View Full Version : Is 4 months Too Young to Neuter?

6th August 2012, 05:12 PM
I have a 3 month old ruby cavalier who is scheduled to be neutered at 4 months old; he does have one undescended testicle as well. Is that too young? I am sure the undescended testicle is a factor to the early neuter. For those that neutered their pups early what was your experience like? I have read that some pups grow a little taller and/or coat texture changes. He is a beautiful pup and would like him to mature to what nature intended but the undescended testicle is a concern. Thank you in advance :-)

7th August 2012, 12:10 AM
I wouldn't neuter that early unless there's some serious risk and I cannot imagine there's any reason this would have to be done this early, in my experience of taking in rescue dogs that have had undescended testicles and of what other people with pups have gone through.

Generally vets say that if a testicle has not descended by 6 months or so, it probably won't, but some breeders who have a promising dog and don;t want to neuter unless necessary, will wait a few months longer.

Personally I think 4 months is way too early and I'd hold out for 6-9 months unless there is some reason for greater urgency. Problems from an undescended testicle don;t tend to develop that fast though! However they ARE a serious health risk over time and often become very painful for the dog internally, and have a high risk of becoming cancerous. This was the case with one of my rescue dogs who must have suffered for years with the pain and was thought to be aggressive because he didn't like to be touched. :x He eventually went on to a caring home but I did have the removed testicle biopsied and it was cancerous.

Note this vet recommends neutering for this AFTER 6 months of age:


However it may be that your vet has a good reason for suggesting this very early neuter and you should clarify if there is a reason. Perhaps s/he can feel the testicle is up in an area where it risks twisting around internal organs and be far more threatening to your puppy's health?

If this isn't the case, I'd wait a bit. :)

There's lots of debate around when to neuter. I did my boys at 9 months or so and they are standard height etc with fairly smooth, not curly, coats. Some like to wait til about age 1 but in males, this does carry a greater chance of some unwanted behaviours being permanent -- eg excessive marking, humping etc compared to neutering before the dog starts to establish these behaviours in adolescence. Given that many people give up dogs for such behaviour, I think a few months' earlier neutering is a very small tradeoff.

7th August 2012, 01:29 AM
Karlin, I really appreciate your informative response. I am definitely going to ask my vet if neutering sooner rather than later is a health issue for my pup. I personally would prefer to wait until he's older if I can. I will post an update after I speak with my vet. Thanks again! :thnku:

7th August 2012, 02:24 AM
My vet would not do it until 6 months, which is when I had Luke neutered. She said not before 6 months so that if he had any teeth that hadn't fallen out, they would pull them while he was under for neutering. He also had a small hernia, and she wanted to see if it would resolve on its own, and just put him under once for all of it rather than multiple times.

7th August 2012, 02:28 AM
Generally speaking yes 4 months is too early. I would surly want the vet to explain why he/she feels the need to neuter at 4 months. Only a qualified vet seeing your dog can tell you that for sure.....but I would be suspicious if you are given some standard answer. He/she may have a good reason, but the undesended testicle shouldn't be one of them.

Fletcher had an undesended testicle which dropped about 3 weeks ago, he is scheduled to be neutered on Thursday and he will be 6 months old on Aug 16th. I had scheduled the surgery BEFORE that testicle dropped and because of scheduling issues I choose to keep it. I have worried I am doing it too early myself however, its 8 days before he turns 6 months. So I'm just going for it.

However, I'm not sure there are any ill effects to neutering early. Some people will tell you that a dog needs those "mature" hormones to grow properly. I have never heard (even in reading about this subject) that neutering early could cause taller height or a different texture hair.


7th August 2012, 04:01 AM
My vet would never neuter/spay any of our dogs, male or female, until they were six months old. There is bound to be a reason for it. Best to wait. I wouldn't let a dog be neutered/spayed at four months, unless there were a grave health issue.

7th August 2012, 11:45 AM
Four months is far too young.
You're talking about a puppy who's only a few weeks old!
There's no way I'd allow a puppy that young to undergo a general anaesthetic for an elective surgery.
I would prefer to enjoy my pet and allow him to be a puppy and develop into an adult before having him castrated.
Dogs will always display some unwanted behaviours,well,because they're dogs!
The main reason for neutering is to prevent unwanted offspring in the pet population.This can be done at a later stage when the dog is mature and growth complete.

7th August 2012, 01:16 PM
Important to keep in mind there may be a valid medical reason for a very early neuter though. :thmbsup: It may not be a straightforward situation and I wouldn't want to second-guess the vet but would sure want a very detailed argument for why they would advocate such an early neuter! If there are no complications, I totally agree to wait. :) I do think most owners find it easiest to opt for 6-9 months or so as a neuter window for males -- but for some dogs and some owners, it will suit them to wait. :)

7th August 2012, 05:02 PM
I was just reading about this subject. Prepubescent spay/neuter is supported but a few well known American authorities. American Humane Association being one of them. They site several studies on the pros of spay/neuter as young as 6 weeks. Well we can understand why the AHA would take such a "dramatic" decision, their main focus is to prevent as many unwanted animals as possible. However, it make one wonder.... In what I have read so far, (tho not enough I recognize) there are been studies showing no harmful long term effects. And vet's say puppies spay/neutered at younger ages heal faster and require less pain meds after surgery. HMMMMMMM.... its interesting.

Just food for thought.

7th August 2012, 08:51 PM
There is SO much conflicting information on when to spay/neuter! I found it really difficult to make a decision, too. Many say that you should wait at least a year for growth plates to finish....however, much of literature surrounding that is based on large breeds and there is little to no information supporting that argument for small breeds. I even had one man on the street tell me off for getting Lady spayed at 6 months because she isnt done growing. My defence was that as soon as a female as her first heat she is succeptible for certain cancers, and that was the ultimate factor in my decision to do it before 1st heat. Melissa is correct in that most veterinary assocations have a standard of about 8 weeks for a safe spay/neuter. But as everyone else has stated, if there is no medical requirement to be done at 4 months, I would hold off another couple months.