When is the best time to have my pet neutered?

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Traditionally both males and females are neutered at six months of age, but there is some controversy with this. For females, this is recommended to avoid the first heat and have the lowest risk of mammary cancer in the future. For males, this time frame is not really necessary, health wise. Obviously, males should be neutered as soon as possible to avoid unwanted breeding, if this is a possibility in their environment. Also, unneutered males often exhibit unwanted behaviors such as intermale aggression and roaming. Eventually, testosterone can have adverse effects on the body causing problems such as benign prostatic hypertrophy, prostatitis, and testicular cancer. These effects are not usually seen before 3-5 years of age, so neutering before then is recommended. For large breed dogs, such as your Labrador, it may be better to neuter closer to physical maturity, around 12-18 months, to allow him to fully develop muscle mass. Obviously, all factors must be considered for each individual pet and should be discussed with your veterinarian.

June Hacker-Traiger