Age for spaying?

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by cubby, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    I do think this is one of those issues where anecdotes, while interesting, do not help in the decision making process, I really feel it is important to look at the evidence from large studies, where we have it. And the guide dog study, as data comes in, will certainly be a useful addition to what we know so far.

    My personal concern is the growing evidence that sex hormones do a whole lot more for dogs than helping them make puppies.

    I hope that the guide dog study contradicts the previous studies linking neutering to some pretty horrible cancers, I really do. But I am not holding my breath, and while I totally understand why many people feel the need to neuter their dogs, especially in countries where there is huge pressure and even a legal requirement to do so, personally, I am not neutering any more of mine until the evidence is clearer.
     
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  2. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    That's what my VEt says too, the primary reason to neuter is to prevent "oops" litters, not to reap health benefits where there are pros and cons both ways.

    So, if a person is not going to let their dog run amuck, loose, for fear of it being hit by a car, getting lost etc. then how is that any different from it running loose and creating an oops litter? Doesn't the same care in looking after a dog control both things, litters and lost/injured?
     
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  3. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    I agree, keeping proper control of your dog not only prevents accidents, but unwanted pregnancies too. But neutering has long been recommended by vets as a form of birth control, some would cynically say because it is a major source of income.

    I think it harks back to the days when many dogs did just wander free and were not supervised in the same way that most dogs are today. Also, the harmful effects of neutering weren't known until fairly recently. So it is understandable that the veterinary profession are not going to change their stance overnight.
     
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  4. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I think it's the responsible dog owners, the ones who worry about their actions, who are more likely to have a dog neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies - the very people who are most likely to be also supervising their dogs closely!

    I'm not so sure I blame vets though, I think that a view has been taken about the advice given out - and that view includes a consideration about what is best 'overall'. I think this 'overall' view is heavily influenced by the rescue organisations, who are massively pro-neuter, and who would no doubt have a problem with intact males and females living closely in their facilities (without redesigning them).
     
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  5. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Registered Users

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    I think with hindsight, the reason we decided to neuter Lilly early, before her first season at just on 6 months of age, was mostly the fear of having to deal with an unwanted litter of puppies - we just knew we would not be able to give the time to a litter, so weren't taking any risks.

    We knew nothing about the evidence or even argument for and against early neutering. Our vet did not question us or even discuss this with us, we said what we were thinking and they went along with it.

    I think too there was the fear of how we would manage a season, the mess, etc etc and just that we did not know what would happen (me certainly).

    I have often wondered if Lilly's HD might be liked with early spay, her long legs.......although there is some is it our fault for letting her jump too much, go up stairs (I try not to dwell on this).

    If we were ever to have another dog and it were a bitch I think I would certainly wait until after a first season. I know FAR more now than then thanks to Pippa and the Forum, and you know what they say...."Knowledge is power"
     
  6. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Don't beat yourself up. I see study after study that conclude "no intact dog in the study had cruciate disease" - well, no doubt they found that. I have an intact dog with cruciate disease though.
     
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  7. JFML

    JFML Registered Users

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    Thank you all for giving your time to share your thoughts and experiences! You have been so helpful.

    The vet said Milou is not early in season, thankfully, but that Jean-Fran├žois could smell other females that are in the air - we live in the countryside and people like to walk their dogs on a lane alongside the house - and that made him feisty. He is almost 6 years old so to castrate him would be more serious than to spay ML.

    But to leave both dogs entire brings problems as JF could hurt ML in mounting and also being pregnant as a puppy would be very dangerous for her. Since they are father/daughter also, any puppies could have severe defects. So in the end we agreed with the vets to spay Milou mid-April before first season, which is recommended practice in France. As the 2 dogs do everything together it is difficult to separate them - the 12 days post-op will be complicated as they must not be together.

    I suppose removing her ovaries will have the same effect as in human women at menopause and/or early ovary removal since ovaries produce hormones that are important for bone density. I wonder if there is any natural food supplements to help. I will search for it and post in case it is helpful to all of you.
     
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  8. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    This resonates with me too @drjs@5 , Sam was neutered at around 9/10 months of age and also has long legs , but he had long legs at the time of his castration . Please don't blame yourself ( but I know that I worry about it too ) because we act on advice given at the time and take it on board in good faith . The fact that this advice changes cannot lay the blame at our feet, surely ? Whilst, like you ,if I were to ever have another dog , I would wait a while , I also believe that a lot of health issues are purely rotten luck x
     
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  9. Oberon

    Oberon Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sex hormones do not have the same effects in dogs that they do in humans. You can't draw a direct analogy. Just make sure she has a diet that's appropriate for a dog her age and things will be fine. Definitely don't start supplementing her diet with calcium - contrary to what one might think excess calcium is a bad thing for a growing dog.
     
