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Is my vet up to date on latest research?

1274 Views 20 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Hildae
New 10 week old pup, but not new dog owner! It's been a bit since I've had a puppy, so I've been trying to get up to speed on latest research about golden puppy health -- notably hip displaysia (no neutering before 18 months earliest, exercise, etc.).

At our new pup appt, however, she started off her recommendation for neutering at 6 mos which surprised me. She didn't seem opposed to 18 months neutering when we asked, but in talking with her we got the impression she rarely does it past 6 mos. Additionally when we asked about stairs she said it's no big deal to allow pup to do stairs, just don't do forced exercise. But didn't have much guidance beyond that.

Question 1 -- Should I be concerned or try to find a vet that is more in-line with what I understand to be the latest research? Or am I overreacting?

Question 2 -- Are these good guidelines I should follow? I've been digging this evening for research and not finding too much that cites actual research - ... So far I have:
  • Slow growth for puppies (possibly hovan slow growth plan?) & don't let the adults get overweight
  • Avoid slippery floors -- we have hardwoods, and our pup gets the zoomies! So am planning on buying a few cheap runners, and throwing down some type of liner in his crate.
  • Carry up and down stairs until he no longer has to "hop" to use them (OR, until I can't lift him anymore, TBD which comes first!)
  • No forced exercise

Question 3 -- Is sprinting around with other friends or neighbors dogs OK for play on grass/dirt? Or is sprinting not advised? I want him to have fun! But I also want to ensure we're doing what we can for his long-term health.

& question 4 -- Did I miss anything major?

Would love good resources or research if they exist. Thank you so much, this forum is so valuable!

(I hope this is the right forum section for this post -- I know it's puppy related but also health related...)
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1) you don’t need to find a new vet, you can offer your own research papers (evidence based medicine), but otherwise if she’s amenable to waiting there’s no need to change

2) runners don’t hurt, but good hips are good hips. They need a good genetic foundation. It’s important to be proactive but not wrap your puppy in a bubble.

3) sprinting is OKAY. Dogs NEED exercise to develop healthy muscles and bones.

4) don’t panic and don’t stress!
 

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My vet also strongly recommended neutering at 6 months and now I’m so confused. Thinking of getting a second opinion?
this is not a good recommendation for any dog but especially larger dogs take more time to mature and for their growth plates to close. Research on goldens links early spay/neuter to various types of cancer. Wait until 2 years to spay/neuter a golden, and for females let them go through at least 2 heat cycles. If you have no intact females around and don’t let your dog roam, it’s no problem to just keep your male intact for life. That’s my plan with my boy.
 

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this is not a good recommendation for any dog but especially larger dogs take more time to mature and for their growth plates to close. Research on goldens links early spay/neuter to various types of cancer. Wait until 2 years to spay/neuter a golden, and for females let them go through at least 2 heat cycles. If you have no intact females around and don’t let your dog roam, it’s no problem to just keep your male intact for life. That’s my plan with my boy.
...and would like to add that adolescents is important for a dog to go through because hormones are released to slow the animal's growth. I think the early spay and neuter campaign was started to keep pet owners from having accidental litters.
 

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You've received a bunch of good responses here. You can follow the Hovan slow growth plan if you want but a simple common sense version of that is to read up on and learn to monitor body condition and adjust food intake accordingly. Remember to include any training treats in your calculations. If feeding kibble, it's easy to just use some of pup's kibble for training and subtract that from what they get at mealtimes. Mealtimes are actually good training opportunities for foundational stuff....sit, down, wait......
We have hardwood, vinyl, tile and carpet....the dogs have always learned to deal with all the different surface textures...no joint issues ever resulted from this. Running around outside on grass, dirt and gravel is fine. Carrying down stairs is more important at first. Trying to keep them from jumping down which is hard on elbows/shoulders....going up not so bad. I agree with above as far as early spay/neuter.....try to wait until 2 yrs at least unless necessary due a specific medical issue.
 

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Ramses, golden retriever bred in France 😆
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Leave your pups junk alone, he came from the factory with all the proper equipment.
Hahaha I laughed so hard at this statement I nearly dropped a couple of test tubes because when translated in French this is more funny!

You should write in French - French people really would love it! Almost all advice in France is dispensed in your same tone!


Otherwise sorry to OP, you already have very good advice otherwise.. My golden will be 2 next month, and not neutered - and even if I suggest to neuter, my vet will decline and ask me why and what for... and after the extensive questioning she will not perform it. Another vet I have sought a second opinion for a parasite condition way back will also decline. I think neutering is not really recommended here except for one vet I know who does "everything" - but this vet is also removing (??english??) the vocal chords of her own GSD because it barks too much in the yard and attracted complaints in our neighbourhood. 🤦‍♀️
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all so much! This conversation helped ground me. I tend to over-index on being cautious etc and worry about "perfection," so it's great to have a reality check. Our last pup had some health issues toward the end of his life and his passing was a little traumatic, so I think I'm trying to over-control for things with our new pup that might be out of my control 😅 (beyond finding a good reputable breeder which I'm confident we did!)

I might still put down some throw rugs / runners for my peace of mind, but won't worry too much about going up stairs, and just keep an eye on jumping down off things and going down stairs these first few weeks (we already do this with our 14 yr. lhaso anyway due to back issues). Neutering no sooner than 18 mos is definite as it's in our contract, so we'll reevaluate when we get to 18 mos if neutering still feels like a good plan.

