Hi All,
Is the practice of nuetering very young dogs (like 8-9-10 weeks old) controversial? Or is this s.o.p. for most shelters and an accepted practice? My intuition tells me that the dogs should need those hormones to develop as nature intended them.
Thanks.
Hi All, Is the practice of nuetering very young dogs (like 8-9-10 weeks old) controversial? Or is this s.o.p. for most shelters and an accepted practice? My intuition tells me that the dogs should need those hormones to develop as nature intended them. Thanks.

Its not controversial for shelters, humane societies and many rescue groups but its contraversial in the private sector. Vets generally won't do s/n on client animals until the age of 4-6 months because if the pup dies on the table due to a heretofore unknown medical condition (like epilepsy) then the client can sue. Vets prefer to play it safe in that regard. I think you'll find that many a vet knows its perfectly fine to do a s/n on a puppy (ie its not a death sentence) but there are still some out there who swear up and down that you shouldn't s/n until the dog has had a first heat (if female) or at least 6 months of age. Unfortunately, in veterinary medicine, some pretty major issues are still divided up opinion-wise to a large extent.

Gather 10 vets from different parts of the country together and ask them how to treat heartworms. You'll get at least 3 different answers and each is firm in his belief that his way is the only right way. Same goes for S/N, heartworm preventative brands, flea control, etc.

Tara
In the few studies of early n-s, the adult dog will be SLIGHTLY taller than one not done until 6-8 months.
Early n/s is done in re-homing situations to GUARANTEE that the dogs will not reproduce, because it's the most reliable method! No more, no less.
Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia
Vets generally won't do s/n on client animals until the age of 4-6 months because if the pup dies on the table due to a heretofore unknown medical condition (like epilepsy) then the client can sue.

I didn't know this. Another factoid to file away.

Matt. Rocky's a Dog.
Vets generally won't do s/n on client animals until the age of 4-6 months because if the pup dies on the table due to a heretofore unknown medical condition (like epilepsy) then the client can sue.

Ahem. Anybody can sue anybody for pretty much anything at any time. According to your argument there'd be a difference between a = 6-month-old dog dying during surgery. I have a hard time believing that one; have you got any cites to back it up?
It's MY understanding that the primary factor behind the age at which vets recommend s/n is the vet's own comfort level about doing the procedure at that age. Not all vets are comfortable dealing with tiny uteruses and testicles, and not all have the equipment for or experience with the anesthetic protocols needed for young pups.
http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/ope/ivb/spay-neu.htm
JFWIW,
Dianne
Vets generally won't do s/n on client animals until the ... unknown medical condition (like epilepsy) then the client can sue.

Ahem. Anybody can sue anybody for pretty much anything at any time. According to your argument there'd be a difference ... uteruses and testicles, and not all have the equipment for or experience with the anesthetic protocols needed for young pups.

My only cites are direct conversations with vets I've used with rescue over the years. I'm sure that comfort level is a primary factor in many cases but according to vets I've spoken with about pediatric s/n, if there's an issue present, one that would bar the dog from safely being put under, its not likely to be present until later in life. That's not a guarantee that epilepsy or a serious heart condition will show up at the age of 4-6 months but its supposedly more likely than in a 6wo baby. There are 3 vets out of
13 who will do pediatric s/n for the rescue under the age of 16 weeks. Fivewho will do it at 16 weeks, the other 8 won't do it til 6 months. The reason I gave is the primary reason I've been given by these vets.

Tara
Hi All, Is the practice of nuetering very young dogs (like 8-9-10 weeks old) controversial? Or is this s.o.p. for most shelters and an accepted practice?

Accepted practice and recommended by the AVMA.
The alternative, keeping puppies sheltered until older, would mean continual exposure to disease.
Lynn K.