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jeni
4th April 2006, 07:54 PM
I know this subject has been covered in the past, mostly it has been about spaying the female. I am sure it is the same but it never hurts to ask... right??? My vet recomended that I neuter my male puppy in the next few weeks. My female ( the puppies mother ) is due to come into season any day now. At all costs, we have to keep my male dog away from the female, as it is the females son. I have heard that it is not good to neuter them early. Contrary to that my vet recomends it because he said they recover better while they are young and he claims it will not affect his growth.
My puppy will be 17 weeks old (4-months) at the time of the neutering. I have no problem keeping the dogs apart while she is in heat. My sister can babysit to make sure that they are not even at the same house. I don't want to put my male at any risk with this surgery if it is going to harm him by him being to young. Any suggestions or comments are welcome. I just want to do the right thing.
Thanks-
Jeni

Claire
5th April 2006, 11:10 AM
Our vets recommend males are done at 6 months, making sure that both testicles are down, and that the females have their first season ....

Buster
5th April 2006, 01:04 PM
What is the thinking behind letting the female have her first season, do you know?
Our vet recommended getting Zola done before her first heat, as it meant her mammarian glands would not develop and so radically reduce her risk of cancer.

Claire
5th April 2006, 01:18 PM
Found this in the Purina website....

Neutering your canine companion helps contribute to better health and longer life for the pet, and peace of mind for you.

We look at three dog reasons to spay your dog and people's excuses for not having this simple operation done.

Here are three good reasons to neuter your dog:

1. Neutering your bitch or dog is better for your dog's health.

For bitches: spaying your dog reduces her chances of developing breast cancer and helps to eliminate the threat of uterine and ovarian cancer and uterine infection, which are common occurrences in unaltered females. An unplanned pregnancy can also place your bitch at risk from trying to give birth to pups from a mate that is just too big for her to have safely. It also reduces the risks associated with abortions. Some vets prefer to neuter bitches before they have their first season, but others don't, so the timing will be your vet's decision.

For male dogs: neutering your male dog will prevent testicular tumours and may prevent prostate problems. Neutering also decreases the possibility of perianal tumours and hernias, which are commonly observed in older, unaltered dogs. Neutering also reduces the aggressive impulses of your dog and thus decreases the likelihood of injury due to fighting.

2. You are helping to alleviate the dog overpopulation problem.

Each year, millions of unwanted dogs are euthanised (put to sleep) at shelters across the country. Many of these are the result of accidental breeding by free-roaming unaltered dogs. The more dogs spayed or neutered, the fewer will have to be destroyed.

3. A neutered dog is a better pet for your family.

No family wants to cope with an unwanted litter. Spaying prevents your dog from giving birth to unwanted puppies. Males neutered early in life are less aggressive toward other males and are not distracted by females in heat. Neutered males are also less likely to mark territory with their urine or try to 'mate' with objects and people. Spaying your female dog eliminates the problem of stray males camping in your garden and decreases her desire to roam and breed.

Excuses, excuses, excuses

Here are the four most common excuses for not having your dog spayed.

1. My dog will get fat and lazy.

Neutering may diminish your dog's natural tendency to wander, but will not affect the overall activity level. When dogs do gain weight after being spayed, it is usually attributed to a combination of overfeeding and inactivity. Just remember to adjust the amount of feeding to your dog's activity level.

2. My dog's personality will change.

After being spayed, your dog may be less aggressive toward other animals, will be less likely to wander, and may have a better personality. Spraying (urine marking), often done by dogs to mark their territory, diminishes or ceases after they are spayed.

3. We can sell puppies and make money.

Even well-known breeders are fortunate if they break even on raising purebred litters. That's if firstly your bitch is a purebred and secondly you actually get your bitch to a stud dog before she becomes pregnant to an unknown wanderer. Bitches can get pregnant as early as six months and until the day they die so don't assume your bitch is not a potential mother just because she is very young or old. The cost of raising such a litter - which includes stud fees, vaccinations and other health care costs - consumes most of the 'profit'. Finding good homes for these puppies can be difficult, and shelters are already crowded with unwanted dogs. Leave the breeding to professional dog breeders.

4. I am concerned about my dog undergoing anaesthesia.

Placing a dog under anaesthesia is a common concern of owners. Although there is always a slight risk involved, the procedures currently used by vets use equipment that monitors heart and respiratory rates during surgery to ensure that their patients are doing well under anaesthesia. The medical benefits of having your dog spayed or neutered far outweigh the slight risk involved with undergoing anaesthesia. Consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about this aspect of the procedure. Remember this operation is routine.

Before and after the operation

Normally your veterinarian will instruct you to withhold food and water from your dog for 12 hours or overnight before the operation. Most dogs go home on the day of the operation, but sometimes your vet may prefer to keep them in slightly longer if your dog are still very sleepy. For male dogs the operation involves removal of both testicles; for bitches, spaying involves the removal of womb and ovaries.

When your dog comes home, he/she must be confined to the house for a few days. You must keep your dog quiet and prevent him/her from jumping, or biting at the sutures. Your veterinarian will discuss post-operative care of the incision, including when the sutures will be removed.

jeni
5th April 2006, 01:49 PM
My vet also said that both testies must be down and that his baby teeth need to fall out before neutering. Both testies are down and I am not sure about the baby teeth. I am just concerned that my boy might be too young. There is a lot of talk about spaying females but hardly any opinions or comments on male neutering... so it is quite confusing.

judy
9th April 2006, 11:49 PM
I've been thinking and wondering about this a lot lately. Zack is 6 months old and i would prefer if he didn't develop the characteristics of lifting his leg to pee and marking territory and humping, which my former vet said would be minimized or eliminated by neutering before those characteristics develop. At the same time, i want Zack to have as long and healthy a life as possible and while I've heard (from my daughter's breeder and other sources) that spaying before the first menstruation reduces risk of ovarian or other cancer, i also am simply aware that it's a big strain on a person's health when they have their ovaries removed at a young age so that makes me cautious, i've known a couple of people who had ovaries removed in their 30s and it was pretty hard on them afterwards. So in a common sense kind of way, i am cautious and hesitant to have Zack's natural hormones interfered with. So, i've been on the fence. I am glad you asked, i am really interested in hearing discussions of this.

here http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html is an article that goes into some of the potential health risks related to neutering.

