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Discussion Starter #1
Well, if it's not teaching bite inhibition, house-training, OB, too much food, too little food, worms, day care, and the other hundreds of things I worry about, here's one more...

Sam will be six months here in a couple of weeks and I have been going back and forth on whether to get her fixed or not.

I need some pros and cons, or whatever else anyone has to offer.

So here is a little about my critter:

Almost turning 6 months and I was told to get her spayed before her first heat.

I am not overly concerned about her getting knocked up. She is with me almost constantly, as I am an over-protective father.

We are going the path of SchH or PPD, it's still a little early to tell. I don't want her getting fixed to affect her performance.

(Sigh) My worries are that she is so young that she really hasn't had time to develop. I am also worried that if I don't get it done then something awful is going to happen, but on the same coin, I am worried about going through what MrLeadFoot did.

Help?

s.t.s.
 

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First off spays are for the most part safe.In my personal experience with other dog owners I don't know anyone who has had complications.I am a woman and from my point of view having a monthly or for a dog every few months sucks,don't put her through that.Why worry yourself about something happening if you can prevent it.Males dogs are very resourceful to get to a female in heat.It is safer for her to be spayed then to go through life and get different woman cancers.Unless you plan on becoming a breeder,I say just do it.(spay her)In females I don't think it will effect her performance level.
 

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I would wait. She needs those hormones to develop, they don't regulate only heat cycles, but a lot of things more that are very complex and personally I wouldn't mess with, specially if you plan to work with her. Years ago I spayed my BC just after her first heat and I still regret it, there is no coming back, while waiting a few months don't harm. All the horror stories of females in heat are more than anything to scare irresponsible owners that don't understand the responsibility of having a dog (spayed or not) and sadly we need those bogeyman tales to control dog population. But if you are a caring owner simple measures prevent females to get pregnant, it is not rocket science either.

Most working people will recommend you to wait until 14-18 months of age, I'd wait even more, to 24-36 to ensure the dog is mature not only physically but psychologically.

http://www.caninesports.com/EarlySpayConsiderations.pdf

I like to let nature do her job before thinking in my own convenience (yes, it is easier for any owner to have a spayed female than not). Usually my philosophy is not to fix what is not broken.
 

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If you spay here before her first heat her lifetime risk of mammary cancer is close to zero. If you wait until she's 18months old or so (a recommendation I often see on this board), the risk goes up to something like 22%. For me, that's reason enough. However, there are trade offs with either choice and you need to do what's right for you.

I will say though that the article above is a very poor piece of evidence for anything, other than the power of the Internet. It's an op ed by a person who is opposed to S/N. I know it gets cited all the time but if you actually read the articles he's claiming support his position, many of them don't. I think at least one of them doesn't even mention what he's saying it does.

So it pays to do your own research of actual scientific journals, otherwise you're getting everything filtered through someone else's opinion.
 

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Spay before first heat/pediatric spay is an American thing - 'heats' are a natural part of life, if you're confident in your ability to manage, then I'd wait.
Surgical neutering dramatically alters the biochemical profile, we condone it for our convenience & stress the health benefits while downplaying the negative effects, instead of educating pet owners on responsible pet management.
North American vets push early spay/neuter - I have friends who loved their vet clinic but were informed that if they didn't alter their dog by 6months, they were no longer welcome as clients

Another friend purchased a lab from a breeder who included in the contract that the dog would not be spayed until 11-12 months, at every puppy appointment, the clinic continued to push spay (are we spaying her today - even though she was booked for vaccines - let's book her in for a spay next week etc) despite the fact that the owner had clearly stated that his dog would not be spayed prior to 11 months as per their contract!

As with any surgical procedure there is an element of risk, most pets come through alters just fine, a few do not - when it's your dog/cat in the few, the numbers seem alot more significant.

So don't let anyone make this decision for you or push you in one direction or the other - she <u>your</u> Sam, <u>you</u> get to decide.
 

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Quote:Surgical neutering dramatically alters the biochemical profile
Citation please?

Here's the thing about "natural" - Nature has designed us all to reproduce. Natural selection is driven by whatever traits allow maximum reproduction and survival of the offspring to reproduce themselves. It's called survival of the "fittest" but "fitness" refers to reproductive capacity, not actual health - health is only relevant in as much as it affects reproductive capacity. There is NO evolutionary advantage to living past reproductive age, and living into old age confers no "fitness". It's not a trait evolution favors because there's no way for natural selection to act on it.

So, while being unspayed (and having puppies) is "natural", it doesn't then follow that being unspayed is "healthier." Those are two totally different things when you're talking about a senior animal which is when a lot of the health problems we're talking about occur.

