64°Rain

by ARLnow.com — September 26, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Following a recommendation from county staff, the Arlington County Board on Saturday voted to locate a temporary fire station next to the future Rosslyn home of the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program.

Fire Station 10 will be temporarily relocated to the corner of N. Quinn Street and 18th Street, not far from the current fire station, which is set to be torn down. The old, stand-alone station will be replaced with a modern fire station at the bottom of a new mixed-use development; developer Penzance will be paying for its construction.

A number of alternative temporary fire station locations were considered but found to be lacking. In approving the location — despite the objections of H-B Woodlawn parents — County Board Chair Libby Garvey said in a statement that the Board made the best choice in a difficult situation.

This was a very tough decision for the Board. And we know that there will be members of the community who are disappointed. I think everyone will agree, however, that we listened to the community’s concerns and launched a thorough search for an alternative that would meet the criteria of providing fire protection and emergency medical services to Rosslyn, at a reasonable cost to taxpayers. We acknowledge that this solution will need to be accompanied by serious efforts to mitigate the impact of the fire station on the Wilson school site and the students who will be learning there. We have always said the redevelopment of Western Rosslyn is complex and difficult, but in the end, it will result in benefits for our entire community. We will have a wonderful new urban school, new, integrated open space, including a park that the developer has agreed to pay for, a fire station that the developer will build, affordable housing and a commercial building.

Also on Saturday, the County Board approved a “coordinated open space plan” for Rosslyn Highlands Park — a plan that will come to full fruition after the temporary fire station is removed to make way for a new field.

According to the plan, the renovated park will include:

  • Multi-use, lighted court for basketball and other sports
  • Sloped green lawns for added tree canopy, picnics, seating and play
  • Lighted, synthetic turf field at Wilson School
  • Planted/permeable field boundary with trees
  • Playgrounds for tots and school age children across the street from the main park
  • Community access to Wilson School indoor amenities including gym, cafeteria and theater

by ARLnow.com — September 26, 2016 at 9:45 am 0

Youth sports practice at Barcroft Park (Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley)

Board Funds Westover Apartment Purchase — The Arlington County Board on Saturday approved a $10.9 million loan that will allow the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing to purchase 68 affordable but aging apartment units in the Westover neighborhood. Separately, an effort to designate Westover as a protected historic district, with the goal of preserving other affordable apartments, is continuing. Arlington’s Historic Affairs and Landmark Review Board will hold a key meeting on the topic in November. [Arlington County, InsideNova]

Outreach Planned for Bluemont Baseball Project — Following a raft of complaints and letters from nearby residents, county officials will be holding a community meeting Oct. 5 to discuss an approved contract to renovate one of the baseball fields at Bluemont Park. County Board members on Saturday chastised county staff for inadequate neighborhood outreach on the project prior to its July approval by the Board. [InsideNova]

Aurora Hills Community Center Upgrades OKed — As expected, the County Board has approved a $555,800 contract to upgrade the interior of the Aurora Hills Senior Center and Library. Separately, the Board also approved a $2.7 million utility undergrounding project for the intersection of Lee Highway and N. Glebe Road, which is slated for future streetscape improvements. [Arlington County]

Rodney Hunt Fighting Mansion Eviction — Once a wealthy information technology executive, Rodney Hunt was recently released from a jail sentence on drug charges and is now fighting the foreclosure auction sale of his $24 million mansion on Chain Bridge Road in Arlington. Over the past few months the sprawling home has been used to host “mansion parties,” one of which resulted in a drive-by shooting in McLean. [Washington Post]

High School Boundary Changes Coming Soon — Arlington Public Schools will be hosting a series of public outreach events next month as part of a boundary “refinement” process for the county’s high schools. The usually-contentious process of adjusting school boundaries will this time determine which students attend Arlington’s three comprehensive high schools: Wakefield, Washington-Lee and Yorktown. The changes will not affect current high school students. [Arlington Public Schools, InsideNova]

Local CVS Accused of Selling Expired Shakes — A CVS store on Columbia Pike is being accused of selling nutritional shakes that expired a year ago and made an elderly woman sick last month. In response to a TV station’s outreach, CVS promised to work with the store to make sure that it’s removing expired products from shelves. [WJLA]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

by Buzz McClain — September 26, 2016 at 8:45 am 0

Imagine your meals being prepared by fitness trainers who eat like gourmets.

No, plain chicken breast and steamed broccoli are not on the menu. But you would expect good, clean protein, a lively variety of vegetables and fruit, all of it seasonal and flavorful and sourced at local farms that eschew chemicals.

