Spay/neuter in small dogs, opinions on benefits of delaying

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.


My little dog-a- heartbeat at my- feet
Barked: Mon Feb 7, '11 8:51am PST 
I am aware of the health benefits of waiting to neuter/spay large breeds. I was also interested in the recent article in bark about rottweilers and longevity and spay/neuter, though I know its a small study and not conclusive.

As a pug owner Ive generally neutered my little guys at 6 months, with Bob (bulldog) we waited a year. Im know wondering if I should wait a year with my next pug, does anyone have any opinions or links to research involving small breeds and early spay/neuter

Barked: Mon Feb 7, '11 1:05pm PST 
I don't have any research to back it up but I will tell you, as someone who anesthetizes brachycephalics all the time, the longer you wait, the more excess tissue is in that pharynx. It's normally not a problem when appropriate care is taken but since the greatest risk for brachycephalics undergoing anesthesia is obstruction, why wait when there really isn't a valid reason for doing so? If it were me, I'd do it at 6 months.

Louie the bold!
Barked: Mon Feb 7, '11 1:33pm PST 
As an owner of Frenchies, I'm with Bingley all the way! In fact, make a note of anything else that may be needed, such as retained puppy teeth, so that you won't have more anesthesia at a later date. My Louie recently needed to be neutered so I also had them do a minor cherry eye repair under the same anesthesia. It was only minutes longer, and he is 7 months old so I felt safer doing both at the same time. He was being kept as a show dog but due to cataracts he is now going to be placed in a new home. Normally I wait on the neuters in my poodles until I have the new home lined up so the new owner can pay for it, smile, but since he was a Frenchie I chose to have it done ASAP for lesser anesthesia risk.


Multo en Parvo-A- lot in a little!
Barked: Mon Feb 7, '11 2:53pm PST 
I do worry a lot about anesthesia, I grill the vet before any anesthesia with my brachy breeds. I wasnt aware that tissue would be an issue at a year, I knew it was an issue older. I was a wreck when Tubby and Ping had surgery to remove masses recently

Barked: Mon Feb 7, '11 4:30pm PST 
The problems that can occur when anesthetizing brachycephalics occur because brachys have a long soft palate and a lot of excess tissue in the mouth which can drop down over the airway and cause them to obstruct. We prevent that by watching them carefully as they become sedate and as they are waking up. A one year old isn't going to be as bad as a 5 year old but it's going to be worse than a 6 month old. It really isn't so big an issue that if you have a legitimate reason for waiting it shouldn't stop you from doing so. However, if there really is no reason to wait, do it at 6 months.

Work? What's- that?
Barked: Mon Feb 7, '11 7:57pm PST 
Ping, with the exception of disproportionate skeletal growth/narrowed chest cavity/head, etc, things like that - almost all of the benefits/detriments of spaying/neutering are the same, regardless of size.

Small breeds don't have as much of an issue with disproportionate growth because they simply aren't as a big - any "defect" resulting from the lack of sexual hormones during growth isn't as noticeable, and does not have as strong of an effect on the dog's body as it would a larger breed.

Think about a tiny ball bearing. It looks perfectly smooth, but if you blew it up several times over (or looked at it very closely under a microscope) the surface would be pitted and cracked everywhere. It might look like the moon. The concept here is similar.

But, other issues - cancer risks, etc, things like that, are still improved or worsened by spaying/neutering in any size of dog. The only real difference comes with the time frames - since several issues are relative to physical or sexual maturity, and small dogs reach this much more quickly than large breeds, your risk factors might change at a different age than, say, a Mastiff.


I want to point out too that the study involving longevity in Rottweilers (30% less lifespan for female rottweilers spayed before 4 years of age) is related to osteocarcinomas - which are highly prevalent in rottweilers to begin with. Progesterone is a notable anti-inflammatory, and cancer risks are higher in inflamed areas. Remove the hormone, increase inflammation, and cancer risks are increased - not a good thing in a breed that is already highly predisposed toward cancer. This is somewhat true for the males, but especially the females.

In a breed that has an exceptionally low rate of osteocarcinomas (bone cancer risk is increased by spaying/neutering), you'd see less of a difference in lifespan, if any at all.

I don't know too much about health risks related to pugs but on that count I don't think you have much to worry.

Edited by author Mon Feb 7, '11 8:02pm PST


Changing one- mind at a time - APBT style
Barked: Fri Feb 11, '11 4:18pm PST 
Almost all risks associated with altering dogs applies either to medium and larger dogs altered prior to 5 1/2 months, and large - giant breeds altered prior to 1.5 years of age, and with the exception of hemagiosarcoma and osteosarcoma in large - giant breeds, the risks are not very high. The risk of bone cancer definitely applies to large and giant breeds altered prior to 12 months of age; however one study only studied Rottweilers, so it is unknown how many breeds it affects or if it affects medium and smaller sized dogs.

With non brachycephalic small breed dogs I would feel safe neutering/spaying at as young as six months of age, as long as the dog was healthy enough to be put under anesthetic of course.