Long-term outcome of gonadectomy performed at an early age or traditional age in dogs

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2001 Jan 15;218(2):217-21. doi: 10.2460/javma.2001.218.217.


Objective: To determine long-term results and complications of gonadectomy performed at an early age (prepubertal) or at the traditional age in dogs.

Design: Cohort study.

Animals: 269 dogs from animal shelters.

Procedure: Dogs that underwent gonadectomy were allotted to 2 groups on the basis of estimated age at surgery (traditional age, > or =24 weeks old; prepubertal, < 24 weeks old). Adoptive owner information was obtained from shelter records, and telephone interviews were conducted with owners to determine physical or behavioral problems observed in the dogs since adoption. Follow-up information was obtained from attending veterinarians for dogs with complex problems or when owners were uncertain regarding the exact nature of their dog's problem.

Results: Prepubertal gonadectomy did not result in an increased incidence of behavioral problems or problems associated with any body system, compared with traditional-age gonadectomy, during a median follow-up period of 48 months after gonadectomy. Rate of retention in the original adoptive household was the same for dogs that underwent prepubertal gonadectomy as those that underwent traditional-age gonadectomy. Infectious diseases, however, were more common in dogs that underwent prepubertal gonadectomy.

Conclusions and clinical implications: With the exception of infectious diseases, prepubertal gonadectomy may be safely performed in dogs without concern for increased incidence of physical or behavioral problems during at least a 4-year period after gonadectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / physiology
  • Animals, Domestic / psychology
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Cohort Studies
  • Communicable Diseases / veterinary
  • Dogs / physiology*
  • Dogs / psychology
  • Dogs / surgery
  • Female
  • Male
  • Orchiectomy / adverse effects
  • Orchiectomy / methods
  • Orchiectomy / veterinary*
  • Ovariectomy / adverse effects
  • Ovariectomy / methods
  • Ovariectomy / veterinary*
  • Sexual Maturation / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires