Spaying or neutering your pets can result in great health benefits and longer lives for your animals. But the timing of that operation is crucial.
When it comes to spaying and neutering you pets, the traditional time frame of four to six months isn’t necessarily a hard and fast rule, according to Dr. Matt Fraker from Prairie Oak Veterinary Center in Normal.
“Traditionally, we’ve looked at that teenage range of spaying or neutering, before the first heat,” said Fraker. “But vets have noticed that in the larger breeds that develop bone cancer that there’s a relationship between the size of the animal and the fact that they were neutered young.”
Another disease that seemed to relate to age of neutering is cranial cruciate ligament disease, which is similar to an ACL injury in a human. Fraker noted that it’s still unknown why early neutering leads to such orthopedic issues, but enough is understood about the relationship of timing the operation to bring many vets to recommend that in larger breed dogs, like Great Danes, it’s better to wait until past the traditional six month deadline.
With bigger dogs, pet owners can wait to nine months for males to neuter and aim for timing of the spaying for females to before their first heat. For smaller dogs and cats, that six-month mark will work.
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