When should I spay or neuter my Goldendoodle?


I will say first off that there is no research out there that looks at Goldendoodles specifically but there is information out there on the parent breeds. It is a question that I get from my puppy families around the age of 6-months.


Parent breeds of the Goldendoodle are the Poodle and the Golden Retriever.


 

Hip Dysplasia Risk/Orthopedic Risk


A study of Golden Retrievers showed that neutering before 6 months old had an incidence of hip dysplasia of 14.67% compared to 6-11 months which was almost 8%.

Intact males had 4.07% incidence of hip dysplasia.

According to this study, it seemed the sweet spot was neutering at 1 year where incidence was 2.63%.


For Cranial Cruciate Ligament tear or rupture, the Golden Retrievers neutered before 6 months had a 9% increase.

Neutering at 6-11months old at time of neutering at a 3.25% increase.

Golden Retriever males at 1 year or left intact had no occurrence of tear or rupture.



Considering the poodle, there was a 2% occurrence of joint disorders in both intact males and females.

In poodle males neutered at <6 mo., there was a non-significant increase to 8 percent, and in spayed females, there was no occurrence of joint disorders.


 

Cancer Risk


The occurrences of cancers in intact males was 4% and females 2%.

In males neutered at 1 year of age, the occurrence of one or more cancers rose to a significant 27 (all due to the increased risk of lymposarcoma).



In females, there was no significant increase in cancers with spaying.

There was a 3.1% occurrence of mast cell tumor in females spayed at 1 year of age.

There was a 5.6% occurrence of mast cell tumor in females spayed between 2-8 years of age.

Those who were left intact had zero occurrence of mast cell tumors.

There was a 2% occurrence of pyometria (a uterine infection) in the females left intact.



 

In an article by Larry Katz, PhD. titled Risks-Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter (2007) looked at over 50 peer-reviewed articles on the subject:



Positives of neutering male dogs


· eliminates the small risk (probably <1%) of dying from testicular cancer

· reduces the risk of non-cancerous prostate disorders

· reduces the risk of perianal fistulas

· may possibly reduce the risk of diabetes (data inconclusive)


 

Negatives of neutering male dogs


· If done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in medium/large and larger breeds with a poor prognosis.

· Increases the risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 1.6

· Triples the risk of hypothyroidism


· Increases the risk of progressive geriatric cognitive impairment

· Triples the risk of obesity, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems

· Quadruples the small risk (<0.6%) of prostate cancer

· Doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract cancers

· Increases the risk of orthopedic disorders

· Increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations


 

Positives of spaying female dogs


· if done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumors in female dogs

· nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs (though uterine stump pyometra can occur with spay)

· reduces the risk of perianal fistulas

· removes the very small risk (≤0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors


 

Negatives of spaying female dogs


· If done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis

· Increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by a factor of >5; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds

· Triples the risk of hypothyroidism

· Increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6-2, a common health problem in dogs with many associated health problems

· Causes urinary "spay incontinence" in 4-20% of female dogs

· Increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4

· Increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs spayed before puberty

· Doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumors

· Increases the risk of orthopedic disorders

· Increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations



 

Summary


Looking through the literature, Larry Katz found that the decision to spay a female dog was more complex than the decision to neuter a male dog.



Considering the available research regarding Golden Retrievers specifically, there is some evidence to support the increase risk for cancers and joint issues (some studies show as high as 4-5 fold increased risk when neutering early for males).


The suggested guideline for males, based on the occurrence of one or more cancers with neutering at 1 year, is to delay neutering beyond 1 year of age.


Lacking a noticeable occurrence of increased joint disorders or cancers in neutered females, those wishing to neuter should decide on the appropriate age. This is recommended after the first heat cycle and not before.


Talk to your vet about the risks to your individual dog and make a decision based on the literature.


All except our first contracts state that Apricot P&G dogs who are sold on limited contract must be spayed or neutered by age two.


If your vet has an opinion that goes against our spaying & neuter contract in favor of leaving the dog intact for life, then please contact us personally to discuss this and other options such as canine vasectomy.





Hart Benjamin L., Hart Lynette A., Thigpen Abigail P., Willits Neil H., (2020). Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 7. https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00388


Katz, Larry (2007) Risks-Benefits Associated with Spay/Neuter

https://www.breedingbetterdogs.com/article/risks-benefits-assoc-spayneuter

Benjamin L. Hart , Lynette A. Hart, Abigail P. Thigpen, Neil H. Willits (2014). Long-Term Health Effects of Neutering Dogs: Comparison of Labrador Retrievers with GoldenRetrievers. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0102241


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