Even if you are not a gym rat, Crossfit enthusiast or marathoner — and even if your idea of exercise is your nightly walk with the dog (that counts!) — MightyMeals will bring to you freshly prepared, multi-course meals and snacks created with meats and produce from nearby small farmers that will improve your lifestyle by adding time and nutrition to your busy schedule.

Hence the motto, “Where quality meets convenience.”

And as it happens, MightyMeals was founded by two fitness trainers — Dan Graziano and Alex Lebonitte — who stumbled onto a viable startup business when Graziano, as a favor, cooked meals for a few of his fitness clients. Their enthusiastic response led him to conclude, happily for the rest of us, a home-delivery prepared-food service is cheaper than opening a gym.

Chef Stefano Marzano, also a founding owner who learned his craft at his family’s longtime Washington Italian eatery Luigi’s, brings an experienced hand and versatile culinary skills to the kitchen.

Clients throughout Northern Virginia, stimulated by the quality and preparation, not to mention the health-conscious portion control and the ever-changing menu, have signed on to the year-old business to have their orders either delivered to their doors on Sundays or arranged for pick up at locations throughout the region, including several convenient locations in Arlington.

Because of the rapid acceptance, the company has been able to leverage its scale to purchase quality meats and vegetables from local producers — including Cibola Farm, Parting Ridge Farm, Saddle Ridge Farm, Whippoorwill Farm and the famed Polyface Farm — at rates that allow MightyMeals to price their rotating 14 entrees and snacks at reasonable prices.

For example: Jerk chicken with mango salsa, lemon pepper bistro steak with Brussels sprouts and pasteurized bacon, and bison lasagna are about $10. Penne primavera with beef and bison meatballs? About $10. Cobb salad with free-range chicken or grass-fed truffle burger? About $10.

Among the menu categories are “lean,” “farm to table,” “Paleo friendly,” “protein packed” as well as vegetarian and gluten free. Graziano says clients report that children enjoy the meals as much as their grownup dinner companions.

Graziano, who looks every bit the fitness trainer that he is, says the name of the service was intentionally “not too masculine and not too feminine. But we wanted something strong.”

MightyMeals. It would seem they’ve cooked up a good idea.

The preceding was a local business profile written by Buzz McClain and sponsored by MightyMeals.

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 24, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by the Arlington Initiative to Rethink Energy team (AIRE). This county program helps you make smart energy decisions that save you money and leaves a lighter footprint on the environment. Got a question? Email us at [email protected]!

With a record number of 90-degree days in August and a toasty September, this has been one of the warmest summers on record for Arlington.

No need to get hot and bothered — plant a (free) tree. Trees cast shade on buildings and pavement, lowering the temperatures and thus reducing demand for power to cool these buildings during hot times of the year. Planting the right trees in the right places can keep your house and community cooler in the summer and reduce your energy bills.

As the weather begins to turn cool and crisp, now is the time to think about planting trees. Arlington County is giving away one free tree per residential property with the Annual Fall Free Tree Distribution program, while supplies last.

TreeSteward members and Arlington County landscape staff will be on hand to help participants. Educational materials, such as tree care and maintenance and planting guidelines, will be available.

These trees get snapped up quickly! What are you waiting for? Click here for more info, reserve your tree, and help keep Arlington a cool place to live, work and play.

by Andrew Ramonas — September 23, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

Arlington County Police Department officers got free cold-cut sandwiches, cookies and iced tea last night as a thank-you for their work in Lyon Village.

The Lyon Village Citizens’ Association gave the dinner to about 20 cops at the neighborhood’s community house during the officers’ breaks, said John Carten, a member of the organization’s executive committee.

Locals sought to show their appreciation for the cops as a growing number of police controversies across the United States have made national headlines, Carten said.

The county’s officers are “always responsive” at community meetings and on patrol in Lyon Village, he said.

“We just wanted to let them know we are behind them,” Carten said.

Photos courtesy of John Carten

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 23, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Weekend Wine and Beer Guide logo

Editor’s Note: This biweekly column is sponsored by Dominion Wine and Beer (107 Rowell Court, Falls Church). It is written by Garrett Cruce, a Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server.

It’s wonderful to be able to drink and talk about pumpkin ales and Oktoberfest lagers in the actual season they are made for. With the first day of fall on Thursday, we are officially in the season of beers that began appearing on store shelves in August. Some of these and some recent releases have become my “faves” of the season. I’ve gone back to these beers, savoring them, and now I’d like to share them with you.