I totally agree about making your own decision, it's just important to do so based on facts and scientific evidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yowsers!

I have always been leaning a little to letting her mature, you know doing the normal dog thing.

I knew coming in to the topic that there are very opinionated peeps in both camps. That is good. It is also good that others chime in, after all it's the 'net.

So playing devil's advocate here, other than the increase in breast cancer, what else would I be in for? How crazy do they get when in heat, etc.

Oh yeah --->
 

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Depends on the dog. Some dogs you barely notice it, other than the drips, and a few dogs don't even drip much, still others it's like a gory horror flick.

Behaviorally, some dogs become very moody, some act depressed, some get a wanderlust, some seem completely fine. It really varies.

If you go that route, keep your eye out for pyometra which is an infection of the uterus and is potentially life threatening if not caught and treated.
 

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I started this thread:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1068251&page=1#Post1068251 to ask about heat.

I have worked with a lot of spayed females (women). It did not effect their performance.
Sorry! I've been dying to say that. It did seem like a lot of teachers I worked with had to have surgical procedures removing reproductive organs-and all were great teachers, lots of drive, and could still catch kindergarteners trying to run away that first month of school...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
At what age does a German Shepherd reach physical and sexual maturity?
 

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Originally Posted By: JeanKBBMMMAAN

I have worked with a lot of spayed females. It did not effect their performance.
Sorry! I've been dying to say that. It did seem like a lot of teachers I worked with had to have surgical procedures removing reproductive organs-and all were great teachers, lots of drive, and could still catch kindergarteners trying to run away that first month of school...
Good one!

But they were spayed before or after puberty/maturity?
 

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Chama is now 14 years old. I had her spayed at 5.5 months old. She has had no health problem because of it and her drive (prey) kicked in like crazy at about 8 months, right on schedule.

I spayed Massie at 6 months. She had tremendous drive throughout her life. I think I still have scars to prove it!
 

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This link contains an excellent summary of spay/neuter in dogs (seminar was gven in May 2007 so data for the referances would be current as of beginning 2006 or earlier, re the timeline for concluded research, paper written, submitted, peer reviewed, edited, finally published).

If you scroll down to the section on mammary cancer, there is an " Odds ratio" of 0.26 given for 2 or more estrus cycles - this is a statistical term that is NOT meant to be read as 26 percent.

An interesting article should your dog be diagnosed with mammary cancer
Influence of Host Factors on Survival in Dogs with Malignant Mammary Gland Tumors
Jeffrey C. Philibert 1 , 3 , 4 , Paul W. Snyder 2 , Nita Glickman 2 , Larry T. Glickman 2 , Deborah W. Knapp 1 David J. Waters 1

Some article lists for surgical alters:
http://www.mmilani.com/spay-neuter-references.html
http://slushpuppy.50webs.com/references.htm

Most current articles require a subscription to read/download so you can check with your vet (I would hope every vet would at least have subscriptions to veterinary journals) or college, university, & municipal libraries.
 

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Grace was spayed at 5 months (before I got her) and has drive through the roof. She was one of the driviest dogs on our SAR team. Jury's still out on her longevity - hoping for 25 years at least! But she's 9 years old now, never had any ortho issues or injuries and can still hike 10 miles or so over rough terrain without issue. Knocking on wood for that to continue!

I think the drive question is an interesting one though. It came up on another one of these threads and people on both sides offered anecdotal evidence, but there didn't seem to be much in the way of actual scientific studies. A couple people alluded to some vaguely but were never able to produce any citations or evidence.

I wish someone would study it because that's an issue that could really have bearing on a lot of these decisions when we're talking about working dogs.
 

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Quote:This link contains an excellent summary of spay/neuter in dogs (seminar was gven in May 2007 so data for the referances would be current as of beginning 2006 or earlier, re the timeline for concluded research, paper written, submitted, peer reviewed, edited, finally published).
And if you read that article, in spite of the fact that it's written by a woman who is in general opposed to S/N, she still concludes that the health evidence for spaying/not spaying is equivocal and complicated and makes a pretty good case for spaying before the first heat.

Quote:If you scroll down to the section on mammary cancer, there is an " Odds ratio" of 0.26 given for 2 or more estrus cycles
From: http://www.acvs.org/AnimalOwners/HealthConditions/SmallAnimalTopics/MammaryTumorsinCatsandDogs/
Quote:Mammary tumors can be prevented by spaying before 6 months of age. The risk of developing a mammary tumor is 0.5% in dogs spayed before 6 months of age (or their first heat) compared to 26% (and up to 71% in some reports) if spayed after 2 years of age. Cats spayed before 6 months of age have a 7-times reduced risk of developing mammary cancer and spaying at any age reduces the risk of mammary tumors by 40% to 60% in cats.
This is supported in the lit. I'll try to find some citations that are open access.

