spay now or later? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 09:41 AM Thread Starter
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spay now or later?

Hi Everyone- I'm looking for some good advice on the spay topic and thought I could get some here. We have a 5 month old female GSD. The more I read, the more I am becoming concerned about her going into heat. We don't want to breed her, but I have read that waiting to spay until after growth stops is best as it may help with hip dysplasia and it refines the male/female look in GSDs. I would have to give up my option to register her if I spay after one year- this isn't a huge deal to me, but her health is. Is spaying before one year really not a good idea? Thanks so much for any info.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 10:14 AM
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Re: spay now or later?

Yes, you want the dog to be as naturally, fully grown as possible, however, with females, you want to catch them either right before or right after their first heat. I did tons of research on this for our pups. Paw Paw is going to get neutered when he turns 2, so he'll be fully grown all natural! Nara's first heat was coming in around the 11th month (Paw Paw let us know), so we were hoping to wait as long as possible, but my research reveals that their risk for the cancers and other "bad stuff" increases by 7% if you let them go through a heat. I didn't want Nara's risk factor to increase at all, much less 7%, so we caught her right before the heat. She still grew and filled out (and still is) but nothing whacky or out of standard. She was 69 lbs when she got spayed in early November 2008, and in March 2009 she was 70 lbs. I've read a few max standards for female GSDs of 71 lbs and 78 lbs, depending on the kennel club. So, Nara is right at the high end/max of the standard, but shouldn't go over it. It seems that a female dog is more at risk if you don't spay, wait too long to spay, or spay too early, whereas my research revealed that, for the boys, sometimes the neutering brings about more "bad stuff" than leaving them in tact, but if you must neuter, wait until 24 months. I'm still determining if we're going to neuter him, because he isn't really presenting any problems to us right now, and the little he does (marking, alpha/dom aggression toward other big male dogs, etc.) is either OK or is under control. He's not jumping fences to run away to mate with a bitch in heat. Haha! Hope I've helped, as I've done much research and always continue to question the answers I've found to ensure that what I'm reading/hearing/understanding is as close to the truth and best knowledge that's out there for us to discover and utilize to our advantage! Good luck making your own decision, as that's ultimately what you have to do. Hear all sides, not just one or two, and base your own opinion off of what you gather and feel is best for your babies! That's what I did!!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 10:34 AM
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Re: spay now or later?

Hello there,
I have two spayed females. One of them was already spayed when I got her. I adopted her when she was 11 months, from her vet records it looks like she was spayed at 5 months. I really think this is too early. A 5 month old dog is no where near developed.

My other dog I had spayed at 11 months. She did have one heat cycle, though.

I found this article written by a DVM...I don't know how accurate all of his points are, but it is worth reading...

Good luck with your decision!

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-06-2009, 11:18 PM
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Re: spay now or later?

Last I heard the risk of mammary tumors go down if spayed before the first heat cycle, but the risk of osteosarcoma goes up. Whatever you choose, there will be less complications if you do not spay while your pup is in heat.

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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-10-2009, 01:23 AM
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Re: spay now or later?

I would wait to spay at least until she's mature.
My girl had two heats before she was spayed, she was almost 2 years.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-11-2009, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: spay now or later?

Thanks so much for all of your replies. I'm very happy to have all of your information! It sounds like waiting to spay is the way to go. My vet warned me that she could go into heat as early as 6 months and that I should spay her before that- I am definitely not going to do that. Its too early. I have no experience with a dog in heat, so I have some concern there, but I guess there is one way to learn! Thanks again for all your replies.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-12-2009, 01:44 AM
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Re: spay now or later?

If you are sure you can watch your dog at all times and 100% guarantee that she can't get pregnant, then go ahead and wait to spay. Are you prepared for the potential mess and smell when she goes into heat? This can vary widely from dog to dog. I had one bitch that bled like a stuck pig and I will never, ever, have a bitch in heat again.

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 12:49 PM
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Re: spay now or later?

I just got my female spayed right before she turned 6 months old.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: spay now or later?

Originally Posted By: nkrzI just got my female spayed right before she turned 6 months old.
same here. i researched this to the hilt. i decided the instances of mammary cancer are prevalent enough w/ females and the reduction of that risk by spaying before first heat are quite significant. kimba continued to grow at a nice even pace and at 1.5 yrs statred to fill out just as i expected her to.


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2009, 02:47 PM
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Re: spay now or later?

Selzer is correct - if you spay before the first heat the lifetime risk of mammary cancer goes to almost zero. Even one heat jacks the risk up substantially. There is some (but much more limited) evidence that the longer you wait to spay/neuter, the lower the risk of osteosarcoma, however there's no evidence that spaying at 2 years substantially lowers that risk. The other thing is that osteosarcoma is a lot more rare than mammary cancer. So, the way I look at it is that I can eliminate the risk of a fairly common cancer by spaying before the first heat or I can reduce the risk of a rarer cancer by waiting a long time to spay or potentially never spaying. Between the two, if you're planning to spay anyway, better to go on and do it and get the reduced risk of mammary cancer benefits.

In terms of other effects of an early spay, there is some evidence that it increases the chances of spay incontinence in later life and statistically dogs altered before puberty can be around a centimeter taller than dogs altered after puberty. The information about skeletal improvements by waiting is not well supported by science even though many people intuitively feel that it's better to wait because the hormones are "natural." At that point, it becomes more of a personal opinion situation rather than medical fact.

Quote:I found this article written by a DVM...I don't know how accurate all of his points are, but it is worth reading...
Although it it widely promoted on this board, this is NOT a good article nor is it at all accurate - in fact, I'll go so far as to say it is a fraud. If you look at this guy's citations, a bunch of them are completely fabricated and many of his claims are utter bunk. There ARE legitimate pros and cons to when you spay or neuter but this article is NOT a place to get that information.

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