Objective—To determine long-term results and complications
of gonadectomy performed at an early age
(prepubertal) or at the traditional age in dogs.
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, ≥ 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
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. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218: