Our Policy on Spaying and Neutering
At Laurie and Joe’s Labs, we require our puppy families to wait until the puppy is 2 years old before spaying or neutering or our health contract is voided. Please read the scientific reasons below:
A study by Salmeri et al in 1991 found that females spayed at 7 weeks grew significantly taller than those spayed at 7 months. And, those spayed at 7 months had significantly delayed closure of the growth plates than those not spayed ( or presumably spayed after their growth plates had closed).
The sex hormones promote the closure of growth plates so the bones of males or females neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered well before puberty can frequently be identified by their longer limbs , lighter bone structure, narrow chest, and narrow skulls.
Chris Zink, DVM on Canine Health Problems Caused by Early Spay and Neuter
This abnormal growth frequently results in significant alterations in body proportions and particularly the lengths ( and therefore weights) of certain bones relating to others. For example, if the femur has achieved its genetically determined normal length at 8 months, when a dog gets spayed or neutered, the tibia which normally stops growing at 12-14 months of age, continues to grow. Then, an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle becomes heavier (because it is longer) which causes increased stress on the CCL. These structural alterations may be the reason why at least one recent study has shown that spayed and neutered dogs have a higher incidence of CCL rupture.
Another recent study showed that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 ½ months had a significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia than those spayed or neutered after 5 ½ months of age.
The study that identified a higher incidence of CCL rupture in spayed or neutered dogs also identified an increased incidence of unwanted sexual behaviors in males and females that were neutered early.
Further, the study that identified a higher incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs neutered or spayed before 5 ½ months also showed that early age gonadectomy was associated with an increased incidence of noise phobias and undesirable sexual behaviors.
A recent report of the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation reported significantly more behavioral problems in spayed and neutered females and males at an early age.
Other Health Considerations
A number of studies have shown that there is an increase in the incidence of female urinary incontinence in dogs spayed early.
Interestingly, neutering also has been associated with an increased likelihood of urethral spincter incontinence in males. This problem of incontinence, while usually not life threatening, but nonetheless one that requires the dog to be medicated for life.
Finally, the AKC-CHF report demonstrated a higher incidence of adverse reactions to vaccinations in neutered dogs compared to intact dogs.
For these reasons, there are many concerns with spaying and neutering before puberty.
Wehave conversations with our pet homes regarding the responsibilities of having an intact dog. Early training is key in preventing any unwanted behaviors. We do allow early ovary sparing spay and early vasectomies where our health contract remains in place. The disadvantage is finding a vet who performs these procedures. But, we are always happy to help you locate a vet in your area. Ovary sparing spays and vasectomies allow your pets to still receive the needed hormones to grow correctly yet renders them sterile.
Being that we have approved you for one of our puppies, we trust that you will not contribute to the problem of pet over population and that you will keep your dog under your care and control at all times and have no plans to breed said dog.
Click here for an introduction to ovary spay sparing (OSS) & vasectomy’s for dogs.
Click here for more information on hormone-sparing sterilization.
Click here for more information on spay and neutering from Dr. Chris Zink.