Ballast Point Brewing Pumpkin Down Scottish Ale with Pumpkin (5.8% ABV)

Ballast Point Brewing Pumpkin Down Scottish Ale with PumpkinSan Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing is known more for it’s West Coast IPAs and fruit infused beers than it is for earthy, spiced brews. But, every once in a while, they make an Indra Kunindra — a curried stout — or this pumpkin-loaded version of their potent Scottish ale, Piper Down. Once you pour this dark amber beer, the earthy aroma of squash mingles with cinnamon and nutmeg obscuring a malty honey wheat. Ballast Point avoids creating a pumpkin pie beer by rooting this in the malt forward style of the Scottish Ale. Slightly sweet and spiced at first, Pumpkin Down turns slightly bitter with the flavor of cooked pumpkin flesh. I’ve bought a couple sixers of this delicious Fall mashup. It’s tasty and versatile — enjoy it with a meal or on it’s own.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Punkin Ale (7.0% ABV)

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Punkin AlePunkin Ale has been a staple of the Dogfish Head line up since their earliest days — 1995. It’s distributed in nearly every state and might be the entry point for many into their beers. Though they have controls and labs and all, they are still a craft brewery that relies on humans for analyzing the flavors of their beers. What this means is that some years their Punkin Ale is just alright and some years it’s fantastic. This year’s falls into the latter category — and it has awesome label art. Bursting with aromas of sweet potato pie, cinnamon, nutmeg and sweet biscuit, Punkin seems to be poised to be a Pumpking-like beer. But it isn’t. It’s a solid brown ale that warms the palate with pumpkin pie spices, more winter warmer than typical pumpkin ale. Only in the finish is there a pumpkin presence, and it tends to be more of an earthiness than straight up pumpkin. Whether you’re looking for another pumpkin beer to try or can’t stand the sight of another, this beer might just be right for you. Available in four-packs as a strongish seasonal, this beer is worth a visit or a revisit.

Sixpoint Brewery Tesla Hop-Charged Lager (7.1% ABV)

Sixpoint Brewery Tesla Hop-Charged LagerYou can always rely on Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery to have fun with it beer names. Tesla, named for the inventor and not the electric luxury car brand, refers to the story that Nikolai Tesla once electrified a neighborhoods water supply causing homeowners to get a shock. Joining the recent trend of hoppy lagers or so-called India Pale Lagers (IPLs), Sixpoint has “hop-charged” this lager with American hops for a big, juicy lager. As you’d expect, the aroma is packed with tropical fruit and pine sap from the hops with a hint of Nilla wafer from the underlying lager. This beer is crisp, which is to say that it’s a typical lager, but almost immediately the hop flavors explode your mouth. What I enjoy most about hoppy lagers is that the beer is a nearly neutral vehicle for the varied and robust flavors of hops. This strong lager comes in the signature Sixpoint can and it goes down smooth with very little bite.

Great Lakes Brewing Co. Oktoberfest (6.5% ABV)

Great Lakes Brewing Co OktoberfestI had to include at least one Oktoberfest beer in this article. Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company delivers one of my Fall Faves in their own Oktoberfest. Hewing close to tradition, they brew their Fall lager with the darker Munich malt, which lends this beer its brown bread and raisin aroma. Malt is the name of the game here, too. I confess to crave the sharper flavors of an IPA or a sour, but each Fall there is something comforting about a malt-bomb of an Oktoberfest beer. The flavors here round out with a nuttiness that is satisfying. Grab a couple bottles or a Crowler of this traditional style and enjoy the cooling days.

These favorites and more are available now at Dominion Wine and Beer. Cheers!

by ARLnow.com — September 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm 0

We have some ideas for you if you’re looking for a new home in Arlington this weekend.

Visit our recently-relaunched real estate section for a full listing of open houses this weekend. Here are a few highlights:

1021 Barton Street South1021 Barton Street South
1 Bed/1 Bath Condo
Agent: Andrew Biggers
Listed: $300,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1001 Randolph Street North1001 Randolph Street North
1 Bed/1 Bath Condo
Agent: Joyce Becker
Listed: $365,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

1300 Crystal Drive1300 Crystal Drive
2 Bed/2 Bath Condo
Agent: David Salmon
Listed: $485,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

2250 Burlington Street2250 Burlington Street
4 Bed/3 Bath Single Family Detached
Agent: Candee Currie
Listed: $925,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

2746 Fort Scott Drive2746 Fort Scott Drive
4 Bed/3 Bath Single Family Detached
Agent: Aaron Seekford
Listed: $950,000
Open: Sunday 1-4 p.m.

 

4907 29th Street North4907 29th Street North
4 Bed/2.5 Bath Single Family Detached
Agent: David Lloyd
Listed: $1,049,000
Open: Sunday 12-3 p.m.

 

Real estate agents, if you don’t see your listings in our real estate section shoot us an email and we’ll let you know what your office needs to do to get listed.

by Andrew Ramonas — September 23, 2016 at 11:25 am 0

Sehkraft concert (Image via Facebook/Concert Across America)A Clarendon bar this weekend is set to take part in a nationwide concert series that aims to promote efforts to curb gun violence.

Sehkraft Brewing (925 N. Garfield Street) is scheduled to host singer-songwriter Jeff Smith and the Human Wilderness as part of the “Concert Across America to End Gun Violence” Sunday. The free show is from 6 to 8 p.m.

“The power of music has fueled countless important movements throughout history,” a Facebook event page says. “Now we want to use music as a balance to the hateful and divisive rhetoric that’s become a hallmark of the gun debate.”

About 350 events are scheduled throughout the country for the concert series, according to organizers. The day will culminate with performances by Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash and other musicians in New York.

Image via Facebook/Concert Across America

by Andrew Ramonas — September 23, 2016 at 10:00 am 0

Virginia is for Lovers (Image via Virginia Tourism Corp.)Virginia tourism officials have started a new marketing push to bring more LGBT travelers to the Commonwealth.

Virginia Tourism Corp. yesterday announced it has a new LGBT travel website, which notes that “Virginia is for all Lovers.”

Visitors to the website can find LGBT-friendly hotels, restaurants, shops, wineries, breweries and attractions. The site also has a “Virginia is for Lovers Pride Shop” with hats, pins and T-shirts for sale.

“Virginia is proud to be an open and welcoming destination for every visitor attracted by our scenic mountains and beaches, as well as our world-renowned restaurants, wineries and breweries,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement. “I am pleased the Virginia Tourism Corporation has created this landing page to connect travelers with inclusive, LGBT-friendly establishments across the Commonwealth.”

The website came out of recommendations from the LGBT Tourism Task Force, which McAuliffe put together last year.

Members of the LGBT community make up about 5 percent of Virginia tourists, according to Virginia Tourism Corp. They also take longer trips to Virginia and spend more money in the Commonwealth than all other visitors there, the tourism authority noted.

“A vacation in Virginia is all about doing the things you love to do with the ones that you love, and we are thrilled to offer this new resource for the LGBT community, their friends, and their families, to help them plan the perfect vacation in Virginia,” Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corp., said in a statement.

Image via Virginia Tourism Corp.

by ARLnow.com — September 23, 2016 at 8:45 am 0

Morning flight at Reagan National Airport (DCA)

E-CARE Event This Weekend — Arlington County will hold its biannual E-CARE recycling event this Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson Middle School (125 S. Old Glebe Road). The event allows Arlington residents to drop off “household hazardous materials, bikes, small metal items, shoes, clothing and other recyclable items.” [Arlington County]

Arlington GOP Says No to Metro — The Arlington County Republican Committee voted to oppose a transportation bond on the local November ballot. GOP members objected to the portion of the bond that would fund Arlington’s obligatory share of Metro’s capital budget, saying that voting no would send a message to Metro’s management. [InsideNova]

Reminder: Hey Frase Podcast — The Hey Frase Podcast will be holding a live taping tonight at the Clarendon Ballroom. Hosts Sarah Fraser and Samy K will be interviewing the “King of Arlington,” A-Town Bar and Grill and Don Tito partner Scott Parker. They will also be giving away ARLnow t-shirts to a few lucky attendees before the show. [Facebook]

Changes at Ragtime — Long-time Courthouse watering hole Ragtime recently introduced new accordion windows that open the bar up to fresh air. “Perfect timing for fall,” Ragtime touted in a Facebook post last week. [Facebook]

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 23, 2016 at 7:30 am 0

Just Listed banner

Just Listed highlights Arlington properties that just came on the market within the past week. This feature is written and sponsored by Team Cathell, “Your Orange Line Specialists.”

Buyers have come alive this week and ratified 65 contracts, but sellers have held back and listed only 54 homes on the market. That does not help Arlington’s problem of low inventory. At the current rate of sales, and current supply of homes available at 619, Arlington has only 2.4 months of inventory. The historical national average for a balanced market is 5.5 months of supply.

