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Hi guys,
Can I have your thoughts on neutering? We have a beautiful yellow lab retriever who is nearly 9 months old. We don't know if to neuter him or not he's brill at the moment no humping or anything but I keep getting different opinions on this and would love some advice on pros and cons of neutering

Thank you View attachment 26910
 

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As with the old saying, "If it aint broke, dont fix it!"

OK, it's not quite as simple as that. I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago and although it was concerning neutering a bitch basically the same applies so I'll paste it below.

Problem with advice on the net is that it is not always current, or even written without ulterior motive. It is often advocated as a "Cure" for unwanted dogs filling dog rescues. An example of this, some time ago the state of California was considering passing a law that all puppies MUST be neutered, unless going to registered breeders. (I got called "Anti American" for saying that was crazy!) Then comes the fact that neutering is a nice little earner for vets. (Yes, some vets really do have pound signs in their eyes!!)

Just so you know where I stand. I am not anti neutering, in fact every one of my dogs has been neutered at some time during their lives. In the days when I had males I went with what was "Traditional" at that time, around 18 months. When I moved from dogs to bitches I had learned a bit more and put off spaying. My first developed Pyometra at around 11 years and had to be spayed as an emergency. My second developed diabetes at 9 years old, and the hormone rush throws the sugar levels way out so again it was an emergency spaying late in life. Trouble is, operations on old dogs is far more risky than when younger. So after those two I decided I would not leave it that long again, and since then have settled on 5 years old as the right time for me. This is not to say that it cannot be done sooner, it's just that suits me.

So, when is the earliest? Latest research says not until long bone closure. This can vary with breeds, but with Labradors is normally around 14 months. So 15 months is borderline close. Unless you have strong feeling I would wait a little longer. The usual recommendations is half way between seasons so unless a bitch is cycling every 6 months you can easily delay it another month or two. With dogs obviously thats not a consideration.

But age is not the only consideration. Neutering, both males and females reduces the sex hormones down to almost zero, but these hormones are important. I would think very carefully about neutering a dog or bitch who is in any way timid, because this is VERY likely to make it worse. (The sex hormones aid confidence) The effects are less as the dog gets older and the character becomes more set. So if a dog is in any way timid, then the later you leave it the better.

But looking from the other direction, cancer risks are often cited reason for neutering. But again latest research has shown that there are cancers MORE likely in neutered dogs! But the facts are that these cancers form a very low risk anyway. No consolation if you dog develops cancer. But we can none of us see the future and looking back into my lifetime in dogs, I've lost 2 to cancer in over 65 years in dogs, a very small percentage.
 

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I’m with John, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. I know of far more neutered dogs with health and temperament issues than entire dogs with the same issues. I’ve got an entire male, just turned three, never humped or scent marked (except outdoors where you’d expect him to), I’ve also got entire females. You couldn’t ask for a nicer dog (apart from when he’s being a sh1t stealing stuff, but that’s not down to hormones 🤣🤣🤣)
 
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Trouble is, we cant see the future. Nobody can say whether an individual dog will be better neutered or not neutered. You can leave un-neutered and be one of the very few dogs to develop prostate problems, or you can neuter only for your dog to develop one of the cancers associated with neutered dogs. The future is a closed book which only opens when we get to it.
 

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In the meantime I’d rather not put them through a GA unless necessary. Not withstanding the fact that his breeder only let me have him on the condition that I didn’t castrate him unless it was medically necessary and a matter of life and death.
 
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