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"A retrospective study of cardiac tumors in dogs showed that there was a 5 times greater risk of hemangiosarcoma, one of the three most common cancers in dogs, in spayed bitches than intact bitches and a 2.4 times greater risk of hemangiosarcoma in neutered dogs as compared to intact males.(6) A study of 3218 dogs demonstrated that dogs that were neutered before a year of age had a significantly increased chance of developing bone cancer, a cancer that is much more life-threatening than mammary cancer, and that affects both genders.(7) A separate study showed that neutered dogs had a two-fold higher risk of developing bone cancer.(8) Despite the common belief that neutering dogs helps prevent prostate cancer, at least one study suggests that neutering provides no benefit.(9)"

I hate to give an opinion on neutering a puppy at 4 months since i don't consider myself informed, but my gut reaction is that it seems too young. But then, i'm worried about doing it at all so that's just me. My former vet said that in shelters, puppies are routinely neutered at a very young age, less than 4 months. She said that as far as whether this is a risk to their health, this is unknown because it hasn't been being done for long enough to know how it affects dogs as they get older.

Karlin
10th April 2006, 12:26 AM
There remains a lot of controversy about the studies that demonstrate problems with neutering. This is not directly related to the issue of early spaying but keep in mind pregnancy and ensuing possible complications are ALWAYS a greater life risk to any female than any of the minor risks associated with spaying. Most pet owners cannot manage bitches going thru heat after heat throughout a lifetime. I also can tell you we regularly see older unspayed female dogs of all breeds/mixes coming into rescue with ovarian tumours. This is one of the more common cancers in unpsayed females and can be avoided by spaying.

You can do early neuters and personally I support them in some rescue situations where I feel it is better to know there's no risk of further litters. In your situation Jeni IF you feel you can manage him I think I would opt to wait til at least 6 months, keep them totally separated and make this an absolute religion -- one must be crated whenever the other is around -- keep her in those bitch panties as an extra precaution/barrier when she is out and in the house. If this seems too difficult especially if there are children around who may be prone to accidentally opening a door etc, then I'd consider the early neuter.

Most vets see very very low levels of the small risk factors associated with spaying and neutering. It is important to remember this as the benefits of avoiding unwanted dogs/pups when there are so many dying every day I feel hugely outweighs any minor risks.

judy
15th April 2006, 06:27 AM
Last weekend, for the first time, Zack escaped from his pen where he stays when i can't supervise him like when i'm at work. He never tried to get out before. He usually goes in his crate and sleeps or plays with his toys. But on the weekend, he learned to spring straight up into the air and land on the kitchen table which is partly sheltering the pen. It's about 30 inches tall i'd say.

After he had done this a few times over a few days, I put him in the pen and encouraged him to get out on his own without me opening the gate or picking him up. At first he just gestured for me to help him get out, but finally, he went over in front of the table and just sprang straight up and gracefully landed on the table. I was impressed.

Anyway, today I had put a cover over most of the pen and thought that it would keep him from getting out but when i came home, he had gotten out again. As for chewing damage while he was out unsupervised, it was very minimal. I'm glad of that. But, i discovered that Zack had made a huge pee right on the seat and arm of my favorite easy chair and feather comforter that was on the chair. He apparently did a whole pee right there. He's very housetrained, but today it was raining and he tends to pee inside when it rains, which isn't very often. But he always has peed on the floor, on the rug, and i was sort of expecting to find a pee on the floor. He's never done anything like pee on furniture before.

I am wondering if this new leaping behavior, determination to get out of the pen, and peeing on up on the chair, is related to the dawning of secondary sex characteristics. If coming of age causes peeing on and destroying of furniture, this definitely pushes me off the fence i was sitting on about neutering and I am ready to have it done. I called all three of my vets to see what the prices were. They ranged from $120 to $180 to $200.

Are there any common complications to this surgery? I'm sure it's the most common surgery vets do. Should i be worried about a vet messing it up? The vet I had the best result with when Zack was sick is the one who costs the most. I'm wondering if i need to pay more to make sure nothing goes wrong...

I ordered two pressure walk through gates to put on the two openings to the kitchen. Not sure what to do between now and when they arrive next week.

Karlin
15th April 2006, 02:18 PM
There are very few possible complications for a male being neutered. There's always a slight risk with anaesthesia as there is for humans as well -- but it is very small. I'd go with the vet you are most comfortable with.

An unneutered male will definitely be a bit more difficult to take anywhere on visits -- you can train males not to mark but this takes some efffort and generally they do tend to lift a leg in other people's houses, not your own, once they have established their own home as it were. I have not had a sngle unneutered male rescue come into my house who has not tried to mark. I always take up my rugs when one is staying here. BTW the pee of unneutered males is quite smelly as well compared to neutered males (I am reminded of this having just had an unnuetered male in the house!! Boy is that pee *smelly*). :shock:

I would not be encouraging him to escape from his pen. But overall it sounds like he is a jumper and the pen is no longer going to be adequate for holding him. I'd just puppy-proof a room or keep him in a tiled or linoleum floored area like a kitchen (unless you get a pen that is already fitted with a proper cover). Or can you put an extra-high baby or pet gate across the doorway if there isn't a closable door? You can also work on crate training but I think this is not much of a life for a dog if someone works all day, for a dog to be crated the whole time. I know this is a hotly disputed topic but if a dog is crated all day, then crated at night, it spends nearly 2/3rds of its life in a space it can only just turn around in. Having a room that is dog-safe is so much nicer for a dog.

Make sure he has lots of interesting and safe chew toys (eg strong nylabones, not rawhides if you aren't supervising) and I'd be using a kong (frozen) and something like a treat ball to keep him busy. One suggestion from Dee Ganley's seminar here was to take an empty box like a shoe box, put a handful of kibble in it and tape it shut with masking tape. Dogs love the challenge of tearing it open and the cardboard is fine and safe for them to be shredding. Jaspar had great fun with this. It will get you saving small boxes from shopping and work too! :)

Dogs (and young cats) often like to pee on soft surfaces especially someplace full of interesting smells for them, like bedding or chairs/sofas. Make sure you use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all odor from HIS point of view or he may well try to wee there again.

