Which type of spay, if at all? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
View Poll Results: Which spay option?
Ovary sparing spay 3 33.33%
Ovarioectomy 2 22.22%
Ovariohysterectomy 0 0%
Left intact 4 44.44%
Voters: 9. You may not vote on this poll

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post #1 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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Which type of spay, if at all?

I'm really, truly conflicted on what to do when Ryka hits two. It's still a year away, so I have lots of time to consider what I plan to do. But lots of what I've found can be conflicting. There's basically four options for me:

1. Ovary Sparing Spay
2. Ovarioectomy
3. Ovariohysterectomy
4. Left intact

I was 100% convinced I wanted to do an ovary spaying spay, until I recently had a friend who did this have their own female GSD experience pyometra as the vet had not perfectly removed the uterus. I know it can happen, and it does depend on the skills of the vet.

I have heard of an ovarioectomy before, and I believe it's more common in Europe that in North America. It's kind of the exact opposite where the uterus is left in tact, but the ovaries are removed instead so no more hormones are produced and certain cancer risks are reduced.

Then there's doing the whole shebang... and I just don't feel comfortable with that to be honest. But it's still an option.

I'm never planning on breeding her, so leaving her in tact is really just a matter of leaving her body alone. I don't care about heats, and I'm a helicopter dog owner as it is, so I don't have any concerns of her ever getting pregnant (standing in -40 degrees Celsius while your dog pees just because you don't want her to be alone while she's in heat, even though you have 7ft fences surrounding you, for example).

I'd love to hear some input from you guys, what you've found with your own research, and some great resources to think about. I've done a fair amount of my own research, but every time I think about any of the options I feel pretty conflicted. I think the one option I'm definitely not comfortable with is a full ovariohysterectomy.

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post #2 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 12:25 AM
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Id do an OSS but just make sure you find a vet that understands how crucial it is to cut at the cervix to make sure EVERY bit of uterus is out. An experienced vet with OSS can do that no problem . I had OSS done on my girl a few years ago and have been very pleased
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post #3 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 01:36 AM
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Once upon a time, my veterinarian told me that every bitch will get pyometra. Currently, I have two that will be 13 in a few months, one who will be 12, two that will be 10 all in August. Joy will be 9 in July. Bear just turned eight. Hepsi, 7. Karma and Lassie are 5. and then there are the babies age 2, Ramona and Quinnie. All are intact.

I have a bitch that is spayed. Odie is 10 and I spayed her a few years ago, when she was empty/false pregnancy. She had always needed c-sections, and never expelled any fluid prior to the c-section, even if the placentas were already separating from the uterine wall. So when she was full of fluid, but no puppies, I had them go ahead and spay her. It was not pyo, but it could have turned into pyo.

So far I haven't dealt with pyometra. All these intact bitches and no pyo. If you are a helicoptor-mom, then you will know if your bitch is having an off day, draining fluid, or getting really sick from closed pyo. I just don't like doing something invasive as a preventative for something that may or may not happen. To me it is like chopping off your leg because it might develop bone cancer, and having your spleen removed because it might develop cancer.

Sometimes the stuff we do to try and prevent issues causes issues. And then how do we deal with that?
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post #4 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selzer View Post
Once upon a time, my veterinarian told me that every bitch will get pyometra. Currently, I have two that will be 13 in a few months, one who will be 12, two that will be 10 all in August. Joy will be 9 in July. Bear just turned eight. Hepsi, 7. Karma and Lassie are 5. and then there are the babies age 2, Ramona and Quinnie. All are intact.

I have a bitch that is spayed. Odie is 10 and I spayed her a few years ago, when she was empty/false pregnancy. She had always needed c-sections, and never expelled any fluid prior to the c-section, even if the placentas were already separating from the uterine wall. So when she was full of fluid, but no puppies, I had them go ahead and spay her. It was not pyo, but it could have turned into pyo.

So far I haven't dealt with pyometra. All these intact bitches and no pyo. If you are a helicoptor-mom, then you will know if your bitch is having an off day, draining fluid, or getting really sick from closed pyo. I just don't like doing something invasive as a preventative for something that may or may not happen. To me it is like chopping off your leg because it might develop bone cancer, and having your spleen removed because it might develop cancer.

Sometimes the stuff we do to try and prevent issues causes issues. And then how do we deal with that?
I actually looked into this because there was a rather popular thread on reddit the other day about how everyone NEEDS to spay their dog simply because of pyometra.
And as I am getting a bitch I wanted to know what's up and came across this study:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11817057
Which shows certain breeds are much more prone to it than others. Luckily for us German Shepherd was on the low-end (At a 1.2 - with the Collie scoring the highest risk factor of 4.5 directly followed by the Rottweiler - the Dachshund was the lowest at 0.3) of the risk factor... not so well for us they speculate it could be because more of them died before 10 years old than some of the other breeds. (The Collie's % of dead was 9% at 4<5, the GSD was at 17% dead, even with the Drever and closely followed by the Bernse Mountain Dog. At age 6<7 our breed has long been passed by the BMD which is at 32 % dead and the GSD was at 25%, closely followed by the Drever at 24%) Luckily for us the breed risk for pyometra seems to remain rather low in the dogs surveyed but start spiking once the bitch passes her 6th year

