makes claims with absolutely no research done to substantiate those claims, to
try and make herself look smarter then she is. Come on Sherry, check your facts
at least before you pretend to know it all and tell others how it MUST be
It is my
understanding that you have an interest in early-age sterilization. Our
organization has done extensive data collection on this subject and has
recently co-produced a video with the University of California, School
of Veterinary Medicine. It is entitled "Early-Age Neutering, A
Practical Guide for Veterinarians." Needless to say, we and many
other veterinary medical associations support and endorse early-age
sterilization. Concerns about the effects, both long and short-term, of
early-age sterilization surgery cited by some veterinarians as
problematic have been unproven, and this is largely because they haven't
read the numerous studies now available."
Teri Barnato, National Director,
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR).
"Cons" to Pediatric Spay/Neuter
As far as I'm
concerned, there are no "cons" to early spay/neuter. The
younger ones are up and playing the same day. No matter how good
the s/n contract, you're still going to have people who will give you a
hard time, saying they don't have time or never answer the phone or
move away. Spay/neuter
before adoption is the best solution." -- Diana Nolen, S.T.O.P.
No Negative Data reported
with Pediatric Spay / Neuter
is no up-to-date data on the problems of pediatric spay/neutering
because there ARE NO PROBLEMS.
I for one believe that all animals should be spayed/neutered before
purchase or adoption unless they are going to a reputable breeder.
NO EXCEPTIONS. - If the animal is old enough to be
purchased/adopted it is old enough to be spayed/neutered.
Current research has proven that all of the "old" (which is
exactly what they are... old) concerns and myths regarding early
spay/neutering are false. I defy anyone to provide CURRENT
research from reputable individuals or groups that support any of the
old myths regarding problems associated with early spay/neutering.
Whether they are physical or mental in nature...
The following is a list of: Controlled Studies, Personal
Experiences and Personal Opinions. Most of them from experts in
the field. It's a lot of reading but I'll tell you up front...
they all say the same thing. There is no logical reason NOT to
spay/neuter at an early age......... even as early as 6 weeks old.
During my own research of this topic... the only negative information
that I could find against early spay/neuter was dated at least 6 years
ago or longer. Times are changing and people need to move forward.
Considering the massive overpopulation of unwanted animals in this
country... mandatory early spay/neuter before adoption/purchase is one
of our greatest hopes for success in reducing this number. We
already know that we can't count on John Q Public to do it himself... he
has proven that over and over again. So the burden falls on the
Breeders, the Pet Stores and the Animal Shelter/Rescue organizations.
I'm sorry; it's not my fault! But if you won't do it, trust me, it won't
get done... That, unfortunately, is a proven fact. " Sincerely,
Q & A about Pediatric Spay/Neuter
is safe and effective when anesthetic and surgical guidelines are
followed. The theorized concerns such as the potential for stunted
growth, obesity, perivulvar dermatitis vaginitis, urinary incontinence,
behavioral changes, impaired immunocompetence, and urethral obstruction
in male cats for early age neutering (8 weeks) are unfounded. In
fact, benefits of pediatric spay/neuter surgery include, less bleeding,
less stitching, less time required for surgery, fewer drugs required,
quicker recoveries, near zero complications, less fasting time, and less
by Marci Hess
Quote from the Dalmatian Club of America
- Study now appearing on website states
For physiological and anatomical considerations that are logically
and medically sound, the development of the os penis is incomplete until
about 12 months of age in males. Castration prior to this age
impedes the development of the os penis, and the resulting immature,
small os penis size may contribute to the development of clinically
relevant obstructive urinary stone disease in these animals. This
subgroup analysis would be very important to conduct, if possible, from
the survey results as it may support the recommendation to breeders,
owners and others to delay male Dalmatian castration to one year of age.
Response from Dr
Castration prior to this age impedes
the development of the os penis, and the resulting immature, small os
penis size may
contribute to the development of clinically relevant obstructive urinary
stone disease in these animals.
That "may" is pretty
telling. I can give you a stack of scientific studies like a phone
book showing no problems. So the questions is do they have even
one study to support their supposition? If they did, wouldn't they
quote it instead of saying "may" - which also means
"maybe not". Where is the study?
And where is the logic? Doesn't intuitively make sense to me that
a smaller bone would cause more of a problem? If the theory is that the
bone causes the stones to block, wouldn't a smaller bone be a good
thing? Actually, I don't think it's the bone that causes the
blockage at all, but soft tissue swelling, though I'd have to consult a
urologist to confirm that. Growth plates close at maturity, which
stops the growth of the bone. Dalmatian size dog will close from
ten to sixteen months in most cases. So if we neuter at 6, he's
still not closed. Again - where is the logic (or study) that says
six months is any better than six weeks?
Seems to me another case of someone reaching to support a position that
isn't backed up by the science.
Tracy Land, DVM
from Breeder, November
We do not do pediatric S/N because of the increased risk of
osteosarcoma in large breeds.
Response from Dr Tracy Land
This is an old one. If you actually read & understand
these studies, the only remotely relevant finding is an increased
risk of osteosarcoma in
neutered vs unneutered Rottweilers, which are genetically predisposed to
osteosarcoma anyway. The issue of age at sterilization IS
NOT ADDRESSED. Overall, sterilized dogs live longer than
those unsterilzied ones. True more osteosarc in sterilized
but overall they don't live as long due to deaths from other cancers
I'm attaching an excellent
article from a famous veterinarian that attempts to explain some of
these specific issues, one that has done a lot of our studies proving
the safety of pediatric S/N. It's a little complex, but is a great
example of how studies can be misinterpreted by those lacking the
scientific background to understand them, and how they can be just plain
misquoted to support a position that otherwise can't really be
Do take the time to try to read it, and stash it away somewhere safe for
It isn't as if we who support pediatric spay/neuter choose to ignore any
relevant or even possibly relevant finding.
