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Very interesting! I first looked at the chart, which seemed consistent with what I'd expect. But the accompanying paragraphs are important, as they suggest (unless I'm missing something?) that neutering need only be delayed for males:

Poodle, Miniature
The study population was 41 intact males, 60 neutered males, 30 intact females, and 69 spayed females for a total sample of 199 cases. The AKC registers the Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodle varieties, all as the same breed. However, because of differences in size, the varieties of Poodles are dealt with separately here. There was no occurrence of a joint disorder in intact males or females. However, in males neutered at 6-11 mo., there was a significant 9 percent occurrence of joint disorders (p <0.01), reflecting CCL. In spayed females, there was no occurrence of a joint disorder. In intact males and females, there was a 5 and zero percent occurrence of cancers, respectively. There was no indication of increased cancer occurrence related to neutering in either sex. The only occurrence of MC in females was one female that had been spayed at 2–8 years. Of intact females, 6 percent developed PYO. Just one female spayed at <6 mo. developed UI. The suggested guideline for males, based on the significant occurrence of a joint disorder with neutering at 6-11 mo., is delaying neutering until a year of age. Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age.

Poodle, Standard
The study population was 47 intact males, 88 neutered males, 53 intact females, and 87 spayed females for a total sample of 275 cases. The AKC registers the Toy and Miniature, along with the Standard Poodle, as all being Poodles. However, because of differences in size, the varieties of Poodles are dealt with separately here. There was a 2 percent occurrence of joint disorders in both intact males and females. In males neutered at <6 mo., there was a non-significant increase to 8 percent, and in spayed females, there was no occurrence of joint disorders. The occurrences of cancers in intact males and females were 4 and 2 percent, respectively. In males neutered at 1 year of age, the occurrence of one or more cancers rose to a significant 27 percent (p <0.01), all due to the increased risk of LSA. In females, there was no significant increase in cancers with spaying. There was a 4 percent occurrence of MC, and a 2 percent occurrence of PYO in the females left intact. Just one female spayed beyond 2 years later developed UI. The suggested guideline for males, based on the occurrence of one or more cancers with neutering at 1 year, is to delay neutering until 2 years of age. Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age.
 

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Very interesting! I first looked at the chart, which seemed consistent with what I'd expect. But the accompanying paragraphs are important, as they suggest (unless I'm missing something?) that neutering need only be delayed for males:

Poodle, Miniature
The study population was 41 intact males, 60 neutered males, 30 intact females, and 69 spayed females for a total sample of 199 cases. The AKC registers the Toy, Miniature, and Standard Poodle varieties, all as the same breed. However, because of differences in size, the varieties of Poodles are dealt with separately here. There was no occurrence of a joint disorder in intact males or females. However, in males neutered at 6-11 mo., there was a significant 9 percent occurrence of joint disorders (p <0.01), reflecting CCL. In spayed females, there was no occurrence of a joint disorder. In intact males and females, there was a 5 and zero percent occurrence of cancers, respectively. There was no indication of increased cancer occurrence related to neutering in either sex. The only occurrence of MC in females was one female that had been spayed at 2–8 years. Of intact females, 6 percent developed PYO. Just one female spayed at <6 mo. developed UI. The suggested guideline for males, based on the significant occurrence of a joint disorder with neutering at 6-11 mo., is delaying neutering until a year of age. Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age.

Poodle, Standard
The study population was 47 intact males, 88 neutered males, 53 intact females, and 87 spayed females for a total sample of 275 cases. The AKC registers the Toy and Miniature, along with the Standard Poodle, as all being Poodles. However, because of differences in size, the varieties of Poodles are dealt with separately here. There was a 2 percent occurrence of joint disorders in both intact males and females. In males neutered at <6 mo., there was a non-significant increase to 8 percent, and in spayed females, there was no occurrence of joint disorders. The occurrences of cancers in intact males and females were 4 and 2 percent, respectively. In males neutered at 1 year of age, the occurrence of one or more cancers rose to a significant 27 percent (p <0.01), all due to the increased risk of LSA. In females, there was no significant increase in cancers with spaying. There was a 4 percent occurrence of MC, and a 2 percent occurrence of PYO in the females left intact. Just one female spayed beyond 2 years later developed UI. The suggested guideline for males, based on the occurrence of one or more cancers with neutering at 1 year, is to delay neutering until 2 years of age. Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age.
That is the outcome of this study, though a previous UC Davis study concluded a little differently. They looked at Addison's disease (which this recent study lacked) and specific cancers and found that early spay and neuter was very bad for development of Addisons in female standards and Lymphoma in males. Their recommendation is to delay spay until after 1 year for females and 2 years for males, though 2 years is also recommended as optimal for females. In contrast, they found no increases in these diseases related to early spay and neuter in miniatures.

Bottom line: Taking these two studies together, I'd say there's evidence that early spay and neuter is not optimal for miniature or standard poodles. The sample sizes are too small given the disease rate to really make solid conclusions. But it's enough to justify being conservative with unnecessary removal of hormones.

Here's the other study: http://vipoodle.org/wp-content/themes/vip/pdf/research/HartUCDavisPoodles+Report+7-15-16.pdf

I'd also add that these studies are not aimed at addressing behavioral effects of early spay and neuter. Which is an equal concern for me.
 

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Thanks for sharing! I’m happy to see a breed-specific study. Hopefully researchers can do more large scale studies and the recommendations change soon. I’m all for sterilization of stray dogs (this can be done without desexing but that’s another conversation), but I believe spaying/neutering young puppies is often overdone.

