Does neutering stunt growth?

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.


Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 8:57am PST 
Friends have been telling me that neutering causes
under development, any advise?
Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 3:41pm PST 
Actually, neutering prior to maturity can cause the long bones to grow longer, since sex hormones are believed to stop this growth at maturity. HOWEVER, the classic, male muscular development is stunted with early neutering so the dog usually ends up taller and less muscular.
Ideally, neutering should be done once the dog has reached maturity, usually around 24 to 36 months in a Rottie for optimal bone health.
However, if neutering is done for birth control, waiting that long is a major risk as a male will normally have viable sperm at around 9 months of age and it is important to make sure the dog is not allowed to roam with females in heat.
There have also been studies done in the Rottie which may show that early neutering can INCREASE the incidence of bone cancer. I would google this to find out more information as I don't remember where I read this study. And, it is important to consider the percentage of increase... if it is only increased from 1% to 2% for example, it would be pretty insignificant.

Leader of the- Dog Gestapo
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 12:29am PST 
What Toto said smile

Dingo was a pediatric neuter - the shelter sterilized him at 2 months of age, because of their policy of only adopting out fixed dogs. He is a shepherd mix, but has very long legs and fairly slender. Our previous vet explained to us that the bone elongation and his moderate hip dysplasia were both likely caused by the early neuter

Edited by author Sat Jan 12, '13 12:29am PST


Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 8:26am PST 
In an abstract sense, it's better to wait for full maturity to neuter a large breed dog, especially of an active, athletic breed. The long bones growing longer, less solid, and increased risk of joint issue are real risks.

Also, in Rottweilers specifically, this Cancer, Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention paper discusses increased risk of osteosarcoma.

There are also risks to not neutering. If your living situation is such that you are not absolutely confident you can prevent unintended breeding, and you are not planning to do really vigorous activities with your dog, that tips the balance in favor of early neutering.

Honestly, I'd look seriously at your own circumstances and how confident you are in your ability to manage your dog so no accidental breedings occur, AND take that paper I linked to to your vet, and have a discussion about what the relative risks are for YOUR dog. Then make the decision that works best for you and your dog, and don't worry about what other people will say, either way.

Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 12:10pm PST 
Thank you everyone for your responses.
I have decided to wait to have him neutered. I think I may even change vets they have not given me all the info I have learned here.
Thanks again