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Delayed Spaying and Neutering and the Aisling Health Warranty

Our Breeding Program is based on the heath of the dogs we produce; we genetically test to lower the odds your puppy will be the victim of preventable diseases and screen for and engage in breeding practices to prevent dysplasia as well as offering ongoing education to our puppy families. All this care taken to provide you with the best possible health and longevity outcome for your puppy can be undone by rushing to sexually alter one of those puppies.

While ultimately as the owner of the puppy, the decision as to when to de-sex your puppy is up to you, for the reasons detailed below, early alteration will VOID our Hip and Elbow Warranty unless it is done to save the life of that puppy.

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Dec;(429):301-5. Canine ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy increases the prevalence of ACL injury. Slauterbeck JR1, Pankratz K, Xu KT, Bozeman SC, Hardy DM. Author information 1Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, 3601 4th St., 4A136, Lubbock, TX 79430, USA. [email protected]

Canine ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy increases the prevalence of ACL injury

Females that had ovariohysterectomy and males that had orchiectomy had a significantly higher prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament rupture than the sexually intact dogs. Larger dogs had an increased prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injury compared with smaller or medium-sized dogs, with the increased rupture rates for sterilized animals holding across breeds and sizes. Sterilization of either gender increased the prevalence of anterior cruciate ligament injury, suggesting a potential effect of gonadal gender on prevalence of injury of this ligament. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association February 1, 2004, Vol. 224, No. 3, Pages 380-387

Results—Among female dogs, early-age gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of cystitis and decreasing age at gonadectomy was associated with increased rate of urinary incontinence. Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased....

Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs

Cardiac Tumors occurred with similar frequency in males and females, but the relative risk for spayed females was >4 times that for intact females. For HSA, spayed females had >5 times greater relative risk than did intact females. The risk for castrated males was slightly greater than that for intact males, which had 2.4 times the relative risk of intact females. Thus, neutering appeared to increase the risk of cardiac tumor in both sexes. Intact females were least likely to develop a cardiac tumor, whereas spayed females were most likely to develop a tumor. Twelve breeds had greater than average risk of developing a cardiac tumor, whereas 17 had lower risk. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association February 1, 2014, Vol. 244, No. 3, Pages 309-319

Cardiac tumors in dogs

Evaluation of the risk and age of onset of cancer and behavioral disorders in gonadectomized Vizslas

Results— Females gonadectomized at ≤ 12 months of age and males and females gonadectomized at > 12 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing hemangiosarcoma, compared with the odds for sexually intact dogs. Dogs gonadectomized at ≤ 6 months of age had significantly increased odds of developing a behavioral disorder. The younger the age at gonadectomy, the earlier the mean age at diagnosis of mast cell cancer, cancers other than mast cell, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, all cancers combined, a behavioral disorder, or fear of storms.

Evaluation of the risk and age of onset of cancer and behavioral disorders

The above cited studies represent only a few of the ones done in the past several decades. While we have been conditioned to believe that early altering of our pets is "best" the reality is that it isn't and unfortunately, not all Veterinarians are onboard with delayed alteration.  

The original "Spay and Neuter" early protocol was initiated due to the unwanted pet population in the United States. I'm sure some remember the days when "The Price Is Right" ended each day with this...."Help control the pet population, spay and neuter your pets".

In the decades since then, there have been numerous studies showing that the increase in canines of certain cancers and joint diseases have a direct correlation to the age de-sexing took place. (And while there are still pockets where an unwanted pet population causes over-population in shelters, in most areas of the United States there is actually a shortage of shelter dogs available for adoption evidenced by the importation of dogs from other nations. )

Studies have also proven that the disruption in the hormones of a young dog will not only affect the health of their joints and cause vulnerability to certain cancers, but also that it alters the physical stature of the dog at maturity including increased height in both males and females and obesity in females. If you have viewed both Dam and Sire of your puppy and hope they look the same as their parents at maturity, early spaying/neuter should be avoided.

In order for our Hip and Elbow warranty to remain in affect, we require that:

Females be spayed AFTER 12 months of age and 3 months AFTER their heat cycle (to reduce risk of bleeding during surgery). 

Males be neutered no earlier than 18 months and preferably at 24 months.

The choice is yours as to when to spay/neuter your puppy; however, unless it is to save the life of an Aisling Puppy (i.e. Pyrometria in a female or testicular torsion or other disorder in a male), alteration earlier than the recommended ages will void the Hip and Elbow Warranty offered by Aisling Labradors due to the increased risk of dysplasia. 

Gonadectomy in Dogs: Considerations & Review Text January/February 2022

Additional Reading: Spay-neuter considerations to maximize health