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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, VMD, CCRP (Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner

Dr. Hacker graduated from the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Veterinary Medicine. She completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Oradell Animal Hospital and remained on staff. She enjoys working with exotic animals. She sees appointments at both Oradell Animal Hospital and our Ft. Lee, New Jersey office. Dr. Hacker's hobbies include reading and bicycling. She enjoys spending time with her husband and three children.
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