Rod Russell
16th April 2006, 04:23 AM
I have mixed feelings about neutering dogs early, or in some cases, ever. I agree with Dr. Christine Zink that athletes should not be neutered until after a year. One of our Cavaliers was neutered at about 8 weeks, before he was placed with us. It may be a coincidence, but he grew to over 14 inches at the withers, which means that in AKC agility trials, he must jump bars set at 16 inches rather than the 12 inch bars nearly every other Cavalier jumps.

Also, I know of Cavalier males who, according to vets I respect, should not be neutered because their immune systems are not strong enough to compensate for the lack of hormones which their reproductive systems provide. This probably would be equally applicable to females. So, neutering at any age should not be a knee jerk decision, based mainly upon the convenience of the owner -- which usually is the underlying real reason.

The argument that a dog will be healthier without its reproductive system is, I think, mainly a false one. Sure, maybe a small percentage of un-neutered canines will have a higher likelihood of developing a form of cancer, but my guess is that an even higher percentage of neutered dogs are at greater risk to develop diseases which their removed hormones would have enabled the dogs to avoid.

We have a 7 year old female which was spayed about a year ago, and she promptly lost a lot of hair, including all of what had been on her chest and belly. The vet found that her endocrine system was out of wack because it was trying to do the job her ovaries used to do. The vet prescribed a homotoxicology mixture to bolster the adrenals and thyroid, and her hair came back. Otherwise, she might have been headed for Cushings disease.

So, for now, I lean towards not neutering Cavaliers at all, unless there is a really good medical reason for doing so to a particular dog, and not just because I want to keep my dogs from doing things un-neutered dogs are said to do.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

Karlin
16th April 2006, 05:27 AM
Boy Rod, I'd have to totally disagree with you there I'm afraid -- from time spent with dogs and with working with rescue groups. I don't view it as only a convenience for owners to prevent unwanted puppies and the stress of pregnancy -- which is far more stressful on a female body (human or otherwise) than not to be pregnant. Also I have found very few cavaliers lacking the general robustness to not easily weather a basic neuter procedure. I think most dog owners generally do not have the wherewithal to manage unneutered males and unspayed females, heats and marking/roaming etc behaviour... dogs do live a life WITH humans and therefore I do think what owners can manage is a major part of the equation. I know many longtime, experienced breeders whose judgement I would totally trust who would not ever have any issues with a late spay either. I do acknowledge that there are different opinions but the potential complications just of basic pregnancies and lost, roaming male dogs (setting aside all other health issues) that would ensue if cavalier owners followed a general policy of not neutering would to me, be FAR more detrimental to individual dog's health and well-being than SM for example. I feel very strongly about that, and I live in a country where cavaliers are a very common breed and where vets have performed thousands of neuters without detrimental affect. I don;t think US cavaliers are that much more delicate than UK or Irish cavaliers. I don;t know a single vet who would feel cavaliers are to be marked out as being a special exemption to the benefits of spay and neuter.

Here in Ireland (and in the UK) we put down more dogs than can ever be homed and that includes cavaliers and cavalier mixes. I have been told by breed rescue individuals in the US that in some regions, a tipping point has been reached where there are more cavaliers than they can rescue from pounds/shelters. I do not ever think death of unwanted offspring is a reasonable alternative to a spay or neuter of a potential parent, whatever the other considerations.

judy
16th April 2006, 06:58 AM
On the one hand, i think karlin you are absolutely right that if the choice is between neutering with its risks and costs to dog health, or unwanted homeless litters of puppies, the higher priority is to take measures to prevent birth of unwanted puppies. On the other hand, i think rod, you are right, it creeps me out to think of altering a dog's hormones like that, we don't do that to humans as a form of birth control, i think because of the health risks (do they have tubal ligation and vasectomy for dogs?). Reading what both of you say, i think it should be on a case by case basis. I can approve of routinely neutering rescue/shelter dogs, or any pet dogs that are free to interact with opposite sex dogs in unintended sexual ways. On the other hand, if a responsible owner is willing to take social measures to prevent unwanted litters, and is able and willing to deal with training a male dog to behave in a "civilized" way that allows the dog to live comfortably people, that seems reasonable to me.

As for Zack, today i got two 48 inch high pressure mounted gates for the two openings to the kitchen and feel great about that. Now he can be in the whole kitchen when i can't be with him.

As for him peeing all over the chair--that's a problem. At least when i 'm with him, it seems unlikely he'll do anythnig like that, but i have some furniture that would be ruined if he does what he did to the chair. I did try to wash the chair and the comforter with water and then poured Natures Miracle over the area of the chair he peed on. I can only hope the Natures Miracle reached all the same places the pee reached. :?

I want to look into how to train him not to do the marking behavior. I don't consider it acceptable if i take him visiting and he pees in peoples' homes. I won't have the Natures Miracle there with me, and i'd end up leaving him home alone instead of taking him with. Which he would not like nor would i.

I tried to get myself to make an appointment for the neutering today but procrastinated. I'm hesitating because to me it's a big step, a big intervention in his body.

Fortunately, so far, his pee doesn't have any odor at all. :flwr:

karlin, i feel as you do about crating all day. To me , it seems unnatural and counter to the needs of an exuberant energetic puppy who loves to run around and explore, it just doesn't seem like it can be a healthy thing psychologically, or physically, though i understand that people may have a need for it as i have. I think about the effect it would have on a human to keep them cooped up 16 hours a day in a very small space where all they can do is sit and wait to be let out. Obviously no one would ever want to do that to a child, it would be detrimental to development in many ways. When i first had Zack, i would leave him in the crate for about 4 hours and then come home from work at lunch and let him out and play with him for an hour or a bit more, and then put him back in for another 4 hours. It made me feel bad. i have felt a lot better since i got the pen, even though he still can't run around, it's definitely less claustrophobic and i could see the change in him. Before the pen, he would never never voluntarily go into his crate. Clearly, he didn't consider it a good place to go. But now, in the pen, the crate door is open and he likes to go in, he's comfortable in there, and he also goes into a smaller crate that's in the living room when he's really tired and wants some peace, but before the pen, he would never go in either one.

He does have lots of safe chew toys. Maybe that's why he doesn't chew my stuff any more than he does. but i know that at any time, he could chew the powerbook AC adapter wire again, or other cables or mementos or odds and ends that are around. I've puppy proofed somewhat but could do more.

Thank you for the idea about the cardboard box. that sounds like fun! i used to give him a Kong with protreats in it but then he was having all those GI problems and i stopped giving him everything, though i tried to give him duck/potato kibble in the Kong but it falls out too easy and he doesn't really like it anyway. Fortunately, having tried him on some new foods, he hasn't had any symptoms, so i guess i can put something yummy in the Kong again. I hadn't thought of freezing it. great idea!

Karlin
16th April 2006, 01:23 PM
Judy, most responsible breeders would only EVER home any cavalier -- male or female -- on the basis of a spay/neuter contract. I'd never home a single dog without doing this first.

I can unequivocally state that my two males had absolutely no personality or behaviour changes after neutering EXCEPT they stopped soem of the more unpleasant male behaviours. But even after neuter many males will still mark -- you don't neuter just for this reason but for a range of reasons.

I think people very detrimentally tend to anthropomorphise dogs and cats (eg think of them as smaller hairier children whose behaviour is just a smaller version of a lot of human behaviour). Dogs and cats are not humans. And for them, a sexual response is not part of a rich emotional side of life or even a pleasant experience but a strict animal response triggered by a flow of hormones that -- if you have ever seen males that cannot get out to reach a female in heat, or a female going through heat -- can literally torment them with its power. I have seen males nearly kill a female in gang sexual attacks because she was in heat and their drive to reach her and mate her becomes obsessive, and they would attack any human trying to intervene. Males will literally climb walls to escape to reach a female in heat they can scent a mile away. I spent a lot of time for one period going into the main Dublin pound and getting info on all dogs there to help with rehoming -- and at any given time, about 75% of the dogs in the pound are male, and of those, about 90% are *unneutered males*. The ones who have clearly been lost for ages and roaming are almost ALWAYS males and less frequently, females in heat. There is nothing pleasant to a dog about going through such cycles or being restrained from reaching something your hormones drive you relentlessly to want to reach.

Judy if you feel strongly about retaining Zack's testosterone levels then I strongly suggest having him go in for the equivalent of a vasectomy. This will at least make it impossible for him to father puppies (and believe me, they can mount and lock to a female in the three seconds you don't happen to notice a female has come into view). He will still have all his hormone levels and male behaviours and you will need to strongly guard against escape and other issues. Be aware that thius means extreme diligience every time you take him for walks, and being very cautious about ever letting him off lead unless you have perfect recall with him. You can train for these things -- he'd be at the point now where he'd be ready for some basic training as well.

I doubt he is peeing in your chair because he is male. He is peeing in your chair because he is still a puppy and not fully housetrained. Intact dogs mark -- lift their leg and spray urine on surfaces -- they don't tend to empty their whole bladder in this way.

Cathy T
16th April 2006, 06:24 PM
Yikes!! I have to completely disagree with not neutering at all! Jake was neutered at 6 months and it definitely did NOT change his personality. I don't have a general problem with him marking and never did. I do have to watch him initially when he goes into someone's house. As soon as he looks like he's about to lift his leg and I correct him before he can he knows that's not okay and won't try it again.

Rod Russell
16th April 2006, 07:37 PM
I am well aware of the conventional wisdom of breeders, and of most owners and veterinarians, to neuter pet dogs. I fully understand the reasonings behind this policy.

My concerns are with the affect of neutering upon the long term health of the neutered dogs vis-a-vis the intact ones. Dr. Christine Zink suggests that neutering young puppies may be a mistake, presumably due to the continuing need for sex hormones related to growth, particularly bone growth. She says more research is needed. I am all for that. Fortunately, this issue is an across-the-board one for all breeds, so we do not have to wait for the unlikely research paper focused solely upon Cavaliers.

I have a hunch that the research will show that dogs need their reproductive systems intact to keep their other systems functioning optimally, particularly the immune system. When the reproductive organs are removed, other bodily systems must compensate for the production of hormones which are not there anymore, and this could both overtax the other systems and result in inefficient compensating performances.

This hunch is based mainly upon conversations I have had recently with veterinarians who have noticed immune problems in Cavaliers and who are knowledgeable about the continuing value of the hormones produced by a functioning reproductive system.

When vets who previously advocated neutering young dogs now are questioning that policy, their views ought to be considered and may result in further research, much as recent research into the issue of annual vaccinations has resulted in new protocols. At the 2006 North American Veterinary Conference, there was not one paper presented on the topic of neutering canines. I would not be surprised if at the 2007 conference, this topic is discussed.

One comment about the alleged robustness of the average Cavalier. The average Cavalier has mitral valve disease, and while that disease may not manifest itself in visibly sickly behavior until it approaches the stage of congestive heart failure, it is progressive as sure as a pregnancy is progressive. We may not see the effects MVD has on the Cavalier with a grade 2 to 4 murmur, but it is having a continuous impact upon, not only the heart, but also the renal and hepatic and blood systems, guarantying an overtaxed immune system.

Knowlegeable veterinarians, particularly cardiologists, tend to agree that a Cavalier with moderate to advanced MVD should not be vaccinated, because of the impact of the vaccine viruses upon the immune system. (See, for example, Dr. Barrett's advice to Darcy on Darcy's Daily Blog on April 15 http://darcysdaily.blogspot.com/ )

If vaccines could adversely affect the immune system of Cavaliers with MVD, imagine the possible affect of the removal of an entire bodily system that is designed to contribute to the performance of the immune system. So, this is a topic which I think ought to be researched, and hopefully will be in the near future.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

Karlin
16th April 2006, 07:39 PM
As soon as he looks like he's about to lift his leg and I correct him before he can

Yeah I know that look they get when they are thinking, "Hmmm, that chair leg sure looks like it needs a bit of a urine spritz..." :roll: Jaspar never marks, never has; but Leo (briefly) considers it now and then, only very occasionally, in a house where there are dogs so I know to watch him. Neutering in my experience *definitely* reduces the intent of a male in doing this though. If Leo tries it is a little spritz; CJ, the rescue boy I just had here, would do a major spray and then turn around and go again from the other direction. :yikes He was not a pushy or dominant dog at all either (little Leo is the boss around here and made sure he knew it), but he was very, very male.

My two were neutered at 9 months (Jaspar) and 11 months (Leo) and Jaspar did not get any leggier or taller than he already was at that time, nor did leo (Leo is a very compact, solid 'cobby' boy and fairly small at 15.5 lbs). No personality change whatsoever but it did curtail the marking and humping that started up very fast and was becoming more insistent.

judy
16th April 2006, 08:04 PM
karlin--sorry for the misunderstanding--it wasn't Zack's, or any dog's, sexuality i.e. sexual experience, that i was concerned about in being worried about neutering and altering hormones. It was health effects which i became aware of when a friend had a complete hysterectomy in her 30s and then later, studying the effects on the body of menopause. By analogy, I have worried that there can be effects like this on animals too, and that has caused me to hesitate on neutering Zack. But some of the health problems associated with early hysterectomy are caused by hormone replacement therapy, which dogs don't undergo.

While I'm hesitating, I haven't concluded that neutering is the wrong thing to do for him. I'm just studying the issue, weighing pros and cons and trying to listen to various sides. Even if there were some negative long term health effects, there are other factors to consider, like those you mention--such as emotional factors (high levels of testosterone make some animals overly stressed out apparently) and social factors, such what the owner is willing and able to do and cope with.

if a general recommendation is to be made, aside from case by case considerations, I agree with you that pet overpopulation is the most urgent serious problem and cause of suffering.

As far as the negative health effects on dogs of neutering, from what i've seen so far, this hasn't been studied enough to have very certain answers. Osteoporosis is apparently a known risk, and is complicated by obesity, which can be constrolled by an owner, but without obesity, osteoporosis still occurs. I think there are other growth related skeletal problems but again, am not sure about how much research there's been. Apparently there is some evidence for an association with malignant prostate cancer risk, but i don't know how much.

These are things i have wanted to be more informed about, but i am not finding anything which is persuading me not to neuter, when weighing the pros and cons. I'm thinking about waiting until Zack is a year old, but again, i'm still studying this, and might have him neutered sooner. I had been putting off thinking about it, but now he's 6 months and i need to decide what to do.

I had a friend who had a male dog who had a very strong sex drive and that unneutered dog was always acting kind of frantic, panting, and he appeared to be in a chronic state of emotional stress and unable to relax. One time my friend went to visit his parents and they all went out to dinner and left the dog at home. When they returned there was a hole in their wooden front door! and the dog was gone. They really could not figure out what had happened at first. Later, the dog returned or was found. He was taken to a vet to talk about how he had apparently managed to bite and claw through a wooden door. The vet said it was his sex drive and that neutering him would be a big help. My friend had a lot of reservations about neutering his dog, for the kinds of reasons you mention, thinking this would deprive the dog of something basically essential, but eventually my friend did have the dog neutered, after continuing to observe the sort of always distraught emotional state of the dog, and the neutering made a huge difference for the better. the dog seemed much calmer and happier as a result.

judy
16th April 2006, 09:15 PM
.....This hunch is based mainly upon conversations I have had recently with veterinarians who have noticed immune problems in Cavaliers and who are knowledgeable about the continuing value of the hormones produced by a functioning reproductive system.

When vets who previously advocated neutering young dogs now are questioning that policy, their views ought to be considered and may result in further research, much as recent research into the issue of annual vaccinations has resulted in new protocols....

In considering an association between neutering and immune system functioning, do these vets speculate that observed impairment of immunity can be caused by neutering independently of the chaotic effects on immunity suspected to be caused by vaccination? Clearly this is an area in need of good research.

Rod Russell
22nd April 2006, 06:32 AM
In considering an association between neutering and immune system functioning, do these vets speculate that observed impairment of immunity can be caused by neutering independently of the chaotic effects on immunity suspected to be caused by vaccination? Clearly this is an area in need of good research.

Not the vets I have discussed this with. The impact of vaccines upon the immune system probably is easier to observe than the impact of neutering. However, more and more dogs are not being vaccinated as often or with as many vaccines as in past generations, and yet immune system deficiencies still crop up. I know of one Cavalier, for example, that had such a deficient immune system from an early age that the vets recommended that the dog not even be given its first rabies booster injection.

So, if vaccines are the primary cause of immune system problems, a question may be whether the affects of vaccines are passed from parents, particularly the dam, to the un-vaccinated puppies.

Rod Russell
Orlando, Florida USA

amjon
30th June 2006, 03:36 AM
I like to neuter puppies as early as possibly (especially males). I have had them neutered as young as 8 weeks. One time I had a rescue adult, a 4 month old pup, and an 8 week old that went in at the same time for neutering. The 8 week old pup was up and running around when I picked them up (a few hours after surgery). The 4 month old was drowsy that day, but back to normal the next day. The adult was lethargic and seemed to be in pain for about a week. The young pups had no ill effects (unless you count never lifting their leg). One reason most vets won't spay/ neuter early is because it is more difficult for them (anestitising them and getting out tiny "parts"). If they are extremely small (under 3 lbs) I do wait until they are larger.

WoodHaven
30th June 2006, 04:24 AM
6 months is the earliest I suggest my puppy buyers neuter-- I prefer a year. Just another opinion-- Sandy

Kingofthehouse86
30th June 2006, 06:34 AM
My vet recommended King get neutered @ no later then 6months. He was just over 5 1/2 months the same time he got his first rabies shot... I had to get him fixed cuz i signed a contract wit the breeder stating that i needed to send her a copy of the bill stating that he was neutered, i didn't mind but it wasn't til like 3 weeks later that i kinda wish i didn't cuz i met a woman wit a 2yr old tri who she wanted to breed and she thought King looked perfect 4 her mate... I was flattered that she wanted to have King stud wit her female...but i couldn't revise wat was done.... plus after being neutered King came home happy 2 staples and NO collar...then 10 days later staples out he was perfectly happy...

Nancy
1st July 2006, 01:10 AM
So you would have considered breeding your boy just because someone expressed an interest in him, despite your contract with your breeder? Not to mention health testing, age, etc.,?

Karlin
1st July 2006, 01:53 AM
Breeding very definitely isn't simply a matter of putting two dogs together because someone thinks they look good, or that it would be fun to have puppies, but of taking time to make sure a given dog's genes are of such value that they should be passed on. In purebred dogs, where gene pools are by very definition already quite limited, this is crucial to prevent passing on genes for the serious health conditions that can affect most purebreds, as the narrow gene pool means the chances are greatly increased of producing health problems in the puppies. In other words, you need to know several pedigree generations on each side of the prospective mating, and the whether any of those dogs carry dominant or recessive genes for such health issues.

