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First Hand Experiences with Early Spay or Neutering Puppies


What is Early Spay/Neutering?

Pediatric, or Early Spay/Neuter, refers to spaying or neutering pets at a much earlier age than the old six to nine month standard. Usually between 8-16 weeks.  

This article's SOLE intention is to let anyone considering Early Spay/Neutering their puppy... hear first hand experiences from others who have done it.

This article's purpose is NOT to make judgment calls, nor does it offer an opinion either way on this issue. I hope that the first hand experiences will speak for themselves and allow you to form your own opinion.  

There are many sites out there that discuss the pros and con's of Early Spay/Neutering pups. So why create another one? At the end of this article I will list several of those pro/con sites for you to explore and make up your own mind.

Instead of arguing the point here, or quoting the MANY studies and arguments for/against early spaying of pets; I thought it would be more productive to gather and quote personal experiences from breeders and rescuers all over the world who have Spay/Neutered their pups at an early age..including:

Ø      What changes they observed?

Ø      How they developed?

Ø      How they compare physically, and health wise, to previous litters that were not early spayed?

Ø      Any complications or side effects they observed?

    If you are a breeder or rescuer who has done Early Spay/Neuters and would like to share your experiences and observations with others...please email me your account and I will post it.

Breeders and Rescuers experiences with Early Spay/Neutering their puppies:

Breed (s): Great Pyrenees

Breeder/Rescue: Catherine de la Cruz- Poste de Pompier Working Great Pyrenees

How many years early spaying or how many litters: about 10 years

Aprox. age of pups when procedure was done: 8 weeks

Personal Observations and Experiences:

We've been doing Early S/N for about ten years.  We don't do the neutering earlier than eight weeks only because that is the age that we make our evaluation for eventual breeding stock.

After that, they are neutered about a week before they are to go to their new homes. We add the cost of the neutering to what we want for the pups, and quote that total to the buyers.

Pros: - quick recovery from the surgery - up and playing the same day.

 - No concern on our part that dogs will be "accidently" bred

 - No concern on the buyer's part that dog needs to be pulled from its duties for neutering

Cons: The same "concern" over profuse coats that come with neutering at any age.  LGDs with profuse coats usually have to be shorn annually.

The Early S/N pups develop at the same rate as their intact siblings; they take to their guardian duties as well as those neutered at a later age, and somewhat better than intact males.  Females, intact or spayed, do just as well as guardians with the added advantage of not having to remove a female in heat from the flock.

The only "complication" we ever had was a surgical site reaction to the chroma-gut used in suturing, but that was determined to be a familial allergy.  Discontinuance of that suture material led to no further irritations.

Catherine de la Cruz

Poste de Pompier Working Great Pyrenees

"Our Show Dogs Work; Our Working Dogs Win"

Breed (s): Whippets and Borzoi (plus several other Sighthound breeds as pets)

Breeder/Rescue: Roberta Jamieson... Lepus Reg'd Whippets and Borzoi

How many years early spaying or how many litters: 5 years since the first litter of early spay/neuters. I have early neutered and spayed about 30 pups since that time.

Aprox. age of pups when procedure was done: They were about  10 or 11 weeks of age.  I did some at 9 weeks but that seemed to be too young for sighthounds (weight and body fat issues)

Personal Observations and Experiences:

The pups recovered from the surgery immediately (the neuters particularly).  The spayed females were back to normal within about 12 to 18 hours after the spay.  It was amazing at the difference from spaying these 10 wk old dogs as opposed to doing 6 or 8 month olds.

Little to no noticeable pain/discomfort (the spays had very little discomfort and the neuters showed absolutely no discomfort whatsoever). Once the anesthetic was completely out of the spayed girls systems, they were right back to normal activity.

I saw basically little difference in development.  None in the bitches, and the males only seem to grow a bit taller than they would have had they not been neutered. 

I have found however that even males neutered at 6 months of age will have this taller growth syndrome as well. 

They still look like males (ie they did not look overly feminine in appearance).

The coated breed females who would have a tendency to profuse coat, will have VERY profuse coat.  I did not notice any difference in the male coat getting heavier or softer.  I have also found that older female's coats will change after spaying as well, so the early spay doesn't change anything that an older spay wouldn't have changed as well.

  Q-How they compare physically, mentally and health wise, to previous litters that were not early spayed?

"As above, the males tend to grow a bit taller but even males neutered at 6 or 8 months seem to develop this predisposition too.  The health and overall well being was better in that they recovered extremely quickly, with no visible scarring. 

I also found that males neutered early do not experience that horrible "teenage hormonal" period that un-neutered or later neutered dogs seem to experience.  They are far easier to live with in the pet home because of this.  They do experience some hormone changes (pituitary etc.) but not to the extent of late or un-neutered dogs. 

The females are quite easy to live with as well and never go through any overt hormonal changes/personality changes.  This also is a huge plus in that they can NEVER be accidentally bred in the pet home!!  This in my opinion is the most important thing in that you are absolutely guaranteed/assured that none of your pet stock will ever be bred, either intentionally or accidentally!"

I know there is some link between bladder/urinary incontinence in females and especially females who are spayed, however, none of my early spay females have shown any tendency to this at all. 

I will say that it is important that the puppy be either over 10 weeks of age (or older) or over 10 pounds in weight before attempting early spay/neuter. 

