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Discussion Starter #1
Juno is 8 months old, and started her heat cycle yesterday.

I am just wondering: how many of you spay your females? Why? Why not? Do you wish you had done it differently?

The breeder said to wait until about 12 - 18 months for growth plates (1 to 2 heat cycles), the vet says one heat cycle, one friend said you don't want puppies, another says she wishes she'd never spayed her Shih Tzu.

Are there any resources out there that you found particularly useful? And if your females are intact, what's it like living with them?
 

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Totally a personal opinion, but I actually prefer males for this reason. I don’t want to deal with the hassle of a heat, much less more than one. Sure, lots of people say they get into a groove and it’s not a big deal, but other times you hear horror stories. My female golden retriever was spayed after her first heat, and I remember hating the heat she did have. I would personally wait until my bitch was 18 months, then spay right away. I do think you want to spay at some point to avoid pyometra because that can be deadly.

Do you ever plan to breed? If not, why would you regret spaying down the road?
 

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There are three reasons that it seems people spay, and three types of spays that I know of. The main reasons to to spay are to prevent pregnancy, pyometra, and mammary tumors.

Sex hormones, in humans and dogs alike, are an important part of physical and mental development. We are still learning all the ways in which these hormones affect us. With dogs, the concern comes from the ovaries.

The most common type of spay (and the cheapest of the three) is the ovariohysterectomy. In this spay, both ovaries and uterus are removed. This means no pregnancy, pyometra, and a significantly reduced chance of mammary tumors (depending upon when the spay takes place).

The second type of spay is ovariectomy. Here just the ovaries are removed. Pretty much the same benefits as above, but the procedure is less invasive and the recovery time is shorter.

Lastly, a newer procedure now exists called the ovary-sparing spay. One or both ovaries are removed alongside the uterus. This is the most expensive, but the natural hormonal cycle can continue and possibly prevent things like osteoporosis and hip dysplasia. The costs for this procedure are ongoing. Our vet said we would need to get ultrasounds throughout Cannoli's life which can be expensive. This is because there will be at least a 25% chance of mammary tumor development. Furthermore, she would still get heat cycles, attract male dogs, and may still have some discharge. Again though, there may be more advantages than disadvantages in her growth and development.

Unspayed dogs have at least a 25% chance of developing mammary tumors if they go through a second heat cycle. If you choose one of the first two options, then you will not decrease her chances of developing these tumors if you wait too long.

It helps to talk to vets that perform each type of procedure to get the full list of pros and cons.

For us personally, our plan was to wait a year and one heat cycle (although our vet said the cycle was not important, just the year mark) before doing a lap spay. For us cost and convenience played a large role in addition to health concerns.

Edit: of the 25% of dogs that develop mammary tumors, half are benign. If you do an ovary sparing spay or chose not to spay, then frequently checking for tumors with ultrasounds means you could catch it early and treat it quickly. A 12.5 to 13% chance seems not too high to me personally but lots of people disagree. If cost was not an issue, I would lean heavily to ovary sparing.


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The breeder is correct.
There used to be a great website called AngryVet, written by veterinarians, but I don’t see it anymore. However, since the internet is forever, I found some of what was on that site.
561637
 

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My 10 month old female is just getting over her first heat.

Her spay and pexy is already scheduled for Friday, 8/28/20. Needs a month to calm down, as well as the physical swelling, etc

She’s my 9th GSD (I always have multiples), in roughly 25 years - my fourth female. My other three females had unremarkable medical histories and lived to 10.5, 11.5 and 13 y/o.

She lives with two other GSD’s in my home - 22 month old male, 6 year old male - both neutered. They’re all in my avatar.

There’s bunches of information (call it that) on this forum, regarding your question / topic.

In my mind, there’s no educator like experience.

My real life, real GSD experience has been that there’s zero negative impact, if spayed (or neutered) at about one year of age or older.

Best of luck in whatever decision you make!
 

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I adopted my female GSD, she immediately went into heat, and 3-4 weeks after it ended I had her spayed. She was 3 years old. And she had been accidentally bred to a close relative before that and had 2 very ill puppies.

For me, the blood/mess was just one of the unwanted effects of a hormonal dog. They also have mood swings, and heat can be painful for some dogs, not to mention the anxiety for the owner about accidental breeding/roaming males. TBH, I'm a little jealous of her. I mean, I guess I'm grateful for what my reproductive organs did during my development but since I don't have kids (and probably won't) they're more trouble than they're worth.

Yeah some of that is tongue in cheek but...also not. :)
 

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After many years and many dogs here are my thoughts.
Mammary tumors are really not all that common, about a quarter of all intact females over 2 ( that's all dogs,with this breed not very high risk) and about 50 % of those malignant.
Pyo scares me only because of the fatal potential. Scarier as they age and scarier still if you are far from vet care or poor.
I have had females spayed at all ages and not at all.
Not at all is a pain in the petunia. Seriously.
My next pup will be spayed sometime between 3 and 5, likely around 3.
IMHO, a year does not give them time to finish growing and those hormones are also vital for brain development, which definitely isn't done by then.
Further to that studies prove that spaying increases aggression issues. My thoughts are that it has to do with sexual identity which certainly isn't developed at a year.
Do make sure that you track her heat cycles and spay mid way between if you do decide to.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have no plans to breed her (as amazing as she is).

I am going to see how this heat cycle unfolds and whether I am ok with the spotting etc or if it makes me crazy. It's day 2, we have cloth diapers, and so far so good.

Sounds like 12 months may be too early.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One question that I meant to ask: will it impact her "drive"? or her ability to work as a PP dog?
That is my goal with her...
 

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We had Halo spayed at 13 months old. With Cava I wanted to wait until she was 2, which was early January. I've been trying to get her spayed ever since, lol. She went into heat 2 weeks before the first appointment so I had to reschedule. Then the doctor was not going to be there that day so the vet rescheduled. Then the doctor was not going to be there THAT day either, but they wouldn't give me a new date because non-essential surgeries were not being scheduled due to Covid. It's been 6 months since her last heat so it will probably happen again any day now, pushing us into October. Hopefully I'll be able to get it done then.

Cava's heats are no big deal, she barely bleeds and is extremely clean. But no boarding kennels will take an unspayed or unneutered male over a certain age. That's not a huge factor right now since we don't have plans to go on vacation any time soon, but if she's in heat I can't race her in a flyball tournament either. Also not a huge factor right now since she's still in training, we haven't had practice for a few months and I have no idea when tournaments will resume, but at some point it will become relevant again.
 

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One question that I meant to ask: will it impact her "drive"? or her ability to work as a PP dog?
That is my goal with her...
All female dogs that deploy with US forces are spayed. I'd say 5-10% of the dogs spayed lost some working ability and were no longer able to deploy.
 

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All female dogs that deploy with US forces are spayed. I'd say 5-10% of the dogs spayed lost some working ability and were no longer able to deploy.
I was hoping you would answer. Most LE dogs are male, also most of the border dogs, and most private sector dogs so I have no stats.
People say they lose drive. Sabi, if anything, got more focused. But that could have been maturity also and my other female was spayed before I got her.
 
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