In cavaliers there are two very serious conditions -- MVD and syringomyelia -- and no breeder wants to condemn puppies to having either of these in a form that arrives early and is severe or put a family through the misery of trying to treat these conditions and lose their cavalier at a young age after much suffering. Cavaliers also have problems with hips, knees and eyes. They also can suffer from two other terrible afflictions, episodic falling syndrome and curly coat syndrome (which Alison's little Honeybee had -- see her post in the In Memoriam section).

That of course is only a beginning; there are conformation issues as well (eg understanding what qualities of appearance a mating is going to produce and if it keeps good genes within the line). Backyard bred dogs (which are what dogs are, if bred by anyone not doing all the tasks above) move more and more away from what a cavalier should look like -- too big, too small, head not right, body wrong shape... and that is not even considering the health problems that can come from poor conformation. Small 'teacup' cavaliers for example are often bred from litter runts and have all the potential health issues that can bring -- then people breed two of these dogs together!

Anyone who cares about this breed will not breed indiscriminately to produce puppies, but will only do so with very serious intent and a strong understanding of genetics, breed standard and the responsibilities and health issues involved in breeding, and will work with an experienced, responsible breeder/mentor.

See Bruce's post here as it gives very good advice to anyone who thinks their dog might be worth breeding :) :

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1356

For most of us, as much as we love our dogs, breeding is never the right choice and our dogs, as handsome as they are to us, are not breeding quality. That is why the breeder placed them in pet homes to begin with, and that is why breeders place breeding restrictions/neutering clauses in the homing contract as well. :)

Bruce H
1st July 2006, 12:22 PM
Like Sandy, we like to see all our puppies S/N no earlier than 6 months; and we will normally encourage 1 year if the people seem very responsible and understand the problems and responsibility. We have even told people we will keep their girls while they are in season if they find they are uncomfortable with keeping an eye on them.

A breeder we know does some early S/N, before the puppy goes to it's new home at 3 months; let's just say we agree to disagree. But the only reason she does this is that she has had a few of her puppies on a S/N contract bred and registered in one of the bogus registries.

judy
2nd July 2006, 09:35 PM
Like Sandy, we like to see all our puppies S/N no earlier than 6 months; and we will normally encourage 1 year if the people seem very responsible and understand the problems and responsibility. We have even told people we will keep their girls while they are in season if they find they are uncomfortable with keeping an eye on them.


Sandy and Bruce,
is this preference for delaying neutering for health reasons, and if so, what are they?

WoodHaven
2nd July 2006, 10:08 PM
Most people want my puppies because I do health testing and they like the looks of my cavaliers. If someone were to do an infantile neutering on one of my cavaliers- I won't guarantee that they would turn out looking like mine at all. I have seen dogs that were neutered early (4 months) and they didn't resemble their breed that well - let alone their well known sire.
Hormones aren't just for reproduction. Hence, woman who get hysterectomies are usually advised to go on hormone therapy. The advantage of letting a dog reach maturity before neutering are just now being looked into. The benefits of early neutering would have to outweigh any possible risks before I would advise it. There is always a small risk of operations requiring gas. An infantile dog could have health issues that wouldn't be easily identified (kidney issues, liver shunt - are two examples) that could be problematic.
What is the best time to alter a dog? The answer as individual as each dog and each environment.
I believe in proper dog management (whether you own a pet or a show dog) (you have to if you keep intact dogs of each sex). It isn't that difficult because dogs breed from instinct at specific times-- they don't breed for pleasure. FWIW-- Sandy

Karlin
3rd July 2006, 12:18 AM
Judy, waiting IMHO is generally not a matter of health issues. Studies have not shown any specific gains from not neutering at 6 months to 8 months that I know of -- but in the case of females there are very specific health gains from neutering before the first heat, which will be at around 6 months, and for males, there are behavioural reasons and health reasons for neutering as well. Some breeders feel there are benefits for bone growth and for the dog to reach its adult stage before neutering but as both Sandy and Bruce indicate, it takes a particular kind of pet owner to take on the responsibilities and in some cases, unwanted behaviour this involves.

Set against arguments for waiting, are some specific risks for the average pet owner -- many do not notice their female has come into heat and end up with a pregnant dog, and pregnancy is always a significant health risk to any animal, setting aside the matter of homing unwanted puppies (Bruce for example has noted the potential risks to a mother, which can be life-threatening). Many pet owners do not realise how strong the call of an in-heat female is to their male dog -- and a cavalier that takes off after a female (they can scent a female from a very long distance away) has a good chance of being hit by a car, stolen, or being lost forever. My own experience of going into the pounds, working with rescue groups (and this is confirmed by the pound staff) is that about 70% of all strays are male dogs, and about 80-90% of those are males that have not been neutered -- often males are picked up by the warden because they are pursuing some poor bitch in heat, and numerous dogs of all sizes will try to mate with her, some quite violently. The real life of animals can in this sense be brutal and ugly and most people would not want their male or female dog in such situations. The bitches are often extremely traumatised (especially if she is in her first heat as they often are -- they are only still puppies!!) and the males can go into fighting frenzies amongst themselves, trying to get at her. Most wardens do not enjoy having to capture dogs in these situations as they can be extremely fearful or aggressive.

Some people of course are both capable and willing to manage their dog until a year old (or all the animal's life), but for many, this is not an easy or desireable task (as indicated by the number of dogs brought to the pound at around 1 year old for behaviour problems directly due to poor management of an intact (unneutered) dog.

I have to politely take issue :) with comparing women after hysterectomies as being a point in favour of delayed spaying or not spaying -- the situations are very different. Women have a monthly cycle and a regular flow of hormones; dogs go into a heat maybe once or twice a year and even less than that in some breeds (Lisa tells me Tibetan terriers only go into heat once every three to four years sometimes, which is why they are not farmed by puppy farmers). For the rest of the time a bitch is hormonally dormant. Women take HRT more for personal comfort, not for health reasons, because women all naturally reach such a point of non-production of hormones with menopause anyway (at which point they have *lowered* health risks for many cancers -- ovarian, breast, endometrial for example -- and hormone-related conditions). And recent studies have shown there are some risks associated with taking hormone replacement whether it be after a hysterectomy or after menopause. That said I know you are also making the point of waiting til a dog reaches maturity as that is when the hormones have done their initial jobs. :)

As dogs and other animals do not have cycles or sexual responses structured in the way humans do, I think it is hazardous to draw analogies of what the dog will be deprived of or miss out on. For that matter it is a false comparison anyway -- it is very well documented that human eunuchs had full 'performance' capabilities :lol: and some of the operatic castrati were infamous womanisers as well! Likewise neutered male dogs do not lose total interest in females. But they are not dominated by a single-minded drive to mate and most of the unwanted hormonally driven behaviours will subside.

WoodHaven
3rd July 2006, 01:32 AM
Judy, waiting IMHO is generally not a matter of health issues. Studies have not shown any specific gains from not neutering at 6 months to 8 months that I know of -- but in the case of females there are very specific health gains from neutering before the first heat, which will be at around 6 months, and for males, there are behavioural reasons and health reasons for neutering as well. Some breeders feel there are benefits for bone growth and for the dog to reach its adult stage before neutering but as both Sandy and Bruce indicate, it takes a particular kind of pet owner to take on the responsibilities and in some cases, unwanted behaviour this involves.

Set against arguments for waiting, are some specific risks for the average pet owner -- many do not notice their female has come into heat and end up with a pregnant dog, and pregnancy is always a significant health risk to any animal, setting aside the matter of homing unwanted puppies (Bruce for example has noted the potential risks to a mother, which can be life-threatening). Many pet owners do not realise how strong the call of an in-heat female is to their male dog -- and a cavalier that takes off after a female (they can scent a female from a very long distance away) has a good chance of being hit by a car, stolen, or being lost forever. My own experience of going into the pounds, working with rescue groups (and this is confirmed by the pound staff) is that about 70% of all strays are male dogs, and about 80-90% of those are males that have not been neutered -- often males are picked up by the warden because they are pursuing some poor bitch in heat, and numerous dogs of all sizes will try to mate with her, some quite violently. The real life of animals can in this sense be brutal and ugly and most people would not want their male or female dog in such situations. The bitches are often extremely traumatised (especially if she is in her first heat as they often are -- they are only still puppies!!) and the males can go into fighting frenzies amongst themselves, trying to get at her. Most wardens do not enjoy having to capture dogs in these situations as they can be extremely fearful or aggressive.

Some people of course are both capable and willing to manage their dog until a year old (or all the animal's life), but for many, this is not an easy or desireable task (as indicated by the number of dogs brought to the pound at around 1 year old for behaviour problems directly due to poor management of an intact (unneutered) dog.

I have to politely take issue with comparing women after hysterectomies as being a point in favour of delayed spaying or not spaying -- the situations are very different. Women have a monthly cycle and a regular flow of hormones; dogs go into a heat maybe once or twice a year and even less than that in some breeds (Lisa tells me Tibetan terriers only go into heat once every three to four years sometimes, which is why they are not farmed by puppy farmers). For the rest of the time a bitch is hormonally dormant. Women take HRT more for personal comfort, not for health reasons, because women all naturally reach such a point of non-production of hormones with menopause anyway (at which point they have *lowered* health risks for many cancers -- ovarian, breast, endometrial for example -- and hormone-related conditions). And recent studies have shown there are some risks associated with taking hormone replacement whether it be after a hysterectomy or after menopause. That said I know you are also making the point of waiting til a dog reaches maturity as that is when the hormones have done their initial jobs.

As dogs and other animals do not have cycles or sexual responses structured in the way humans do, I think it is hazardous to draw analogies of what the dog will be deprived of or miss out on. For that matter it is a false comparison anyway -- it is very well documented that human eunuchs had full 'performance' capabilities and some of the operatic castrati were infamous womanisers as well! Likewise neutered male dogs do not lose total interest in females. But they are not dominated by a single-minded drive to mate and most of the unwanted hormonally driven behaviours will subside.

I really doubt that humans were intended to last half as many years as we do. So without human intervention- we probably would only live an average of 40 something--- huh -- that is about the age of menopause.
If Dogs lived to be 20 some years-- they might stop cycling -- who knows.
I wasn't against spaying. I just don't have a real good feeling about infantile neutering. The benefits for males are few. These are cavaliers-- eager to please -- testes or not. The only male I've had escape was our neutered boy.
Everyone reacts to life by their experiences-- I have a whole pack of cavaliers and my reaction is-- If someone can't control one male until he is 6 months old-- they don't want one of my pups. Sandy

Karlin
3rd July 2006, 01:39 AM
I agree; I was responding to Judy's broader question of waiting a year based on seeing what friend's have gone through in menopause, rather than the early nueter issue. :) I wouldn't want to neuter a pet cavalier placed responsibly before 6 months, either, and if I were a breeder, I'd have that as a stipulation, I think. However from working with rescues, both cat and dog, and having seen a few studies emerging on very early neuter, I think early neuter is the right choice for some shelters and rescues.

judy
3rd July 2006, 02:16 AM
i had zack neutered at just over 7 months, and i'm glad i did. He was changing rapidly at that time and was developing some new behaviors, not a problem really, like Sandy said, he's a cavalier, he was sweet and cooperative, obedient and nonaggressive, but he was getting a bit sexualized

just before i got him neutered i had discovered dog parks (two weeks before), he was ecstatic at dog parks and i was overjoyed to see him having so much fun, most imporantly, the freedom, to know he was safe running around freely, the other owners paid attention to their dogs, and in about 5 or 6 visits between when i discovered the dog park and when i got him neutered, i never saw any dog fights or violence, but i was getting uptight, especially after reading a thread on here about neutering, afraid a female in heat would come to the park, i didn't want zack to get somebody pregnant, and i worried that other male dogs who were much larger might be more of a threat to zack if he was unneutered. I wanted to be relaxed and not worried about Zack running loose with other dogs, that's one reason i decided to do it at that time.

He started lifting his leg for the first time while at the dog park and i was worried about the onset of marking behavior.

