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I am getting ready to call our vet to schedule an appointment for our almost 6 month old GSD to get spayed. I am a little nervous about the procedure since I personally know a pup that died shortly after the procedure. Anyone want to hold my hand and tell me it'll be OK? Anything I should know/consider before having the procedure done?

Also, will having my pup spayed calm her the way that neutering a male dog does?

There is so much pressure to have a pup altered and while I want to be a responsible pet owner, I also don't want *my* pup to suffer needlessly or have a procedure done too soon. Is six mos the optimal age or is it just pushed to ensure population control? Would we be better off waiting?

Thanks for your thoughts!
 

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The early spay/neuter is done solely to control the overpopulation- but they justify it under the umbrella of health (by preventing cancer etc).
I have a female who was spayed at a half year of age and I personally wouldn't do it again (she stayed puppy like), but wait until the dog has reached maturity (this is what most responsible vets recommend).
No matter what you decide, I'm sure your girl will do just fine. Millions of dogs get fixed every year, without any problems whatsoever.
Good luck!
 

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Don't worry! I think she'll be fine. Consider the thousands of shelter animals that get spayed all the time, straight off the street. Can there be complications? Yes. But I think it's unlikely.

Now I don't think altering a dog really changes it's personality. I've found my intact male to be more calm than many neutered males. I think it has more to do with training and the inherent personality of the dog.

There is a LOT of pressure to alter pets by vets. I was shocked when I found out that my vet, who has never said anything to me, told a friend of mine that she considered it cruel to leave animals intact. I understand this for the average pet owner. I am constantly shocked by how many people do really stupid things with their pets. I cannot say how many times I have seen a bitch in heat brought into the dog park...and the owner didn't even realize. Hmm...I wonder why she's so popular and all the other dogs are fighting? So I get it. There are a lot of pet owners who will dump their dog in the backyard for hours at a time unattended and that's how we get unintentional puppies.

I know there's a lot of people who say not to alter until 2. I think that's an easier thing to accomplish with a dog than a bitch. Personally if I wasn't training for competition or show with an intention to possibly breed I would spay my female around 6 months. First, heat is a pain in th butt, and I don't think I'd want to deal with it if I didn't have to. Second is spay incontinence. I don't know if it was just my bad luck, but every dog I know that we waited to spay until adulthood developed spay incontinence. One was 7 years old, so that wasn't a huge surprise. But the shepherd we got from the shelter, we spayed when she got over her heartworms and she was only about 3 years old.
 

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[/quote]The early spay/neuter is done solely to control the overpopulation- but they justify it under the umbrella of health (by preventing cancer etc).
I feel this is very true. If I were going to neuter or spay my dog it would certainly not be before they reach maturity. IMHO 6 months is too early.
 

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I adopted a rescue, and 2 shelter dogs, all were fixed and were fine.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaedchenThe early spay/neuter is done solely to control the overpopulation- but they justify it under the umbrella of health (by preventing cancer etc).
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This so-called lame "justification" has always pissed me off. You never hear them saying WAIT - recent studies indicate that early neutering can increase a dog's chances of getting certain types of cancer. And you can remove any body part and avoid it becoming cancerous - I mean chop off their legs and the incidence of osteosarcoma drops drastically - yank out their brains and YIPPEE, no more cancerous brain tumors.

Personally I prefer getting a bitch spayed after her first heat cycle.

And with that said, good luck to you and your girl, and I hope her surgery goes smoothly with a speedy recovery period.
 

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There are a multitude of benefits for spaying at 6 months as well. At that age, the dog's metabolism is much faster, and the anesthetic drugs will leave the body quicker. The body will heal faster as well. The organs are smaller, makes incisions smaller. Also, blood vessels are smaller prior to the first heat cycle, making them easier to ligate.
 

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I had Molly spayed at around 6 months of age and never had any problems. Molly's spay did not slow her down one bit. She is three now and still full of energy
 

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Originally Posted By: JKlatsky
Second is spay incontinence. I don't know if it was just my bad luck, but every dog I know that we waited to spay until adulthood developed spay incontinence. One was 7 years old, so that wasn't a huge surprise. But the shepherd we got from the shelter, we spayed when she got over her heartworms and she was only about 3 years old.
Anyone else have anything to say along these lines? I have heard that EARLY spaying can tend to lead to early incontinence. So just the opposite of what the above poster has experienced.

I must add that I have always wondered though, if the early incontinence was truly due to early spaying, or if the dog would have had it even if she HADN'T been spayed early. (And unfortunately there is no way to know for sure.)
 

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Just something I found...

http://www.dogaware.com/incontinence.html

From what I'm reading now, it seems like spaying at all, before or after can cause incontinence? And German Shepherds seem to be mentioned very often as a breed prone to this...

I've known people who got puppies spayed in the shelter who never had any incontinence problems....Like I said, Probably just my luck...
 

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I have two females that were late spays, DeeDee was two and Chey was four. Neither have Spay incontinence. With DeeDee I waited until she was two because she was so much more like a pup until then, Chey was for digestive issues. I will not spay or neuter a dog that isn't stable health wise and I will not spay my females before 1 year of age or have males neutered before they are 2 years old.

These are just my feelings.
 

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Funny, I didn’t think altering dogs was that popular in Germany (even for pets).

Our girl (who is now 11 years old) was spayed at 6 months. We really didn’t know anything about health and side-effects of having her spayed at this age. We just knew we didn’t want puppies running around the house. She has had incontinence and thyroid issues (couldn’t tell you if they are related to the spaying or not) but they are both treatable issues.

