View Full Version : Sterilization

16th November 2012, 07:53 PM

my name is Anne-Laure, I am French but I live in Germany. I have a ckc, a female tricolor and her name is Ginger. She is 16 months old. I have registered to your forum because I am looking for information concerning sterilization. I didnít let Ginger sterilize before as she was a puppy, because she used to have recurrent diarrhea due to food intolerance.

I spoke to my German vet to let Ginger sterilize but my vet doesnít advise me sterilization. I would like to sterilize Ginger in order to reduce the risk of mammatumor. My vet tells me, sterilization reduces the risk of mammatumor only when it is done before the first heats. Do you agree with that? I asked two vets and both of them advise against sterilization. They say sterilization often causes incontinence and weight gain and sometimes depressiveness. Do you agree with that ?

I am in contact with some ckcís owners in France and most of their female are sterilized. Sterilization is very commun in France and the ckcís owners affirm their ckc are not suffering from incontinence, weight gain or depressiveness. At the most, the coat is getting another texture after sterilization.

I have also read that when a female is not sterilized, she often gets a metrite or pyometre which is quite a severe disease when she is getting older. How do you see that ? Do you often sterilize your ckc female in the United Kingdom when you donít want to have any puppy ?

Thanks a lot for your advice. Actually, Ginger is my first dog.

Kind regards,


26th November 2012, 03:42 PM
Hi Anne-Laure:

I just realised no one had replied to your post -- I am sorry about that!

Your vet would be at odds with most, I think -- most generally advise female pet dogs be sterilised (spayed) both to prevent mammary tumours and pyometra, and to prevent unwanted accidental litters. It is also much easier to manage a dog that doesn't need to be kept inside for several weeks without walks and under close supervision, when the dog goes into heat.

Your vet is incorrect on the risk of mammary tumours.

The actual facts are here:


While it is right that a dog spayed before her first heat will not be at risk at all, the risk is still just 7% if spayed before a second heat, rising to 25% chance after that -- BUT there remains a protective effect even doing it much later, because it means any existing tumours will lose the estrogen which causes them to grow.

Cavaliers have one of the highest rates of pyometra of any breed (maybe your vet doesn't know this) -- higher than a 1 in 3 chance if left unspayed -- so this is a serious consideration. If a dog gets pyometra the only chance of saving her (it is often fatal) is a very costly emergency spay.

So there are serious health reasons to spay.

Your vet should be willing to do what you feel should be done. If not -- I would switch vets especially as they do not seem to have the facts right concerning mammary tumours.

Some do feel it is better to wait til a dog is mature (around 1) before neutering even though this means going through a heat and maybe two. The evidence to me is not strongly convincing on this count but others are very convinced and it is a personal choice to weigh up if you spay.

I do not think any of the reasons to not neuter outweigh those to neuter, as not neutering means many more dogs will have accidental litters, or die as a result of pregnancy (always a serious risk to any female); or run away when in heat or (if a male) because the dog smells females in heat; or escape for the previous reasons and be hit by a car, stolen, involved in dog fights etc. Most of the dogs put down in pounds are unreclaimed strays and a principle cause of straying is behaviours connected to a dog not being neutered, whether male or female. These kinds of indirect but (I think, more likely) health/mortality risks are often not weighed in when people only argue about possible pros and cons of lifelong affects of neutering or not.

But back to the basic health reasons -- we have had a few people here go through the experience of a dog with pyometra and it is pretty terrifying as well as an awful way for a dog to suffer and quite likely, die. With a female cavalier, I'd spay because of the risk of pyometra even more than I'd neuter because of mammary tumours and other reasons.

The only reason spaying causes weight gain is that neutered dogs need about 15-20% fewer calories -- just feed slightly less and the problem is solved. Incontinence is a possible but very rare side effect -- have personally never seen it in years of neutering rescue dogs. I have never ever heard spayed dogs get 'depressed'!! Tell that to my two female cavaliers and they will have a good laugh. :)

Some regions of the world have a different take on spaying and neutering, but the reasons you are being given are pretty weak and in some cases, incorrect.

29th November 2012, 03:15 PM
Agree 100% with Karlin! Both my girls are spayed and neither of them have had any issues with incontinence or any mood changes! I havent even noticed a difference in their coats. In my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the risks!

Lady was spayed at 6 months (before 1st heat) and Gracie was spayed at 3 years old when I adopted her.

Brian M
29th November 2012, 03:32 PM
Yep all my girls are spayed with no problems at all .

Love my Cavaliers
29th November 2012, 04:05 PM
Both of my girls are spayed - no weight gain, no incontinence, no depression, and no change in the texture of their coat. Riley was spayed after her first heat because I didn't get her until she was 11 months old.

2nd December 2012, 04:40 PM
Mine are spayed too and also no depression (actually they are happier, because they were miserable after heat, specially Lia), no incontinence, and no weight gain (we control what they eat, and weight them regularly). However, the texture of the coat changed, and now is more coarse, and it mats more.

After reading all the info in this website and other papers, and after consulting with our vet we decided to spay them but to wait till they were full grown. Our vet thinks that hormones play an important role in the development of the dog, specially the bone structure, and he told us, that if possible, he preferred to spay them when they were around a year old. We spayed them at around that age, or maybe older, and no problems whatsoever. I agree with others above that benefits outweigh the risks.

3rd December 2012, 02:44 AM
Depression is an interesting suggestion. Definitely not in Thistle's case. Guinness wouldn't have anything to do with her while in heat (he must have thought it was contagious), so poor Thistle wasn't allowed to go to the park, and her own brother wouldn't even wrestle or chase her. She made sad eyes at everyone through both of her heats.

No longer though, she's spayed and happy as can be.