spaying vs Uterus removal - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 08:12 AM Thread Starter
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spaying vs Uterus removal

Our pup(Cajun) is just now 5 months old. We are not planning on breeding her and have discussed spaying with our vet. He recommends between 6 and 8 months...before the first heat.
We have read articles related to not spaying her until she is fully mature unless there are health issues related to pyometra.
We have read a lot about bone growth(growth plates) and the role hormones play in the development of larger breed dogs and we are hoping someone could provide their thoughts related to a hysterectomy(removing Uterus only) before her first heat as opposed to an ovariohysterectomy(traditional spaying) after full development at 14-20 mos.
She is never out of our sight unless she is safely in her crate. We accompany(long line) her outside at all times so the chances of an unwanted pregnancy are low. The last thing we want is an unwanted litter. Having said all that, and based on all the information we can find on the role hormones play in her development, we do not want to have anything done that would halt the production of these hormones. However, to avoid the obvious concern about pyometra we were thinking of possibly having just her uterus removed only.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated,
Sherri, Grant, Occa(12yrs, spayed at 11yrs)and Cajun(pup)
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 09:08 AM
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I have not heard of anyone going this route. Why not just spay her after the first heat? Is the vet even willing to do this?

There are lots of pros/cons on the timing of spaying, but the growth issues are, I think, more relevant to males.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 11:55 AM
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Removing just the uterus will result typical "heat" behaviour since the hormones are intact. However, the biggest risk is if ANY of the uterian tissue is left, you could still have a pyometra develop in the stump..
In Europe, they have been doing just the opposite of what you are talking about, they remove the overies and leave the uterus.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 12:04 PM
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If you have concerns about hormones and growth, just leave her intact for now, and keep an eagle eye on her during her first heat, to make sure she does not have any contact with intact males. Then spay her around a year of age. That will give plenty of time for the hormones to play their part in growth and development.

You really don't want go through a major surgery just to take out the uterus and leave the ovaries, as the bitch will continue coming into heat. She will bleed, mark, flag, may have mood changes, and even allow males to mate with her. Of course there would be no puppies born, but most people don't like dealing with heat cycles.

Much safer and easier IMO just to wait until a year of age or so, and do the total spay at that time.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 12:44 PM
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Hi Occa,
Great question and is something that I have investigated. The Vets need to do a slightly different surgical proceedure to remove the uterus intact, no remaing uterine tissue. It is not that difficult just a change in approach, results in a larger incision and more sutures. With a typical spay the uterus and ovaries are removed so the incision can be smaller and not much concern about uterine tissue being present as no hormones from ovaries.
The problem with pyometra (stump) only occurs if the vets do not alter their proceedure for uterus removal and use the appropriate sutures.
Yes the dog will have the normal hormone changes, no the dog will not bleed the uterus has been removed.
Many studies now being published about pros and cons makes for very interesting read. There is some link to some cancers being caused by removing ovaries particularly in large breed dogs ie bone cancer and cancer of blood vessels.
Hormones from ovaries are not just involved with reproduction, they are part of the endocrine feed back loop, important for growth and development yes but also important for health maintenance, bone strength density, heart health, maintenance of muscle ligaments etc..
You need to read and look at stats that state things in NNT (numbers needed to treat) to prevent diseases.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 01:35 PM
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Leaving the hormones intact will cause increased chance of breast cancer, too.
I'd spay either prior to 1st heat or shortly thereafter, an actual spay removing uterus and ovaries.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-31-2012, 01:53 PM
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With my next female I would spay her (uterus and ovaries) after the second heat so she can develop first. Spaying because first: WD is in tact, hopefully still by that time and second: I don't want to deal with heat cycles every 6 months for another 10 years, interfering with her exercise, hikes, sport events and the local coyotes. Heard from a local dog owner that she was followed in the forest by a coyote when she walked her female that was in heat.
I thought about the alternative of leaving the ovaries but the only thing that changes is that she is not bleeding (no uterus).
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