Some good news for buyers this week: The Fed decided not to raise its benchmark short term rate at its meeting on Wednesday. Mortgage interest rates remained basically unchanged this week with the 30-yr fixed rate still hovering at about 3.6%. In its newest report, Freddie Mac says that 2016 could finish out with the strongest home sales since 2006, and that 2016 could have the lowest average mortgage interest rate in 40 years at 3.6%.

Click to see all the fresh new inventory in MRIS and call Team Cathell (703-975-2500) when you find a home you like.

by ARLnow.com — September 22, 2016 at 6:30 pm 0

Comedian David Koechner in Clarendon (photo courtesy Collin O'Brien)

You know comedian David Koechner as “Champ” from Anchorman, but you might not know that in addition to his film and TV work he still travels the world performing standup comedy.

David is in Arlington this weekend, performing a total of five shows on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse on Columbia Pike. Tickets are $25 and are still available online.

We talked with David about his roles in Anchorman, Waiting, Thank You for Smoking and The Office, and also discussed whether he plans to see any the sights around Arlington during his visit. Taking advantage of being in the D.C. area, David weighed in on some of the issues he’s passionate about as well.

You can listen to the full interview below. Be sure to subscribe to ARLnow.com’s podcast, 26 Square Miles, on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher or TuneIn.

This week’s sponsor is Crystal City. Take advantage of the nice September weather and check out Crystal City’s last two Wine in the Waterpark events of the season this coming Friday and next Friday.

Photo courtesy Collin O’Brien

by Andrew Ramonas — September 22, 2016 at 3:50 pm 0

(Updated at 6 p.m.) Two men wanted for stealing tires and rims from at least three cars in the Pentagon City area this month have been caught on camera, Arlington County Police said today.

The thefts happened on the 1600 block of S. Joyce Street around 7:15 a.m. on Sept. 8, the 1300 block of Army Navy Drive around 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 and the 900 block of S. 15th Street around 3 a.m. on Sept. 20.

Similar wheel thefts have been periodically reported in and around Pentagon City over the past few years.

From an ACPD news release:

At approximately 7:15 a.m. on September 8, units were dispatched to the 1600 block of S. Joyce Street for the report of a vehicle being left on concrete blocks with all four tires and rims removed. At approximately 7:30 a.m., officers responded to the 1300 block of Army Navy Drive for the report of a second vehicle located on concrete blocks with all four tires and rims removed. The suspects were captured on surveillance camera pulling up in what appears to be a light colored four door sedan. The first suspect is described as a male wearing a hooded jacket, pants and gloves. The second suspect is described as a medium to dark skinned male with a beard and skull cap.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on September 20, units were dispatched to the 900 block of S. 15th Street for the report of a vehicle being left on plastic crates with all four tires and rims removed. Unknown suspect(s) entered the parking garage, repositioned the security camera and broke the passenger window to make entry into the vehicle.

Anyone with information on the identity of these individuals or details surrounding these incidents is asked to contact Detective S. Whalin of the Arlington County Police Department’s Auto Theft Unit at 703.228.4159 or at [email protected] To report information anonymously, contact the Arlington County Crime Solvers at 866.411.TIPS (8477).

Photos via Arlington County Police Department

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — September 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm 0

Healthy Paws

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

One of the most common questions we discuss with new dog and cat owners is when to spay or neuter their pet.

Backing up just a bit, the word “neutering” refers to a surgical procedure that renders the animal sterile, both male and female. “Neutering,” however, has come to be associated more with the procedure in male dogs (i.e. castration) rather than female dogs; “spaying,” on the other hand, refers to sterilization by removal of the reproductive tract in female dogs. For our purposes, we will use “neutering” to refer to the procedure in males dogs and “spaying” for female dogs.

Traditionally, most veterinarians in the U.S. have been taught that early spaying and neutering is the best medicine for our canine and feline patients. However, this has recently become a controversial topic in veterinary medicine.

