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Breaking down the optimal spay-neuter timing debate


Dr. Philip Bushby has thoughts on this now more complex question and how to work with clients to come to the best decision.

Gone are the days when you're absolutely 100 percent sure what to say when a client asks the best age at which to spay or neuter a dog or cat. New research is showing possible ill effects of early spaying or neutering, resulting in some veterinarians recommending waiting until a patient is 1 to 2 years of age-or maybe not sterilizing a pet at all. Yet shelter policies often advocate these surgeries before a pet is adopted-often at a very young age. What to do?

We asked Philip Bushby, DVM, MS, DACVS, a member of the task force that helped create the updated Association of Shelter Veterinarians' 2016 Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay-Neuter Programs, this very question at a recent CVC, and he summarized all of the factors rolling into this complex question:

Oh, those studies that show the possible detriment of early spaying and neutering. Here's Dr. Bushby's take on how to take the findings:

Dr. Bushby next admitted his personal bias in this area (hint: as if you could forget, lots of animals are being euthanized every year):

So, still what to do? Dr. Bushby's advice: Talk it over with the owner:

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