View Full Version : Need help with this decision!!!

6th February 2008, 01:33 AM
Well, I know this subject has been beat to death, but here we go. I need help with this decision. Dottie is 6 1/2 months old. (Picked her up at the breeders home on Sunday.) I am absolutely, totally head over heels in love with her and want to do the best by her.

Her breeder feels that it is a good idea to allow cav females go through at least one season, then spay 4 months from the onset of the heat. She said that this will allow the hormones to produce proper final growth index and also possibly prevent a coat change.

The vet said that if I choose to allow her to go through a season before spaying, that her chances of breast and/or ovarian cancer risk goes up 10% in her lifetime. No one wants that.

Any input from those of you with intact females or others who have spayed before the first heat and experienced coat or growth problems?
Yikes! Don't know what to do here!!!

Thanks for any comments you all may have for me before I decide what to do. (Don't have much time to dink around and think about this one, as she could go into her time any time now!)

Cathy T
6th February 2008, 02:52 AM
Such a personal decision...and you will gets tons of conflicting info.

My choice was to spay Shelby at 6 months old without her going through a heat first. Just my choice.

6th February 2008, 03:54 AM
I was completely torn with this choice as well. my husband was particularly bothered by putting such a young dog through surgery. I reluctantly had her spayed at about 7 1/2 months. I would of loved to wait but what made the choice for me was the thought of keeping her safe and away from dogs for the length of her heat. I would have felt terrible had I got lazy or she slipped outside and a dog got to her. especially if it was a large dog. I just couldn't chance it. my girl is pretty petite I doubt if she stayed intact it would have changed that by much. we live in hawaii so she doesn't need to grow a winter coat. her coat is still very soft but it has never been very thick. good luck

6th February 2008, 04:05 AM
It is a tough decision isn't it. It certainly seems that the longer you leave it the higher the incidence is. Here is an article from John Hopkins University (http://epirev.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/20/2/204.pdf) which talks about the incidence of cancers in dogs, including mammary cancer.

I've had quite a number of dogs in my life, a couple spayed & several unspayed. Mostly we had good luck with our Boxer girls but we did have one incidence of a non-malignant (non cancerous) tumor removed from the breast. Boxers are renowned for their tumors, so I guess we were pretty lucky for such a low incidence of problems.

6th February 2008, 09:04 AM
When they are speyed they remove the ovaries So there cannot be an increased risk of cancer there.

Dogs speyed before they are fully grown also have a higher risk of joint problems as the hormones regulate bone growth.
My sisters cav was speyed at 5 months & has hip displacia.( her litter sister wasspeyed after a season & is fine ) Possibly a coincidence but I would not spey that early again unless I really had to. of course i've had entire girls before so am used to coping with them

6th February 2008, 10:21 AM
A recent medical article on spay also indicates CKCS females in particular have a significantly higher risk of pyometra (a very serious womb infection) when left unspayed. One point on hips -- there's just been a long discussion on the CKCS breeder list on how high the incidence of hip dysplasia probably is in the breed but that too few xray hips to know, and several tales of dogs sold for show that end up having to be removed from breeding etc because their hips are so bad as the mature. I'd say the majority of breeders do not xray hips or so it came across from the discussion amongst themselves. The UK breeders in particular rarely do hips and the puppies that ended up with dysplasia were all from UK breeders sold to US breeders.

I have read all the articles that are around on the risk of early neuter/spay on joint growth etc. The risk element is minute compared to the significant, documented risk of mammary tumours (which is 25% over a lifetime if allowed to go through two heats). Spaying at any time however reduces the likelihood of such tumours but the level of risk for these alone is far higher than the tiny fractions of risk for other conditions.

Waiting really is a matter of what people feel they can manage -- can you keep that girl inside for a full heat for 4 weeks; can you keep her totally confined and away from any visiting male dogs, intact or neutered, do you want the 10% risk weighed against coat changes. Personally I do not think going through a heat has any significant change on coats -- I think coat changes are far more due to the genetics of a particular animal, the quality of diet, and obesity, though neutering definitely does affect some dogs. This is true on both male and female sides. I have seen females that have had litters and are spayed at age 6 or so with terrible coats and females spayed young with great coats -- and vice versa, same for males.