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  10. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    There is research to show sparing ovaries has some of the same benefits for dogs as it does for women. Some Vets do, can, will perform an ovary sparing spay, just as is done for women sometimes in a hysterectomy.

    https://news.uns.purdue.edu/x/2009b/091201OvarianResearch.html

    Edited to remove link to another forum (see rule 1c)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2016
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  11. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    I don't think spaying a female affects the bone growth as it does in the male. I have been spayed and felt fine afterwards, though of course I did keep my ovaries. All I can say is that I have had five females spayed over the years and all lived to about 14 years and in good health, apart from one who had a bad heart at about 13 years. I used to be a veterinary nurse and saw many problems with bitches who were not spayed, pyometra, mammary tumours. The operatioins then were not pleasant for the bitches.
     
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  12. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    This is a quote from Chris Zink DVM
    I do think the situation with bitches is less clear cut than with dogs. The decision is a harder one. Spaying definitely removes the (high) risk of pyometra - though it only removes the risk of mammary cancer completely if carried out at an early age. We need to look at large samples though. Five, even ten dogs, is not going to tell us much.

    For example I have had two bitches with pyometra, one died and one survived. You might assume that the risk of death from pyo is very high, but actually it is less than 4% So my sample of two is very misleading.
     
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  13. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    I know about the rule against linking to another forum but the list of articles on the other Lab Forum is more extensive. It has many of the same articles linked earlier in this thread and then some, in particular more on ovaries. Oh well, people can search if they want to see it.
     
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  14. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    I totally agree. There is no point whatsoever in blaming yourself for actions you took in good faith in the past.

    Even now, despite the latest evidence, I think for many people, neutering their dog is still the right decision. Because despite the risks of neutering, we have to take into account the other responsibilities and considerations that are relevant to each family and their unique circumstances. Anyone keeping a male and female dog together for example is probably going to need to neuter one of them. And as the advantages of neutering a female seem to outweigh the advantages of neutering a male, then that may well be the right decision for them. Anyone living in a country or state where neutering in obligatory is going to have to neuter their dog. And most people who go out to work and leave their dogs in day care will have to do the same.

    If I seem to be an advocate for 'not neutering', it is because I see so much propaganda in support of neutering, that makes no attempt to address both sides of this complex issue. And because I see people neutering their dogs for reasons based wholly on false or unsubstantiated beliefs.

    So my view is, if you need to neuter your dog, then neuter your dog, and don't sweat it :) If you don't need to neuter your dog, then look at the evidence and don't do it unless you are convinced your dog will be better off. If you decide not to neuter, you can always change your mind later, but you can never put them back . :)
     
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  15. pippa@labforumHQ

    pippa@labforumHQ Administrator

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    Then I'd greatly appreciate your co-operation in adhering to it. :) You are welcome to place links to the original information on ovaries or other aspects of neutering here in this thread if you think it will help other forum members.
     
  16. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Sorry. I suppose that comment makes me look really dumb. Or worse. It was a list of articles on original research. However, I won't do that again.
     
  17. JFML

    JFML Registered Users

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    Hello everyone,

    Milou came through the ovarectomy fine yesterday - she is much more energetic than I expected and is very frustrated at having to wear a cone hat (I took a photo but can't get it to attach) - it's going to be a long fortnight! JF is very gentle with her. We separate them at night, but only because she is so playful and the stitches must heal. She has some antibiotics and we walk her on a lead in the garden so she won't run.
     
  18. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    Mine never had to wear a cone after spaying. The last bitch I had spayed only had an 1" wound.

    They are very lively aren't they so soon after the op. A vet I know, let her dog off lead three days after the spay!
     
  19. MaccieD

    MaccieD Guest

    @JFML Juno only wore the collar overnight or if I had to go out. The rest of the time she was free of the collar and made no attempt to touch the stitches. I kept her on short walks the first couple of days due to the anaesthetic but after her stitches were checked on the 3rd day we could have longer walks, as long as it was on lead with no running or jumping.
     
  20. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    None of my three touched their stitches at all and didn't need a cone. I slept with them for the first two nights just to be sure!

    If I had another bitch pup I would wait until after her first season, until more research is in on the subject.

    Guide dogs have done a very wide ranging research project to find out - but the results won't be in for another 10 years or so, as they are flowing the dogs life-long.

    Gypsy and Twiglet were both spayed at 6 months old as part of the study and have showed no ill effects whatever (Gypsy is two in May and Twiglet is one in May)

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