I personally think that you’d better be prepared to be a responsible pet owner if you are going to wait on having a dog altered (spayed or neutered). It’s not an easy thing to do and dogs can be very creative when they want to get together. If you don’t think or are even unsure that you can control your male or female. Have them altered. Don’t risk having an unplanned litter of puppies.

Anyway, good luck Kate & Lucky!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all of the information. I realize that many dogs are altered and do fine; I just don't want to be the exception to the rule.

I am going to do more research before I make the appointment.

The urinary incontinence issue is new to me and I'd like to find out more about it before our pup goes under the knife. In general, I do feel like we will get the Luckster spayed, I'd just like to feel sure that her current age is really the most appropriate time to undergo the procedure. Our vet has been talking about it every time we go in and I feel more than a little pressured.

And Vinnie, you are quite correct that many dogs in Germany (and in fact all over Europe) are intact. Our pup will follow our family around the globe, however, and I don't want unwanted puppies or interested Romeo's following us too.
We are in Germany now but we won't be here forever. Our vet is a military vet who works mainly with military working dogs.

Thanks for all of the encouragement everyone!
 

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I have a gaggle of girls, rescues, all spayed, all spayed at different times, too from 8 weeks-7 years. The cancer risk that most people reference is mammary being significantly lowered by spaying before first heat.

This has actual pictures
so be warned! http://www.thepetcenter.com/sur/sp.html

Another concern-just to put it out there-is pyometra-also graphic pictures:
http://www.thepetcenter.com/sur/pyo.html

I know most people say they never see it, but it seems like there have been a ton of pyo cases on the IMOM board. I feel like it is important if people have an unspayed female to be aware of the risks of that, no matter how remote the possibility. I post this here for anyone reading the thread just in passing.

Do the pre-anesthetic blood work, the fluids, and pain meds. Make sure they are thinking of Von Willebrand's because she's a GSD-I think it's good to have that in the back of your head any first surgery. You can test for it if you want. Have her crate all soft and fluffy and some good chews/bones for when she gets home after she's ready to eat. Be prepared to limit activity for up to 2 weeks so you don't bust stitches. Some use a head collar thing, some use a t-shirt, I have used a t-shirt or nothing and the girls have been good about things.

I always worry for any procedure anyway, but this one, for me as an owner, I am happy withthe risk of a little leaking pee (hey, women tend to do this too-so people in glass houses...
) to be able to go places and do things at will, and have a little less to worry about with the mammary chain tumors.
 

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Originally Posted By: Arycrest
Originally Posted By: MaedchenThe early spay/neuter is done solely to control the overpopulation- but they justify it under the umbrella of health (by preventing cancer etc).
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This so-called lame "justification" has always pissed me off. You never hear them saying WAIT - recent studies indicate that early neutering can increase a dog's chances of getting certain types of cancer. And you can remove any body part and avoid it becoming cancerous - I mean chop off their legs and the incidence of osteosarcoma drops drastically - yank out their brains and YIPPEE, no more cancerous brain tumors.
A lot of holistic vets- and some allopathics- are not in favor of early spay/neuter- and some even claim the skyrocking number of allergies and thyroid disease seen in dogs on the lack of hormones. Hormones have a purpose, besides only for reproduction.

My IL have had many dogs throughout the years in Germany- all unneutered (kept indoors, never any litters), vaccinated yearly, fed kibble and none of them ever had any medical issues. I've had issues (allergies and other), with my very first -early spayed- dog I aquired. What a coincidence, that her grass allergy started about a month or two after she was spayed (and re-vaccinated). Luckily we were spared of incontinence.
 

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That's why they don't do studies in two different countries. The environmental differences alone would be enough to invalidate any results. I am sure there are vast differences between Germany and Georgia-allergens, pollens, pollution, groundwater contamination, etc.

I think we can make connections sometimes because they support our point of view. So I think spaying is great because of the freedom and some of the health factors and have been lucky to see that point of view being supported because no one here is leaking or having health issues, except my poor Nina with the pyoderma who was sired by her mother's son. So I am seeing what I see!

Of course, I also totally believe in Reiki...so maybe I am not the person to be asking anything!
 

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I believe in Reiki too- is there anyone who experienced it, who doesn't?


I also enjoy the freedom of having spayed/neutered animal. Absolutely! No messes to deal with, and no worries about my male creating unwanted puppies or getting into fights etc. But I'd do it differently now, than years ago (maybe even opt for partial spay/neuter).
Regarding the studies: we could just create our own little poll (totally non-scientific
). There are lots of members here with allergic dogs,- I would be curious to see the occurrence of allergies in comparison to fixed and intact dogs.
 

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I just got zone Reiki I think it is? on Saturday remotely. I was so relaxed. I love it. She also does Kramer and the next day he's full of beans!

I don't want to jinx...I might have to eat my words, but...we are good here on the "a" word.

I can't imagine living in the south though-I think it would be hard to keep up with all the possible stuff!
 

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I've adopted two females and both were spayed at 6 months. Massie did develop spay incontinence and it was easily controlled. Chama sometimes leaks but it is more about her qi--too much yang and only in the hot weather. I have herbs and supplements that take care of the problem.

Neither had thyroid problems. I don't see enough evidence of problems to negate the argument for the pet overpopulation problem. There really aren't that many people out there willing to do what's necessary to keep their young dogs from getting pregnant! Just look at all of those overflowing kill shelters!
 
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