Of the dozens of studies that will stand up to peer review that have
been done, the ONLY negative finding is a slight increase in urinary
incontinence in female puppies spayed prior to 12 weeks of age.
Though the increase is slight (3%) and the finding contradicted by
other studies, we acknowledge it, attempt to err on the safe
side when possible, and fairly weigh the possible
disadvantage against the benefit of NBA (neuter before adoption)
programs - guess what, a few animals that may be incontinent, which is
treatable, doesn't outweigh millions dead. You'll almost
invariably find anyone who will argue that has never spent any time in a
from Dalmatian Rescuer
Dalmatians have a unique uric acid
metabolism, with high levels of uric acid excretion in their urine,
which can make kidney and bladder stone formation a possibility.
Response from Dr Tracy Land
Dals do indeed have that problem. The penis is indeed smaller
in dogs castrated early - BUT - not the urethra, the difference is that
the erectile tissue in the penis (around the urethra) does not develop.
The thought process is logical, but basically flawed in that regard. The
studies on cats are 30 years old, going way back to research on the old
blocked kitty problem. I believe University of Florida repeated
the study on dogs fifteen years ago
from a Weimaraner rescue person
99% of pediatric spays have incontinence
Response from Dr Tracy Land
Incontinence - If 99% of early spays were incontinent, we'd have
stopped long ago - that's just absurd. One study showed a 3%
increase in the risk of incontinence if female dogs spayed prior to 3
months, though that finding has not been the case in several other
studies. The significance of a possible 3% increase in a treatable
problem pales in comparison to six million dead annually due to
overpopulation. I personally have done thousands of pediatric
spays, and have NEVER ONCE had one of my pups come back incontinent.
I do frequently treat incontinence in my outpatient clinic, and without
exception, every single patient was spayed at or after six months, or
not at all. Who ever is saying that just has absolutely no clue
what they're talking about.
from Weimaraner Rescue
We also prefer that they are developed hormonally and structurally to
their best advantage.
Response from Dr Tracy Land
- Hormones? Makes no sense. A weim
spayed at six months is not "hormonally" mature either, so
what's the difference? We're currently collecting mature
ovaries for research into an injectable method of sterilization for
dogs at Auburn. They don't want us to collect six month
old ovaries, as they don't yet contain the hormones needed for their
research. So there really is no valid issue
- Structurally - Dogs sterilized early
will have slightly delayed closure of the growth plates, and
therefore be a fraction of an inch taller than those sterilized
later. Who cares? I do think this is a valid point for dogs
being shown at conformation, as they will not develop quite the same
extent of secondary sex characteristics - such as breadth of chest
or head. But, the average pet over can't tell that difference,
show dogs can't be sterilized anyway unless someone's cheating, and
there is little or no difference between those spayed at six months
or three. So again, logically not a valid issue there.
from person who adopted rescue dog that was spayed at
She has too much skin around her pee
pee because the early surgery stopped her maturation of her vaginal
area. This causes the skin around it to keep it covered, therefore
keeping it moist. This can lead to bladder infections and staph, per my
vet at XXX (Columbus Ohio Area Vetl Hospital).
There is a host of other things that could come from this. I have also
been told that a female should be at least six months of age before
spaying. When I took her to this vet at an earlier date, the Dr that saw
her said that they don't do spaying at 8 weeks. I have a lot of
mixed feelings about this. I don't understand why this was done at such
an early age. I would have taken her to be spayed when she was six
Response from Dr Tracy Land
I can tell you that the problem being described is usually seen
in overweight dogs, and the cause is the obesity, not the age at spay.
The cases I have seen have, with one exception, always been
overweight. One was just primary anatomical problem.
I've spayed a lot of puppies, (thousands) and never seen it as a
problem in one of those. Only those spayed at six months or later,
that were too chubby. Puppies spayed prior to six
months usually have no significant difference in the size of the vulva
than those spayed at six months. This is another classic and
tragic example of a vet who hasn't done his/her homework on pediatric
spay/neuter, and has no experience in the area, unjustly criticizing
something they don't understand. Research, tons of it, have never
mentioned this a problem finding.
Tracy Land, DVM
Pediatric spay/neuter is endorsed by the following
American Animal Hospital Association
Alley Cat Allies
American Humane Association
Kennel Club that
Sherry loves to point to
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Since 1972
Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights
American Veterinary Medical Association -
July 93 Resolution in support
- Canadian Federation of Humane Societies
Cat Fanciers Association
Friends of Animals
Humane Society of the United States
International Society for Animal Rights
Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
National Animal Control Association
National Humane Education Society
Save Our Strays
* Many state and local veterinary associations including California
Veterinary Medical Association and California Animal Control Director's
Association, Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, and an increasing
number of local animal shelters nationwide as well as Cornell
University and UC-Davis.
* Bob Christiansen of Save
Our Strays estimates only 5% of vets
nationally perform early-age spay/neuters and was startled to find that
many animal shelters with public spay/neuter clinics are not even
practicing early age spay/neuters for the public. - USA Tour Summary,
December 2000 (article no longer online.)
* The Southern Oregon Humane Society in Medford, Oregon began practicing
prepubertal sterilization in 1975