breast Cancer in Pet Dogs: A Case-Control Study
This is a bit of an older study from 1991. It's similar to the 1969 study we talked about previously in that it looks at 150 dogs diagnosed with mammary cancer and 150 dogs without mammary cancer. But I think the statistics in it are a bit better if still not ideal. They're reporting odds ratios for different spay ages. This means they're looking at relative risk for each cohort. They're saying if we say the risk for intact females is 1.0, then relatively, bitches spayed at <1 yr have a risk of 0.01. Bitches spayed at 1-2.5 yrs have a relative risk of 0.11. Bitches spayed at 2.5-5 years had a relative risk of 0.3. So the way to interpret this is that bitches spayed at 2.5-5 years had 1/3 the risk that intact dogs do and those spayed at 1-2.5 years had 11% the risk that intact dogs do. This study does not say what the actual risk for intact dogs is. But, if it were, say, 25% (probably not this high in reality), then what it's saying is that a dog spayed at 1-2.5 years would have a risk of only 2.7%. So my point here is that the study supports that waiting for after the first or second heat is still not going to increase risk that much. The risk is still going to be quite low. This study is in stark contrast to the 1969 study (which I abhor) that greatly inflated risk.

Neutering of German Shepherd Dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence
This is a fairly large study of German Shepherds. I will discuss only the females and give my general takeaway. Looks like big increases (double the risk) in hip dysplasia for females neutered <12 months. Massive increase (7+ times the risk) for CCL tear. For mammary cancer, percent of females spayed at 0-6 mo was 0%, 7-12 mo was 1.1%, 1-2 years was 2.7%, 2-8 years was 4.9%. For urinary incontinence, percent of females spayed at 0-6 mo was 4.6%, 7-12 mo was 7.2%, 1-2 years was 2.8%, 2-8 years was 1%. Though it's a different breed, this study supports a low risk of mammary cancer.

Long-Term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs: Comparison of Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers
This study builds on the first one I cited about golden retrievers. So I'm just going to mention the data on labs for females. Bitches spayed <1 year had double the risk of having a joint disorder (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or CCL tear). In regard to cancer (not mammary), there is a moderate increase in risk for bitches spayed between 2-8 years, but otherwise nothing significant. But I do think cancers are often breed specific.

There are plenty of studies documenting increased risk of obesity with spay, but I don't think this is a big concern for a responsible owner that adjust caloric intake given their knowledge of a decrease in metabolism after spay.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
You're asking to see studies so I'm going to do a dump of studies here. I always prefer to go straight to the data rather than rely on others to interpret it, but there's the downside that it does require some scientific literacy so for some it is easier to hear the interpretations from other sources. I'm not including the very recent UC Davis studies as there's enough discussion of them in other threads. These are not poodle specific studies but I think they are still useful.

Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers
This is on golden retrievers. For females, it shows sharp increase in CCL tear and one of the three cancer types when neutered early. The other two cancer types actually crease for late neuters. For golden retrievers it is recommended to keep them intact (or use a sterilization technique that doesn't alter hormones) but I think the cancer risks may be breed specific in this case. The CCL risks, however, do not seem to be breed specific based on other studies.

Body Conformation, Diet, and Risk of Breast Cancer in Pet Dogs: A Case-Control Study
This is a bit of an older study from 1991. It's similar to the 1969 study we talked about previously in that it looks at 150 dogs diagnosed with mammary cancer and 150 dogs without mammary cancer. But I think the statistics in it are a bit better if still not ideal. They're reporting odds ratios for different spay ages. This means they're looking at relative risk for each cohort. They're saying if we say the risk for intact females is 1.0, then relatively, bitches spayed at <1 yr have a risk of 0.01. Bitches spayed at 1-2.5 yrs have a relative risk of 0.11. Bitches spayed at 2.5-5 years had a relative risk of 0.3. So the way to interpret this is that bitches spayed at 2.5-5 years had 1/3 the risk that intact dogs do and those spayed at 1-2.5 years had 11% the risk that intact dogs do. This study does not say what the actual risk for intact dogs is. But, if it were, say, 25% (probably not this high in reality), then what it's saying is that a dog spayed at 1-2.5 years would have a risk of only 2.7%. So my point here is that the study supports that waiting for after the first or second heat is still not going to increase risk that much. The risk is still going to be quite low. This study is in stark contrast to the 1969 study (which I abhor) that greatly inflated risk.

Neutering of German Shepherd Dogs: associated joint disorders, cancers and urinary incontinence
This is a fairly large study of German Shepherds. I will discuss only the females and give my general takeaway. Looks like big increases (double the risk) in hip dysplasia for females neutered <12 months. Massive increase (7+ times the risk) for CCL tear. For mammary cancer, percent of females spayed at 0-6 mo was 0%, 7-12 mo was 1.1%, 1-2 years was 2.7%, 2-8 years was 4.9%. For urinary incontinence, percent of females spayed at 0-6 mo was 4.6%, 7-12 mo was 7.2%, 1-2 years was 2.8%, 2-8 years was 1%. Though it's a different breed, this study supports a low risk of mammary cancer.

Long-Term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs: Comparison of Labrador Retrievers with Golden Retrievers
This study builds on the first one I cited about golden retrievers. So I'm just going to mention the data on labs for females. Bitches spayed <1 year had double the risk of having a joint disorder (hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or CCL tear). In regard to cancer (not mammary), there is a moderate increase in risk for bitches spayed between 2-8 years, but otherwise nothing significant. But I do think cancers are often breed specific.

There are plenty of studies documenting increased risk of obesity with spay, but I don't think this is a big concern for a responsible owner that adjust caloric intake given their knowledge of a decrease in metabolism after spay.
That's great thanks! Out of interest how would you decide whether these studies were relevant in poodles? Would it be looking at how common the diseases are across the board?
 

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Would it be looking at how common the diseases are across the board?


The links I promised earlier below. This is not everything I've reviewed and not all of these are studies. These are just the links I remembered to save. A few are from material in this thread. Most are from my search when deciding when to neuter my boys and from the threads on this topic that I've participated in. As I mentioned earlier, there aren't studies on this topic coming out frequently or regularly. I'm always trying to find the most current information to add to my collection.

I haven't refreshed on the GR study to suggest what is specifically relevant to poodles but the UCDavis prelim and the 32+3 breed study defines what they were tracking. The three findings are related as part of the eventually larger study.
As I noted in my Search examples bones and joints are at risk, cancers are a risk, endocrine system is at risk. I don't remember if any studies have looked at the cardio, pulmonary, GI, cognition.

The above study started with the Golden Retrievers and then expanded eventually to the UCDavis preliminary study linked above and to the 32 breed plus the 3 poodle varieties

I just did a Google search for "1969 spay neuter study" since it was referred to as a "landmark study" and this is the result:

At least 2 of these links contain information from multiple studies, stretching back some years and up to the UCDavis comparison of GR's and Labs.

There's no evidence that an early spay is medically beneficial for the dog. There is evidence that waiting past first heat at a minimum and waiting even longer til growth plates close is medically beneficial.

------------------------

Regarding the comment from the Dr. McGrandles about the US being responsible for that sea change in desexing age, without going back thru everything I've saved on the various and relevant factors, I'm very sadly agreeing that that seems extremely likely.
This isn't an actual timeline, more a sequence of events as to how this likely came to be.

After WWII, many veterans returned to their primarily Midwest farms, idled for years, crops lost and needing a new cash crop.
It was no less than the USDA that suggested to them that puppies could be a new cash crop.
By the 1960's and up to the 1990's corporate owned puppy mills/farms had production ramped to the point that millions of dogs were turned into shelters and many euthanized yearly to deal with the overpopulation.
Part of the solution was to start de-sexing puppies at a very young age, to deal with overpopulation. This was not done for any actual health benefit to the individual dog.
This practice eventually spread but the tide is turning again to look first to the health of the individual dog.

"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Maya Angelou
 

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That's great thanks! Out of interest how would you decide whether these studies were relevant in poodles? Would it be looking at how common the diseases are across the board?
Yes I do think cancer and immune disease risks are likely to have breed influence. But the issues dealing with physical growth should be much less breed specific and more to do with similarity in size and structure. So orthopedic issues I would expect to affect spoos the same as the other large breeds in these studies. There are also studies dealing with psychological effects of early spay but maybe I'll dig those up tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Yes I do think cancer and immune disease risks are likely to have breed influence. But the issues dealing with physical growth should be much less breed specific and more to do with similarity in size and structure. So orthopedic issues I would expect to affect spoos the same as the other large breeds in these studies. There are also studies dealing with psychological effects of early spay but maybe I'll dig those up tomorrow.
That makes sense! That would be interesting. I do wonder if making a female go through a heat without being able to find a mate is stressful for them. Particularly if they are alone whilst owners are at work.
 

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That's a good question. I doubt it.
Let us know what you find out:)
 

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That makes sense! That would be interesting. I do wonder if making a female go through a heat without being able to find a mate is stressful for them. Particularly if they are alone whilst owners are at work.
My guess is probably not. The first heat especially since they are still puppies and not mentally mature. Maybe a female that has been bred in the past would be more frustrated. I went through a first heat with a dog and she didn't seem to think about breeding at all during it.
 

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Discussion Starter #50
That's good to know as it looks like we'll be going down this route after speaking to her breeder today and all of the information here! I'll keep having a look into it though, if nothing else it's interesting!
 

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Hi all,
I know there are a few posts on the forum about this already but I'm hoping to see if anyone has anything to add more recently.
.
Research, more so proof of theories does seem to be limited. Could anyone point me in the right direction for more research?
Thanks very much!
The best research and advice on spay/neuter is available to you by phone (or in person) with your trusted vet and your breeder. Listen to them. They will be able to cut through the volume of (sometimes suspect ) research and data for you, and advise you based on real experience and knowledge.
Your vet and your breeder are more reliable sources than anything you can get online, including here.
 

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The best research and advice on spay/neuter is available to you by phone (or in person) with your trusted vet and your breeder. Listen to them. They will be able to cut through the volume of (sometimes suspect ) research and data for you, and advise you based on real experience and knowledge.
Your vet and your breeder are more reliable sources than anything you can get online, including here.
While this is generally my advice, too, spay is a tricky subject. You will find a lot of disagreement even among vets.

Our vet was pushing to spay Peggy at four months old! She is very rescue-oriented.

Our breeder's vet, on the other hand, said to wait until after her first birthday.
 

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While this is generally my advice, too, spay is a tricky subject. You will find a lot of disagreement even among vets.

Our vet was pushing to spay Peggy at four months old! She is very rescue-oriented.

Our breeder's vet, on the other hand, said to wait until after her first birthday.
Yes, vets disagree heavily on this because they have different motives. Vets do not necessarily recommend decisions based on what research suggests is best for the health of an animal. In addition, vets are often not up to date with the latest research. Believing vets always know best is a bit idealistic. A vet that seeks to reduce the chance of a dog breeding as much as possible will recommend neutering at 4-6 months regardless of whether this is in the dog's best interest. But a vet that works with dogs more as individuals will discuss options with a client and decide what is best given the owner's lifestyle and the dog's behavior. My dog's breeder had it in his contract that he was not allowed to be neutered until after 12 months. But she is in favor of him staying intact if possible. Other breeders are less willing to trust their puppy buyers with intact dogs and may require neutering before a certain age.
 

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This has been a very interesting read. My thanks to all who have participated. As I have said elsewhere on PF I am considering an ovary-sparing spay for Violet, a 12-month old mini poodle who so far has never gone into heat. I am waiting until experiencing a heat with her to make a final decision re OSS vs traditional spay. I wish I had the freedom Raindrops has, to wait for a longer period while I learn how my dog experiences a heat cycle- anecdotal report is that it is easier with some dogs than others.

I heard the following observation from a long time breeder: sometimes a less than straight foot (slightly turned out or in) may straighten as the chest drops/fills out with mature development in an intact poodle. At times Violet’s front left foot appears slightly turned outwards. I am watching this with curiosity to see if it resolves by 18-24 months, though other factors may lead to a traditional spay before that much time passes. I have no scientific research to quote on this. Which is too bad because I doubt I would be the only one interested in reading such research.
 

