The no-spay, no-neuter other forum poster may not be a ...

This is where to talk about Pit Bulls!

Postby pitbullpony » February 8th, 2006, 3:58 pm

Complete Idiot; :D
At least not about that post; I'm sure the delivery sucked; it seemed a little over the top :elephant:

However there is a growing school of thought that our animals would be better off with their genitalia; at least until they hit puberty; and less vaxxes and more species appropriate food.

My next pup; 20 days until she gets here; will not be spayed until she is near her first heat; she is a mastiff breed and I'd like her to achieve her full size potential. I do not want to deal with a female in heat; however it is a copout that as a responsible (for god's sake my children are 5 and 1 and they are still alive) owner I can't keep an eye on my dog; who will not be out of my door -- without a leash attached to her.

Our old dog that was 15 when she passed on was entire until she was 10; then somebody got the brilliant idea that she wasn't going to be bred so rather than sequester her while she was bleeding; we had her spayed; I'm not going to wait that long; but I will give my girl a chance to develop appropriately.

Hopefully this starts some interesting discussion.
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Postby mnp13 » February 8th, 2006, 4:27 pm

If you are responsible enough to own an intact dog, that's great. Most pet owners are not.

Personally, I see no reason for 99% of pet owners to have intact animals because that same 99% is not responsible enough to have them. and when they are irresponsible it is the dogs and the resulting puppies that suffer.

when do Mastiffs have their first heat? Most large breeds don't finish growing for about three years.

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Postby Emi » February 8th, 2006, 4:32 pm

Dottie is gonna be 2 years the 1st of March , she was spayed when she was around 6 months old , I got her when she was 7 months old, and I wouldn't have it any other way ...

She just now is starting not to looking like a puppy to me at almost 2 years old .

I don't think the spaying hurt her in any way shape or form...

And i'm hoping i'm a responsible owner , she's socialized, she's fed, she goes to the vet for her shots etc, I try to keep her safe ...

Who knows ... :|

She's loved very much ...

To me it's more responsible to have them spayed/neutered as soon as possible . We have enough unwanted animals in this world.

My kitten Percy is 10 months old and he's neutered also .. :D
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Postby Big_Ant » February 8th, 2006, 4:34 pm

mnp13 wrote:If you are responsible enough to own an intact dog, that's great. Most pet owners are not.

Personally, I see no reason for 99% of pet owners to have intact animals because that same 99% is not responsible enough to have them. and when they are irresponsible it is the dogs and the resulting puppies that suffer.

So very very true.

I personally have never spayed or neutered any of my dogs, and have never had any 'accidental' litters. Even when we were keeping large packs. It's all about responsibility.

Now. Before I get jumped by some people. That doesn't mean I don't advocate spay/neuter, I definitely agree with Michelle that there is a very small percentage, I'd say even smaller than 1% that can actually be responsible.

Weda is not spayed. Although I will more than likely be getting her done in the future.

She is never in the yard alone. There is no off-leash play with other dogs, and there is never a moment when either me or my wife is right next to her, unless we're in the house and she's in the room with the kids, and I don't see a male dog breaking into my house through the window and getting her pregnant.

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Postby Miakoda » February 8th, 2006, 7:45 pm

Any of my dogs that are not a part of the showing, working (although we have 5 catch dogs that are spayed/neutered & it's nice to be able to hunt with them year round with no "time outs"), & possible breeding programs, then they are spayed & neutered. It's not because I think I'm irresponsible or might have an "oops" litter, which has never happened & never will, but one cannot discount the health benefits of having a dog altered. The studies are there, the results are proven, & I prefer to give my dogs the healthiest life possible.

And all my dogs whose showing & working days are done are spayed/neutered. I've seen too many bitches die from pyometra over the age of 7 to even want to risk the chance. It's not uncommon whatsoever. And prostate problems in intact dogs are also oh so common.
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Postby Romanwild » February 8th, 2006, 8:31 pm

I'm all for s/n but since leaving Dreyfus intact for the show ring I realize that I am responsible enough and I don't like surgery unless it's needed.

I cropped Dreyfus's ears and I wouldn't if I had to do it over again. No reason for it. :|

When I'm done showing him I will leave him be.

Diamond was adopted and I made the previous owner spay her before I got her. She's un registered and nothing I would breed to even if I was a breeder. Love her the same though!
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Postby pLaurent » February 8th, 2006, 9:44 pm

I've seen too many bitches die from pyometra over the age of 7 to even want to risk the chance. It's not uncommon whatsoever.

Nope. Not uncommon at all. The risk of pyometra alone would make me spay any pet before the first heat. There is no reason for any animal to have suffer through that - the ones who survive that is.

will not be spayed until she is near her first heat; she is a mastiff breed and I'd like her to achieve her full size potential

Do you have any reading material about that?

I've heard that early neuter can change the growth of a male dog, but is there any proof that lack of estrogen stunts the growth of a female dog?
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Postby mnp13 » February 8th, 2006, 10:32 pm

Ruby almost died after her first heat due to pyometra. It is much more common than most people think. a closed pyo can kill your dog in under 72 hours.

If you're not showing or breeding, why risk it?

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Postby cheekymunkee » February 9th, 2006, 12:39 am

mnp13 wrote:Ruby almost died after her first heat due to pyometra. It is much more common than most people think. a closed pyo can kill your dog in under 72 hours.

If you're not showing or breeding, why risk it?

Exactly! Besides that it is freaking GROSS!
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Postby huskyhouse » February 9th, 2006, 1:39 am

This is one topic I can opine on since I've had hundreds of speuters done over the last 5 years, of all ages, breeds and sizes, from Sibes to mixes to a Leonberger.
Every single puppy 9 weeks and up gets speutered, we've done probably in the neighborhood of 90 puppies in that age bracket, not one of them has shown any growth disorder. Even the Leo was done at 7 months, and he's now a whopping 185 lbs and 31 inches tall. And as for the older dogs that have come through the rescue, I've had dozens of pyos, most were bitches 5 and over, 6 cases of testicular cancer, and about 12 cases of mammary chain tumors.
That's enough to convince me it's the right thing to do.
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Postby msvette2u » February 9th, 2006, 2:04 am

All our animals are fixed. No way I'd have it different. Lambie is coming up on 5? 6? mos. She's getting some adult teeth. It's almost time.
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Postby pitbullpony » February 9th, 2006, 8:53 am

This breed can often have only one heat a year; some pups come into heat around 9 mos.; most kept at the appropriate weight not until a year or later.
Females are mentally mature around 9-12 mos. - very short window for socialization, males 2-3 years. Now Pyo is a concern; these dogs are as bad as pits for not showing outward signs of pain; my breeder almost lost her foundation bitch because she wasn't aware until the second day that there was something "off". This bitch is unrelated to mine; but obviously the issue is still there. However this breeder and a number of other large breed breeders have cautioned me on early spay, developmental characteristics and incontinence being large concerns. As a mastiff they do not do well under anaesthetic; I am right now searching for a competent vet to eventually do the spay and penhip/ofa work; I can see where a vet that would be in a hurry may perhaps interfere more than necessary with internal organs.
Please see my next post for more thought provoking discussion.
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Postby pibblegrl » February 9th, 2006, 12:01 pm

I have always s/n any animal that has come into my home. I s/n very young if possible. Dale was a puppy when he was done, and because of his breeding he grew into an enormous meathead.
If there is an effect on growth it is so minimal that you would not even notice it....the biggest factor determining the adult size is how the dog is bred. If it comes from big stock more than likely you will get a big dog..and vice versa. Dale is a rescue but I learned that he came from a guy who like to breed pits on the larger meatier side. Even having been neutered young-he's definitely a big boy.

