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Discussion Starter #1
My shepherd Texas just recently turned six months. I have been trying to contemplate whether or not to spay her or run to another alternate. Could you please help me make a decision. Also, at what age do female dogs go into heat? I want to be prepared in case it does happen, since she is strictly an indoor dog (eek! my carpet!).


Option of birth control:

A friend of mine has had his miniature poodle under birth control that is administered by a veterinarian for about 4 years now. He recently got her off of it and has decided to fix her now. She has never had any litters. He advised me to try it on Texas, but honestly I am hesitant. Side effects are benign cysts and infertility. I don't think I would be happy if she got cysts. Also, she would have to receive this injection every 6 months.

Option of spaying her:

I would be able to avoid the hassle of her heat cycle. In our obedience class, we had a lady with a labradoodle that was in heat and she was not aware of doggy panties. Least to say, there was a BIG MESS! It honestly freaked out me; maybe because it was a large dog. I have dealt with smaller dogs and it wasn't a picnic either, but a large dog scares me even more. Also, I would be able to reduce the risk of breast cancer which is good as well. If I was to do this route what age would you recommend? Also, she does attend obedience every Sunday, so how long would her recovery be?

Option of having an offspring:

Texas would only be allowed to have one litter and then she would be spayed. In the past, the dogs I fixed, I secretly wished I was able to have an offspring of theirs, due to the fact that they were stolen or passed away. I am not saying that I want to breed Texas right now, I definitely would want to wait a couple of years and make sure she passes the correct screenings (hips and joints) and as well as make sure she acquires some titles (basic if need be). I would not want to acquire another male; I would search for a good stud. My sisters have agreed they would take one in as well, under the condition that they can afford one and have a yard.

What would you decide? I have friends and family tell me different things. I thought about fixing her then another would tell me "Don't you wish you had a puppy from Dexter? That would have been nice." Then, I have some who tell me "do the birth control and if the time comes that she passes the screenings and you are in a good place to care for her and the puppies, then take her off of it and then fix her." I don't know. :confused: How long do I have till her first menstruation, so I could fix her?
 

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I think you should spay her. There are already so many unwanted shelter dogs out there that the world doesn't need another litter. Breeding because you love your dog and would like a puppy by her isn't a reason to breed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You make a good point. I have been learning more towards fixing her. Though, how much longer do I have to fix her before her first menstruation? Also, how long should the recovery be?
 

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You make a good point. I have been learning more towards fixing her. Though, how much longer do I have to fix her before her first menstruation? Also, how long should the recovery be?
I think it is unknown how much time before her bleeding starts because the starting point is 6 months. It could happen tomorrow, today, anytime.

As for recovery, that's something you should ask your vet.


If you're not going to breed her or you're unsure whether or not you'd be able to keep a male dog from getting to her, then spay her.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your response, GSD Fan. I appreciate it. I will speak to a vet after the holiday to request more information.
 

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I just recently had Jamie Lee spayed and she took about a week to recuperate. She was ready to play and run around though a couple days after her surgery. I had to keep her tethered to me so she would not run and play. She healed beautifully and on the 8th day I had her sutures removed.

Yes, your female can come into heat at anytime now. There are some females that come in at 5.5 months. I did not want to chance it for my girl so I had her done before the holidays. She is 6 mths. today so now that is something I don't have to worry about now.
 

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I also had my female spayed at 6 months. I know some people advocate that you let them go through their first heat cycle and then around 1 yr old you spay them, but I spayed my last female around 6 months and she did great. And so did my current dog.

I agree with the others...get her spayed. Breeding just because you want a puppy from her isn't really a good reason.

I know from Uschi, she was ready to be a maniac a couple of days after surgery...but of course she wasn't allowed to run around until about 7-10 days after her surgery. They heal up pretty quick.
 

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Is it better physically to wait until she's full grown to spay her? Probably, but then you have to be able to put up with her being in heat, preventing pregnancy, and know that a spay is more difficult and harder on your dog the longer you wait.

I would strongly encourage you to spay her as soon as possible as she can come into heat any time between now and a year of age and probably sooner rather than later.

I can't tell you how many times I hear that statement of: I want my dog to have just one litter and my family will take them. With the thought of getting only at best basic titles and health testing prior breeding, you are never going to find a good breeder that will breed to your dog. You will find other indiscriminate people with an intact male that would be more than happy to breed your bitch, and the chances of finding homes for all of your puppies goes down dramatically. Unless you have an exceptional dog that is proven by competing and getting higher titles, please don't breed her. There are enough backyard bred dogs in shelters and in rescue without adding to them. I do rescue and see this situation all the time.

Leaving a dog on hormones long term is extremely hard on them and many of them get very weird on it to. This is not generally an alternative to spaying and is meant to be used short term to delay a heat cycle so the dog can compete or do something else like that where being in heat would be detrimental.

It sounds like you love your dog and think she's the greatest, so please think long and hard about what you want to do.
 

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I just went through this with Abby. I debated the same question and came
to the conclusion that spaying at 7 months was the right thing to do.
The main factor being that we are almost surrounded by intact males.

Dont discount the fact that spaying is MAJOR surgery. Organs are
removed. There is risk involved. Vets will tell you its routine but ask any
woman thats had a hysterectomy. Its not routine.

