Spaying and Neutering too Early

Spay and Neuter procedures are often done too early in your pets life. According to the Animal Wellness Magazine, this can cause health issues later on.

Pet overpopulation is definitely an issue in the United States, but are we spaying and neutering too soon?

“Conventional veterinary wisdom recommends that dogs be spayed or neutered between six and nine months of age, and preferably before the first estrus cycle in females. But this recommendation is based less on scientific fact and more on practicalities; younger puppies can be riskier candidates for anesthesia, though current drugs and methods are safer than they used to be. In other words, there is no scientific evidence for spaying or neutering at an early age.

Opponents of early spay/neuter (especially younger than five-and- a-half months) contend that a variety of orthopedic and other issues can result from these procedures. Deprivation of sexual hormones and development through puberty may create long-lasting physical and psychological harm.”

There are also some side effects that can become very problematic:

  • Higher risk of certain types of cancer
  • Orthopedic issues
  • Obesity
  • Urinary issues

Of course there are also benefits:

  • Reduce behavioral problems
  • Prevent some cancers
  • Additional benefits

So what should you do?

The latest studies may be uncovering some uncomfortable truths about the risks of spaying and neutering. There are both pros and cons surrounding the procedure. Talk to your veterinarian about your individual pet’s potential risk factors, and/or about spaying or neutering at a later age. For example, if you’re going to compete with your dog in physically demanding sports, you may want to wait until bone growth is complete before having him neutered, to decrease the potential for injury. Of course, until neutering or spaying takes place, you’ll need to carefully monitor your pet to ensure no unplanned pregnancies occur. At the end of the day, whether or not you spay or neuter your pet is a personal choice that depends on your own views, and your pet’s risk factors and lifestyle.