When to Spay Or Neuter Your Pet- Recommendations Have Changed


6 months old may be too early to spay or neuter large breed dogs.

6 months old may be too early to spay or neuter large breed dogs.

Older Recommendations Challenged by New Studies

The recommendations for when to spay or neuter your pet have changed in recent years. Previously, it was common to recommend that these procedures be done at around 6 months of age for both dogs and cats. The reasoning was that by avoiding the first heat cycle in females, we would be preventing unwanted pregnancy, avoid uterine infections (pyometra), and prevent reproductive cancers that are tied in to the hormonal changes associated with each cycle. For the males, early neutering was considered to avoid certain unwanted behaviors associated with increased testosterone as well as to prevent prostate issues that may present later in life. New studies have shown that there are some significant health reasons  to wait for dogs to mature beyond 6 months of age before being altered. Current research indicates that by allowing larger breed dogs to mature, there are then decreased risks for some cancers and ligament tears.

Updated Recommendations

Therefore, our new recommendations at Haven Lake Animal Hospital for dogs over 30 pounds are to let females go through one heat cycle and to wait until male dogs are 18-24 months old. The ideal spay or neutering age for most felines remains at 6 months old due to pregnancy concerns as well as behavorial changes such a marking for the males. The overall benefits of spaying or neutering your pet are undeniable, the consideration should be in the timing of these procedures to maximize the positive effects and minimize any negative ones.

By Dr. Chris Coon, DVM, CCRP


Effects of Bones on Pet Dental Health


I have a bone to pick. Real bones are NOT a good idea for dogs and cats. I know there are alot of stories out there how “my dog does just fine with bones” but I have seen alot of major medical problems through the years caused by chewing on bones.

Avoid Real Bones

Many products such as knuckle bones, leg bones, antlers, and cow hooves are promoted in stores to keep your dogs’ teeth clean. Unfortunately, the manufacturing companies are not required to monitor the safety of these products. VOHC is a voluntary certification that products can achieve by proving efficacy with dental cleaning and low risk of health problems.

Healthy Teeth are Important for a Healthy Pet

Dental health is important to maintain in your pet. Good dental hygeine reduces the risk of premature heart disease, liver disease, and kidney disease. A healthy mouth is also much more comfortable. Dogs and cats tend to hide their dental pain. Many of our clients have told us they did not realize how much pain their companions were in, until AFTER they have a dental procedure performed. Of course, it also helps prevent the dreaded “doggy breath.”

The Importance of Brushing Daily (Even for our Pets)

Maintaining good dental hygeine is best achieved with DAILY tooth brushing, and full dental cleaning under anesthesia, as recommended by your veterinarian. Chewing on hard substances will help keep molars clean, but unfortunately will not help the other teeth in the mouth. When the substance is too hard, such as a real bone, we see fractured teeth that abscess, intestinal obstructions, constipation as they try to pass bone chips, upset stomach with vomiting, and other problems.

Good Dental Health starts with Wise Choices

Please choose wisely when giving your pet things to chew. Choose products with the VOHC approval and monitor when giving them new substances. If your pet will allow it, brush his/her teeth daily. Have a dental check up annually to detect problems early. Avoid real bone to avoid your pet from painful broken teeth and painful upset stomachs.

By Dr. Audrey Adkins, VMD


Canine Cruciate Injury And Canine Rehabilitation

100_0733Injury to the cruciate ligament is the most common hind limb injury of the dog.  Dogs less than 20 lbs. can often avoid surgery through conservative management, but this is an injury that typically requies surgical repair to avoid rapid arthritis.  There are up to five different ways to repair a cruciate tear, but the only the most common two will be discussed here.

Using Lateral Suture Method to Stabilize the Knee

The repair I have been doing for over 20 years is called a lateral suture repair or an extracapsular repair. It entails placing a high strength suture in a way that mimics the damaged ligament.  It works well in my hands, but it is not the currently recommended repair for large (over 50 lb) active dogs.  The bigger, active dogs place more stress on the artificial suture often times resulting in it breaking. The preferred method of repair in large breed dogs is a Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). Continue…