Desexing has been widely recommended and practiced for many years, not only to reduce unwanted animals in our community, bur also with the aim of preventing and reducing the incidence of disease associated with the reproductive organs.
Recent research suggests that blanket recommendations for all pets may not be the best way to help individuals have the best quality and length of life in all cases.
In some breeds there are specific conditions that may be increased in frequency by early desexing. In general, we can now say that early (juvenile or less than six months of age) desexing is probably not favourable for most animals. We have never favoured this approach in this practice, even when it was heavily promoted by some agencies. Many animals will benefit from delayed desexing at say 7-12 months of age or even after first heat in females. Further delay to say 12 - 24 months may be best for certain breeds, especially the large and giant breeds. Of course the potential benefits of delayed desexing must also be weighed against other factors such as the inconvenience of being on heat and potential pregnancy in females and possible wandering with its associated risks, in both sexes.
Why the change?
Recent research has confirmed that when the gonads (testes or ovaries) are removed, the absence of the hormones they usually produce (oestrogens and testosterone) causes excessive production of the control hormone (Luteinising Hormone - LH) from the brain that normally would stimulate their production. It appears that excessive LH can have significant effects on many organs and can produce previously unexpected adverse results, especially in growing animals.