Can't decide when to neuter (if at all)
Ruger will be 2 years old in April. I had originally planned to have him neutered at that point, but now we have a 4 month old female, Arya. I am thinking of moving up his date to be neutered before the female turns 6 months, but there are several problems with that. First is that he is very skinny. He is an extremely picky eater. I've tried tough love, but he is fine with eating only enough to get by, not nearly enough to gain the weight he needs (he is only 65 lbs. and should be at least 70). He hates dry kibble. I've had limited success with adding canned food. I've had a bit more success with adding cooked meats and raw ground meats, but he will still decide he simply isn't going to eat that day and that's that (he has had a recent check up and he is healthy, just too thin, about a 2 on the 5 point BCS). Neutering should help him gain some weight, but I don't feel right about putting him under while he is so thin.
Another problem is that I'm worried that he needs his hormones for proper growth. He hasn't grown as far as height goes since he was about 15 months old. I'm pretty sure by now his growth plates are probably closed. All the studies I've seen about neutering too early causing orthopedic problems define early neutering as less than 1 year of age. So theoretically he should be done with skeletal growth, right?
If I do decide to wait the full 2 years, I would have to crate and rotate him and the female if she comes into heat before April (she will be 8 months then). I am worried I might miss the early signs of heat and he could breed her. I'm a pretty observant dog owner, but how easy is it to miss signs of the first heat? Can a bitch have a silent heat like a mare with almost no symptoms?
I'm stressing out about this probably more than I should be.
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Iris vom Oldenburg -- 12/26/05
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