Should I spay my senior GSD - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Should I spay my senior GSD

We recently rescued a senior lady, the sweetest dog ever. Her age is a guesstimate -- she's somewhere between 9 and 11 years old, likely closer to 9 or 10 according to my vet. She was represented to us as already spayed, but we have now confirmed with a vet exam that she is in heat and has never been spayed. I am leaning toward not having this done, but would appreciate some advice.

Kelly came to us in bad shape -- she had been neglected most of her life she was underweight, missing fur from flea allergies, and was dealing with skin issues from yeast overgrowth. She is doing well now, we've had her about a month and she looks so much better. Her bloodwork came back fine except for a low serum albumin level which the vet attributed to stress and malnutrition. We will be repeating it in a month or two.

My dilemma is trying to determine if the risk of the spay surgery at her age, and given her not so great health is worth taking. On the one hand there is the risk of anesthesia, a more complicated surgery on an older intact dog, and a longer and more painful recovery with risk of spay incontinence. On the other hand is the risk of pyometra if I don't get her spayed, and that is the one consideration that is giving me pause.

She is not at risk of getting loose and I can deal with the heat cycles. My vet advised that she would do the surgery but that if I decided against it that would not be bad decision either. Whatever I do has risks, it depends on what risks I am willing to take.

What would you do -- is it worth the risk to spay a dog around 10 years old?
Thanks for any advice --
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 06:04 PM
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I avoid surgeries on seniors. Personally, if I knew I could keep her from breeding then I would not. What is the chance of pyometra vs surgical complications?

I most certainly would not do it until she was 100%.




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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 06:10 PM
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First of all, god bless you for bringing a senior dog home. Kelly is very lucky and I'm sure karma will pay you back tenfold with the joy and love she will bring to your life.

I'm sure you'll get a lot of advice from the dog experts here. My advice comes from my heart and not my head, I wouldn't do it simply because I wouldn't want to put that sweet girl through any more trauma. Listen to the experts and use your head but trust your heart.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jax08 View Post
I avoid surgeries on seniors. Personally, if I knew I could keep her from breeding then I would not. What is the chance of pyometra vs surgical complications?

I most certainly would not do it until she was 100%.
Michelle is one of the dog experts I was referring to She thinks with her head and heart.

Carrie

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Bart - 9ish year old GSD/Akita
& 3 Cats Buffy, Rusty & Magoo
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 06:14 PM
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lol OH I'm no expert. Just OCD and anal on details.




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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 06:19 PM
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I wouldn't either. Unless she is completely healthy or if pyometra shows up. In saying that I think it will be pretty important to know and watch for all signs or symptoms.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 07:28 PM
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I'm in agreement with the others, IF you decide to spay her, I would wait until she's 100% healthy or the pyo shows up if it ever does.

I've had surgeries on senior dogs for various issues, but only when everything else was good with no issues..

I like that your vet wasn't pushing you one way or the other

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice. You have confirmed my gut feeling that spaying Kelly is not worth the risk.Thats what my heart and my head is telling me so that's what I'm going to do. Keeping my fingers crossed that pyometra doesn't show up.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 08:21 AM
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I would be concerned enough about the pyometra to talk to my vet further once the new girl (congrats and thanks for adopting a senior!) is healthier. I would be looking at her overall health, strength, blood work, clotting profiles, activity, and basically be doing a cost/benefit analysis (where cost is not just $). I would consider the spay for another reason - mammary tumors.

Dogs are different - some 8 year olds look and act older than a 12 year old, and vice versa, and that plays a part in a decision.

My vets are very confident in their monitoring during surgery and do surgeries on senior pets all the time. Three of my seniors this year have had surgeries - 2 cracked teeth were removed, and one episioplasty. Not as invasive as a spay, but the teeth surgeries were lengthy! Every time I'm there some old dog is being brought out to go home after different things, so that is another thing I'd be talking to the vet about - how many of these old dog surgeries do you do, what extra things do you do with them, what about spays, etc, etc.

With GSDs you have to look at how they bleed, and how they react to different meds in the MDR1 category before any surgery.

With my seniors (and think of all the dogs who are terribly sick when brought in for GI surgeries - that make it) I ask to talk about anesthesia, and we typically use one in particular.

I'd also be looking at stats on incidence in pyometra (more recent studies as well as the moldy oldy) and mammary tumors in order to help make this decision.





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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 08:43 AM
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I would probably spay her when she was in good shape again....the risk of pyo is too high for me personally....I have spayed older females (8-9) routinely after breeding. I have seen too many dogs with pyo brought into clinics, and when they are ill, the risk is much much higher for the surgery...

Just 5 or 6 weeks ago, I got a call from a lady I know that her nearly 11 year was discharging some smelly, pus fluid....and she was not wanting to go to the ER vet. I literally yelled at her to get the dog to the vet (usually the way it ends up when she calls and she argues when she does not like the answers to her questions!) and not wait 3 days to avoid the ER charges. The dog was spayed the next morning. She is fine now, and the woman recently adopted another GSD that I had been networking - at least this one is already spayed!

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