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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,

So, I posted a few weeks back about my shepherd being diagnosed with SAS (Subaortic Stenosis) and am seeking some opinions on a few matters.
The whole issue that lead up to the diagnosis was that she chipped a front incisor, exposing the pulp (we think), and I had taken her in to have her tooth repaired/removed.

Once she was cleared for general anesthesia, we made an appointment to have it removed. Our appointment was yesterday. I took her in for drop off and went to work. I got a phone call about an hour after I dropped her off from the vet. She said she took a better look at the tooth (since our last conversation was about the heart diagnosis) and said she did not think it was worth the risk of putting her under to remove this tooth, and recommended to do it when she was being spayed. She stated it did not seem like the tooth was bothering her (I'm guessing she was pressing on the "pulp" and got no reaction) and it was likely it wouldn't due to the tooth that was broken wasn't a major chewing/biting tooth. I'm currently faced with two options and they're both a crap shoot (IMO), but the vet said there is no right answer.

The first option would be to spay her sooner rather than later, have the tooth removed, and be done with it. Her mild SAS means she will be less likely to be impacted by GA.

The second option would be to wait for our follow up with the cardiologist in February for a second echo to see if the disease progressed. If it did, she more than likely wouldn't be able to be spayed but would more than likely have a shorter life expectancy. If her tooth did become infected, she would be placed on antibiotics.

I took her home yesterday, but could always reschedule for the procedure. I want her to stay intact until she matures, but it almost seems like the obvious answer would be to spay her early and remove the tooth. If the SAS does progress, I feel like I would have put her through a spay for nothing since she will live a shorter life. The vet said either way, it would still be a gamble putting her under for the procedure, just less so if the disease doesn't progress.

Because of her diagnosis, I am somewhat looking for another sport dog as well. I'm not giving up the few fun things we do just yet, since we don't have a restriction on exercise, but I fear if the disease progresses, Nosework, dock diving, barnhunt in the heat may take its toll on her. If the disease doesn't progress, I still feel we will have to strike FastCAT and agility from our list. Possibly even dock diving if it's too hot out. I was also planning to dabble in IPO/IPG (whatever it's called now). We had been working for the obedience portion up until the diagnosis.

Her breeder has offered me a puppy for half price when I'm ready, but as knowledgeable as she is, I'm unsure if I want to try with her lines again. I do feel I was just extremely unlucky (which tends to be the case for me). Katsu was pick of the litter and the breeder only chose to not keep her because she had kept Katsu's older sister (same sire/dam) from the previous litter.

My questions for you all are -

Would you spay now and remove the tooth or wait and see if the disease progresses before spaying early?

Would you be looking for another sport dog or just wait and see what the final diagnosis is at 18 months?

Do you think I'm thinking/worrying too much about this?


Thanks again for dealing with my rants. I'm beginning to learn how hard it is to love a dog.
 

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tough calls indeed. I can't even begin to make the call on the tooth / spay. I know nothing about SAS. As far as the sports go would you be able to find something that uses an indoor area space? It will be more climate controlled. So choose rally rather than IPG or nosework with scent boxes rather than tracking / trailing. You could work toward Trick Dog titles as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
tough calls indeed. I can't even begin to make the call on the tooth / spay. I know nothing about SAS. As far as the sports go would you be able to find something that uses an indoor area space? It will be more climate controlled. So choose rally rather than IPG or nosework with scent boxes rather than tracking / trailing. You could work toward Trick Dog titles as well.

We're working on the trick dog titles. She has novice so far. I need to look at the tricks allowed again for Intermediate. We are going to try out AKC scentwork (specifically interior and container) although I haven't heard many good things about the trials since it is so new, so we will probably wait for the clubs to iron out the issues. I still plan on trialing for her NW1 in November if we get pulled from the draw. With luck, the vehicle and exterior search will be okay as long as it isn't too humid and I don't play tug/fetch with her before hand.


She doesn't seem to really like competition obedience. She can do it, but it isn't flashy. I'm sure I could build up her drive for it. We did an intro to rally class and can always continue, but her attitude seemed kind of "I really don't want to be here doing this" or that's what I felt I saw. Maybe it was me portraying myself on her. It's worth a shot if we're unable to do anything else, though.


CGC, CGC-A/U are options as well. I heard about C Wags for scent work. They have a few things we could probably try.


Part of me feels like I'm over-reacting and am thinking in too many "what if's"


Thanks for the suggestions :smile2:
 

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How old is she now? I can't find her age anywhere.

If I were planning to spay a female, I'd feel comfortable doing it any time after a year old, following the first heat. Bone growth plates are closed by around a year, and the first heat means the dog is sexually mature.
 

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How old is she now? I can't find her age anywhere.

If I were planning to spay a female, I'd feel comfortable doing it any time after a year old, following the first heat. Bone growth plates are closed by around a year, and the first heat means the dog is sexually mature.
She just turned a year this month. Our contract said a year, but the breeder recommended to wait until 2. I will have to talk with her vet again today to see how much the whole procedure will run me including a spay.
 