You can follow the Hovan slow growth plan if you want but a simple common sense version of that is to read up on and learn to monitor body condition and adjust food intake accordingly.
Do you have any resources on where to read up on monitoring body condition? I was confused on the slow growth as it says food is used for growth before fat, so monitoring pudge isn't effective. I'd like to learn this so I can measure/weigh and adjust as needed so he gets correct nutrition while not growing too fast, but have been struggling to find trustable resources. We are using probably 80% kibble, 10% higher-value treats, and 10% love/affection for training so far so I think we're on track there as it's all his regular meal-food we are using and not "extra" except for the high-value treats! :)
 

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A good rule of thumb for growth is 1-2 lb per week. You should be able to easily feel your puppy's ribs without being able to see them. If you have to push down to feel them, then puppy is fat. That goes for adults too. Very young puppies don't need as much food as we probably think they do. 2-3 small meals a day is fine for them. A consistent feeding schedule helps keep the poop schedule consistent as well.
 

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You can start with treats but transition to praise because you want the pup to do things simply to please you....as SRW says, every time they do something right they're the best pup ever! There is a lot of info on correct body condition on the forum...you might have to search for it. Hopefully others can jump on here and help link to someone that. If you weigh on a regular basis, weight gain over time that averages in the 2.5/3 lb per week range is a good place to be. As puppy starts to grow a bit, you want to see a visible waist looking down from above, run your hands down their sides with minimal pressure and feel the ribs but not see them and you want to see a little tuck up on the underside ahead of the rear legs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A good rule of thumb for growth is 1-2 lb per week. You should be able to easily feel your puppy's ribs without being able to see them. If you have to push down to feel them, then puppy is fat. That goes for adults too. Very young puppies don't need as much food as we probably think they do. 2-3 small meals a day is fine for them. A consistent feeding schedule helps keep the poop schedule consistent as well.
Gotcha -- Thank you! Yes we have always kept our dogs fairly slim by the rib rule, good to know it applies to pups too but the lbs/week guideline helps. We've been doing 3/4 c of PPP large breed puppy, 3x a day, per the breeder (we've only had him a few days, and pretty sure PPP is a good food).

The feeding/pooping schedule is a bit sporadic still due to us using the kibble as training throughout most of the day though (1/4 c. in the crate first each meal, then the other 1/2 c. over the next few hrs during short training sessions here and there) :rolleyes: but i'm hopeful we'll get into a good routine soon!
 

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You've gotten good advice. As far as your vets opinion goes I think it is just a standard thought process for pet homes. I had a vet for 35+ years that knew me and never once recommended I neuter one of my boys, unless there was a health concern. I did neuter one male at 8 years old for health reasons. He was a breeder, competed in field trials, and was my dream vet. He was very no nonsense and some clients took offense. I loved his honesty. If your dog was overweight he told you bluntly. If you had crazy ideas he laughed at you. He retired last year.

My new vet is wonderful. I truly couldn't be happier, but neutering is part of their standard questioning. I simply respond that I will not be neutering my boys unless there is a medical reason. That doesn't remove it from the annual questioning, but it's not something my vet truly believes I SHOULD DO. She knows I'm a very responsible owner. I think we forget that vets deal with all kinds of owners and pets. They also see the worst breeders imaginable, and the best breeders. I think the neutering question comes from the attitude in today's society, and not a medical opinion. I have also come to find that I normally know way more about Goldens as a breed then my vet. They are not studying breed specific information like many of us on the forum are.

I did have one vet ask me what kind of dog my Golden was. That I found questionable. He then went on to tell me he only believes in rescues. We never saw him again. I can only tolerate so much. lol
 

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I did have one vet ask me what kind of dog my Golden was. That I found questionable. He then went on to tell me he only believes in rescues. We never saw him again. I can only tolerate so much. lol
Um...what??? How is it that a vet can't recognize a golden, and then would say something like they only believe in rescues? That is crazy and I would have never gone back either.
 

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I don't know when the fear of puppies climbing stairs was invented, it is a myth.
While I agree with your other statements, this one I have to note that it's not a myth.

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Results: Puppies walking on stairs from birth to 3 months of age had an increased risk of developing HD.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results indicated that puppies ≤ 3 months old should not be allowed access to stairs, but should be allowed outdoor exercise on soft ground in moderately rough terrain to decrease the risk for developing radiographically detectable HD.

I'm all for treating a dog like a dog and letting them live life and such, but out of an abundance of caution we didn't allow stairs for a few months.
 

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As far as your vets opinion goes I think it is just a standard thought process for pet homes.
I agree. I remember being given a quote for spaying when my girl was getting her puppy shots. When we told the vet we were waiting until she was older and had been through a heat cycle, he said that was good and what he had done for his own dog. Considering how many irresponsible owners must come through their doors, it makes sense they would continue to recommend neutering at 6 months, even if they themselves do otherwise.
 

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So, it is pretty normal for vets to recommend spaying and neutering at 6 months (and some even do it sooner! 😱). Most vets are trained in a pretty anti-breeder, adopt don’t shop mentality. So even if they know the latest research, they won’t simply tell you-you have to tell them. (They don’t expect the average pet owner to know this, they expect you to blindly follow what they say.) It would be nice if they simply promoted responsible dog ownership; but alas, most have succumbed to the “spay and neuter everything as soon as possible no matter what” mentality. From what I understand (and I am not a breeder) it can be extremely difficult for breeders to find a repro vet because nearly all of them are pretty anti breeder and don’t want to go into repro. So this push to spay and neuter everything very young is thanks to the adopt don’t shopper’s agenda. Be thankful for a vet who is willing to listen without making you feel like a terrible person for following the latest research and being a responsible owner! Now let me say, there are absolutely a lot of wonderful vets out there who know the latest research and inform their clients, but there are also an alarming number who don’t.
 
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