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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey guys, i'm looking for advice on spaying our female GSD/Collie mix. I have had contradicting good advice from lots of people (including vets), which lead me to read myself silly online (which didn't get me far), so I was wondering if you guys could help with some up to date first hand experiences and anecdotes! I've read a couple of posts on this forum with great advice, but a bit dated and the more advice the better! :)

What did you guys do with your girls? Before first heat? After first heat? Not at all?

Our initial plans were to have our girl spayed before her first approaching heat. We live in North Italy at the moment and because of the heavy stray dog problem in the South, most vets and associations will push, if not make it mandatory, to have any rescued dog spayed at 6 months. Our girl was an accidental litter, but not rescued, so its not mandatory for us, but with so many dogs free here we didn't want to risk an accidental litter ourselves. We've recently been doing our research and speaking with some other owners who recommend heavily to wait until after the first heat because of growth plates, hormones etc, which all make a lot of sense. Other people tell us it's healthier the other way around , reducing risks of cancer and not affecting growth at all. Some people tells us it depends on breed and size (she will be smaller than the GSD as she is mixed and her GSD mother was petite. Both parents very healthy)

What are your stories? Are the risks either way THAT high? Are we over thinking? We want to make the right choice for our girl and help her have the most comfortable life as possible.

Any advice much appreciated, Thanks in advance :)
 

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Hey guys, i'm looking for advice on spaying our female GSD/Collie mix. I have had contradicting good advice from lots of people (including vets), which lead me to read myself silly online (which didn't get me far), so I was wondering if you guys could help with some up to date first hand experiences and anecdotes! I've read a couple of posts on this forum with great advice, but a bit dated and the more advice the better! :)

What did you guys do with your girls? Before first heat? After first heat? Not at all?

Our initial plans were to have our girl spayed before her first approaching heat. We live in North Italy at the moment and because of the heavy stray dog problem in the South, most vets and associations will push, if not make it mandatory, to have any rescued dog spayed at 6 months. Our girl was an accidental litter, but not rescued, so its not mandatory for us, but with so many dogs free here we didn't want to risk an accidental litter ourselves. We've recently been doing our research and speaking with some other owners who recommend heavily to wait until after the first heat because of growth plates, hormones etc, which all make a lot of sense. Other people tell us it's healthier the other way around , reducing risks of cancer and not affecting growth at all. Some people tells us it depends on breed and size (she will be smaller than the GSD as she is mixed and her GSD mother was petite. Both parents very healthy)

What are your stories? Are the risks either way THAT high? Are we over thinking? We want to make the right choice for our girl and help her have the most comfortable life as possible.

Any advice much appreciated, Thanks in advance :)
I have a female Malinois that is 2 years old. I don't want to mess with her hormones so she will be getting an ovary-sparing spay when the time comes. Not sure when though, maybe when she is 4 or so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a female Malinois that is 2 years old. I don't want to mess with her hormones so she will be getting an ovary-sparing spay when the time comes. Not sure when though, maybe when she is 4 or so.
Hey San thanks for your input. I saw someone speak (maybe on here?) about ovary-sparing spay yesterday. It sounds like a great option and i'd never heard of it before. Good to see this advised again. I am going to enquire if this procedure is available where i live this week, which might make future decisions a little easier. I also fully understand not wanting to mess with hormones, it's what keeps me on the fence the most.

Thanks! :)
 

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Juno is 13 months, we have gone through one heat cycle, I am expecting her second one soon. Then I think I will spay her when she is right in-between her heat cycles.

I am glad I did not spay her at 5 - 6 months, when the email from my vet came in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Juno is 13 months, we have gone through one heat cycle, I am expecting her second one soon. Then I think I will spay her when she is right in-between her heat cycles.

I am glad I did not spay her at 5 - 6 months, when the email from my vet came in.
Thanks for this. I was sent some good resources last night which also backs up waiting too. So I think I will go with it as well.
 

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We don’t really spay unless medically necessary, but if you want to spay her waiting would be a good option.
 

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My puppy contract requires they are at least 18 months or older before altering. They need the hormones for proper growth and development. Early altering increases risks of some cancers and joint issues.
 
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Current dogs: Eldest spayed at 4 yo due to false pregnancies - and behavior that when she was in this phase no other dog had any right to be on this earth.
Youngest - 7 yo and still intact.

According to holistic vet, at about 4 yo they have received all the benefits (or most of the benefits) of being intact for longer. (Hemangio is thought to be partially related to females spayed young.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks guys. You guys have definitely helped persuade me to wait a little while.
 

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According to holistic vet, at about 4 yo they have received all the benefits (or most of the benefits) of being intact for longer. (Hemangio is thought to be partially related to females spayed young.)
Most dogs I know that have had Hemangio (females) were breeding females and passed in their elderly years. Mine was 11 1/2, a friend's was almost 14... Males that I know have passed at around 8-9 years of age, intact...
 
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Odd that no one here has told you that you face approx. 25% higher risk of mammary cancer by waiting for the third heat vs. spaying earlier (and later spays tend to raise the chance of malignant mammary tumors vs. benign ones, according to one paper I saw comparing early and late spays).

Instead of relying on random opinions on the Internet, I would suggest that you discuss reputable sources with your vet, like this one: Mammary Tumors | American College of Veterinary Surgeons - ACVS

And

There's also been a whole bunch of papers looking at mammary cancer survival, and spays make a (positive) difference according to several papers.
 

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Odd that no one here has told you that you face approx. 25% higher risk of mammary cancer by waiting for the third heat vs. spaying earlier (and later spays tend to raise the chance of malignant mammary tumors vs. benign ones, according to one paper I saw comparing early and late spays).

Instead of relying on random opinions on the Internet, I would suggest that you discuss reputable sources with your vet, like this one: Mammary Tumors | American College of Veterinary Surgeons - ACVS

And

There's also been a whole bunch of papers looking at mammary cancer survival, and spays make a (positive) difference according to several papers.
Some vets aren’t updated on the latest information or are very indoctrinated into the spay ASAP. I had one vet telling me my puppy was going to develop a whole host of behavioral issues if I didn’t neuter by 6 months. There is plenty of research discussing the negatives of spaying too soon. Including the simplest issue of increased risk of urinary incontinence in females. This has 2 causes. Lack of hormones and improper development due to early altering. Hormonal can be treated by supplements, but you better hope that dog isn’t tricky to pill. German shepherds are one of the breeds noted to be more likely to be affected by spay incontinence.



 

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Several years ago we had a wonderful rescue female who was spayed at 4 months of age.

She died of hemangio at 3 and had the worst hips our vet had ever seen.

I realize there is no way to prove a connection, especially not knowing her parentage and I know that some things are not preventable, no matter what.

She was one of the best dogs we have ever had and it's not worth it to us to risk having that happen again. No more early spayed or neutered dogs here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Odd that no one here has told you that you face approx. 25% higher risk of mammary cancer by waiting for the third heat vs. spaying earlier (and later spays tend to raise the chance of malignant mammary tumors vs. benign ones, according to one paper I saw comparing early and late spays).

Instead of relying on random opinions on the Internet, I would suggest that you discuss reputable sources with your vet, like this one: Mammary Tumors | American College of Veterinary Surgeons - ACVS

And

There's also been a whole bunch of papers looking at mammary cancer survival, and spays make a (positive) difference according to several papers.
Thank you. And thank you for your sources, all reading material on this is much appreciated. I’m aware of the mammory cancer risks being almost zero if spayed before first heat and still considerably low after second. Depending on how late my pup comes into heat I ideally will be doing it between the first and the second for that very reason. If she’s early I may wait for after the second heat but not the third. I however, don’t think I will be spaying at 6 months as my original vet reccomended.

Rest assured my decision has not been solely made by advice from forums online. I have been doing lots of research and reading reputable sources and have consulted three vets all with very different opinions before coming to this forum. Unfortunately the potential health advantages and risks on both sides and opinions are so strong that it makes this decision a hard one. One of the vets I consulted was actually caught dumping his bitches unwanted litters on the streets, which I found out from someone at the park, after consultation. Needless to say I am wary of who’s professional advice I should be taking in this town now. The reason I am reaching out to this forum is because unlike in the US or UK (where I am actually from) the advice here in this town seems very different. The bigger cities seem a lot more up to date, however. Some advice from people outside of Italy with personal experiences with the same breed has helped in this moment - as many of the reputable sources I have been reading talk about the timing being very breed specific (For example, the recent UC Davis study is one of the studies that helped my decision.) My plan is to go to the nearest big city now for my pup with a well known trusted vet - and as you rightly advised - discuss the sources with them. Unfortunately with COVID-19 right now such movements are not possible which is very frustrating.

