View Full Version : Neuter?

19th January 2010, 05:50 PM
I had Max neutered at 6 months on advice from his breeder and my vet. The main reason in my mind was to prevent marking and humping. Well lo and behold four months later Max started to mark. Ugghh. He also grew an incredible amount after he was neutered, gaining 3 lbs and at least two inches in height in a month. He is well over 14 inches, even though he came from a litter of 5 and both his parents were somewhere between 12 and 13 inches. I always wondered if the early neuter affected his growth. I'm still not sure but I had decided that unless there was a compelling reason I would not neuter Rylie before 8 months. It's coming up to that time now and I wonder why have him neutered at all?

I have owned male dogs for over 12 years and I think I can be pretty confident in saying that he won't have the opportunity to impregnate anyone so that doesn't factor into my decision. I am already dealing with one neutered marking male (my Golden, rest his soul never marked a thing in his life) that I'm trying to train so it seems likely that Rylie will learn from example regardless.

What are the health benefits to neutering male dogs?

I'm probably going to go ahead and get it done anyway since he does have a hernia that needs repair but I'd like to be reminded of all the reasons why I should.

Kate H
19th January 2010, 07:25 PM
Neutering before maturity means that the bone plates do not close properly, hence the legginess you have experienced with Max. In some breeds, such as border collies, this can also lead to cruciate ligament problems in later life. The usual reason given by vets for neutering (apart from the sex side!) is the risk of testicular cancer in unneutered males. My first Cavalier (who was not neutered because I showed him) developed this aged 4 - it was very easy to see with an occasional check when I groomed him, caused him no pain or discomfort at all, and was cured entirely by the simple act of neutering him.

I have never had any real problems with Oliver who is aged 8 and not neutered. He sniffs a lot if someone is stupid enough to take their in-season bitch (or about to be, or has just been) for a walk in the park, or into the obedience or show ring. Frankly, Oliver is MUCH more interested in other males who have been neutered at an early age. If he trails another dog and I go to retrieve him and ask the owner if his dog is neutered and if so, at what age, the answer is ALWAYS around 6-9 months - early neutering seems to permanently mess up their hormones. But these episodes only happen a couple of times a year at most. Aled, my rescue, was neutered a year ago at about 18 months and unfortunately even at that age his hormones seem to be permanently messed up - every entire male we meet tries to mount him (as FloBySin will testify when we met at the Midland Cavalier Club show recently!). Oliver has never shown any inclination to wander looking for bitches. Vets say neutering can change the male character (it didn't for my black and tan who had real temperament problems) - but Oliver's temperament is so special that I've never wanted to risk changing it!

I can understand rescues neutering their dogs before rehoming, to prevent any possibility of them ending up as stud dogs in puppy farms, to remove temptation from people to let their dog father 'just one litter', and because not all dog owners are as careful as you and I are.

Only you can decide if neutering is the best thing for your dog, but if you do decide to have Rylie done, I would urge you to wait until his bones are mature and his hormones have sorted themselves out.

Kate, Oliver and Aled

19th January 2010, 09:28 PM
I would urge you to wait until his bones are mature and his hormones have sorted themselves out.

When is that approximately? My vet said not to neuter before Guinness' adult canines are in (he's got most of his adult teeth, canines are the last to come in), but any time after that is fine. I think that still sounds a little soon, but vets/animal people are so concerned with preventing unwanted litters that they can't give a straight answer about when is best for your pet's health to be neutered.

19th January 2010, 10:00 PM
Well yes, they can, and you seem to be getting all the right advice -- I think you are looking for a straight answer that isn't actually there. The jury is absolutely out on this one -- you are basically weighing one thing against the other, so go with whatever you feel comfortable with, and what you feel you can manage. Some people really do not like dealing with the changes in males between six months and a year old, as this is when a lot of the behaviors people consider undesirable and hard to manage begin. If males are not neutered before these behaviours start they may become lifetime behaviours -- which for some is not an issue and easy to manage, and for others can be a leading reason why so many male dogs end up in pounds.

There are increased lifetime cancer risks for females that aren't neutered before their first heat -- if you do not neuter a female before the first heat she has about a one in 11 chance of mammary cancers during her lifetime, and these are already one of the most common tumors in dogs so the risk is by any measure significant. Personally, I've also yet to see anything convincing to me about a neuter having any significant effect on bones being fully formed etc and do agility with a perfectly sound male neutered at 9 months who has never had a single issue with bones and joints but I know plenty of intact dogs that have major problems with knees, hips etc. I think this is a negligible point, having looked at some of the available studies, but others have different opinions so it may be a concern for you. I also think legginess tends to be more genetic as I have several quite compact cavaliers that were neutered before a year old and only one that has longer legs (and again -- they certainly are beneficial to him for agility as the cobby compact ones do not have his flexibility and agility).

So really I would just weigh up what you feel you could manage and also keep in mind that if you have a male he is going to go into testosterone overdrive starting at about 5 to 6 months and will have a very strong drive to get out if he smells females in heat andcan start to challenge other males as well. In some males, this can be hard to manage and if your dog gets out, he can be stolen, killed or lost, so I do consider that an issue as well that is particular to males. Every dog and owner is different.

There is a whole section on neutering and the health issues in the library section of the site and you can see many previous discussions of this issue if you use the search function, so that might be useful to you as well. :thmbsup:

Mindysmom-- many older (age 7 plus) intact male dogs I get into rescue are already beginning to have prostate problems because they weren't neutered and there is a cancer risk. Because they have prostate problems I end up having to neuter them when they are old guys which always really annoys me as they'd have been spared this needed preventative surgery that I now absolutely have to do, had this been done years ago. Almost all male dogs mark, regardless of a neuter -- but believe me, the unneutered ones mark *incessantly* and also inside the house, so this is what about two thirds of neuters prevent, but not always. In either case however it is basically a training issue and is totally normal behaviour for the dog; you manage it pretty much the same as housetraining (all mymales mark on walks and so on but not constantly and never in the house). You can also expect to have much smellier urine, more humping behaviour, and a lifetime disposition to get out and disappear. In my local pounds about 80% of all dogs found straying are unneutered males. Almost never does a neutered male come in. And if you don't like the maleness of marking you are going to get a whole lot more very male behaviours from an intact male. :lol: On size -- my neutered males are both on the small side (17 and 15.5 lbs) and well within their family size and breed standard, but again as with kids in a family you can get offspring larger or smaller (more typically, larger it seems!). Weight gain is a matter of feeding less and exercising more (as with us!). :) Neutered dogs sometimes have a slight drop in metabolism and thus can be fed about 20% less -- cost savings for you! But adults also have a slower metabolism and often, unless very active, need less food than puppies (the case with all five of mine) -- most adults need LESS than they were fed as pups so if you keep feeding the same amount, they will gain regardless of neutering. PS - also a possible consideration is whether your breeder has a neuter requirement in the homing contract? This is pretty much standard with good breeders in the US and must be done. :thmbsup:

19th January 2010, 10:27 PM
Some dogs are clearly going to be more hormonal than others, but my border collie was never neutered, and he was always perfectly behaved even when a bitch in heat would run up and start humping him at the park, he just made a face like "Oh my god, this is so embarrassing".

Guinness started humping behavior around 13 weeks (me, and his trainer), but we've been working on that and it's very rare now, so I think he'll be manageable.

20th January 2010, 12:12 AM
Rylie is on a non-breeding contract but it was actually his breeder that suggested we might want to wait until 8 months to neuter and I don't think she'd be too concerned if we chose not to as she knows that we are responsible. I wouldn't say that he would never escape but so far I haven't seen any desire in him not to come when called - he has Max and Mindy as examples so I think that's easier than if he was an only dog. I suppose theft or accident are a risk with any of them but we live in a small town and theft isn't something that happens here.

I cut back on Max's food immediately after his neuter and again just recently as he has calmed down considerably in the last couple of months and we don't get as much exercise in the winter. He's not overweight IMO and he's pretty proportional - he's just a big boy. It was almost on his first birthday he turned into a lap dog. I remember when I referred to him as the Tazmanian Devil! I didn't see neutering affect his temperament or activity level at all but as he was still a puppy I suppose that's to be expected.

I did a search on neutering and there are more topics on females - maybe I didn't look far enough back. I didn't see anything in the library on males that would sway me much either way.

Having said that I probably will get Rylie neutered. Since he's never shown any aggressive tendencies, and isn't a wanderer I might wait a few more months as long as he can confine his marking to when we are on walks.

Karen and Ruby
20th January 2010, 12:35 AM
Charlie will be neutered on Feb 15th at age 14 months.

My person prefrence is all- he is very high strug and is constantly on the search for ladies. He humps for britain and marks every day in the house (I must add this has mainly been since my seperation from my then partner)- maybe more stress induced than anything else?

i see it that it is more unfair to leave him with all the equipment to do a job and never allow him to do so than to take them away.
I certainly wouldnt neuter a dog before maturity though xx