I tried to research and find out information about potential health risks of neutering and was not able to find much, so i went ahead and had it done, and i like the noticeable changes in zack as a result, not so much changes but the arresting of tendencies he was beginning to get.

He's very docile and happy. I did not want to see him become increasingly frantic about other dogs, which was starting to happen, lots of shrill arf-ing when he'd see other dogs at a distance, very emotional and, well, frantic. That was the biggest behavioral or emotional reason for my choice to get him neutered, and that frantic intensity gradually died down following the neutering. He still gets excited about other dogs, but now, he listens to me when i 'shhh' him if he arfs, and he calms himself down when i tell him it's ok, 'easy boy, calm down, quiet, it's OK,' and then i don't have to struggle with him or keep my attention on him, he becomes more calm and quiet in public where he used to be much more excitable and not in a happy way, about other dogs and people too.

It's been over a month and a half and so far there's no sign of him slowing down, he's actually been more active, like, up all night doing stuff, not sleeping, not sleepy, interested in stuff, entertaining himself, playing, bringing me a ball to throw, chewing toys. so i haven't yet seen him grow more slothful which is one of the downsides of neutering.

But i am still interested in hearing all sides of the subject and am interested in the reasons any respectable breeder who cares about their puppies would ask puppy buyers to postpone neutering until one year. I ask because i don't know the reasons and am curious about it. i know there are good reasons not to neuter/spay, but i don't know what they are.

The breeder my daughter Lisa got her cavalier Belle from told her to do it right after the first heat, otherwise the risk of breast cancer would be higher.

WoodHaven
3rd July 2006, 02:42 AM
To arrest the natural maturation of a dog does good things and not so good things. If you wait until they are about a year-- they are basically full grown. They are sexually mature. The characteristics the make males beefier and females softer looking can be there. One group has stated that they suggest that athletic dogs should be altered after they are full grown. Someone earlier may have posted that link. I believe it was Dr Hutch that had stated you shouldn't alter a female if she has puppy vaginitis. She will never outgrow that condition if you alter her at that time. There is a slight risk increase each time a female has a season to get aggresive mammory tumors. I had a rehomed cocker that was spay at 7 years (never bred). She lived to be almost 15 years old and she didn't have tumors-- her kidney and liver functions were failing. There are other cancers that can increase due to the decrease in hormones. I believe it is an osteosarcoma that is higher in spay females.
I want what is best for my dogs in the long run-- I have a nasty contract that people have to sign if they want a pup. I as a breeder, NEVER want to see one of my dogs used like the ones in the Pennsylvania puppymill bust. I am not anti altering. I have a female I am going to have spay-- just when I was going to make the appointment- I found out a dog died on the table during a neuter at our vets-- he had a reaction to the gas. It happens- owners didn't want to pay extra to have the blood tested etc...
Sandy

Karlin
3rd July 2006, 01:40 PM
I have a nasty contract that people have to sign if they want a pup.

:lol: :lol: I am sure the nastiness is all structuring in levels of responsibility. :lol: It is difficult with living things; it can be hard to be sure owners will do as asked ( eg do the right thing for each animal whatever that might be) and this always weighs heavily on anyone homing a dog or cat, kitten or puppy, whether relating to general care or neutering. In rescue there's the extra level of frustration of homing animals that are generally already considered 'surplus' by previous owners, or the unwanted result of random matings, and to put so much work in only to have those animals go on to have their own unwanted litters is exasperating. This must be a real difficulty and dilemma for good breeders too, as each puppy has been so carefully raised and you want to be sure it has the right care.

With all the cats and dogs I or my family have owned, and which friends have owned, I don't know a single neutered animal that ever had any health issue associated with a spay/neuter outside of some spay incontinence in an elderly bitch (but that could have just been incontinence, full stop). On the other hand I know many older bitches taken into rescue with mammary tumours and related problems due to not having been spayed, and of others who have lost bitches or had them barely pull through with pyometra. I think if vets saw an increase in spay/neuter health issues (rather than more due to not spaying/neutering) they would for a long time, have recommended just tying tubes on males or females as both are possible and just as easy as a spay/neuter -- then the animal in question would not be at risk of conceiving but would retain all its hormones. I still wonder why more people don't just take this option if they have concerns as it addresses the main responsibility issue of preventing litters.

I think it is important to note too that in my experience on these kinds of dicsussions, the people who have never had any issues with intact dogs and bitches are exactly those who are experienced, responsible owners to begin with, and would be training their dogs as a matter of course. :) I see the results via general rescue, in both cats and dogs, of animals that have never had any kind of training and behaviour modification, and these are typically the behaviours that have caused the animals to be surrendered to pounds or brought to vets to be pts in the first place.

Bruce H
3rd July 2006, 04:01 PM
One group has stated that they suggest that athletic dogs should be altered after they are full grown. Someone earlier may have posted that link.
Sandy

I think that may have been me. I've been searching all over for that link and can't find it. Must have deleted it somehow. At any rate, that research was one of the reasons we like to see people wait if they can even if we don't consider the Cavalier "athletic". And if they can't or don't want to wait, that's OK too; we just don't want the puppies S/N at 3 months.

Bruce H
3rd July 2006, 04:01 PM
One group has stated that they suggest that athletic dogs should be altered after they are full grown. Someone earlier may have posted that link.
Sandy

I think that may have been me. I've been searching all over for that link and can't find it. Must have deleted it somehow. At any rate, that research was one of the reasons we like to see people wait if they can even if we don't consider the Cavalier "athletic". And if they can't or don't want to wait, that's OK too; we just don't want the puppies S/N at 3 months.

Jen
3rd July 2006, 04:21 PM
My vet also said that both testies must be down and that his baby teeth need to fall out before neutering. Both testies are down and I am not sure about the baby teeth. I am just concerned that my boy might be too young. There is a lot of talk about spaying females but hardly any opinions or comments on male neutering... so it is quite confusing.

Numerous vets I've talked to regarding neutering Gus say that as early as 4 months, if the testies are down, is totally fine. Given that, and the behavioral issues we're having with him (his latest is to lift his leg and pee on other dogs! :yikes ), Gus is getting neutered this Wednesday. He'll be a week short of 5 months, and I can't wait to see the changes...I hope! If he's still the little creep that he can be, we'll of course continue his bootcamp training regime that we've been doing since we got him! :lol: