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Thread: The right age to desex?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default The right age to desex?

    Was reading another post on here where one member stated that you no longer have to wait til 6 months before you desex a dog and that it can heal faster when its younger. Other posts i've seen people want their dog to grow and mature a bit before desexing and might wait til they are older than 6 months. The local vet's website says 6 months is the best age.

    What's everyone's thoughts about the best age for desexing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    hi ejburke32
    I think- what i think means jack shit in your circumstances.

    I was asked at training on Saturday, when i plan to desex my male, as it is bad for him?
    I asked her what evidence base she is quoting from, in this particular piece of advice i never sought from her? she couldn't other than some wishy washy crap, that sounded like 'it sets the dog up to fail, all manner of aggressive behaviours can start when males come into maturity, they can get run over wandering around searching for the bitch in heat, buggery bollox .

    I have never heard a vet in all my experience advocate for leaving desexing till later. All recommend do it now. Im sure your vet will be no different.
    I have never felt obliged to listen to this drivel. As i have males.
    For a female, i would desex after first season.

    IMO, which is different to others opinions often.
    and im ok with that.
    Good luck on making your decision for you and yours.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013


    hi bernie,

    What's the difference between desexing for a male and female? Why do you suggest desexing for the females but not the males? (Geniune question not having a go, interested in what the difference is).

  4. #4


    I think 6 months will be the ideal age

  5. #5


    It really depends on your opinion.
    Google the mental and health risks with both desexing and keeping entire. Make sure you cross reference everything so that you're not getting total BS

    For me I have chosen not to desex my males at all even though people try to pressure me into it each week I go to dog obedience. My female was desexed at 6 months because my mother wouldn't have let me keep her if she wasn't.

  6. #6


    'ejburke32' - I wait until the growth plates have fused - so for my pups - boys 18 - 24 months, the girls - ~ 18 months - depending on heat cycles.

    This is also another area the breeder of your pup will have an input.

    Sometimes with certain breeds of pups - you may not get to choose the timing - it may already have been done before you pick up the pup - or there is an agreement/contract which states when the pup has to be desexed.

    Keep researching and have fun !

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Mid North Coast NSW


    I have a 12 month old Mastiff cross, and after posting a similar thread here, googling, and reading lots of research (thanks Riley for the great links), I've decided - if I get him done at all - to wait until he's at least 18 months, maybe 2, as Riley says above. My bitch was done after her first heat, but that was fluke, not knowledge, at the time. It seems to me that it's important for the dog to finish growing and reach sexual maturity before they're spayed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013


    yes i've heard that argument that you should wait til they stop growing but then I read this - Stunted growth?
    It has been postulated that desexing before maturity can result in stunted growth. If valid, that might have more severe effects on bone growth. In fact, several good Studies have shown that just the opposite occurs!

    Closure of growth plates
    Intact Desexed at:
    7 months 7 weeks
    Age at closure Closure delayed by:
    Puppies 9.7 mo +12 wk +17 wk
    Kittens 11.3 mo +8 wk +8 wk

    Using proximal and distal radial growth plates as indicators, studies showed there was delayed closure of growth plates when puppies or kittens were desexed at either age. This shouldn’t be unexpected. Along with other factors, oestrogens and androgens actually promote maturation of cartilage and calcium deposition. Desexing before growth plate closure, prolongs the period of growth, but not the rate of growth. The extended period of growth meant that bones were slightly longer resulting in taller stature (albeit very slight) in some. This appearance can be accentuated by the reduced muscular development in desexed dogs, especially in males.

    Extended periods of open growth plates might theoretically contribute to bone growth abnormalities or increased susceptibility to Salter-Harris fractures. Neither has been shown to be the case in long term follow up studies

    Chapter 2 - Dispelling the Myths about Long-term Side-effects of Early Age Desexing - Department of Environment and Primary Industries

    So now i'm confused.

  9. #9


    Dr Chris Zinc is the professor of animal sports science at Boston U and has done major research on the effects of de sexing a dog before the growth plates have fully matured. She established a direct link to increased risks of ACL failures in dogs that had been desexed too early.

    She was able to prove the theories you stated in the last post. I am pretty certain either I have, or someone else has posted one of Chris's papers in this forum.

    Age to do the deed depends on the size of the dog. SMall dogs around 6 to 9 months. Mid size dogs from 12 to 18 months. For large dogs from 18 to 24 months.

    If you are a registered breeder with a breeding licence and your sole intention is to breed to improve the lines of your breed then you spay a bitch after her 2nd or 3rd litter.

    If, on the other hand, you are not a registered breeder, then the reason you spay is to (a) avoid accidental pregnancies with fido from next door, along with the associated costs of raising, feeding, micro chipping and vaccinating a litter of pups; (b) to avoid having Fido and all his male friends peeing on your front door and trying to break into your back yard, digging up your prize roses in the process; and (c)to avoid the problem of your sweet little angle leaving her vaginal calling cards all over the house.

    It is a falicy, total BS, that a bitch should have one litter so that she is happy/complete/fullfilled - whatever.

    As for the boys, if a dog, any dog for that matter, has not been properly socialised, then it may show signs of aggression to other dogs. Cutting off the nuts will not stop that aggression because it is a learned behaviour. Similarly, if a whole male is a wanderer, cutting them off will not stop the wander lust once he has discovered the joys of freedom. It is ALL in the training and socialising.
    Nev Allen
    Border River Pet Resort

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2013


    Hmm I think I'll have a good chat to the breeder, she's been breeding them for 32+ years so should be able to give me good info on the pros and cons of desexing at a particular age. Thanks Nev I'm not a registered breeder and want to desex for all of the above reasons.

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