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1. Tooth isn't bothering the dog
2. Dog has some sort of heart condition that makes vets cautious about anesthesia
3. Dog is intact and just under one year.




My take on it: Don't do any surgery unless it is mandatory. Spaying isn't mandatory, evidently tooth extraction isn't mandatory.


On sports ---- it seems you are dabbling all over the place. Pick a couple at most. Work with the dog you have as her condition allows. I'd keep tabs on the condition with the goal of waiting until she is three or four before pursuing another dog.



That's my opinion, that's what I think I would do under the circumstances. (Working two dogs eats my time although they are 4 years apart and at different levels)
 

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In your shoes, I would not opt for any surgeries at this point. But I do understand the dilemma with this decision. I’m sorry you’re faced with it at all.

As for getting another puppy... only you know if you will have the time to dedicate to two dogs. If you think Katsu will not be able to do the sports you love, I see no harm in getting a prospect that will. I have three dogs and work all of them. My oldest cannot compete due to his temperament and health issues, but he still takes up as much time as my other two. So just keep in mind that it will be quite a bit of extra work to keep everyone happy. I would probably look for different lines if I had to make this decision, but that’s just me. Not a slam at all on Katsu’s breeder. I know this was a weird one off thing that likely could not have been predicted in any way. And I know you said the breeder has been extremely supportive.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the input so far!


I have been leaning towards at the very least waiting until I find out what the prognosis is for Katsu before getting another puppy/dog, though more than likely longer (there ae a few breedings I'm interested in in late 2019 or 2020). I think I jumped the gun asking that question.


I believe I would have the time to work two dogs (the Shiba doesn't really 'work'). Since her diagnosis, we went from working 3 days a week (Comp OB, Nosework, then Barnhunt/Dock Diving or Protection) down to 1 day a week (Nosework). I take her out every now and then for some Dock Diving practice since it's low impact and she loves it.

@middleofnowhere If I had to choose sports for her, it would be what she's best at and what she seems to like the most. Nosework (best at) and Dock Diving (likes the most). These two have been the ones we're focusing on. My paragraph of whining was just the combination of sports I had hoped to do with her at some point in her life before the diagnosis. I guess my main concern was having a working dog that wants to work but her "ticker" can't support it.


I'm glad the general consensus is no unnecessary surgeries. I had been put in the mindset that this tooth needed to come out or it would get infected and possibly kill her, and I am grateful this vet took the time to call me and give me her honest opinion rather than racking up a $1k bill and risking my dog. I am 100% fine with having an intact female for the duration of her life (however short or long that is). We've managed before.
 

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If anesthesia is a risk, why doesn't the breeder wave the spay requirement for health reasons? Spaying seems the least of the concerns.
Can't you get a second opinion on the tooth? Griff had a chipped canine tooth sealed and the recommendation from the dentist was to either, re-seal it every 6 months (under anesthesia!!) or cap it with a crown. Another canine dentist that I consulted for a second opinion is looking at it and considers not capping the tooth and to do a composite filling; complete opposite advice. Your dog has a chipped incisor, which is not such a crucial tooth (if you mean the small front tooth?) so that would be easy to remove I would think with just a mild tranquilizer? Good luck I hope you get an answer that helps you decide.
Regarding a pup from the same lines: I did a similar thing and got a healthy pup. We all considered it a fluke.
 

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If anesthesia is a risk, why doesn't the breeder wave the spay requirement for health reasons? Spaying seems the least of the concerns.
Can't you get a second opinion on the tooth? Griff had a chipped canine tooth sealed and the recommendation from the dentist was to either, re-seal it every 6 months (under anesthesia!!) or cap it with a crown. Another canine dentist that I consulted for a second opinion is looking at it and considers not capping the tooth and to do a composite filling; complete opposite advice. Your dog has a chipped incisor, which is not such a crucial tooth (if you mean the small front tooth?) so that would be easy to remove I would think with just a mild tranquilizer? Good luck I hope you get an answer that helps you decide.
Regarding a pup from the same lines: I did a similar thing and got a healthy pup. We all considered it a fluke.

Thanks Wolfy dog.


To clarify, spaying isn't required by the contact. It was a "if you are going to spay, do so after a year for the hip/elbow guarantee" portion. The breeder had asked me if I were interested in breeding Katsu before we got this diagnosis. I haven't informed her of the vet's hesitation to put my girl under anesthesia, but she is aware of the genetic defect and we've both agreed she will not be bred.


I like this breeder. She knows her lines and typically what her dogs produce. She's honest, works her dogs, and is more than willing to share her knowledge with people willing to listen. She is well known, respected, and is recommended on these forums often. If I do go back to her, I hope I have the same luck with the personality of the dog, but better luck with genetics.
 
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