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A castration question

(6 Posts)
CaptainKit Tue 20-Oct-15 11:32:47

A fairly simple question - when would you castrate a greyhound-sized dog? Or, at least, when would be the earliest?

My lurcher puppy is 6 months old and the rescue he came from want him back to castrate him this week. I am going to let them know that I would rather use my own vet, even if that means I have to pay for it rather than the rescue cover it, (which is what I had expected before getting the pup,) but probably won't be telling them that I don't plan on getting him castrated in the next week as it seems they would prefer. He will definitely be getting castrated, I have no intention of leaving him entire, nor of enabling any puppies to occur.

In my head I'd be expecting to get him done between 12 and 18 months depending on when he stops growing, and what behavioural changes he goes through, if any. Does that seem reasonable?

My other dog is a smaller mixed breed - his adult weight (15kg) is about what the puppy weighs now, at 6 months. I had him castrated at 10 months, which seemed to me the right time for him based on size, temperament, etc.

LilCamper Tue 20-Oct-15 13:28:09

Larger dogs should be castrated when both physically and mentally mature.

nellieellie Tue 20-Oct-15 14:02:23

For a large dog Id say at least 18mths
Sometimes though rescues get you to sign a contract. Can you negotiate, making clear your intention to neuter, and that you are a responsible owner who will not allow your dog to breed?

LumelaMme Tue 20-Oct-15 14:21:59

We had our big lad castrated at 6 months, which was the advice at the time, and I wish we hadn't: he wasn't mature enough and he's ended up with a degree of fear aggression - it's manageable, and we work endlessly on getting over it, but it's no fun for him or us.

Also, iirc, early neutering can predispose to hip dysplasia (i.e. make a dog who is already vulnerable to it more likely to develop problems).

Next dog we get, the balls stay on till he's 2.

moosemama Wed 21-Oct-15 12:35:12

It was a condition of adoption that our Lurcher was castrated at 6 months, although by our local vet, rather than the rescue. The only exception was if the vet refused for veterinary/medical reasons.

My boy had a bad start in life and the vet considered him underdeveloped both physically and psychologically and said she wasn't happy to do it at that point. I was relieved as, personally, I didn't want him done until he was fully mature, partly due to bone growth, but also because he's a naturally anxious lad and I felt he needed the hormones in his system to help him cope with life and mature properly, but having signed the contract I had little recourse.

We contacted the rescue, who agreed to wait a few more months, as it was based on veterinary advice. We then left it until we got a phonecall from the rescue telling us we had to have it done 'now'. At this point he was 18 months old, 28 1/2 inches to the shoulder, had stopped growing and matured a lot. I would, in an ideal world, preferred to have waited until he was at least 3, as I know a lot of sighthound people say it can take that long for some male Lurchers to fully mature, but the vet said she thought there was no medical/veterinary reason to hold off any longer, so we were given no choice and had him done.

I was so upset and worried, particularly that he might become fear aggressive, as he was already scared of off-lead dogs, but in his case it didn't happen. (He's 2 1/2 now and has continued to steadily improve to the point of not really being bothered unless they rush up to him when he's on the lead.) Ideally, if down to just me, I would have waited at least another year, but in his case at least, it wasn't the disaster I was worried it might be.

Many, many years ago we had a large breed dog that our vet advised us to neuter at 6 months when he started being aggressive to other dogs. I didn't know any better back then and we didn't have the internet for research purposes, vet was also, supposedly, a behaviourist, so I agreed and went ahead. The consequences were dreadful, my boy became both dog and human fear aggressive and despite trying every behavioural avenue we could fine, including using Prozac and intensive positive training he never got any better. Of course I can't prove it was neutering him that caused the problem, he had had a bad start in life and was already showing signs of aggression, but, the timing was bang on for a massive deterioration in confidence and control and having researched since I am as sure as I can be that neutering was what pushed him over the edge.

I feel very strongly that 6 months is too young and to be honest, am always surprised that vets will agree to do it that young - on large breed dogs in particular. I will never take on a rescue that requires neutering at 6 months, by contract, again, as I feel strongly it has to be done on a case-by-case basis and should be what's right for that individual dog and that although rescues are obviously concerned about indiscriminate breeding etc, they have a responsibility towards the dogs they rehome, to do what is right for them, as individuals, rather than have blanket policies that can have serious consequences for some.

CaptainKit Wed 21-Oct-15 15:14:00

Thanks all. I called the rescue yesterday and explained that I'd asked when collecting him if it was ok to have him castrated by my own vet and was told then it wasn't a problem, so could he be taken off the list for Thursday. This, the lady on the phone said, was fine. She asked if I wanted a voucher toward the cost of the op and I said 'sure' - I had been expecting to pay full cost, but with a baby due next year I'll take any money off they're happy to give. So that's an added bonus.

It's a large rescue, and they didn't said anything about giving them notice/proof of neutering so I'm sure it won't be noticed if I do it later than they want. I'll read through the paperwork I got from the rescue when I get home just to make sure I know where I stand.

Although he does tend to be a little fearful at times (A horse 'pffffft' at him once and he leapt to the far end of his lead,) I've yet to see any issues with dogs or people; he seems to respond 'normally' to other dogs; backing off if they growl or bark, but trying to play with them if they appear willing. I'm lucky enough to be able to bring him to work, and so he meets plenty of people and dogs, both in the office, and amongst my family (we're all dog owners) so I'm getting as much socialisation done as possible whilst he's young.

Next booster jabs are due when he's 14 months, so will see how mature he seems, and talk to the vets then. I'm trying to weigh him on a monthly basis so should get an idea of his physical maturity through that. I trust my vets and have been with them for a long while with a number of different dogs, cats and other animals, and don't think they'd push to get him done early just for the money.

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