Abby had complications from her surgery. Some serious bleeding
a full 5 days after surgery. It required a 3 day hospital stay and had
me chewing my finger nails off. She has recovered fully but it required
more than twice the normal recovery time.
 

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The younger the dog, the less the risk of complications and, no, you can't compare this to a woman having a hysterectomy: different ages, different anatomy, different pain tolerance, and different hormone levels. It's the same physical parts, but that's about it.
 

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My sisters have agreed they would take one in as well, under the condition that they can afford one and have a yard.
How many sisters do you have? If you think you may want to breed her you should have a plan in case she has a large litter. Do you know of 10 or 12 people that would want a puppy?

With your classes on Sundays, I'd arrange to have her spayed on a Monday if possible. By the following week she should be well enough for class, but at the worst you'd only have to miss one class. Stitches usually remain in place for 10 days to 2 weeks, but she should be nearly back to normal within a few days. I'd avoid hard exercise in the meantime, but leash walks should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I called some veterinarians today to request information on how much it would cost to spay Texas. So far I am looking at 250 and above (mind you, not including any preliminary testing). I have decided to fix Texas after my friend's dog, a Poodle named Dolly (the one who was on the birth control but was let off it for year), has come down with pyrometra. Hearing and seeing his pain and tears has helped me to officially make my decision of fixing Texas.

The only thing is, I don't think I have the 300 I will need to fix her. I have spent about 800 on her in the 3 months I have had her (food, mineral and vitamin supplements, a huge box full of toys, countless of treats, countless of rawhides, training classes, training tools, crate, steal bowls and stands, harness, collars, leashes, veterinarian visits, and medications). There is a low cost clinic in my area that will charge me 80. They don't have a contact number, so I have to go there personally and see them. Do you think she would be ok to be fixed at a clinic like this? I know that she will have to stay overnight and they will also put a tattoo on her body to identify she has been fixed? What are some of the questions I should ask?
 

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Had my 3 females spayed at 5-6 months (many years apart) only had complications with the current GSD (staph infection) followed by peritonitis and major surgery. Very expensive and traumatic to Abby. She was afraid of vets for a year.... but is getting over it. The first 2 who have passed away lived 13 healthy years, hoping the same or more for Abby. Her spaying was a year ago today and she came out of all the surgery perfectly and has been in excellent health since.
Part of the message here and above is that it may come to more than the expected $300. Hope for the best but be prepared for complications.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It makes me worry. It is a very invasive procedure. Do you think a low cost clinic would be fine still vs. a veterinarian office?
 

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Low cost clinics still have a regular vet, vet tech's, etc. I have friends who started one....at first they relied on vet's donating their time...and they have built up to the point where they have been able to hire a vet that works strictly for them. They do awesome work/service for the community!!

Unless I had heard something bad (and you can certainly ask around about their reputation...call your local shelter, etc)....I would have no problem going this route.

I would ask if they are staffed over night. My vet has you take your pet home as they are not staffed over night...so there is no point in keeping the animal...they are better off home where they can be monitored.
 

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Thank you, MayaMom. My sister took her two female cats to this clinic and they kept them overnight. I am not sure if they are staffed at night. I will definitely look into this today. Thank you again.
 

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Based on this post:
We are all flawed. I personally think accidents can happen. Even if you plan to fix your dog, sometimes nature can take it course against your plan. I am not saying it happens all the time, but there are occasions and situations.
I'd say spay.
If you aren't 100% sure of your ability to prevent unwanted breedings, you should fix your dog.

If you can, I'd wait until she's fully grown, at least 12 months of age, before doing so.
The hormones that begin kicking in around that age, are what signals the growth plates in the dog's joints, to close. Early spay and neuter has significant health, and behavioral risks, associated.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...ognzdlpsagLeSLakw&sig2=-YvyI2pr9Wt_zkGgIvYgXQ
 

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I agree with SchDDR on waiting until she is older. In the meantime, can you start putting money toward her spay with your vet? Some females can take up to 18 mos to come into heat. Dealing with the blood is not the end of the world. I have had my female for 4 1/2 years, in my home, never an accidental or almost accidental litter. Missed training classes only when she was in a standing heat. She only comes into heat every 8 months. I have bloomers for her she wears and there is no mess.

I would recommend you get her spayed at the appropriate time. That would mean waiting a few more months for her growing to finish.
 

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The person I bought my girl from recommends (strongly) waiting until after two or three heat cycles to spay. I, too, was nervous about when the cycle would show up. So I was very cautious from about 7 months to when she did come into heat at just short of 15 months old. Normally (whatever that means) a bitch will have her first cycle somewhere between 6 and 18 months. Typically they bleed for 7 to 10 days. She bled for the entire three weeks but it wasn't particularly messy. I modified a pair of women's bikini underwear (straight cut down the front; insert pad (1/2 worked most days) legs through leg holes, tie in back) and they looked OK (use a dark color on a dark dog) and cost very little, wash easily & can be dried in the dryer or overnight by hanging. She wore them when she was indoors and out of her crate.
She will not be bred unless she turns out to be very exceptional (in getting titles, not just in my opinion!) I am not crazy about trying to appropriately place pups, about the possibility of loosing her during birth. I recall walking around my neighborhood in Wyoming - 1 acre lots, many with a dog or two. Seldom did I see a dog being walked or being loaded up to take anywhere. Here I see many more dogs being walked but I also see people simply letting their dogs loose.
 
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