|If you're going to alter your wolfdog, there are two schools of thought on it.
(Three, really, if you count those who will go so far as to invest in tubal/vasectomy rather than castration/hysterectomy, in order to not deprive the animal of its hormones & reproductive organs...however, finding a vet to do this can be very difficult. Also, the vas/tubal surgery is every bit as invasive and risky as the routine spay/neuter--it simply keeps the hormones, which can be good in some ways and detrimental in others.)
With wolfdogs in particular, some folks will have problems dealing with an intact adult animal. Especially "in season", when those still-existent hormones kick in! It is important to consider this factor when making your choice, as a wolfdog who has been castrated (but still has his happy home) will obviously have a better quality-of-life than a wolfdog who stayed intact/underwent a vasectomy (but whose hormones, and related agitation, caused him to be surrendered to rescue in his first winter).
Most folks simply send their wolfdog in for routine spay or neuter. This is normally done at 4 to 6 months of age...in higher content wolf crosses, always before their first winter (6-7 months) in an attempt to avoid the hormone problems entirely. (If you have decided to admit wolf heritage to your vet, remind him to start small with the anesthesia; some animals are sensitive to it.) Your animal is now safe from any risk of accidental pregnancy, won't attract fence-climbing strays during her heat (if a female), will be less likely to spray, and will have less chance of seasonal aggression. Despite propaganda to the contrary, one detriment to the spay/neuter is the animal's tendency to develop a slower metabolism and gain weight: if you "don't want Timber to get fat", you'll have to walk him more and/or feed him less. (Surely, it is worth this trade-off?)
Early spay/neuter, as young as 8 weeks, is becoming more common as well. There is some concern about sending an animal for spay/neuter at such a young age, as they are nowhere near developed yet, and their hormones play an important part in their development. This second school of thought recommends waiting for at least one year, possibly even until sexual maturity (2 to 3 years) so the animal will develop as naturally as possible. Some concerns regarding early spay/neuter are whether it will result in problems such as too narrow of a chest cavity, a larger size than the animal was meant to be (due to no hormones to tell it when to stop growing), improper bone structure (especially in the legs, which may "toe out" to support the extra weight), and incontinence in females, as the urinary system remains a juvenile one. So, some owners opt to wait awhile before altering their animals. However, this is a double-edged sword, as there are advantages and health benefits to early spay/neuter as well. The main concern with pediatric spay used to be an increased risk of the anaesthesia to young pups, although with early S/N becoming more and more common, it's become no more risky than the standard age spays.
*I have spayed and neutered animals of varying contents, at all sorts of ages over the years. My personal assessment of what's best for them, in MY situation, is to avoid early S/N, and to let them finish growing first. I prefer females done before their first heat (even in high contents, this is sometimes their first winter!) and males done at sexual maturity (2-3 years...possibly even later) BUT I am able to ensure, 100%, that they have no access to intact females during this time. Sometimes, in a more chaotic situation, you have to choose the lesser evil and S/N as soon as possible. With so many already in the rescue system, preventing unwanted litters should *always* be first and foremost in your mind.
Ultimately, the decision on timing must be made by the owner...who has an obligation to read up on it and consider all the pros and cons.
Want more food for thought on the studies done on spay/neuter, and what age may be best for your dog? Look here.
Thinking about keeping your wolfer intact? There are many important considerations...Check out this link on breeding (& NO, I'm not against it!! But, it's a big decision...)
|To spay, or not to spay...|