Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Health Questions' started by Cathyromanch, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. Cathyromanch

    Cathyromanch New Member

    My vet suggested I wait until my Bernese is 2 years old to get him neutered so he develops his broad chest and adult features. He is just now 2, but someone told me if I get him neutered he has a greater risk of developing cancer because it lowers his testosterone levels. Thoughts?
  2. Susan

    Susan New Member from any Senior members....experienced Bernese owners. Any info especially with a source I can print off and bring into the vet would be appreciated!

    Three vets have told me that what I have read about waiting is wrong! I found info for Berners that you wait until at least 15 months because of bone development.

    They want to neuter him now at six months! It isn't even to get the money because I bought a package the vet offers for all the first year puppy shots and neuter/spaying (a 25% discount from the regular charges for these) so it isn't like I am not going to have it done or done somewhere else.

    They think I am making this up I guess or that a breeder's website info isn't reliable.
  3. WonderBread

    WonderBread New Member

    Are these vets at one clinic/practice or are they at different locations? Did you get the dog from a breeder? There would be some paperwork about when to spay/neuter and the reason why if the dog came from a breeder.

    My breeder wants us to wait until after the first heat for females and two years for males.
  4. Susan

    Susan New Member

    I have been to three vets at two practices. I am in Florida so it is rare that they see Bernese at all let alone a puppy (we were supposed to have moved north by now but have been delayed indefinitely).

    No, I did not receive any paper work with instructions specific to the breed with Oliver. I was told he was pre-sold by his breeder in another state, to a family in NY. At the last minute, the storm damage from Hurricane Sandy caused a problem for the family so they could not take him. I am not sure how, but a breeder of St. Bernards in my area ended up with my pup and he had plans to sell him at a local pet store he had just purchased. I saw Oliver right after he was cleared by the SB breeder's vet for sale in this state and brought him home before he was for sale in the store.

    (Yes, I probably should not have been impulsive about this particular pup, but I don't think anyone else getting Oliver would have fared much better since it has been a constant back and forth to a vet since the start./I]).

    I suppose I should have asked more questions about his origins but that was all I was told. Oliver was very thin, his coat was a bit dull and he seemed very timid or was hard to tell which at the time. Getting him well has been the focus until now. He is doing better on the acute problems so now they are looking at the normal developmental things like neutering and are telling me it will be time soon, at six to seven months. The information I find says anywhere from 9 to 15 months (a BMD book) to 2 years (another thread here)

    As to resources for info other than books and the internet, I do have a neighbor who has a six year old female. She has given me some advice, but she doesn't have any info about neutering a male. The St. Bernard breeder hasn't been much help so he isn't a possible resource for me.

    The bottom line is I want him to be healthy so I want to do what is best for him even if the vets don't agree. Oliver is going to be a family pet so neutering him makes sense. He is already trying to mount things (legs, blankets he bunches up, furniture, our male cat...). I read on another thread here if the behavior becomes an issue, than get him neutered sooner.

    Sorry this is so long, but I am a little frustrated. I suppose I could just tell them I don't plan to have him neutered at all and then just tell them I changed my mind later. I want to make the best decision for him. I had a rescue German Shepard with ortho problems. It was painful for her and painful to see so if I can do anything to avoid those for Oliver, I will.

  5. WayneD

    WayneD New Member

    There is no absolutely no question male Berners must not be neutered before 2 years and females after first heat.
  6. WonderBread

    WonderBread New Member

    I guess the bottom line is you are the decision maker for your dog. If you want to wait until the dog is two, then simply tell the vet you would like to wait on the neutering of the dog until he is two. The vet may give you information about the benefits of early neutering but that doesn't mean that is what YOU have to do.

    My breeders reasoning on waiting to spay/neuter is if you wait until full maturity and then alter them, "it sets their brains right". Lol. She's been doing it for 30 years and has/had multiple champions and service dogs. I will believe her.

    If I had a male with beginnings such as yours I would wait as long as possible to have my dog neutered so he could reach his full potential. My Berner's brother was neutered at 12 months because the owners couldn't tolerate the mounting any longer.

    Good luck.
  7. Susan

    Susan New Member

    Thanks for the information from your breeder. Oliver is doing so much better physically than even a month ago (except for having to remain on Royal Canin SO for his urine pH/and to get rid of any remaining struvite cystals from his uti). His coat is beautiful-(thick, soft, and very shiny) and his weight is where it should be, not overweight, not thin, and he has a strong appearance, good bones and is well-muscled so I think he is going to be okay despite the rocky start.

    I am going to try to go as long as possible without neutering him. Thanks for mentioning the litter-mate of your pup. The rest of the family is having a little trouble with the mounting behaviors, but they will just have to deal with it if it means the best outcome for Oliver (they aren't the most patient of sorts really).
  8. BernerMax

    BernerMax New Member

    in similar dilemma, would like to hear how it ended

    Hey all, new here-- am also grappling with either waiting (or really) leaving my boy intact, he is 14 months old, very very healthy agile, strong.
    (I have a long post around this in my Hello from Northern California intro on the new members introduction forums)
    ... and there IS a huge debate around this in the Dog community around neutering/ male dog health....
    I think the vets perspective is partially around not trusting people to be responsible therefore speuter asap before the next litter of unwanted puppies are born.....
    Hey I am really interested in this topic, pls see my thread in General posts am starting as soon as I finish this reply "Male Berners, intact or Not"....
  9. Susan

    Susan New Member

    Hi BernerMax.

    You may be right about the vets having concerns that owners will not be responsible about preventing unplanned litters. That makes sense.

    I have been researching information regarding the large/giant breeds and neutering and found a study that has been mentioned quite a bit in articles about early neutering in connection with the development of osteosarcoma. Here is a link to the published paper Endogenous Gonadal Hormone Exposure and Bone Sarcoma Risk .
    The study isn’t very large and hasn't been replicated. It was also a retrospective, owner reported compilation of data, but there was a correlation made with an inverse relationship in incidence of the bone sarcomas with each month of age before neutering a male Rottweiler (the younger dog, the greater the incidence of cancer). The authors mentioned a causal relationship, but that is very difficult to establish (at least in medical research for humans). The conclusion was that waiting longer was a way to reduce the risk of osteosarcoma in a Rottweiler at least. Some other studies from previous years were mentioned as well.
    Other scholarly information I found involved Golden Retrievers and hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, cancers, etc… but I don’t have time to look for the articles I read on that study (here is the link to the study itself PLOS ONE: Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers) . In essence, the results indicated the dogs that are neutered before sexual maturity had a higher incidence of some of these issues because without the opposing endogenous testosterone, endogenous estrogen kept the epiphyseal plates open longer so the dog grew taller. The increased height caused a disproportionate growth in one of the bones of the legs that in turn created a different angle at the stifle. This change places a great deal of strain on the ligaments creating the problems.

    After reading those studies and the various articles, I have decided I am going to wait as long as possible to have Oliver neutered.
    Have to run so no time to proof-read so I hope this makes sense. :D
    Hope this helps.

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