We remain open to provide care for your pets. We are following the direction of government and regulatory authorities and have implemented hospital and visit protocols to keep both you and our team safe. For regular updates on our hours and visit protocols, please follow our social media platforms.

When is the best time to spay or neuter your pet?

In the Halifax and Dartmouth area, the most common time to have your puppy or kitten spayed or neutered is around 6 months of age.   Most veterinarians choose to wait until this age as it is felt that it gives the puppy or kitten’s liver and kidneys time to develop and therefore the risk of anesthesia is less.  However, in recent years many veterinarians, especially shelter and rescue group veterinarians, have developed safe anesthetic protocols for pediatric spays and neuters.

At Full Circle Veterinary Alternative we recognize that recently there has been more controversy over when to spay or neuter as some veterinarians believe it is better to wait until a pet is fully mature before spaying or neutering.  There have been a few studies indicating that pets neutered prior to 14 months of age are at higher risk of some forms of cancer and joint problems.  This is especially true in larger breed dogs.  Still, the studies are inconclusive since large breed dogs in general are more prone to developing these diseases, so to prove that the early neutering is the cause is very difficult.    There is also some concern that neutering at 6 months of age can affect the joints because growth plate closure in the bones is influenced by hormones.  Therefore some growth plates that do not close prior to 6 months of age may remain open longer causing some bones to be slightly longer  than they might have been had the dog remained intact until 14 months of age.  Most veterinarians will concur that large and giant breed male dogs that are neutered prior to maturity tend to be taller and less filled out than their un-neutered counterparts.

But what are benefits of neutering at 6 months of age?

It has been proven that spaying your female pet prior to their 1st heat, which usually occurs around 7-12 months or age, virtually eliminates their chances of developing mammary cancer later in life.    In dogs, a normal heat cycle includes a bloody discharge for up to 7-14 days, and the entire cycle can last up to 30 days.   Cats are induced ovulators, meaning they will continue to go in and out of heat until they are bred.   A female in season will attract male attention and will often seek out males in an attempt to be bred.  Early spaying prevents the risk of unwanted puppies and kittens and families avoid having to manage a dog or cat in heat which can be very stressful.   It only takes a second for one of the kids to open the door and Fifi takes off to find a boyfriend!

In males, many of the undesirable behavior changes that can occur when they reach sexual maturity are avoided if they are neutered early.    Un-neutered pets, both males and females in heat, are more likely to go “roaming” which puts them at greater risk of traumas like being hit by a car, or getting into a fight with other animals.

All of the veterinarians at Full Circle will discuss your pet as an individual and decide  with you when is the best time to have your furry friend spayed or neutered.  If they are planning a big career in performance dog sport it may be worth while trying to wait until 14 months of age.  But for most families having your pet neutered at 6 months of age is going to be the best choice!

Dr. Janis Fisher, DVM, CVA, CCRT


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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Monday, March 23, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 902.461.0951. We will take a history of your pet over the phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. Once the examination is finished, we will call to discuss our recommended treatment plan over the phone and then return to your vehicle with your pet. Please ensure your pet has a properly fitted collar or is in a secure carrier. Please remove any additional clothing or blankets prior to our staff handling our patients to minimize risk to our team.

2. We are still OPEN but are now working in two shifts with reduced hours, reduced staff numbers and a need to close for extensive cleaning between shifts. Tuesday to Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

3. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

4. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus. You may see our team members wearing additional protective gear when interacting with our clients and patients.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives Inc.