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Postby Miakoda » February 9th, 2006, 2:08 pm

Different species but makes you wonder. I hear all day long people say how their spayed/neutered animals won't & don't grow as large as an intact one. Now why would this be true in dogs if in horses, it's a known fact that geldings are often much larger than their stud counterparts?
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Postby pocketpit » February 9th, 2006, 5:23 pm

Good point.
I personally fall in to the category that believes there is a difference in development with early spays/neuters.
I advocate having it done for the general public and no rescue dog of mine will leave for a new home un altered no matter what the age.
However, my own personal dogs are a different story sometimes. Most everyone in my house is fixed but I choose not to have it done until later in puppyhood and my primary concern is for the bitches to be fixed.
I don't want to risk Pyo and I personally don't want to be responsible for any "accidents" so it's easier to spay.
I have seen a big difference in spayed/neutered dogs and bitches vs. un altered ones in the physical difference department. Height may not be an issue but othere characteristics are. Once again look to horses or even cows for an example. There is a big difference between a gelding and a stallion or a bull and a castrated male.
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Postby turtle » February 10th, 2006, 2:43 am

Michelle has an excellent point, that most pet owners are not responsible enough to own an intact dog. Too many will slip up once and end up with yet another "oops" litter.

Most of my dogs have been spayed females and they were all spayed at about 6 to 9 months of age. None of them had any problems as they got older but they all had a happy home life with little stress. Although from my recent reading, I would not spay a female again until she was two years old, or at least until after her first heat.

There are studies that show there is an affect on growth with early neutering, but I don't have the link at hand. It's something about the early neutering causes a loss of hormones which make the growth plates in the bones not close as soon as they should and the dogs grow taller and more lanky than they would if they were neutered at about two years of age.

I think there is also a correlation with female dogs and early spaying but I would need to go find the info. If anyone has those studies, please post them!

But I had found this article posted else where and thought it was interesting. It talks about cancer in spayed and neutered pets.

I find the article makes a point about the loss of the hormones from the spay and in a stressful situation, they seem to have found a link to cancer.

And I have read several of Milani's books, they were quite good. I did not know she had a web site but she does and the article is from there:


"Spay, Neuter, and Cancer: Revisiting and Old Trinity"

Perhaps no aspect of pet ownership in the U.S. elicits as passionately supportive emotions as the subject of spay and neuter. In fact, this orientation is so well established that saying anything that questions the procedure is akin to blasphemy. However, just as women were routinely relieved of their reproductive organs with a "La de da, you'll never miss 'em" attitude until studies exploring the nonreproductive effects of reproductive hormones made human physicians rethink this position, so veterinarians and other animal-care professionals are making tentative moves to rethink wholesale sterilization of companion animals, too.

To understand what difference this may make in our attitudes about the procedure, let's consider the subject of cancer. Most dog owners have heard that spay and neuter prevent testicular and mammary (breast) cancer: however is that the whole story relative to cancer or is there more to it?

Obviously, if we remove a dog's testicles, there's no way he'll develop testicular cancer. On the other hand, most dogs who develop testicular cancer respond well to castration, so the advantages of preventive surgery are perhaps not as great as one might expect. Although intact (unsterilized) females have a higher incidence of mammary cancer, the dog's weight plays an important role in the process: intact females who are lean at one year of age have a lower incidence of the disease compared to their chunky cohorts.

In an interesting article in the August Veterinary Practice News entitled "Can we neuter cancer in dogs?" veterinary oncologist Kevin Hahn opens by saying that, after reviewing studies reported over the last 30 years, he's not sure what to recommend to his clients. Like most veterinarians, Dr Hahn mentions the higher incidence of testicular and mammary cancer in intact animals, but also notes that spayed females have a 4 times greater risk of cardiac hemangiosarcomas, and neutered males also show a significant increased risk for this cancer compared to intact ones.

Another cancer Dr Hahn discusses that deserves mention is prostate cancer because a lot of people erroneously believe that castration prevents this. In reality, it does not. In fact, castrated dogs have up to a 4 times greater risk of developing prostate cancer than intact animals. At the same time, spayed or neutered dogs have a 1.5 to 3 times greater chance of developing bladder cancer. Because of this, rectal examinations and abdominal palpation should always be part of a routine veterinary physical examination.

The link between sterilization and osteosarcoma (i.e. bone cancer) is also troubling: Spayed and neutered animals are twice as likely to develop this cancer. Those spayed or castrated before their first birthdays had a roughly 1 in 4 lifetime risk for osteosarcoma and were significantly more likely to develop a tumor than intact dogs.

The article then goes on to discuss the role of hormones and genetic controls in cancer. All agree that there is a connection, but no one knows exactly what it is. However, in his article Dr Hahn discusses a study done by Dr David Felman (and published in the June Nature) that I find intriguing because of how it may relate to the role the animal's behavior and his/her relationship with the owner plays in cancer. In a very tiny nutshell, the study looked at two gene mutations that lead the stress hormones cortisol and cortisone to trigger the growth of later stage cancer cells.

Because cortisol is also one of the hormones that's elevated when stress results in animal behavioral problems which, in turn, may result from human-animal relationship ones, it would seem that avoiding such elevations of this hormone by treating bond and behavioral problems could conceivably lower the probability of cancer in some animals, or improve the survival chances of those already afflicted with the disease. Although such a hypothesis might seem to require too great a leap of credibility for those who associate cortisol and cortisone with those drugs that counter inflammation and itching, another effect of these hormones is that they undermine the immune response. So while they may benefit animals who encounter occasional stresses of brief duration, these same substances may seriously undermine the health of those who daily live in stressful environments. In that case, not only will these animals have a higher probability of developing stress-related behavioral and medical problems (such as aggression or separation anxiety displays, irritable bowel syndrome or chronic or recurring urinary tract conditions), these animals' taxed immune response may experience more difficulty recognizing and dispatching mutant cells before they multiply and form cancers.

Currently the exploration of the nonreproductive effects of sex hormones is in its infancy and, unlike the rise of feminism which challenged the philosophy underlying hysterectomy and ovariohysterectomy in women, many of those who normally claim to speak for the animals are usually quiet about how sterilization may affect companion animals. Like Dr Hahn, I, too, have reviewed the literature and am not sure what to tell clients. However, I do know that unless we can free the subject from the emotional cocoon that has protected spay and neuter from objective scrutiny all these years, our pets won't be able to benefit from the knowledge that is slowly, but surely, being generated on this subject.


And I see she's written a sequel to the article above:


"Reproductive Emotions and the Human-Companion Animal Bond"

Two months ago I wrote a commentary about spaying and neutering in which I quoted study results complied by one group that were misquoted by the author of another article. The legitimate confusion this generated as well as some of the highly emotional e-mails I received about that commentary has led me to think about the role emotions play in this issue. But first, the correction.

I wrote that dogs younger than a year who were spayed or castrated have about a one in four lifetime risk of developing bone cancer and are significantly more likely to develop this than intact animals. What the article I was using failed to note was that the study ("Endogenenous Gonadal Hormone Exposure and Bone Sarcoma Risk," Dawn M. Cooley et al. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, Vol. 11, 1434-1440, November 2002) was done on 71,004 rottweilers. Thus based on the study we can say that delaying spaying or castration until sexual maturity confers some protection against bone cancer in this breed, but we can't say anything about that relationship in any other breeds.

Now on to the responses I received about that commentary. To me, the first intriguing point regarding these was that none of the negative comments challenged the above unintentional misrepresentation of information. The one e-mail that did was very thoughtful and I immediately realized my error. Hence the above correction. That the negative e-mails did not address the data could have occurred for several reasons. One is that studies comparing intact and sterilized companion animal populations seem more likely to show up in obscure scientific journals than veterinary ones, even when the researchers are veterinarians.

The second reason why none of the negative e-mails I received challenged the scientific findings could be because scientific evidence is not an issue that warranted their writers' consideration. Instead of analyzing or even condemning the studies that I described, they took a purely emotion-driven kill-the-messenger approach.