I.V. lines should definitely be run in breeds that have little or no subcutaneous fat.  I would opt (no matter what the breed) for IV lines run on any pups, but I did have problems with my sighthounds if they were early spayed without running IV....We had some kidney damage because of not doing this, so I made it a mandatory process for my vet to do in a young pup. (sighthounds have almost no subcutaneous fat, so the anesthetic can cause kidney problems if they don't have I.V. lines run for fluids)"

Roberta Jamieson






Breed (s): Great Pyrenees

Breeder/Rescue: Becky Penoyar-Peacock Hill Farm

How many years early spaying or how many litters: 1 litter, 5 years ago.

Aprox. age of pups when procedure was done: 7 weeks

Personal Observations and Experiences:

I had a litter of 12 pyrs spayed and neutered at 7 weeks, before they went to they're new homes. The vet used absorbable sutures so no removals were necessary and the price of the pups included the surgery. That was five years ago and none of the pups had complications, and I did follow-up with the owners. All of those dogs that are still alive are with the owners I placed them with. Two died of salmon poisoning.

I firmly believe the pups suffered much less from the surgery than an older dog. They were happy and none chewed on they're incision places. I would definitely do it again.

Becky Penoyar

Peacock Hill Farm


Breed (s): many

Breeder/Rescue: Fayette County Humane Society

How many years early spaying or how many litters: 4 years

Aprox. age of pups when procedure was done: between 6 -12 weeks

Personal Observations and Experiences:

I am a volunteer for our local humane society, in addition to being “owned” by two Bernese Mountain dogs.  Our humane society began early spay/neuter, first on puppies, now on both kittens and puppies.  I have personally fostered a total of 11 litters of puppies of various breeds and mixes, all of whom were ESN at between 6 -12 weeks.

I have been doing this for 4 years.

Smallest breed was Chihuahua mix, largest shepherd/lab mix, and all in between.  Average litter size about 6.  I have had no bad outcomes from any of these ESN’s.  Puppies come home ready to play, no ill effects noted in any pup.  No long term health problems in any of the pups.  We keep track, as best we can, of our adoptions, and have not had any negative feedback from owners.  My most interesting observation was in a litter of 9 boxer mix pups, the most aggressive male pups, 6 months after surgery, were very mellow fellows. 

We have had to “win over” some skeptical owners who have never heard of the procedure, and one lady refused to surrender her unwanted litter of puppies to us because she claimed we were “cruel and inhumane” to be doing this, but on the whole, our program has been very successful.

As a side-bar to this – I would like to see some form of universally accepted identification to verify a spay had been performed.  This will hopefully prevent an animal having to be “opened up” to determine that she has already been spayed.  Right now vets are feeling for scar tissue, but I don’t think there will BE much scar tissue there on these ESN’s, and I can see many females needlessly undergoing an adult surgery.

Thanks for getting the word out about ESN’s. 

Mary Shaver

Volunteer, Fayette County Humane Society,

Fayette County, GA

Breed (s): Yorkies

Breeder/Rescue: Cheryl Nims

How many years early spaying or how many litters:  over 10 years

Aprox. age of pups when procedure was done: 8-10 weeks

Personal Observations and Experiences:

 I am Cheryl Nims and raise Yorkies.  I have been early neutering the males for over 10 years now and have never had any bad results.  Most pups are 8-10 weeks old and weigh between 1 3/4 and 2 1/2 lbs.  Usually by the time I get them home from the vet they are up and playing like nothing ever happened.

 I strongly recommend early neutering to my customers but some are hard to sell on it as their vets are so misinformed.  I think the time is coming soon that I will not let them make the decision and just neuter all the males.  If they do not like it that is just tough.  You can't beat a neutered male for a pet. 

 I am not that experienced with the early spaying of female pups.  The last one done experienced complications as she was not physically normal.  It was quite a scare but the pup did recover.  I have done early spays that were very successful but the complicated one set me back a little.

 My vet does the early neutering at a nominal charge as she feels it is a service worth doing to help the pet overpopulation.  This can save my customers hundreds of dollars and perhaps the life of their new pet.  I would strongly recommend early neutering.  All the evidence is in favor of it.

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Link's to Early Spay/Neuter Articles


*PEDIATRIC SPAYING & NEUTERING by James Snyder, DVM; Diplomate of the American College of Theriogenology (Veterinary Reproduction)

*University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine

*College of Veterinary Medicine-University of Illinois, From the Spring 1998 Illinois Veterinary Bulletin- Early Spay/Neuter: An Overview

Colorado State University- Early Sterilization in Dogs and Cats

Pediatric or Early Spay/Neuter by Dr Tracy Land


Animal Health Articles -Researched and written by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Professional Information on the Benefits of Early Spay/Neuter

Spaying and Neutering- Dr. Sol Perl

Early sterilization surgery

Early-Age Spay/Neuter: A Growing Consensus-HSUS library

Early-Age Spay/Neuter Medical Issues-HSUS Library

The Pro's and Con's of early Spay & Neuter

Rally Obedience

Leesburg Today Newspaper- Ask The Experts, Early-age spaying/neutering The Myths and Facts of Spaying and Neutering

Early Spay and Neuter Surgery-My Experiences. by Lynne Thomas -- Shaineh Cattery


Humane Society and SPCA articles:


Scottsville Veterinary Adoptions

Animal Rescue of Tidewater

Humane Society of Greenwood

Silicon Valley Animal Rescue

Elmsford Animal Shelter





****To keep this page completely objective and fair, I am completely open to listing sites with articles that are against the practice of Early Spay/Neutering....

If anyone has links to sites that are against the practice of ESN, please feel free to email me the URL, and I WILL post it.****



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