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By Verzijlenberg Veterinary Professional Corporation

When to Neuter or Spay Your Dog

The general answer is usually between 6-9 months of age, but for the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd this age range is different. New research from the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine compares fixed Retrievers/Shepherds to intact Retrievers/Shepherds and looks at some of the major health concerns of these breeds develop over their lifespan.

​The research performed shows that the reproductive organs, known as gonads, produce hormones in both the male and female that set up the foundation of prevention for the major diseases found in the large breed dogs. The removal of hormone producing organs during the first year of a dog's life leaves the animal vulnerable to the delayed closure of long-bone growth plates.

According to this scientific study, the sweet spot for both the Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers that has the most preventive benefits against cancer and joint diseases is the 1-2 year age range.

The sex hormones have a protective effect against cancers
​throughout most of the dog's life." - Hart

German Shepherd

Neutering before 1 year triples the incidence of joint disorders (especially cranial cruciate ligament disorder).

  • Joint disorders intact males: 7%

  • Joint disorders neutered before one year of age: 21% !!

Neutering at any age was not associated with an increase in cancer occurrence above the level of intact males.

Spaying before 1 year triples the incidence of joint disorders (especially cruciate ligament disorder).

  • Joint disorders intact females: 5%

  • Joint disorders females spayed before one year of age: 16%

However, 

  • Mammary cancer intact females: 4%

  • Mammary cancer in females spayed before one year of age: less than 1%

The sweet spot that has the most preventive benefits against both cancers and joint diseases is the 1-2 year age range.

Urinary incontinence in intact females was not diagnosed; whereas in the group of females spayed before one year of age, 7% showed urinary incontinence.