So in the end I came to the conclusion that I will keep my girl intact. The risk exists but imo it is one issue among many the dog could get. Or perhaps I'd consider a late spay. But I will stay away from anything before 2 years. Maybe even 4. Most research that I've looked into suggests that early spay has the most severe effect on a dogs health so imo if you really want to spay at least wait (as long as you can make sure your dog will not get pregnant during that time frame).
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Last edited by Kibs; 04-18-2018 at 03:47 AM.
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post #5 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 06:32 AM
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Hormones are good. Hormones are natural. Females that are intact can be messy, so if you're not into dealing with that part, at least save the ovaries.
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post #6 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 06:59 AM
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I have seen some responsible breeders bring their dogs in with bad cases of pyo some had made some not. It most often occurs in older female. If you choose to do either oes or oss it so it is so important you can find and trust a vet and he is experienced doing such a surgery. I had not even know about a oes till recently -so many choices. Many highly reputable vets do not so the surgery in my area and I’m not going to breed my female so will planning to get her spayed around 4-5 or so. Hormones are very important so any spay or neuter should be at least over two if decided to do so. They make those great underpants for the females in heat and it sure helps and really those 3 weeks go by fast. I do not have to keep Luna locked up in a crate for three weeks and housebound when she is in heat. The household is not hectic where she will be left outside unattended accidentally. I’m smart about it and take her to remote places but she still gets to enjoy her life during the three weeks she is in heat so it is not much of a inconvenience at all. She is also in heat around April and October so we know to plan any vacations ahead of time around her. Max has been neutered after two as he had a retained testicle and he has not changed a bit and is still fit as a intact 3 year old.
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Last edited by Jenny720; 04-18-2018 at 07:08 AM.
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post #7 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 10:15 AM
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I had Carly spayed when she was 6 (she’s 8 now) because I got worried about pyo. I had a good friend whose dog had to have an emergency spay because of it, and it scared me. Scarlet is almost 2, and have no plans to spay since I’m showing her. When she gets older, I’ll deal with the decision then.
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post #8 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 10:39 AM
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Yup, just had pyo with my 7 year old intact female. I am very attentive and caught it early so she never was toxic or in danger, but it was an emergency spay, and cost $1,000. In future, I will spay my girls at around 7-8. Most pyos hit around age 7. It's super common, my vet said 30% of females will suffer pyo, and all my research backs that up- there are some good studies in European countries where females are left intact.

It can be deadly, and it can be very expensive and dangerous for the female if it is closed pyo and the owner doesn't notice immediately. As in $4- 5 K and hospitalization, and real risk of losing the female.

Sure, some get lucky, but I've had 100% of my intact girls over age 7 get pyo so far, so, that's my experience!

I'd just wait until age 6 or so and schedule a complete spay. Why risk the life of your girl, I won't do it again.

Also, remember if you do not frequently breed your female, or do not breed her at all, she's probably got a ton of ovarian cysts by the time she is around 6-7 and honestly, I think those are probably painful for the dog. If you do breed frequently, the female is less likely to get pyo, but I mean frequently, like at least 3 times.

Women who know they have the gene for high risk of breast/ovarian cancer will do preventative "spay" and mastectomies. I do not even think their risk is as high as 30%. So, yeah, I think it's a good idea to spay a female to prevent pyo, but that it is fine to wait until the female is mature (age 2 and up) or is done breeding (generally age 7 or so).
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post #9 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 10:57 AM
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I chose OSS, because that is what I did and am very happy with it. I do not have any female dogs.

Yes, I am talking about myself lol But I do apply the benefits to dogs too, because ..well...similar pros and cons. The benefits of maintaining a biologically normal hormone cycle seemed way greater to me than the full shebang (I had a fistula so at the very least a partial was needed, otherwise Id have done nothing) . Downside was still a chance of ovarian cancer (with good insurance, for me, advanced screening and testing is a goso it lowers the risk enough for me to be comfortable with it), and chance of a 2nd surgery if the rest does have to go for some reason.

Any of my friends who had a full, prior to their ovaries naturally shutting down, had some reasonable life altering side effects from the sudden premature withdrawal of hormones to the point they took HRTs that had a whole other set of risks. I'm sure it can be the same for animals (I don't know why we don't assume it is at least somewhat similar), they just can't ask for a script
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post #10 of 21 (permalink) Old 04-18-2018, 11:46 AM
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We just did a laparoscopic ovariectomy. In my area a traditional spay (removing the ovaries AND uterus) is the norm. I only know of two vets that do laparoscopic ovariectomy, none that do ovary sparing.

I was informed that risks Pyometra were eliminated by removing the ovaries. Stump Pyometra occurs when a "stump" or piece of the ovary is not fully removed and that the improved "view" through laparoscopy greatly reduces that risk.

I struggled over the decision to spay. I have zero desire to breed, and although not ideal I could live with the bleeding. But my girl is in heat for the FULL four weeks. Losing two months out of each year of off leash fun was the deciding factor for me.

Certainly not an easy decision.
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