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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! My female is a little over 2 yrs old and I am debating whether to spay or not. I have been reading some conflicting articles on spaying females. Most agree that spaying them before their first heat dramatically decreases their chances of mammary cancer ( but she has already had several heat cycles so I don't know if this would still apply to me). However, there are negatives to spaying as well. I am not worried about pregnancy b/c she is an inside dog and she is very trained and does not run off or anything like that. Any advice? Do spayed dogs live longer, healtheir lives?
 

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Thanks but I am trying to base my decision on medical/health reasons and not on possible irreponsiblity of an owner (which would not apply to me b/c she will not get pregnant by accident). I want to hear the medical/health pros and cons of people with GSDs.
 

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In response, I was just letting you know that my spayed female is healthy. Is this not considered a health related response?? My apologies for sounding like I was insinuating that you are an irresponsible dog owner. I just wanted to offer what I could.....that there is at least one healthy spayed female out there.....I thought you might want as many answers as possible to gain more insight into the subject. I'm sure others will have loads of information, but that was mine, I'm sorry if wasn't what you were looking for.
 

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Lots of discussion on this in the Health section - you should probably have posted your question there.
 

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Never say never, it is called an accident for a reason. Even the most responciable person can slip up.

Though besides that, pyometra is my #1 reason for spaying a female who isn't going to be bred. If you want any good reason, that is one for me. It nearly killed my girl and the bills to fix it totalled roughly 10 spays.
 

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I second Chance's mom.!!
 

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Some folks never spay and their dog lives a full wonderful life. Some spay laterin life due to health concerns. One thing for certain (backed up by a recent study) spaying too early IS NOT the way to go.

I would wait as long as possible before thinking about it.
 

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SPAY!

I always wait until after the second heat for my girls. You want the hormones for normal growth, but once they are grown, do the spay....I've recently had a bunch of friends that just were too lazy to get the surgery for their dogs, but ended up with REALLY ill dogs and super $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ surgery from pyrometra. Scary scary.

Here's the article about why wait until grown...

http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html
 

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The only dog that I ever had with cancer was a spayed shepherd mix. It was stomach cancer, very aggressive, did surgery, she recovered, and the vet said 12-18 months. She was 1 1/2 at the time of the surgery. She did live to 14.

Since I spayed arwen nearly two years ago (at almost seven years) she has developed some low thyroid numbers. This was manifest in a dull coat, and foul smell as though she were incontinent. I put her on thyroxine, but when I changed foods, I took her off the thyroxine with the blessing of my vet and we are waiting to take a new blood test to see if the new food provides what she needs. Thyroid was only 1 point lower than acceptable range.

I have not dealt with pyometra, but have known people who have. I will take my chances, and spay if there is an issue. I know that I could lose a bitch that way, but frankly, you can lose a bitch to a spay as well.

Arwen hemmoraged badly after her spay, needed to be hospitalized again.

This is why I do not spay a healthy bitch:

1. My dogs are kept in covered, kennels with a concrete base, fenced around, and sorry Chance's Mom, but they CANNOT get pregnant without my blessing.

2. I believe that the hormones generated in the ovaries, are for more than reproduction or growth. I think that like women, those hormones are missed later on, but unlike women, bitches are not generally given hormone therapy.

3. The uterine horns are attached to the bladder, and a sloppy spay can cause incontinance for the rest of your bitch's life. There is medicine to counteract this, but I do not know whether that is safe or desireable.

4. Any time a critter is put under ansesthetic, complications can happen. I have a friend who spayed an older bitch, and right after the spay, her ten year old bitch suddenly started to have siezures. People can develop siezure disorders due to anesthetic issues. I cannot see why dogs cannot. And dogs can die while under the knife. I know as many people personally that have lost their dogs to spay/neuter surgeries, as people who have lost their dogs to pyometra.

5. There was a study that said that spayed females can become more aggressive. I do not have a marker to the study. But the female hormone created has a calming agent in it. It is not like getting rid of testosterone, it actually can work in the reverse.

Lastly, I do not mind heat cycles, it is just part of owning bitches, and is not onerous to me. So I really do not have any good reason to spay. Beyond a certain age, if my dog is under for another reason unrelated to their reproductive system, then I might consider a spay at the same time.
 

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Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLeeSPAY!

I always wait until after the second heat for my girls. You want the hormones for normal growth, but once they are grown, do the spay....I've recently had a bunch of friends that just were too lazy to get the surgery for their dogs, but ended up with REALLY ill dogs and super $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ surgery from pyrometra. Scary scary.

Here's the article about why wait until grown...

http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html
The next female we have will be spayed probably around the same time frame MRL mentions above. Not sure, but then again our next female will probably be years from now. Allie was spayed when she came to us from rescue (she was about 1 yrs old) Meeka, however, was my husband's dog (and then ours) he had from a pup that I knew from about 4 yrs old to 12 yrs old.. She had an emergency spay when she was 5 due to pyometra, so the details are fuzzy to me as I was not living with her, but she was SICK. I remember visiting her in the hospital.

I asked my husband right now while I was typing this why he did not spay her earlier, I asked before but he never really had a response. He said quote " I was ignorant" NOW, I am not in any way shape or form saying that people that do not spay their dogs are ignorant, I don't think he is saying that either, please do not take it that way. Just thought that was an interesting gut response from him, as he was the one that went through all of this with her. She was never a breeding dog/or was bred, he just never spayed her, as he thought it was natural to let her be. She was a great dog, never any real temperament or health problems with the exception of severe HD. She had an FHO at age seven, so I wouldn't think that was related to the spay? Any thoughts on that?