The lifetime risk is actually quite hight and waiting even one heat cycle sends it up dramatically - far more than waiting reduces the risk of other, even less common cancers.
People seem to be applying two different standard of logic to make the case that not spaying is healthier and it doesn't work.

Again - there really are pros and cons on both sides but you've got to do the legwork to make an informed decision.
 

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Quote:Citation please?
sorry no specific citation - it's basic biochemistry, textbook & journals articles ... (OK maybe that should read as basic biochemistry if you're a biochemist
):

strictly as an example (since I hate google on a non-university system)
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=&...j=bio&hl=en&lr=

I guess you don't subscribe to the views on evolution that "fitness" may be completely temporal & a reflection of "right place/right time" ie Lamarck did not write what was for many years considered to be "Lamarck's theory", Mendel cheated when he counted etc ...

Sorry Sam's dad this is getting waaay off topic
 

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If by basic biochemistry and altered blood profiles you mean they have reduced levels of circulating hormones then yeah, of course they do. But if you mean it alters other blood profile factors like WBC or etc, then we need a citation.

Quote:strictly as an example (since I hate google on a non-university system)
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_q=&...j=bio&hl=en&lr=
Did you read this carefully?
Because their conclusion was that removing just the ovaries is faster than removing both the ovaries and uterus and they didn't find any differences in outcome. It's NOT saying that dogs who kept uterus were any healthier, it's saying there was no difference so why not go with the easier procedure? In either case the ovaries and therefore the hormones were removed, so it doesn't confer whatever benefits there are (if any) to "normal" hormone function. And I guess my answer to the "why not do what's easier and quicker?" question would be that a complete ovariohysterectomy is still not a prolonged procedure if done by a competent surgeon and since the uterus is giving no benefit by its presence and is allowing for the potential of future pyometra, I'd rather the vet spent the extra 5 minutes and got it out too.

Quote:I guess you don't subscribe to the views on evolution that "fitness" may be completely temporal & a reflection of "right place/right time" ie Lamarck did not write what was for many years considered to be "Lamarck's theory", Mendel cheated when he counted etc ...
If you understand the basic concept of natural selection, then you understand that it depends exclusively on reproduction - there is no way for a trait that is only beneficial post-reproduction to be favored.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Originally Posted By: Alto
Sorry Sam's dad this is getting waaay off topic
I was reading your post and then it got to the basic biochemistry part and then I started to daydream about swimming pools, then I finished it up.


I have had to make some tough decisions in regards Sam's well being and training. Though I haven't posted much, I certainly have read many of the topics in the past 7 months. Early on I had to come up with the "right" answer.

In regards to our dogs, the only right answer is the one that we can live with. I had to choices early on, so I went with one vet tech, who in turn has became our trainer and friend. I ask one simple question: " Is this what's best for my dog?"

She tells me what to do and I go with it. Suffice it to say, she recommends that I get her spayed before her first heat. I do not know why I am faltering on this choice. Perhaps because it involves a medical procedure, or maybe that there is haziness in regards to emperical data stating how it will affect, not any, not every, but MY dog.

Just fishin' in the dark son, just fishin' in the dark....

If anyone feels that copious amounts of cheap beer will help my decision making process, please let me know.
 

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Unfortunately No beer won't make the decision easier but it's worth a try. This is something everyone is going to give a different opinion on.You have to find a person you trust and take their advice.I guess I was lucky I just did it.Being a woman I think it was easy to decide.If I could do it I probably would too.
 

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Quote: I ask one simple question: " Is this what's best for my dog?"
And that really is what it all boils down to. We all (hopefully) try to make the best possible decision for our beloved dog.

If it helps any, while there is risk with any surgery, MrLeadFoot's experience was extremely unusual and almost certainly due to the medicines his clinic gave him not the procedure itself. If you go ahead with the spay, find out from your friend the tech what kind of anesthesia will be used and whether they use a breath monitor. Both these things will affect the safety of the procedure. The other thing is that the younger the dog and the fewer heats they've had, the quicker and easier the procedure because the organs are smaller and there's less blood flow. So if you're pretty sure you're going to spay at some point, purely from a surgical prospective, it's better to do it sooner rather than later.

Good luck with it all! And yes, beer might help - if not in the decision making, perhaps in the aftermath.
 
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