Thanks for your great question. Early age desexing (EAD) is usually defined as performing ovariohysterectomy (females) or castration (males) surgery in cats and dogs between the ages of 6-16 weeks of age. EAD is a common concern for pet owners and a subject which has been extensively researched by shelters such as the RSPCA. EAD is supported by the Australian and American Veterinary Associations due to the many benefits it offers.
The benefits of EAD for patients include:
- Faster and easier surgery with less bleeding and smaller incision wounds as anatomical structures are less developed
- Faster healing and anaesthetic recovery
- Significant reduction in incidence of prostate, mammary and perianal tumours and hernias as well as complete elimination of testicular cancer in males and uterine and ovarian cancer in females
- Significant reduction in mounting, marking and escaping/wandering behaviours
- Possible retention of characteristics such playfulness and curiosity
Side effects or disadvantages are few, especially in animals 4 months of age where anaesthetic risks are no different from those of a 6 month old which is the traditional age of desexing.
Desexing in general delays growth plate closure and may increase the risk of orthopaedic conditions such as hip dysplasia however this type of hip dysplasia is a mild and other environmental factors such as diet and exercise are likely to also play a major role. Your staffy puppy will not end up with long limbs and poor muscle mass as a result of EAD.
In my opinion, EAD of your 4 month old Staffy is a great idea with countless benefits and few, if any, disadvantages. If your veterinarian is happy to perform EAD then I would go ahead with this option!