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This may be a newbie question, but does neutering have any effect on agility performance or obedience? sounds dumb, but i know i should neuter my dog, not going to breed, would like to decrease or diminish his chances of certain cancers, try to avoid aggresion etc. etc. even with all that im hesitant to do it and i work in the veterinary field. all day i talk people into fixing their pet and how its better for them but i wont take my own advice. urrrgghhh i just dont know what i should do and even if i decided to do it, that leads to when i should do it..... any thoughts?

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There is a tonne of "scientific" reasons why or why not to neuter, what age to do it at etc

 

I think it comes down to personal opinion. If you don't want to neuter you don't have too. As long as they are safe from wandering males, or you can stop your own males wandering then it doesn't really matter. I only do so my dogs won't come into heat during a big trial or something important and to completely stop them from breeding, as I keep my dogs fenced in but other people do not show the same courtesy. Females can also bring other females into heat which could be a problem. As for males most of the males I see at agility aren't desexed and it does not hinder them if they are focused more so on their work than on the ladies. :rolleyes: It doesn't hinder their performance at all as long as they are completely healed. I have heard about dogs putting on weight but have never had it happen to me and I'm sure monitoring their food would help with that anyway.

 

For me again personally I like to wait till they are about 14months which is usually after their first heat. It has nothing to do with them having their first heat, just that I prefer them to be physically mature. I have no scientific reasons to justify my decision but I have been told the only issue with desexing them later on, is the fatty build up which there is no chance of happening because my dogs are extremely lean. So it all comes down to personal preference, I just like to wait till later. I wouldn't choose a time if you do it at all, just because of someone said something and they have scientific facts to back it up because there are so many varied reasons when and why to desex.

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To me the question is: how will you choose to keep your dog from procreating? Neutering is the most foolproof but not the only way. It also has some side effects, most of which are negligible, but they are still side effects.

 

If you would like to keep him intact and can commit to keeping him from breeding, I don't think you are being irresponsible.

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I can't search it just now - but look up Christine Zink, DVM for an article on neutering performance dogs. The basic idea (for them who won't search it...) is that: hormones control bone growth. If you neuter (or spay) before growth plates are closed, not all bones will/may have finished growing. For example, perhaps the tibia has completed growth, but fibula has not. Ergo, "not quite right" structure may result. (That is a WAY oversimplification....)

 

So bottom line: yes, speutering is a Good Thing for all the reasons you cited. WHEN to do it is the critical point. I don't know that "after first heat" has anything to do with bone growth. When growth plates are closed is the "right" time to do it.

 

Otherwise, I would think it would help IMMENSELY if you are going to do competitive sports. The last thing a performance dog needs on his/her mind is anything to do with the other gender at competitions.

 

JMHO....

diane

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If your b*tch is intact you have to watch heat cycles to enter trials, you may miss out on one you really want to enter orshe might come into heat after the closing date and then you may not get a refund for your entry - however most clubs do offer a refund for that. I BELIEVE that ACK allows b*tches in heat to enter and compete but I could be wrong its been years since Ive done anything with AKC.

 

If you have a male and a female that is ready go into heat, is already in heat or just out of heat can really screw with his mind.

 

For agility I know USDAA and NADAC do not allow in heat females to compete.

 

As for neutering it doesnt decrease drive or energy or desire

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I've always waited until my dogs were at least 18 months old for a variety of reasons. As for the effect on performance I have never seen a difference but keep an open mind.

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I own an intact male -- My Alaskan Klee Kai does conformation showing and it is very likely he'll eventually get a chance to pass on his genes.

 

I will freely say that I would *NEVER* own an intact dog if I had no plans to show in conformation or breed. Never. The neutered dogs are just so much more relaxed. Kaiser is *always* on and alert. He never turns off. It can be a massive distraction in the agility ring.

 

I am tempted to shoot him up with one of the "temporary chemical castration" drugs to see if it would make a difference -- If I noticed a large difference in his focus, I think I'd just neuter him and be done with it. Agility matters more to me than the rest of it. He's 27 months old now, though, and I've had several people tell me he is unlikely to change much at this late stage of the game -- although it may settle him a little.

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I currently have 5 dogs.

