|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.
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