Spaying/Neutering... stunt growth if too early?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Dixie- (Missing!)

Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 4:00am PST 
I've heard neutering labs too early can stunt their growth. What about spaying? Dixie is 3 months old which I know is getting close to the typical time to spay, but will it affect her growth? Should I wait til she's closer to a year or even older? I'm not worried about her heats she may go through if we decide to wait as we live pretty far out and not really many dogs around, plus she is primarily inside and usually just goes out when we are out with her. I DO NOT want to bring anymore lab mixes into this world, or even full labs. But I do want her to get to be a good size, her right size. So, does spaying stunt growth or is that just neuter?

Live- to PLAY!-
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 4:18am PST 
Hi Dixie Belle

My brother Jackson is getting neutered today. He's 7 1/2 months old. Mom and Dad had the same concerns that you do. Our Vet said that between 6 and 8 months is the right time to Spay and/or neuter. She also said that genetics dictate how large a dog will grow and it doesn't have anything to do with spaying or neutering.
That's what our Vet said anyway, what did your Vet say?
Mom and Dad will have me neutered in a couple of months, but this because the procedure is expensive and the budget can't handle the two of us having the procedure at the same time.

Thanks for asking the question, Mom and Dad are interested to see what other pups have to say on this subject
Dixie- (Missing!)

Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 4:25am PST 
My hubby had labs growing up and their vet told them that neutering before 18mo-2years can stunt growth. Hubby only had male dogs though and we have a female. Didn't know if it is the same or just males or what? I personally don't understand how they can tell if an individual dog would have grown more if he'd been neutered a year later than he was. But hubby is adament that we allow her to grow to full size, though he too isn't sure if the rule applies for females.


for Rio - CYSTS BE GONE!!
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 5:12am PST 
I heard the same thing about shepherds - males only though.

My anecdotal story - as I have exactly one male shepherd! He was neutered at 6 months old and weighed 60 pounds. His full grown weight is between 85 and 90. Breed standard for GSDs tops out at 86 pounds for males, so if his growth was stunted, I'm happy for it. GSDs with their long backs aren't designed to be huge.
Tohbi - Deceased- 10/04/2013

Blue-Eyed Devil
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 5:21am PST 
I had Tohbi neutered at 5.5 months. I wanted to make sure he didn't get a chance to feel the "hormones" and go all aggressive on me.

He comes from show lines and he's about 80 lbs. The max they're supposed to be is 90. I don't think he was stunted.

I'd rather have a big mellow puppy than a huge mean one. Just my opinion.

Can I have a- cookie?
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 6:23am PST 
I don't think spaying your girl at 6 months is going to stunt her growth. However, allowing her to have a heat cycle WILL greatly increase her chances of mammary cancer and pyometra (as long as she has her uterus there is a chance).
Daisy - R.I.P.

Good Morning- Beautiful.
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 6:55am PST 
Genetics is what dictates the size not being intact for a certain amount of time. Having them done BEFORE hormones take over is healthier. Having them done after they are 6 mths old is MORE expensive. ( of course alot of vets will want that ). Having them done at a later age ( after6-8 mths ) increases the dangers of bleeding and possible death. In no way does getting " fixed" stunt their growth. Proper nutrition or lack of will. Exercise etc. will help develope the muscles etc.

A DOG is for- LIFE.
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 7:21am PST 
Hi Dixie-Belle (love your name). I am glad you are looking for information because it shows you are concerned and trying to make the best decision.

When you spay/neuter a dog before maturity it delays the closure of the growth plates in bones that are still growing causing these bones to end up longer that in intact dogs, or those spay/neutered after maturity. This can possibly impact performance and long term durability of the joints.

There are also health benefits that come about from spaying before your dogs first heat. The most significant is that the risk of mammary tumors increases with each heat that you let your dog have.

Fudge has provided a link on other threads to a paper that sums up the health effects of spaying/neutering and what you, as a responsible dog owner, should take into account before you make your decision. The section titled ORTHOPEDIC DISORDERS in the following link is where the previous bone length explanation is from, but there is more, and it is much better explained.


Too many people allow their females to breed accidentally, so as you make your decision please be honest about your ability to prevent an intact dog from mating. I think we all agree there is a huge dog overpopulation problem that does not need to be added to.

Dixie- (Missing!)

Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 7:31am PST 
Wow, thank you for that link. I find particularly interesting the information on hip displasia, a major cause of concern for me considering Dixie is a lab from less than desirable breeding. One of the positives mentioned included "before 2.5 years old" which would be after Dixie reaches full maturity. I understand dog population control and why rescues spay and neuter so young, but I think with Dixie we will be holding out as long as possible for her sake. I think definitly by age 2, but most-likely after age 1.

You wanna piece- of me?
Barked: Thu Apr 12, '07 8:11am PST 
As far as your husband's childhood vet goes - it's a very antiquated theory that neutering and spaying early has an effect on growth rate and personality. Many older vets still adhere to this theory even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support it.

That being said, with some giant breeds, vets advise clients to wait until almost a year old to neuter males. They say it's because the dogs need a little extra testosterone to build up better muscle mass to support such large bones. That's the only time I've heard of a vet suggesting a late neuter.
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