I recently came across another study that looked at longevity specifically regarding spay/neuter: Exploring Mechanisms of Sex Differences in Longevity: Lifetime Ovary Exposure and Exceptional Longevity in Dogs - PubMed
Their findings suggest that females with ovaries until 4 years old live longer than their spayed counterparts.

Also, here’s a large scale behavioral study on the subject for those of you who haven’t seen it: Behavioural risks in male dogs with minimal lifetime exposure to gonadal hormones may complicate population-control benefits of desexing
That paper only looks at male dogs, but this article references two other studies that include females as well: Are There Behavior Changes When Dogs Are Spayed or Neutered?
 

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With all this information available to us, I just don't understand how our young, extremely talented (and obviously intelligent) vet approaches spay/neuter with a one-size-fits-all, the-earlier-the-better approach.

She wanted Peggy spayed by 6 months.

I wonder if her passion for dog rescue might be what skews her perspective.
 

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With all this information available to us, I just don't understand how our young, extremely talented (and obviously intelligent) vet approaches spay/neuter with a one-size-fits-all, the-earlier-the-better approach.

She wanted Peggy spayed by 6 months.

I wonder if her passion for dog rescue might be what skews her perspective.
I believe this is a large part of it. I also try to remember that vets deal mostly with average dog owners and they often (and maybe correctly) assume that many pet owners are not responsible enough to be trusted with intact animals. I think America has a culture of dog owning that leaves a lot to be desired and vets see those people day in and day out. So I kind of get it. But then you also have many progressive vets that no longer push for early neuter. So things are changing but it might take time. I selected my current vet because she is trained in alternative sterilization procedures which is hard to find.
 

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Great find! I found the other breeds I am familiar with really interesting too.

I would love to see more, larger scale studies with bigger sample sizes... I spayed Annie at 1.5 years, which I wish was considered as an option in these studies, as I think there is a big range between age 1 and age 2 in terms of development.

I think the most interesting part for me was the prevalence of mammary cancer shown in intact dogs... at 2-8%, that's far lower than the incidence quoted by my vet (25%) when trying to guilt me into an early spay (6 mo).

My parent's progressive vet prefers early spays and says that a heat is inconvenient for the owners (and I think not confident of the diligence of people keeping dogs isolated during their heat). She charged a "mature dog" fee to spay Annie.
 

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Great find! I found the other breeds I am familiar with really interesting too.

I would love to see more, larger scale studies with bigger sample sizes... I spayed Annie at 1.5 years, which I wish was considered as an option in these studies, as I think there is a big range between age 1 and age 2 in terms of development.

I think the most interesting part for me was the prevalence of mammary cancer shown in intact dogs... at 2-8%, that's far lower than the incidence quoted by my vet (25%) when trying to guilt me into an early spay (6 mo).

My parent's progressive vet prefers early spays and says that a heat is inconvenient for the owners (and I think not confident of the diligence of people keeping dogs isolated during their heat). She charged a "mature dog" fee to spay Annie.
A lot of owners are so put off by the idea of a heat cycle that they would rather spay early and risk their dog's health. I know because I've heard it straight from their mouths. :cautious:
 

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Thanks for posting, Vanydog, and thanks to others for posting my thoughts :) I'm so happy to see the science evolving where we make decisions for the best interest of the animal, not just the human.
 

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Thanks for sharing this. I’m happy to see more research on this topic. Hopefully more to come, bigger numbers can shed light on the reasons for inconsistencies. It certainly adds additional data to the literature.

For my Gracie, a mini poodle I spayed at 13 months, I see it’s owner choice. That’s some reassurance as I am worried I may have done it too early as she hadn’t come in heat yet. However, the group of female mini poodles was less than 100, not sure that significant enough to be predictive of future practice. Still good data, but I think we need to be cautious and know there is limited understanding on this topic...and support more studies.
 

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Also, here’s a large scale behavioral study on the subject for those of you who haven’t seen it: Behavioural risks in male dogs with minimal lifetime exposure to gonadal hormones may complicate population-control benefits of desexing
That paper only looks at male dogs, but this article references two other studies that include females as well: Are There Behavior Changes When Dogs Are Spayed or Neutered?
Fascinating!

Yes I've actually completed the C-BARQ for Misha. He actually matches the typical trends for intact males in that study exactly. He has no issues other than a tendency to be extremely dramatic when I leave him alone and a tendency to mark though only indoors if it's a place other dogs have peed. No severe separation anxiety... but he does sometimes cry and howl in a very pathetic way. He does not like to be left when he's not expecting it as routine.
 

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It is very interesting, and I'm glad that they are starting to do some real in depth research on this subject. I would have preferred to wait to have Beau neutered, but he had a fairly large umbilical hernia that his breeder had repaired when he was just about 3 months old. So she went ahead and had him neutered at the same time. My vet says that because he's a small breed he should be just fine, and I hope she's right. 🙏

A lot of owners are so put off by the idea of a heat cycle that they would rather spay early and risk their dog's health.
You know I've never understood that, it's only a couple of weeks twice a year . . . not really that big of a deal (IMO). We have had a couple of intact females over the years, and they were really not that difficult to deal with. Keep her clean, keep her comfortable, and supervise her when she's outside.
I will never forget our 80lb collie Bear walking around the house wearing my Dad's underwear with a maxi pad in them :ROFLMAO:.
 

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