FunNature & AnimalIs the first heat necessary to neuter my dog?

Is the first heat necessary to neuter my dog?

The moment to carry out the intervention must be assessed by the veterinary professional who will be responsible for the health of the animal, according to its individual characteristics.

Castration is the surgical removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus, a method by which we definitively control the reproduction of the animal .

We must differentiate castration from sterilization , which is the surgical means by which we cancel the possible transit of eggs and sperm to achieve pregnancy. Sterilization is generally performed by tubal ligation: there is still heat, hormonal processes, but fertilization is prevented.

Focusing on castration, we must record the existence of several options handled by professionals in relation to the most appropriate time to perform the procedure:

Before the first heat

Carrying out castration before the first heat offers the security that no unwanted changes will occur due to the hormonal explosion, such as the maximum reduction of the risk of suffering from mammary tumors throughout their lives and the absence of pathologies related to the sexual organs ( ovarian cysts/tumors, uterine infections… )
On the less positive side, early castration inhibits the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics, so the animal will have a “more childish” organic conformation, without breast and genital development.

After the first heat

  • After the first heat: in this case the female will have experienced the development of her genital and mammary apparatus, and will have received the effect of her sexual hormones through her bloodstream.
    The percentage of suffering from mammary tumors will increase each time the animal is in heat, so if the intervention is performed after the first, the percentage will vary slightly from the situation in which the animal is operated on without having experienced heat. some.
  • After reaching the first year of age, or reaching development: in this case, as in the previous one, there is complete sexual development, effects of hormones and the intervention is carried out when the animal has completed, not only its sexual development but also its organic development. complete.
    The possibility of mammary tumors increases according to the number of heats that the animal experiences until completing its development and sexual behaviors, positive or negative, will have been established, being more complex to handle if they appear.

In view of the possibilities, many will wonder what each professional will base on to decide on one or the other option.

Veterinarians , according to their practice, have been able to assess in their patients the effects of sterilization at the various times that the various possibilities offer us; Let us bear in mind that, although we are talking about a scheduled surgery, not an emergency one, it cannot always be performed at the moment that the professional considers: an owner can go to the clinic for the first time to consider surgery on an adult animal, even senior, so any of the aforementioned valuations are meaningless.

The biggest technical and scientific discrepancy is how much early castration can affect the overall development of the animal.

The professionals who sterilize before the first heat consider that the overall development of the animal is not affected beyond the inhibition of the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics (breasts, genitalia), an issue that for them compensates for the drastic decrease in the risk of appearance of tumors and diseases of the genital apparatus.

Those who sterilize when passing the first heat consider that it is convenient for the animal, not only the development of its secondary sexual characteristics, but also the hormonal contribution that the sexual hormones offer for the organism and for a more stable behavior (less “childish”, more “self-confident”…)

And finally, those who decide on castration when the animal has fully completed organic development value integral development positively, counting on an increased possibility of the presence of tumors and sexual pathologies in the future.

Practically all professionals who perform these surgical interventions have a clear choice, and, although it may seem illogical that there are several valid options, we must take into account many other factors that would be tedious to cite in an article and that are part of the clinical decision of the patient. professional to each case individually.

It is not the same to assess when to neuter an animal that will live in the environment of a family, than to castrate a working animal, neuter a puppy that appears confident to the world, or an animal with certain interaction/socialization difficulties.

As always, in all matters that affect the health of your non-rational friends, fully trust your veterinarian .

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