Thanks again for your advice. I will definitely read these sources tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Several years ago we had a wonderful rescue female who was spayed at 4 months of age.

She died of hemangio at 3 and had the worst hips our vet had ever seen.

I realize there is no way to prove a connection, especially not knowing her parentage and I know that some things are not preventable, no matter what.

She was one of the best dogs we have ever had and it's not worth it to us to risk having that happen again. No more early spayed or neutered dogs here.
Several years ago we had a wonderful rescue female who was spayed at 4 months of age.

She died of hemangio at 3 and had the worst hips our vet had ever seen.

I realize there is no way to prove a connection, especially not knowing her parentage and I know that some things are not preventable, no matter what.

She was one of the best dogs we have ever had and it's not worth it to us to risk having that happen again. No more early spayed or neutered dogs here.
I’m so sorry you had to go through this and thank you for sharing. I understand why you wouldn’t want to spay early again even if the connections aren’t certain. What a joy to have been blessed with such a beautiful companion for those years.
 

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Yes on mammary tumors BUT they can be detected and removed. They are not automatically deadly. Hemangio comes out of no where and you've got 6 months with aggressive treatment. My bitch that died of hemangio was something like 8 and had never been bred. She was spayed either after her first heat or before it. I'm not messing with that disease if I can help it at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes on mammary tumors BUT they can be detected and removed. They are not automatically deadly. Hemangio comes out of no where and you've got 6 months with aggressive treatment. My bitch that died of hemangio was something like 8 and had never been bred. She was spayed either after her first heat or before it. I'm not messing with that disease if I can help it at all.
Thanks, I’m so sorry you had to go through this too. I understand you reasons completely. This forum is the first place I had heard of Hemangio (or maybe embarrassingly I didn’t really know what it was, and missed it) in relation to sterilisation, so thank you all for sharing as It looks like I have more research to do and questions to ask.
 

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Yes on mammary tumors BUT they can be detected and removed. They are not automatically deadly.
I've known multiple dogs whose were removed and the dog died of cancer anyway. The removed tumors were supposedly benign, but within a year, more tumors were back that were malignant and had spread (and killed the dog) before there was a chance to for another major surgery. Unless you remove both mammary chains (a multi-thousand dollar, major surgery) at the first sign of a tumor, the risk of a return of more tumors is apparently fairly high (and the rate of malignant-to-benign apparently goes up in later spayed dogs, so you can end up with scarier cancer).

I'm saying this as someone who has known dogs that died from mammary cancer despite having the tumors removed. One had no prior cancer in her line, and she was left intact until 8. So I don't want anyone being led to false certainty with an attitude of "no worries, just have surgery and the dog will surely be fine" -- maybe; or maybe it comes back and kill the dog. There's real risk.

If anyone is claiming spaying correlates to hemangio, please post scientific/veterinary sources showing that -- not hearsay. Lots of intact dogs die of hemangio too. So I'd really like to see the research looking at spay timing related to it -- I've never seen a study on that, so I'd like to see one. I've shown you some reliable sources on research connecting time of spay with mammary cancer, so now it's your turn to post some good sources on hemangio. I've lost dogs to that cancer too - so I'm not being fussy, but really asking those making the claims to show the research you're relying on, because I want to see it. (I'm sure you're aware there's ongoing work looking for a hereditary/genetic link to hemangio, right?)
 

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FWIW, the one study I've found that is interesting on this is one done with Golden Retrievers, showing late-speutering had the highest rate (higher than both early speutering and intact): "The percentage of HSA cases in late-neutered females (about 8 percent) was 4 times more than intact and early-neutered females." (The study defined "late" as older than 12 months.) Early-speutered and intact dogs were almost identical in their rates. OTOH, there seems to possibly a cancer-protective vs. ortho-protective tradeoff lurking in their data in early vs. late spay: Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers
 
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