I know that someone here can probably point me to necessary articles. First, the background. Someone dropped off a small hound-type puppy at my mother's house. They have decided to keep it and want to get it fixed..

After my sticker shock of spaying here in WV ($95 for a 10lb dog???) I was told that they dont do spay/neuter under 6 months of age because it is too dangerous.
One shelter said that has a low-cost program told me that "early" spay-neuter is only provided to shelter dogs because they cant be adopted out until they are fixed. Otherwise, they advise waiting until 6 months of age.
At this rate, it would be easier to drop her off at the pound and the "buy" her the next day! Then, the $50 includes spay and all vaccinations..

so, I was planning on dropping off info at the local vet office (plus my vet) as well as the local humane societies..
if anyone can point me towards some resources
I had discussions with both my dog's breeder and my vet on this one. I have female GSD. The breeder said at least wait until she goes into heat once, but better to wait until 18 monthes because it will mess her up hormonally. The vet said that hormones wasn't really an issue. She said there was minor evidence that maybe (notice this seems to be low risk) there could be an increasedpossibility of incontinence later in life.

She said that it is hard to correlate that because dogs are living longer and the older they get the more like they are to dribble. The hard fact she could give me was there is a 25% higher chance of mamary cancer if we wait until after her first cycle, and something like 35% if we wait until 2 years. That decided me.
Also, it was around $120 for our dog. Had her done between 6 and 7 months.

Rusty Myers
Austin, TX
A thread with links about this topic at the following URL:

http://Bichon.ca/cgi-bin/bichon/bichon.pl?board=BFG;action=display;num=1057985459
http://bichon.ca /
I know that someone here can probably point me to necessary articles. First, the background. Someone dropped off a small ... dogs because they cant be adopted out until they are fixed. Otherwise, they advise waiting until 6 monthsof age.

Here's what I've heard:
1. You should never spay before a first heat because the dog needs to behormonally inducted.

2. Pediatric s/n will either stunt growth or cause a dog to growunregulated.

3. If a *** has a slight discharge, you should wait until after the firstheat to spay because the heat will take care of the discharge.
4. Pediatric s/n aren't done on client's puppies because the chance for anegative reaction to the anesthesia is a possibility and should the pup die, the owner will sue.
Here's what I know from experience and from the experience of many others who either do pediatric s/n or who have fully adult dogs who were s/n as a baby:
1. The dogs are not generally any bigger or smaller than a dog who is intactor who was spayed later. Considering that you have to factor in the gene pool in regards to size/proportion, it is unfair to put the blame of a dog's size squarely on its having, or lacking, hormones.
2. The puppies require less anesthesia than older dogs and they recover muchmore quickly.
3. If a female puppy has a discharge then there's a really BIG likelihoodthat there's an infection going on that a heat won't cure but antibiotics will.
4. Most vets will not s/n client puppies due to the anesthesia factor.There's no history on a baby puppy so there's no way to tell at the age of 6-8 weeks if the pup has any known allergies or disorders (such as epilepsy) that anesthesia would trigger a negative or deadly reaction from. Its this reason, and the fear of lawsuit, that alot of good vets ask their clients to wait until the pup is 6 months before doing anything that requires anesthesia unless its an emergecy.
5. By allowing bitches to come into heat, you've now allowed for thepossibility of infection and/or cancer later on whereas having spayed before a heat will have removed those possibilities.
In summary, I think the whole idea that pediatric s/n are dangerous is an old wives tale. While it could be dangerous to some puppies with weak health or underlying problems that have yet to make themselves known, on the whole I don't believe its any more dangerous than taking the same puppies to the vet and exposing them to a waiting room full of germs.

Tara
..good points all. here is some additional info I have some bitches do have a tendency to get frequent urinary tract infections, so if a puppy has had one, waiting to spay until after the first heat may have a slight benefit, as the sex hormones "tip" the uterus and change the shape of the urinary tract to be less conducive to infections. Also, puppies that are incontinent (NOT un-housebroken - truly incontinent ) may benefit from being in heat. Otherwise the common wisdom I have heard consistently is spay early - before 6 months.

Since all of my dogs are less than 10 pounds at maturity, I can attest that size has no relevance to outcome nor to price! And biochemically speaking, yes the onset of sex hormones is in fact the signal to turn off growth hormone - but there probably is enough estrogen/testosterone even after spay/neuter to provide this signal. Even though the primary source of the hormones is removed, there are other sources that make the hormones in a much much lower amount.

So even though the fear was that early spay/neuter would eliminate the growth shut-off signal, this has not actually been what has been found in practice.
Our vet would have done our dog at 4 months, but said he was too small. Maybe on a larger breed they would. At any rate, he was done at 6 months because he was humping the cat unmercifully.