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Rethinking Age of Desexing

January 11th, 2019
Say What Now?!

What age should we be desexing dogs? Well, that’s controversial. The AVA recommend desexing somewhere between 4 months and 1 year of age, at the vet’s discretion. Below is a great summary of the impact of desexing (Goh, Compendium August 2016 – the full article is free to access at the Compendium website) – Longevity is increased in desexed dogs, but we can see that it predisposes to a number of other conditions. My approach is very breed dependent – For example, Dachshunds desexed early (<12 months) have double the risk of intervertebral disc disease than late desexed dogs, so I would recommend between 12 – 18 months for them.

Cruciate ligament disease is more common in large breed dogs desexed at <6mo, so I would delay to 12 months. The trend towards desexing females at 6 months of age was due to the increasing risk of mammary tumours with each oestrus cycle (Schneider et al, 1969), which has been challenged in a recent publication which suggests desexing females at <2.5y rather than before oestrus onset) (Bronden et al, Vet Rec. 2010). There are several papers available referring to individual breeds, their predispositions and the recommendations for desexing.