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This has been a very interesting read. My thanks to all who have participated. As I have said elsewhere on PF I am considering an ovary-sparing spay for Violet, a 12-month old mini poodle who so far has never gone into heat. I am waiting until experiencing a heat with her to make a final decision re OSS vs traditional spay. I wish I had the freedom Raindrops has, to wait for a longer period while I learn how my dog experiences a heat cycle- anecdotal report is that it is easier with some dogs than others.

I heard the following observation from a long time breeder: sometimes a less than straight foot (slightly turned out or in) may straighten as the chest drops/fills out with mature development in an intact poodle. At times Violet’s front left foot appears slightly turned outwards. I am watching this with curiosity to see if it resolves by 18-24 months, though other factors may lead to a traditional spay before that much time passes. I have no scientific research to quote on this. Which is too bad because I doubt I would be the only one interested in reading such research.
Misha has always had a bit of foot turnout. It was extreme at one point when he was a pup. It has become less as he gets older but when he stands he will often turn out a little. But when he walks it is always perfectly straight as it should be. His breeder has always said that it will lessen as he fills our and may go away entirely. She has seen recent stacks of him and says he is filling out but will likely continue to improve as his father filled out very late. So I would agree there may be improvement. Misha certainly kept maturing after 12 months. I would look at how her feet fall when she is moving. They should face forward when walking even if she has some turn out due to narrow chest.
 

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This has been a very interesting read. My thanks to all who have participated. As I have said elsewhere on PF I am considering an ovary-sparing spay for Violet, a 12-month old mini poodle who so far has never gone into heat. I am waiting until experiencing a heat with her to make a final decision re OSS vs traditional spay. I wish I had the freedom Raindrops has, to wait for a longer period while I learn how my dog experiences a heat cycle- anecdotal report is that it is easier with some dogs than others.

I heard the following observation from a long time breeder: sometimes a less than straight foot (slightly turned out or in) may straighten as the chest drops/fills out with mature development in an intact poodle. At times Violet’s front left foot appears slightly turned outwards. I am watching this with curiosity to see if it resolves by 18-24 months, though other factors may lead to a traditional spay before that much time passes. I have no scientific research to quote on this. Which is too bad because I doubt I would be the only one interested in reading such research.
The biggest anatomical change in Peggy was the development of her vulva, which made me realize how rare it is to see a mature canine vulva. It was rather startling at first—a vivid illustration of how early spay stops some physical development in its tracks.
 

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I had to laugh at myself when Annie was a puppy and i was debating the spay thing.

I thought to myself, after 50 years of early spaying, surely its selected for good development prior to spay/and good health after spay.... uh.... no.... silly human. No spayed dogs have produced puppies. Seems really obvious, but it was kind of shocking to think about - when we choose breeding stock (for example, selecting for dogs without hip dysplasia), its all done with dogs who have not had this large surgery that 90% of pets have... we CAN'T select for anything to do with how a dog responds to a spay or neuter.
 

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I had to laugh at myself when Annie was a puppy and i was debating the spay thing.

I thought to myself, after 50 years of early spaying, surely its selected for good development prior to spay/and good health after spay.... uh.... no.... silly human. No spayed dogs have produced puppies. Seems really obvious, but it was kind of shocking to think about - when we choose breeding stock (for example, selecting for dogs without hip dysplasia), its all done with dogs who have not had this large surgery that 90% of pets have... we CAN'T select for anything to do with how a dog responds to a spay or neuter.
This is a very good point. Breeders selecting for health are doing that with intact dogs. It makes sense that altering hormones would not benefit health.
 

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The biggest anatomical change in Peggy was the development of her vulva, which made me realize how rare it is to see a mature canine vulva. It was rather startling at first—a vivid illustration of how early spay stops some physical development in its tracks.
Yes I know what you mean. And also they don't really develop nipples when spayed early. Also, if you ever see a male neutered at 8 weeks you will know. But you might have some difficulty realizing he's a male.
 

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I can't say that I've ever paid much attention to dog vulvas over the years. My Mia (since passed) was spayed around six months, but as a cavalier she had fluff...and I guess I just didn't notice? With Violet I check size regularly because I'm monitoring for heat. It seems like in her latest haircut, a shorter modern, I can kind of see it there when looking from the back- like a tab pointing downward. Does this mean something? I'm driving myself mad with this heat monitoring... Lol, it's both silly and important.
 
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