What Are the Health Benefits to the Dog?
There are several health benefits to neutering. One of the most important concerns the prostate gland, which under the influence of testosterone will gradually enlarge over the course of the dog's life. In old age, it is likely to become uncomfortable, possibly being large enough to interfere with defecation. The prostate under the influence of testosterone is also predisposed to infection, which is almost impossible to clear up without neutering. Neutering causes the prostate to shrink into insignificance, thus preventing both prostatitis as well as the uncomfortable benign hyperplasia (enlargement) that occurs with aging. It is often erroneously held that neutering prevents prostate cancer but this is not true.
Other health benefits of neutering include the prevention of certain types of hernias and tumors of the testicles and anus. Neutering also reduces excessive preputial discharge.
At What Age Can Neutering Be Performed?
Neutering can be performed at any age over age 8 weeks. Dogs neutered before puberty (generally age 6 months) tend to grow a bit bigger than dogs neutered after puberty (testosterone is involved in causing bones to stop growing, so without testosterone the bones stop growing later). Neutering can also be performed in the geriatric patient should the prostate gland become enlarged and the best medical decision is to shrink it. In this event, preanesthetic blood work and other diagnostics relevant to anesthetizing an older patient would be recommended.
The traditional age for neutering is around 6 months of age and many veterinarians still recommend neutering at this age.
The benefits of neutering (both health and behavioral) can still be obtained regardless of the age at which neutering is performed.
moto1320 wrote:Dogs clipped too young grow up more tall/leggy and don't develop the bone mass, chest, muscle, or head porportions of a dog with testosterone.
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