Is Early Spaying/Neutering Wise?
By Pat Parkhouse
Reputable breeders care about every puppy they breed and are committed to finding homes that will provide the same level of love and care they would themselves. While close placements with owners you have personally met are ideal, reality is that puppy buyers may be across the country or even across the world. A breeder can check carefully and have a non breeding contract signed but one never knows what may happen in the future. Havanese are in the midst of a population explosion.
Numerous Ads for non-registered Havanese reinforces the unfortunate fact that not all puppy buyers are up front about their real intentions. So how can we protect our puppies and ensure they are not inadvertently or deliberately bred against our wishes? One possible solution is early spay/neuter.
Some veterinarians believe it easier to do a spay/neuter at a young age, between 8 to16 weeks, because there is less body fat, easier removal of small organs, smaller incision, less bleeding and quicker recovery. Internal dissolving sutures mean no need for a second vet visit. As more studies are done, more health benefits may be discovered and the procedure may become more commonplace. So what are the risks? A 9 week old Havanese only weighs approximately 1.2-1.7kg so it’s very important to choose a Veterinarian well experienced in surgical procedures and the safest anesthetics for toy dogs. Some Havanese have anesthetic sensitivities; though newer anaesthetics are quicker acting and safer than they used to be, there is always the potential for a reaction. Havanese pups are very resilient and bounce back quickly from surgery. Even so, you must monitor and limit roughhousing for a few days and watch Mom to prevent her from trying to clean the wound which should be kept dry. Havanese pups are close to the ground, so its best to keep them out of wet grass, dirt or mud until the incision has a chance to heal to prevent possible infection.
Studies show that early spay/neutering does not affect food intake, weight gain or result in inactivity or lethargy. It may contribute to growth enhancement as growth plate closure is delayed. A Havanese puppy that is altered at an early age may mature ½-1cm taller than he might have otherwise. Early neuter appears to offer more benefits than risks for males but for females, the potential for increased urinary incontinence suggests waiting until at least 12 weeks prior to spaying.
Early spay/neutering is neither for every breeder nor for every pup. We have done 3 early neuters for various reasons; one done at the same time as a hernia repair, another for a puppy going to Hong Kong and one at the new owners’ request. All pups recovered very quickly.
- Previously published in Dogs In Canada
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