As it is the coat changes in dogs that have them are small and cosmetic and probably no one else notices. Of my four only Lily has a dry-ish coat and actually people remark on it all the time as a POSITIVE! :lol: -- they always love how soft she is. That also changed my view on why this should even be an issue -- the majority of people meeting Lily think it is a lovely thing about her and would look blank if you said her coat was 'supposed' to be some other way.

The bottom line for me is that everywhere in the world, millions of dogs are born that no one wants and every day many die in pounds and shelters. Many people who feel they can manage intact dogs actually find too late that they couldn't, and this creates two high risks -- one, pregnancy, and 2, that the dog, M or F, will work to escape, roam, and be lost forever, struck by a car, end up unclaimed in the pound, end up[ pregnant or getting another dog pregnant (the attitude that males don;t need to be neutered because they don;t get pregnant to me is extraordinary -- it takes two to tango! People may have other reasons not to neuter a male but this surely is the most irresponsible). I see and hear of this constantly working around rescue people and having spent time in and out of area pounds (where almost all the dogs are intact males found roaming... and a significant number of in heat females also found roaming, often under attack by a pack of males of all sizes). Cavalier crosses are no easier to home than other crosses -- they die under the needle too in pounds. And pregnancy is always risky to a female, all else being equal. But these are my arguments for neutering overall, not on when to do it.

So in short -- it is a personal decision and should be based on what you feel you can realistically manage yourself and what you consider to be the greater risks on each side.

Scouty girl
6th February 2008, 03:36 PM
Hi, that is a tough decision. I can only go by what my vet (of 25 years) told me about all the additional health concerns my dogs could have if they went through even one heat cycle.

When Breeze came to live with me, almost 11 years ago, I wanted to do what was best for her. If keeping her intact was the best then that's what I was going to do. So I ask my vet the pros and cons and boy was there a list, different types of cancer and other things I can't remember. But what I do remember was that I told her Breeze would be there at six months of age to take care of her spaying and the same for Scout when I got her.

6th February 2008, 04:40 PM
There are so many pros and cons, and I agree it's just a matter you have to decide on yourself. I'm kind of a fence sitter on this topic. In a large breed, if it's my own dog I won't spay until they're fully grown because of the increased risk of bone cancers with early spay due to the change in hormones affecting bone growth, but this is something that's not nearly as extreme with a small dog like a cavalier. I've also had a couple of dogs that get a condition that the best way to clear it up is to have them go through a heat, and they never have a problem again, otherwise it can be expensive and time consuming to clear up. Personally, if I bring in a female puppy as part of my own family that I don't intend to show, I let them go through one heat and then spay them 3-4 months afterwards. On the flip side of the coin I also do alot of rescue, on a rescue I don't care how old the dog is or if it's been through a heat cycle or not, it WILL be spayed before they're allowed to take it home. Now because I do require an application and home visit prior to approving a family for adoption, sometimes I will wait to spay a puppy until I have a promising adoptive family if the puppy is still young (under 6 months). I've never had a family yet that changed their mind because they had to wait a few days for the dog to be spayed!

Anyway, that's kind of off topic, the reality is what you're comfortable with, if you're not sure you can keep her entirely away from ALL male dogs for 4 weeks or so (it can be a little longer in some, shorter in others, especially on a first heat), then I'd recommend spaying her now! The risk of breast cancer is also slightly higher, which is something to consider, however spaying her before her first heat is also not without potential health risks in the future - Just something to keep in mind.

Cathy T
6th February 2008, 04:43 PM
Just recently had a discussion with a gal who has a new puppy. Her boy is 6 months old and not neutered. The weirdos have been coming out of the woodwork to try and persuade her to mate her boy with their females. I've encouraged her as someone who is not going to show to get her boy neutered.

7th February 2008, 05:15 AM
Thanks for all the thoughtful responses. I have read each one, thought about it and spoken again with my breeder. I am totally able to keep her in and away from male dogs as long as it takes, and we have a very secure high fenced backyard area where she can play and potty while being supervised. I think we will wait until she is through her first season and matured a bit, at least 1 year old before we spay her. I am now comfortable with that decision. What a precious, precious puppy she is!:luv: