Does spaying cause stunted growth? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Does spaying cause stunted growth?

Hi, I just got my GSD puppy yesterday and I am taking her to the vet tomorrow. I hope this isn't a very stupid question but I have heard that having a dog spayed will cause stunted growth. I didn't notice it with pets I have had spayed in the past but I am just wondering what is the actual truth on this. Holly's mom is 95 lbs and her dad is 100 lbs. She is 10 weeks old today and she is huge. I couldn't believe how big she is. I have been around GSD pups before and they were not as big as Holly. I love the idea of her being big like her parents. I will have her spayed either way but just wondering what I should expect about this.


Tracy K
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 09:49 AM
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Re: Does spaying cause stunted growth?

No, actually quite opposite. Generally a spayed or neutered animal will grow taller than an unaltered one. The same goes for a horse that has been gelded (castrated).

This is copied from: Early Spay-Neuter Considerations
for the Canine Athlete

Those of us with responsibility for the health of canine athletes need to continually read and evaluate new scientific studies to ensure that we are taking the most appropriate care of our performance dogs. This article provides evidence through a number of recent studies to suggest that veterinarians and owners working with canine athletes should revisit the standard protocol in which all dogs that are not intended for breeding are spayed and neutered at or before 6 months of age.
Orthopedic Considerations
A study by Salmeri et al in 1991 found that bitches spayed at 7 weeks grew significantly taller than those spayed at 7 months, who were taller than those not spayed (or presumably spayed after the growth plates had closed).(1) A study of 1444 Golden Retrievers performed in 1998 and 1999 also found bitches and dogs spayed and neutered at less than a year of age were significantly taller than those spayed or neutered at more than a year of age.(2) The sex hormones, by communicating with a number of other growth-related hormones, promote the closure of the growth plates at puberty (3), so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. Dogs that have been spayed or neutered well before puberty can frequently be identified by their longer limbs, lighter bone structure, narrow chests and narrow skulls. This abnormal growth frequently results in significant alterations in body proportions and particularly the lengths (and therefore weights) of certain bones relative to others. For example, if the femur has achieved its genetically determined normal length at 8 months when a dog gets spayed or neutered, but the tibia, which normally stops growing at 12 to 14 months of age continues to grow, then an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle likely becomes heavier (because it is longer), and may cause increased stresses on the cranial cruciate ligament. In addition, sex hormones are critical for achieving peak bone density.(4) These structural and physiological alterations may be the reason why at least one recent study showed that spayed and neutered dogs had a higher incidence of CCL rupture.(5) Another recent study showed that dogs spayed or neutered before 5 1/2 months had a significantly higher incidence of hip dysplasia than those spayed or neutered after 5 1/2 months of age, although it should be noted that in this study there were no standard criteria for the diagnosis of hip dysplasia.(6) Nonetheless, breeders of purebred dogs should be cognizant of these studies and should consider whether or not pups they bred were spayed or neutered when considering breeding decisions.

Your puppy sounds like she is going to be a big girl! Can you post pics?

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 09:54 AM
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Re: Does spaying cause stunted growth?

I wish my vet had given me that study before Jax was spayed! She was done early because the HS insisted on it.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-22-2009, 10:40 AM
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Re: Does spaying cause stunted growth?

The Canine Athlete article is NOT a study. It is one of the most poorly done anti S/N op ed pieces out there on the Internet. It gives the appearance of something that is well-referenced and "scientific" but if you actually go to the source articles half of them aren't about dogs at all, others don't say what he's claiming they do.

This has come up again and again on this board. There are some real considerations pro and con with altering, in particular early neuter. But there are some real and compelling reasons to spay at six months in terms of the preventions of fairly common mammary cancer and you should not feel like you did something bad to your dog by going ahead and getting it done.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 06-23-2009, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Does spaying cause stunted growth?

Thanks for the info
I can't post pics until I can take some good ones. The ones from my cell phone just doesn't do her justice.

Tracy K

Dixie 8 yr old choc lab
Junior 5 yr old cocker spaniel (rescue)
Suzy 2 yr old manx cat
Remo 1 yr old manx cat (rescue)
Holly DOB 04-13-09 GSD
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