We are often ask this question, so let’s dive in and take a look.
Desexing removes hormone-producing organs (the ovaries or testicles) that researchers are now finding are actually quite important to overall health. Studies also indicate that the earlier a puppy is spayed or neutered, the greater the likelihood of health problems later in life. Here are examples of studies evidencing some of these potential issues.
Studies showed that the hormone estrogen, which is no longer produced in spayed or neutered dogs, plays a crucial role in bone growth and development. The removal of estrogen-producing organs in immature dogs can cause growth plates to remain open. The dogs continue to grow and wind up with abnormal growth patterns and bone structure, which can result in irregular body proportions.
In a retrospective cohort study conducted at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and published over 10 years ago in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, results showed that both male and female dogs desexed at an early age were more prone to hip dysplasia.
A study conducted at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center on canine cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries concluded that spayed and neutered dogs had a significantly higher incidence of CCL rupture than their intact counterparts. And while large breed dogs had more CCL injuries, sterilized dogs of all breeds and sizes had increased rupture rates.
In a study of Rottweilers published in 2002, it was established that the risk for bone sarcoma was significantly influenced by the age at which the dogs were desexed. For both male and female.
Among the reports and studies pointing to health concerns associated with early spaying and neutering, you can also find mention of increased incidence of:
- Adverse reactions to vaccines
- Noise phobias
- Fearful behavior