This is a topic I have struggled with morally. Since I began breeding Labradoodles over 12 years ago, I believed in and have done ES & N (Early Spay & Neuter). It has been sanctioned as a successful, safe and noninvasive method to prevent unplanned puppies. It is the responsible route breeders take so shelters are not burdened and puppies do not suffer at the hands of puppy mills. I supported this surgery 100%....until now.
As with all things, it takes time for research to make discoveries and PROVE them. Many products are sold in the market only to be recalled after years of documentation show probable health ramifications. With regard to sterilization, I have read numerous articles over the years but the provability was not solid and too many questions left unanswered. I simply was not convinced, I am now.
With this new information, ADNE will only do vasectomies on all males and ovary sparing spay on the females at 9 weeks of age. These new and innovative procedures allow the hormones to continue to nourish the bones, tissue, brain and cellular layers for your pup to fully achieve structural and mental integrity. This is not without some caveats however. Both genders will 'think' they can breed. Males will still show mating behaviors with females and females may have a vulva enlargement but no discharge during normal 'heat cycles'. However, neither will be able to produce puppies.
Why have I made these changes? The scientific articles and research cannot be ignored any longer. The results are solid - puppies with ES & N have had some issues regarding growth plates and muscular development; along with some cruciate fragility. There is no doubt, reducing the hormonal flow by ES & N has had a negative impact. The studies show that there is a slightly higher incidence of joint issues, some small increases in cancer types and longer leg bones. Each breed reacts differently to the percentage increases: Golden Retrievers, Rotties, Labs, Bernese Mountain Dogs are all prone to cancer and bone issues, so keep that in mind. On most of the studies, the above breeds were heavily used.
It is my desire to make the best decisions I can with regard to the health of the puppies produced here at ADNE. After numerous talks with my incredible repro vet, Dr. Jen Estle of Broadview Animal Hospital, she has agreed to due vasectomies and OSS on my pups which I am grateful for. There are very few vets willing to do these types of surgeries because they are not 'traditional'. Thank goodness for those vets willing to see the benefits of cutting edge surgical procedures and have the skill to implement them.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if our country's mindset was more in line with the Europeans and Scandinavians where vets will not do sterilization at all on dogs or cats - yet the pet population lives in harmony with very responsible pet ownership?
Here are some links to peruse regarding my change in sterilization methods:
There are many, many more articles, just use Google and type in your question regarding vasectomies or ovary sparing surgery.
I know that some breeders use contracts as a choice but ADNE will not do this because accidents happen. Children leave a door open, a phone rings, a wayward male jumps your fence - life is a bowl of accidents waiting to happen! It is my responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancies in my pups and the best method I know right now for both health and sterility is with the above procedures.
Although many articles suggest that traditional sterilization is common at 6 months, I strongly suggest that if you wish to do this second surgery that you wait until your pup is past a year for the best health benefits. My purpose for changing to vasectomies and OSS is for long term health of your intended companion. To not wait the year or more defeats this strategy in it entirety.