Early age Desexing - a hot social media topic!

What you need to know......

What is EAD?
EAD stands for early age desexing, but here is the problem... by strict definition this refers to desexing a dog before full sexual maturity. So while a lot of recent discussion focusses on breeders like myself who desex pups younger than 12 weeks- the studies and research that is quoted encompasses data from all dogs speyed/neutered pre puberty ( Early ) which typically includes 6, 9, 12 months or even older.

Facts: ~Traditional age of desexing in Australia has been 6 months for many years - this is prepubescent therefore technically EAD
~There are no studies ,to my knowledge, that exclusively compare the health benefits/ risks of dogs EAD at very young age (<12 weeks) with dogs EAD at the age of 6-12 months. The studies that do include data on juvenile spey/neuter are all based on revising vet records historically and therefore do not include comparable data on other risk factors such as genetics or obesity.

So keep in mind when reading posted information that the statistics ,if accurate, would apply to the vast majority of desexed companion dogs in Australia. Given this information any negative health consequences of EAD would be equally evident across all breeds and crosses for at least the last 40 years or so.

Are there any consequences of EAD?

My short answer to families who enquire is "Yes".... there are obviously consequences of removing any animals sexual organs. During puberty and beyond, sexual organs produce hormones that influence growth, development and behaviour - so naturally not having these will have an impact on a dog's body and behaviour.

So why do it?
FIRSTLY because the consequences are obviously not significant enough to have negatively impacted on the majority of pet dogs as evidenced by the 40 years or so of common vet practice. Only a relatively small number of dogs suffer from the health issues identified in studies. Studies that do indicate small increase in incidents of diseases/conditions of EAD dogs also have not taken into account and isolated the other risk factors contributing to those conditions. For example Joint issues - we know that weight, nutrition and types of exercise are significant factors but in the studies I have seen, subjects were in no way screened/compared or controlled in any of these risk factors.
SECONDLY because as a society and as families we actually find some of the consequences of EAD beneficial!
Less frequent 'accidental' pregnancies, less roaming ,escaping and other behaviours driven by sexual maturity. As a whole we enjoy utilising off lead and public areas with our dogs year round without much concern for encountering a female in heat that may significantly alter the behaviour of our dogs. Ease in which we live in close proximity to neighbours dogs with few if any issues. Juvenile features, slower maturation, slightly smaller stature - all things that in other ways we value in our canine companions.

For those who feel strongly they should maximise their individual dog's health by allowing them to mature intact (not desexed) until full sexual maturity....
~Do you and will you give exactly the same 'right' to every dog owner? - please think about why desexing became the 'norm ' in our society. Imagine EVERY dog in the properties adjoining yours and bordering the paths you walk down being entire- like yours! If you can't foresee issues with this then it is unlikely to have lived in a multi dog home with entire dogs!
~ Are you aware of all the health risks that can result from being entire? Being entire increases the risks of some cancers and other potentially fatal conditions including, testicular cancer, mammary cancer, pyometra even trauma (such as car accidents)!
~ Are you prepared to actually research fully about canine reproduction, whelping, litter raising costs etc BEFORE making this decision - because if your dog is entire it is reasonable that you know exactly how to avoid pregnancy, how to manage a pair of dogs mating (in case of an accident), care to provide during pregnancy and birth, able and ready to provide emergency vet care if required ( reproduction is NOT covered by pet health insurance). This is not just for females - if your male dog leaves your property/control and accesses a female that is on another property - you could be liable.

Arguments for desexing in general (any age)
Are several health benefits-
There are many unplanned litters surrendered /dumped each year - entire dogs have sex drive!
Puppies should be given the best start to life from birth: if you do not have the knowledge, experience, commitment to raise and rehome a litter then you shouldn't let your dog have pups. It should NOT be just an 'experience' for children, is NOT beneficial to a bitches health or temperament and you should feel responsible for the offspring (and theirs and theirs..).
Good breeding involves significant investment - financial, knowledge and time. If it doesn't involve these things - it isn't good breeding- just another person letting their dog have a litter of pups and contributing to a big problem.
A community that encourages desexing pet dogs allows more households to have a dog or more than one dog without having to manage the increased potential for rivalry, aggression, sexual interactions both within their own hose/yard but also between neigbouring dogs.

