Message Number: YG1887 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Brett Middleton
Date: 2001-03-30 15:25:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Early neutering

Dr. Murray wrote:
> Early spay/neuter has been shown to increase the rate of adrenal
> tumors in certain strains of mice. Since I have never seen an intact
> male or female with adrenal gland disease, I think the early
> spay/neuter is directly related to the high rate of adrenal gland
> disease.

I hadn't come across any mouse studies -- everything I've seen so far
has involved dogs, cats or horses. Thanks for the info.

But, your statement only compares early neuters to intact ferrets, so I
don't see any basis for concluding that early neutering is any worse
than late neutering in this regard. If the adrenals are trying to take
up the slack for missing gonads, I wouldn't think it would matter when
the gonads were removed -- early, late or even after sexual maturity --
unless there's some early critical phase after which the adrenals lose
the ability to generate androgen-producing cells or respond to LH/FSH.
Has anyone proposed that this is the case? If so, has any plausible-
sounding mechanism for this process been suggested? (And, if this *is*
the case, would it be possible to develop some kind of hormone therapy
that would protect early neuters until they got through that phase?)

In counterpoint to your observation, I came across the following
interesting statement written by another vet: "Another early theory
incriminating spay/neuter at a young age has been disproved due to the
fact that adrenal disease does occur in male and female sexually intact
ferrets." (Obviously, the occurrence of AD in intact ferrets doesn't
"disprove" anything, since the issue is the relative incidence rate.
But I found this in a popular article, not a technical publication, so
I'm willing to be a little more forgiving of the gaffe. B-)


*SLMW 1.0* Without my ignorance, your knowledge would be worthless.