One typical of this genre said that, even if I didn't mind living with male dogs who lift their legs on everything and females who bleed all over place, other people didn't want to live like that. At the same time as the mental image those naive comments elicited made me, Ms. Anal-Neat-As-a-Pin, chuckle, this and similar comments saddened me because these people obviously believe that their righteous indignation renders even the most basic knowledge of normal canine physiology and behavior unnecessary. Worse, they have so much energy tied up in their emotions demanding mandatory spay and neuter for all dogs and cats that there's none left for the difficult task of objectivity evaluating the science and ethics underlying this extremely complex subject.

The other reason these emotion-driven responses are so troubling takes us back to the fact that so few of the articles comparing intact and sterilized companion animals show up where you would expect them: in the veterinary, humane, or animal welfare literature. Logic says this occurs because these researchers don't submit their findings to those journals, or those journals won't publish them if the researchers do. When I ask myself why this would happen, one explanation that comes to mind is that neither the researchers nor the journal editors want to deal with the emotional fall-out, no matter how rigorous the research or beneficial the results for animals. Having had a mild sampling of that, I can understand this. On the other hand, I must ask myself how long we're going to keep using the image of unwanted puppies and kittens or fantasies regarding the disgusting behaviors of intact animals as a shield to protect ourselves from open and thoughtful examination of the effects of sterilization on the animal to whom it is done.

Thirty years ago, the lowest form of pet-owners were the person who got dogs or cats and bred them so their kids could see the miracle of birth. We now live in a society in which a child's first memory may be of the beloved family pet dying of or being euthanized for cancer or some other immune-mediated disease for which no cure is known. Frankly, I don't see that as a valid trade-off and certainly not one that will ensure a healthy companion animal population in the years to come. If there's some link between these and other diseases and spay and neuter, let's find out what it is. Then we can make a rational decision whether the price that all sterilized animals and their species are being asked to pay for the behavior of an irresponsible portion of human population is worth it.


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Postby mnp13 » February 10th, 2006, 12:03 pm

Pertaining to the size aspect, if you have a dog that will be 50 pounds or over, they do not reach full size until 2.5 - 3 years of age. They grow up for 12-18 months, then out for 18-36. Some even take longer.

If you are not 'fixing' because you want the dog to grow to 'full potential' then you will have to wait three years, not just until first heat. Ruby was spayed at about 21 months, she continued to grow for another 6 months or so.

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Postby valliesong » February 13th, 2006, 11:31 pm

i am sure most people on this forum already know where my views on this subject lie, but beyond that, what about the behavioral implications of having an intact dog, or even waiting to perform the surgery?

i am in the difficult position right now of having experienced my second dog fight, and facing the prospect of keeping two of my dogs separated for the rest of their lives. both were neutered upon adoption, and after sexual maturity - one at 5-6 years of age, and the other at approximately 1 year of age. the younger one also marks incessantly and has issues with intact male dogs.

what would have happened if they had both been neutered prior to sexual maturity?

aside from intraspecies aggression, statistics have also shown that intact male dogs are the most implicated in bite cases involving humans. of course it is hard to say whether this is because intact dogs are more likely to bite, or whether irresponsible owners are less likely to socialize as well as to neuter.

i have also seen many dogs die of pyometria and breast cancer. in fact, a favorite dog of mine at the shelter was just put to sleep for the latter. the testicular injuries i have seen have been beyond grusome as well.

and as for those articles, i'd like to see hard data comparing the life expectancy of an intact vs. altered dog, including ALL the factors. comparing incidence of one cancer vs. another does not do any good. what needs to be seen are the totals, taking into account all diseases, as well as a separate study that also includes behavioral factors.

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Postby msvette2u » February 16th, 2006, 11:12 am

In the spring 2006 issue of "Paws to Think" put out by Petsavers, they advocate pediatric spay/neuter.
I could only find the Summer '05 issue for some reason??

They discussed the bone closure issue and said that it didn't appear to cause problems significant enough to not spay/neuter early.
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Postby embers » February 19th, 2006, 1:34 pm

This subject can make people very uncomfortable; I know this, because I have brought this very topic up in many various groups and have whitnessed not only diversity in response, but also a lesson in human behavior and response.

Really, a lot is determined by perspective and experience. From a rescue/shelter/and general pet owner perspective, early S/N seems to be the most logical and responsible option, depending on the animal, breed, and health. With the state of overpopulation that exists, early s/n needs support and myths and rumor dispelled.

With a generic pet owner, early s/n for a Pit Bull is a good idea, especially if that person has a multiple dog household, enjoys activities with other dogs, etc. The early s/n may help delay or dampen some dog aggression issues, and ceertainly an altered Pit Bull is easier to managed around other dogs than an intact Pit Bull (generalization, but a fair one). Also consider the state of the breed and a unique level of overpopulation, and more support for early s/n makes a lot of sense.

If an individual person choses to do delayed s/n for a Pit Bull, there is an even higher level of responsibility required (and considering what responsible Bull owners have to do, go through, and mantain without a second thought anyway, I cannot imagine the appeal of one more daily challange). Assuming that the person with the intact Pit Bull is not planning on breeding (I want to assume this... please, let me have my illusions), then a few things need to be looked at:

What is the motivation? There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings surrounding early spay and neuter. Is the motivation in delaying based in this? Also, people seem to anthropromorphisize and project personal ego onto their dog (and a mentality akin to some Pit Bull owners of attaching personal status on their dog) - is the resistance to s/n (neuter particulatly) based in this? If so, while the feelings are valid, the effects need to be examined and challanged.

What are the conditions? An intact dog of any breed can procreate. An intact dog is more likely to bold, more likely to be distructive, more likely to be protective and teratorial, more likely to mark, and can be loud and aggitated in some situationsin which an altered dog would not have a basis for reacting. What are the conditions of the home, the family, and containment for the dog? How realistic is managing (and still enjoying the dog) in those conditions, considering the added challanges?

What is the health? There are valid reasons for delaying altering in some cases, based on the dog's health. Some people in shelter/rescue have seen young dogs come in underweight, and due to growth surges, the dog advances but growth and activity do not support proper weight gain due to the way the pup started. In situations like this, altering young may prove more dangerous to the pet. Additionally, some pups have heart, liver, or brain (seziures, etc) concerns, and therefore a vet may reccomend that the owner wait until 6 to 12 months, and have the dog tested again before altering.

On the topic of health, some people that delay altering do it to support the health and developement of the dog. There is legitamate reasonings to support this choice, and there is no right or wrong way to think about it, just different views based on different information. Some people believe that waiting until 12 months will increase health and growth in the dog. Of course, there can be some truth to this, depending on the dog, conditions, etc. However, by 12 months, a female will have usually experiences at least one heat. Pyrometria is a concern for intact females, developing dog aggression is increased in both sexes, and of course there is the ever-present possibility of accidental mating (even with the most responsible pet owners), and situational risks to the pet (injuries from trying to escape, etc). All of these things can harm a developing dog. health. Additionally, dog's grow and develope until their 3rd year (generalization). If the reasonings for not altering early are because of full growth potential, then the person by all logic would have to wait until after the 3rd year to alter. This is at least 3 heat cycles for a female. This is three years of management, and still the responsibility to enjoy the pet. Also, the dog him/herself may not be comfortable due to the hormones, especially in a multiple dog home. After three years of being intact, the benifit of avoiding some dog aggression concerns with a Pit Bull will have been forfeited. I have heard that with most breeds of dogs, the difference in developement is generally minimul and sometimes undetectable.

Now, I am a supporter of early s/n in rescue and shelters (8 to 12 weeks). However, I feel better about dogs being altered around 5 months.

My shepherd was not altered until just after 3 years old. He is small, gangly, and awkward. He marks, he is dog aggressive to most males, and always to unatlered males, he is a humper, he is territorial, distructive if around intact males or females, and FREAKS around bitches in heat. A less responsible dog owner may have given up and dropped him off at a shelter or given him away in the paper. I have no way of knowing if he would be more comfortable, easier to manage, and more enjoyable in general if he was altered under a year. I suspect so.

(Off topic.... With ferrets, early s/n actaully shaves years off of the pet's life... and minimizes growth considerably. )
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