Why I EAD pups at 7-8 weeks of age
~ I wholeheartly believe that a desexed dog is easier for the typical family /person to own.
~ I have looked at the pros and cons of EAD and feel there are arguments and concerns for health on both sides.
~ I do not consider the slightly increased risk of developing some conditions outweighs the benefits to a dog's health and the ease with which dog ownership can be managed.
~ I have worked in large rehoming organisations and seen the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy.
~ I have worked with and owned poorly socialised puppies whose "breeders" did not provide the time,/ money for physical care, emotional, social development of a litter and the difficulty new owners can have resulting from this poor start to life.
~ I have witnessed people acquire entire animals and breed them literally to death through greed, hoarding or ignorance and I will not contribute to this consciously or unconsciously.
~ These little pups bounce back from the surgery with remarkable speed, incisions are typically very small and I have only had two out of 40 litters that even required cones/elizabethan collars. The process is much less traumatic physically and psychologically at this age than for an older dog.
~ Since pups spend such a lot of time sleeping anyway, they facilitate their recovery more naturally than an active adolescent or adult.
~ I like many other breeders and the RSPCA have been desexing pups at a very young age for many years with very few issues.

~ Having read various "studies" on desexing and possible effects as well as conditions like urinary incontinence and juvenile vaginitis that are commonly linked to public discussions on EAD I have found that some misinformation and generalisations are often made. Unless there is gross negligence during the surgery (which could occur at any age ) the incontinence is caused by the lack of hormones following desexing - this can occur at any age - even in a mature bitch that has had litters. It can usually be managed with hormone therapy. One study (one breed, small sample) also showed that desexing pre puberty did increase the incidence of mild incontinence but that bitches desexed older that developed incontinence were more likely that the condition would be severe.
~More resent studies looking at a wide range of health issues that included a variety of breeds and treated each separately to determine if breed made a difference found that as a generalisation - very large /giant breeds were more likely to have health issues when desexed prior to full growth than smaller/lighter frame dogs. Given that these studies were all based on the examination of historical vet records, vital information that could bias the studies was not available (exercise, weight, age of diagnosis, pedigree/genetic health that dogs lines).

Interested in reading more?

Desexing has these benefits....

*Prevents unplanned pregnancy and unwanted pups. This is a big issue due to:

~ The large number of dogs already in the animal 'welfare system'.

~ Both pure breeds and cross breeds suffering chaos due to irresponsible, reckless breeding practises. People who through ignorance, greed or obsession with a particular phenotype ( appearance) breed with little/no regard for the dogs' welfare.
Covid saw a huge insurgence of 'backyard breeding' as huge demand for pups and ridiculous increase in the $ impatient buyers were willing to pay- unfortunately led many to randomly breed their pet dogs.

*desexing can prevent or decrease the incidence of some illnesses- most of which occur in later life.

*Can inhibit some sex-based behaviours that may be undesirable.

*Prevents the female heat cycle, which can be inconvenient and limit your dogs inclusion in some public activities.

* There are some slightly increased risks of some conditions in sterilised dogs - and an equivalent number of increased health concerns specific to undesexed dogs.

Puppies Desexed at a young age recover from
surgery much faster than their adolescent peers.

I feel it would be irresponsible to breed dogs if I am not considering their futures, both as individuals, their potential offspring and the breed as a whole.

In real terms there is limited control I can take once a dog/pup is released from my care. I cannot be certain that either through deception or carelessness, dogs bred by me will not be bred from indiscriminetly. With this in mind I cannot in good conscious release un altered dogs.
So all my dogs sold as pets will be desexed. Feel free to ask why, but please do not ask for an exception to be made- I have not made this decision lightly,it is about dogs and their families. Early Spey/Neuter requires more from me as a breeder both financially and in time and labour.

Sterilisation of Vineyard Pet Puppies is done prior to your pup being collected at 8 weeks of age

If you have concerns or just like to be more informed please click here for much more detail, referenced studies and my full explanation of why I am committed to Early Spey/ Neuter