It was along time ago and we would have to dig up vet records but after her pyometra (which she survived and lived another 7 years) he says when all said and done it was between 3-5,000 dollars for everything that happened during that period of time with the pyo (cannot remember exactly but think it is on the upper end of the estimate). And most importantly she was sicker than a dog. I know not all cases of pyometra are that severe.

Am I saying that all females that are not spayed will get pyometra? Absolutely not. Am I saying that people are ignorant for not spaying females? Heck No! But am I saying that I would rather spay my next female (as non-breeders) at around 1 yrs old vs EVER having the chance that we witness/ have a dog go through what Meeka did? Yup.

I am just not of the belief right now (and that could change if some solid research come out, I am open in my views) that a dog/bitch that is n/s is going to live any less of a healthy long life than a dog/bitch that is not n/s. Nothing changed for Meeka after her spay, she was happy and lived a good life until age 12.

Selzer I think your reasons are very valid and well thought out
good for you! I hope other owners think through things as thoroughly as you have.

On the topic, we just had our male neutered at age 3.5. Wanted to wait for development and such, probably could have done it sooner. Allie, our female, like I said was around 1-2 when she was spayed, is now 3.5. Our sample size is small only having had 3 GSD's but she has been the healthiest and even tempered of all 3, though the earliest one to get "fixed."
 

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Originally Posted By: DocSome folks never spay and their dog lives a full wonderful life. Some spay laterin life due to health concerns. One thing for certain (backed up by a recent study) spaying too early IS NOT the way to go.

I would wait as long as possible before thinking about it.
if it is the study i am thinking of regarding early spay and longevity, i consider it to have such a tiny sample size as to be incomplete at best in its conclusions.

i still consider the known risks of mammary cancer to outweigh known risks of spaying early, therefore i choose to spay before the first heat.

the few people i know who had truly "accidental" litters had also proclaimed that they would be diligent and their dog would never get pregnant. it happens every day. id say anyone who does not have an absolute foolproof way of preventing this should spay.
 

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So I expressed that badly - there are numerous threads about this already - I would look those up.
 

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The dog asked about is already too old for any real benefit to be had for spaying early with regards to mammary cancer.

Anyone who does not have a foolproof way of preventing pregnancy, has a containment problem and maybe shouldn't own GSDs. I have no patience for the oopse litter. It is almost as bad as allowing your dog to bite someone. It hurts everyone by giving proponents of speuter legislation ammunition.

Blaming the kids or the husband is just another excuse. If you want to keep your dog, you HAVE to contain it properly. It may be that first or second cycle when it truly tests your confinement. But something the OP said about his bitch stays at home or doesn't wander really does make me a bit nervous. This is not something the bitch or dog decides to do or not, it is something that if there is any way possible, they will, hands down. We have to make sure there is no way possible. We should do that regardless of the dog's reproductive status.
 

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So according to you selzer, the majority of people on this board or really almost anyone who owns any dog shouldn't have one because they don't have the same set up as you?
 

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Originally Posted By: Chance's MomSo according to you selzer, the majority of people on this board or really almost anyone who owns any dog shouldn't have one because they don't have the same set up as you?
Where is that said???
Selzer has GREAT points.......
 

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Selzer said that if there is any way for the dog to get pregnant then they have a containment problem. Most dog owners do not have cement kennels, if they have any fencing it is typically a basic chain link, wooden, ect type fence. This means there is a risk of the dog jumping, climbing, digging under, ect. There are also risk of the door not always being shut correctly for another example of an oops I'm a human and make mistakes moment which could lead to a pregnancy. How many people can honestly say they physically go check every door on their fence to make sure it is for sure locked and not just somewhat latched but looks like it is completely locked. How many who say they always do can honestly say there hasn't been once or twice they let the dogs out without more than just looking to see they are shut since they plan to come right back out after using the bathroom, grabbing a drink, ect?
 

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I'm not saying they don't have good points I'm just saying that most people don't have the same fool proof set up and it isn't uncommon for people to underestimate their dogs.
 

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I will not apologize or take back my statement. I will go farther into the hole.

Leaving a dog in a fenced area, a yard, or kennel is not ok. Unless you have a fool proof method of keeping your dog home, then your dog should not be outside on its own. If you cannot manage this, than maybe you should not own a large, intelligent, powerful working breed that has a reputation.

Someone who has trained their farm dogs from puppies on up, can possibly leave them on the property protecting the house and barns. I never would, but I could see this being a possibility. If that person has an intact bitch, she had better have a foolproof method to keep her home.

People do not need a concrete kennel, they can keep the dog crated in the house when they are not home. The crate or kennel or covered x pen would have to be a good construction and escape proof, especially if there are intact males and females in residence.

When you are home, people who choose to have intact dogs of both sexes need to be able to keep them separated during seasons. Playing musical crates, going outside with each individually. It is a couple of weeks a year. Some people even kennel one or the other.

But if you cannot be sure of your containment, then you are a liability. There is always the chance that a dog might take the meter reader or UPS man as a preditor and if the dog can get to them, it hurts us all. A dog may see the deer in the adjoining field and work his way out of a fence. Then it gets shot or run over or any host of things.

People should not own these dogs if they cannot contain them. A single fence is generally not enough unless you are outside with them.
 
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