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March 28, 2007


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With my husband job, we move about every 4-5 years. I really like our new veterinarian. However, she is the first
vet that requires that the puppy be at least 7 month or older for spay/neutering. She explained something about the growth plates. What is your opinion?

Hello, Kitty,

The American Veterinary Medical Association endorses early age spay-neuter as early as 8 weeks in a shelter environment, but recommends waiting until four months of age for pets in a normal home environment.

Traditionally, we waited until the pet was six months old. The subject has been studied extensively in the past fifteen years and no rational basis for waiting until seven months has been found. It was just tradition.

It is unlikely that your pet will reach puberty before seven months, so you should still be able to get the surgery done prior to puberty. For females this is especially desirable. Going through even one estrous cycle increases the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Your veterinarian may have had some personal experience that affects her viewpoint in the matter. You might ask her to elaborate on it if you do not wish to wait.

Thanks for writing.

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