“Early” has typically referred to younger than six months, or pre-puberty, though often dogs and cats are spayed or neutered as young as seven to eight weeks.  The advantage of early sterilization have been touted as:

  • Fewer unplanned pregnancies and therefore fewer unwanted and homeless pets. This is a VERY important reason for sterilization.
  • Decreased risk of prostatitis (infection or inflammation of the prostate).
  • Decreased risk of mammary cancer in female dogs and cats. After the first heat cycle in a female dog, the risk of mammary cancer goes up to 8 percent, after two heat cycles it increases to 26 percent. (Most mammary cancers in cats are malignant and about half of mammary cancers in dogs are malignant.)
  • Eliminate risk of uterine, ovarian, vaginal or testicular cancers.
  • Eliminate risk of pyometra (a hormonally influenced, severe and often life-threatening uterine infection) in female dogs and cats.
  • Decreased risk for perianal adenomas (a benign skin tumor around the anus).
  • Less roaming, especially among male dogs. This is specific to an individual’s containment set-up. However, the No. 1 risk factor for a dog to be hit by a car is to be an intact male.
  • Improved behavior/less aggression. Spaying or neutering can decrease some behavioral habits or aggressive tendencies, especially when inter-dog related. However, most cases of behavioral and aggression problems are not due to sex hormones.
  • Less marking behavior in male dogs and cats. There may be some truth to this, especially with cats, though often marking is a behavior issue in dogs and not dominated by sex hormones.
  • Spayed and neutered dogs live longer.

Recently there has been talk among veterinary professionals about whether early spay/neuter is all it’s cracked up to be — and that perhaps there are even some risks associated with the early spay and neuter of dogs (i.e. before sexual maturity and generally considered less than 6 months of age). The potential risks of early spay and neuter include:

  • Increased propensity to obesity
  • Increased risk of cranial cruciate ligament disease (the dog version of an ACL tear) in large and giant breed dogs.
  • Increased risk of hip dysplasia in large and giant breed dogs
    Increased risk of urinary incontinence, especially in female dogs.
  • Increased risk of some types of cancer, including:
    • Lymphoma — a cancer of a specific type of white blood cell.
    • Hemangiosarcoma — a highly malignant cancer of blood vessels.
    • Mast cell tumors — a potentially malignant cancer of the skin.
    • Osteosarcoma — a highly malignant cancer of bone.
    • Transitional cell carcinoma — an aggressive cancer of the bladder or urinary tract.

There is little research reviewing the risks of pediatric spay/neuter in cats. However, cats sexually and skeletally mature at a younger age than most dogs which may be why there are few documented concerns with risks of early spay/neuter. Observationally, we see an increase in propensity for male cats to develop urethral obstruction (they can’t pee) if they were neutered well before sexually maturity and have an underdeveloped (small, with a very small urethral opening) penis.

When a pet is sterilized, the sex hormones, such as testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, are removed as well. It is well-documented that removal of these hormones slows metabolism, leading to the propensity for obesity. Removal of these hormones is also thought to speed bone growth (the sex hormones have an inhibitory or slowing effect on bone growth and joint development) in young animals, leading to increased cruciate ligament injury and hip dysplasia. The increased risks of some cancers are also thought to be related to lack of these sex hormones, which likely have an inhibitory effect on certain types of cancer.

As you can already see, it’s certainly not a clear-cut decision and population control is a very real and needed thing. Additionally, to further confound things, scientific studies in veterinary medicine are not nearly as robust as those on the human side. We are lucky if there are 200 dogs in a study, and often is it much fewer. Many of the studies looking at the risks were done using purebred large and giant breed dogs — so we have to take all of the results with a grain of salt.

Fortunately, there is a large study in golden retrievers underway, being conducted by the Morris Animal Foundation, looking at more than 2,000 dogs over the course of the lifetime. This should provide us with an abundance of information not only about the benefits and risks of early spaying and neutering, but of spaying and neutering in general.

So, what is the best protocol? The answer depends on the breed/size, sex and species of your pet, and what your intended plans are for your pet. For example, a 20 pounds Shih Zhu, who is not nearly as at risk for CCL injury or hip dysplasia, nor several of the aforementioned cancers, would be a good candidate for neutering between 6 to 9 months of age, or spaying around 6 to 7 months of age. Whereas, a great Dane puppy who may reach 140 pounds or more as an adult and is much more prone to orthopedic issues would be a better candidate for neutering at 12-18 months of age (near or after skeletal maturity) and spaying at 9 to 12 months of age (after the first heat cycle, but before the second).

Additionally, many localities within the state of Virginia have a legal requirements for all pets adopted from shelters/rescue groups be sterilized or a signed agreement for sterilization within a specific time frame.

There is no one protocol that suits each and every pet and owner, so it is important to discuss thoroughly with your veterinarian. We also have to remember that even with all the information we have and are still gathering. So many other individual conditions, environmental factors, dietary factors, genetic predispositions and on and on and on, will influence an individual’s outcomes to a very large degree, and likely much more than the age of sterilization.

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