 

My 1st acd is now almost 12 yrs of age. She was spayed at 6 months of age. ACDs are very rough on their bodies until they learn some self-preservation. She has had TPLO on both knees (7 yrs and 9yrs). I do not blame early spaying as a result. I blame her for being an idiot and running into and taking out many things. She is not over-sized for her breed.

 

My toy poodle was neutered at 6 months and I noticed no differences in him or his attitude.

 

My borderjack was neutered at 8 months (growth plates 95% closed). He pretty much stopped growing at 6 months and did not get any taller after neutering. He does have a weak sphincter but he had problems before being neutered. He has to pee often or he will leak. He has always been ultra focused.

 

My border collie was spayed at 6 months. I did notice she is more fearful than before being spayed but genetics plays a role for her issues from what I am told.

 

My new acd who is a year old was just adopted a month ago. She was in heat but we had the shelter spay her anyways so we could bring her home. She is currently a nightmare to live with and is large for a female.

 

All my dogs are playing flyball and are pretty competitive for their breed/size except my border collie. She is not real fast but again it is temperament.

 

Basically I don't think spaying/neutering at 6 months or later really makes a difference. I do believe that unless you have a dog that is breed worthy that being spayed/neutered is the only safe bet for not having accidental breedings.

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A rebuttal to Chris Zinc's argument:

 

http://www.columbusdogconnection.com/Docum...Rebuttal%20.pdf

 

I'm not a vet so don't feel qualified to weigh the merits of the counterarguments put forth here. (Volunteers?)

 

Me either, but as a scholar, I have to say this article rocks, because it does a good job of going back to the primary literature that many of Zink's conclusions are drawn from, and as far as I can tell without being a vet*, more accurately represents the actual conclusions of those original studies. In any case, there are significant positives and negatives to weigh on both sides of the decision. *A vet friend of mine agrees.

 

That being said, my dog had nearly a pediatric neuter (vet-recommended) and ended up with signifcant joint issues (unilateral OCD most likely caused by a traumatic event). One of his shoulders has always been (knock on wood) perfect. Given that I just don't know what role the early neuter played in his injury/development of OCD, as in how much more likely was he to get the injury and syndrome because of the bone development he experienced under a different hormonal maturation, I do wish I had waited until at least 8-9 months. Also, he is less fairly feminine in bone and facial structure, etc, which I would personally like to avoid next time as well. (Although as he is my world I'd like to note he is a very attractive "pretty boy".) While I would also want to weigh the other potential health effects of waiting carefully, I may someday become more confident in my dog handling skills and knowledge to feel responsible enough to own an intact dog for a longer period, especially if I were going to be using the dog in physically stressful pursuits regularly like sports or lots of range/hill stockwork.

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All my dogs and most of the ones I've been around in agility and obedience are neutered/spayed. As far as I can see, there is only improvement in the males as far as ease of training, better focus, etc. I see no diminishment in "drive" as far as peformance goes. At all. When and even if you want to neuter is one of those red button topics with lots of opinions and often conflicting research findings.

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Personally, I'd rather keep a dog intact until the 18 month - 2 year mark. It only makes sense to me that the hormones could quite possibly serve a purpose. I didn't notice change in drive in either of my two adult dogs when they were spayed/neutered (one at 2 years and one at 6 years).

 

My youngest was spayed at 5-6 m/o before I got her. She is very drivey dog who would probably do great at any sport one wanted to train her for.

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I have done pediatric neuters on dozens, maybe close to a hundred, border collie puppies. Many of them are serious sport dogs. I've never seen a problem as a result and many of those dogs are now at the far end of middle age. I'm very pleased someone posted the rebuttal to the Chris Zink article, because it gets passed around like some kind of sermon and it's a flawed article.

 

My own dogs were done at 3, 4 and 6 months. Dexter is still intact because we can't find his balls (he's cryptorchid) and I don't have the cash to go hunting for them right now ... but he'll be done shortly and he's now 7 months. All of my dogs are short, none of them have joint problems and they are competitive sport dogs (Woo excepted). All of Dexter's siblings are neutered and I see many of them regularly - he's huger than all of them. Oh and he's a dick and already very inappropriately studly with the ladies. Tweed hates his guts.

 

RDM

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I've been kind of radicalized on this topic thanks to various spay/neuter bills here in California. As the AVMA says, population control of companion animals should be less important than the health of an individual animal -- but damned if we don't have PETA and various wingnuts clamoring for a "No-Birth Nation" and pushing for laws that would require every dog puppy in the state to be "fixed" by four months.

 

Anyhow -- here's the best article I've seen on the health effects of spay/neuter. [it's pdf.] IMHO, this is the article that should get lots of airplay. "More than 50 peer-reviewed papers were examined to assess the health impacts," as it says in the intro, and if you can find bias either in the selection of the articles or the analysis, by all means speak up. I say this because the author of the article helped lead the fight against mandatory spay/neuter laws in California, and that fact, to some folks, means that everything she says must be bogus.

 

This is not bogus. Money quote, from the abstract: "Male and female [Rottweilers] that underwent gonadectomy before 1 year of age had an approximate one in four lifetime risk for bone sarcoma and were significantly more likely to develop bone sarcoma than dogs that were sexually intact."

 

"She was only 3 years old when she started limping." One of the saddest posts I've read on these boards.

 

I have an intact male cur-dog [pit/shepherd mix], and I think he's terrific, and he'll be keeping his balls unless the vet says he'd be healthier without them. There are actually entire countries in Europe [hello, nations of Scandinavia!] where intact male dogs are the norm and animal shelters are not overflowing and the world has not come to an end, though of course those nations have socialized health care, too, so what do they know.

 

My point: be informed about the heath effects of neutering. And please keep in mind [because your dog's health may depend upon it] that when to neuter an individual dog, or whether to neuter him, is your call. Some idiot politician who has never owned a dog and only listens to PETA No-Birthers should not be deciding what's best for your dog.

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What always cracks me up is that vets will tell you with a straight face that, "Castrating a dog significantly lowers the risk of testicular cancer."

 

Well, DUHHHH! Something that isn't there is unlikely to get cancer!

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FWIW, it cracks us up to say that, too.... but I have (no lie!) had a client ask me in all seriousness if his neutered male is at higher risk of testicular cancer since the dog's father had had testicular cancer. I am NOT making it up. (Me: "Well, since your dog is neutered he no longer has testicles, so I think we're fairly safe on that one." Meanwhile I am biting my tongue bloody to prevent a biiiiig grin from escaping my control...)

 

The Zink article is flawed, the rebuttal article is good; also, all those letters after the rebuttal author's name mean that the author is a boarded specialist. This is someone with additional training and extreme skills. It's also very evident that this is someone who understands how to read a scientific article; it's easy to read things and interpret them erroneously either by accident or to support an agenda or bias. I'd also say that there are things in the Zink article that give me pause (the 30% vs 50% mammary malignancy rate, for one thing... I've never seen the 30% figure in any setting, either in vet schoool, from colleagues, at any meeting or in any literature.... or, for that matter, from my own clinical expereince. Something like that gives me major pause and undermines the credibility of the author immediately.)

 

Mandatory spay/neuter is a questionable concept and a bad idea, IMHO.... there's no way to do a good job of it, it seems like it could open the door for all kinds of OTHER bad ideas, and the people who are compliant are generally NOT the ones creating the problem. In addition, it peeves me to think that the gov't thinks it can make a better decision about this than I can, or that I am incompetent to educate and advise my clients so that THEY can make the appropriate decisions. Luckily I don't live in CA - my head would explode if I had to deal with that.

 

That said... You really DO have to consider the cost-benefit equation for yourself and your own dogs, and it may be very different from one dog to the next. I have no breeders in my house, but the reasons (and ages) for neutering/spaying are different in each case (alhtough I'm confident that it was, in each case, exactly the right thing to do.... both for medical reasons AND for other ones.) Bone cancer sucks.... but so do mammary cancer, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer. And so does dying of sepsis or peritonitis from pyometra, and so does a ruptured uterus from pregnancy, or spending an hour and a half trying to resuscitate a litter of puppies and losing them, one by one.

 

All decisions have consequences. You have to make some decisions in life, and IMO it's better to do that in a well-informed manner - which may mean you have to beware those with an agenda, question your sources, do your own research, seek dissenting opinions and weigh the value of the arguments.

 

JMO, of course.

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