Friday, March 16, 2007

Too Early to Neuter Your Swissy?

This is a piece by Cathy Cooper, of Shadetree Swissys, one of the most respected women involved with the Swissy breed:

Spaying and Neutering

It is imperative that you do not spay your female GSMD before she is a minimum of 12 months old. GSMD that are spayed at any early age seem to have a great tendency towards incontinence. It is preferable to wait until she has gone through a heat cycle. I realize that there will be some inconvenience related to letting her go through a heat cycle, but GSMD that have gone through a heat cycle seem to be much less prone to incontinence than those who have not. Many “pet” vets will try to convince you that it is in your puppy’s best interest to spay earlier. It is true that dogs that go through a heat cycle have a slightly increased risk of mammary tumors (maybe 5%). It is also true that a Swissy spayed at a young age may be as much as 40% more likely to develop incontinence. It is up to you to weigh the risk. It is not your vet who will be living with a 100 lb dog that leaks urine. The truth be known, most vets want to spay at an early age because it is much easier surgery. You need to stand your ground on this issue.

Males are not affected with the incontinence issue, but you may want to wait until your male is 12 months or older as well. Males that are neutered earlier tend towards excessive long bone growth and tend to end up slightly “bitchy” looking. Swissys are very slow maturing and waiting until a year old does not have any ill effects.

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