View Full Version : im sure this has been asked before.....
we luv lexi
9th January 2008, 09:09 AM
i just couldnt find it on the forum so i will ask:
how old should lexi be before i take her to be spayed? i know ideally it should be before the first heat cycle, what age does that usually happen?
thanks in advance.
9th January 2008, 10:04 AM
The common wisdom that I've heard is that a dog should ideally be spayed between the first and second heat cycle. This is for both physical and emotional maturity.
With respect to physical maturity, the dog isn't fully developed until shortly after its first cycle--the bones aren't done growing and since bone growth depends on hormones, changing the dog's hormonal makeup before its fully grown may cause the skeleton and musculature to not develop properly.
With respect to emotional maturity, it's the hormone development that makes the dog not be so puppy-like (chewing, jumping up, etc.) and lets her settle down and mellow out. Once she's gotten that hormonally it stays with her, so she won't revert to that annoying part of puppy behavior after she's spayed.
On the other hand, spaying before the first cycle all but eliminates the risk of tumors in the teats. However, the difference between that and spaying before the second cycle is not all that great, particularly when you take into consideration that her getting the tumors in the first place is a risk but not a certainty (that's the logic that I've used, anyway, you might see the problem differently). Spaying at any time will completely remove the risk for pyrometria, so that's not an age-related issue.
Like I said, this is how we've reasoned out the whole thing with the advice of our vet. He said that the ideal time is 3 months after the first heat because hormone production is at its lowest midway between cycles and said that he doesn't like to spay during the summer when there's a greater risk of bacterial infection (in the recovering incision site) just because of all the things that a dog likes to do in the summer.
Of course this means that we're facing her first heat cycle within the next month or two, and not looking forward to it--I expect that I'll be here worrying about how to keep her away from her best buddy, the un-neutered black lab across the road.
9th January 2008, 12:05 PM
i have always had my cav's spayed just before they are 6 months, and it has always been fine. i will be getting Lottie done at the end of April.
9th January 2008, 12:10 PM
There's a slightly higher risk of mammary cancer over her lifetime if you wait til the second cycle. Most vets recommend spaying at 6 months, just before the first heat. There are several reasons for this -- the key ones being that many owners find it difficult to manage a dog in heat and totally isolate her for 4 weeks inside with no contact with other dogs, no walks. As Bruce has pointed out several times, it is always a risk to take any female in heat outside. I do know of cases of people with a female in heat being assaulted by very large loose male dogs who are desperate to get to the female. There's also the issue of the dog dripping blood in the house. And there's always a risk of pyometra following any heat cycle.
On the flip side, some feel that it is better to wait til she is about a year old -- eg between 1st and 2nd heats -- as by then she will have completely stopped growing. This is of course an option for a careful owner willing to manage their dog in total confinement for the month of heat. There's some evidence an earlier neuter or spay may cause the dog to grow fractionally larger --a half inch or inch taller perhaps.
Having read a lot of the pro and con material, the minor cons of spaying (or neutering males) regardless of age are easily balanced by the cons of leaving dogs intact, and for me remain strongly outweighed by the fact that I know from experience how easily accidents and unwanted pregnancies happen, I know how inclined most people are to find a heat to be a lot more difficult than they imagine to manage safely, and I feel that far more injuries and deaths (including euthanised unwanted puppies) are caused by unneutered male and female dogs escaping from homes, wandering, getting into fights. I know of regular occurences of female strays in heat, often very small dogs, arriving at the pound covered in lacerations and in severe distress from being pursued and assaulted by gangs of loose males who could scent her from a mile off. As Bruce has noted, a female can try just as desperately to get out to go find males as the males will try to get into back gardens or houses -- including leaping high walls. And all this is made more complicated by the fact that many owners do not recognise their female has gone into heat until the unwanted happens. I have even had vets fail to recognise a dog is in heat because sometimes the signs are very subtle, especially first heats.
Whether to wait til after the first heat really comes down to how cautious and responsible the owner feels they can realistically be. Many owners do not find they can manage that long confinement for their dog but others are happy to tolerate the inconvenience. Personally, I would never home a female rescue on the basis that the new owners manage her through a heat because I know how difficult this is, having had several females come into rescue during a heat. I always spay.
we luv lexi
10th January 2008, 06:57 AM
im definitely going to spay her. just wanted to know when would be the optimal timing. so before 6months? or 1 year?
"There's some evidence an earlier neuter or spay may cause the dog to grow fractionally larger --a half inch or inch taller perhaps. "
"With respect to physical maturity, the dog isn't fully developed until shortly after its first cycle--the bones aren't done growing and since bone growth depends on hormones, changing the dog's hormonal makeup before its fully grown may cause the skeleton and musculature to not develop properly."
am i confused? or are these contradicting statements? thanx in advance
10th January 2008, 08:22 PM
We decided to wait and spay Bella around one year old (she is actually getting spayed as I type this - yikes!) based on the recommendation from our breeder. She said to wait until one heat cycle has passed so that she can fully develop her bones, lungs, head size, etc. I am a nervous nelly with anesthesia and I wanted her lungs to be at maximum size in order to take anethesia as safe as possible. The breeder also said thier heads take a full year to develop and with the SM in this breed I thought it best to let her head also fully develop rather than potentially stunt its full development. We didn't have any major issues with Bella's heat. Its not the most pleasant thing but she wore a diaper in the house to protect our laps and furniture and it was fine. We still took her out for walks but were very cautious to make sure no off leash dogs were around and no dogs were approaching. We didn't have any problems but we are in the US where most dogs are spayed or neutered so I don't even know if we ever came by an in tack male that could have gotten aggressive, etc. We just would scoop her up if a dog was too close for comfort but 99% of the dogs on our walks are on leash and we just simply told the owners she is in heat and they kept thier dogs away. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be to deal with but everyone's situation is different.
we luv lexi
11th January 2008, 02:40 PM
thanks bostongirl, your post really helped out with our decision. we'll be waiting till shes around a yr old. thnx so much!!
11th January 2008, 10:35 PM
We had Lucy spayed before her first season on advice from the vet. His advice was pretty much exactly what Karlin said. It's a bit confusing because there are convincing arguments both ways, but we haven't had any problems and Lucy just reached the grand old age of ten. :)
A part of me will always wonder how cute her babies would have been - we never would have bred her but I would love to have seen them!!!
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