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At what age should someone get their GSD fixed? I heated to early can cause joint issues later in life.
 

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I would wait till the growth plates close. I would not do anything till 18 months (if at all). I would keep my male in tact, unless there was a specific medical issue the required me to castrate. Which turns out, I had to to when he turned 3.
 

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with a male I agree that it can be better to simply wait until it is necessary if at all. With a female it is different. Each heat can raise the risk of mammary cancer and tumors. And there is the inconvenience of having to restrict what your female does at least twice a year for about a month each time. Still, if you can wait until a female is full grown that might be the best answer.
 

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with a male I agree that it can be better to simply wait until it is necessary if at all. With a female it is different. Each heat can raise the risk of mammary cancer and tumors. And there is the inconvenience of having to restrict what your female does at least twice a year for about a month each time. Still, if you can wait until a female is full grown that might be the best answer.
Fixing your bitch for convenience is a personal choice. Quinnie is currently in heat. If I let her in, she will have to wear a diaper or she will bleed all over my bed as she did last night. Various canine sports, training, etc., will need to be postponed for a couple of weeks. That is up to the owner and no one should feel negatively about their decision to spay or not to spay.

As for mammary cancer, well, we are taught to believe that it will prevent it. I don't know what the risks are, what the numbers are of mammary cancer. Have I heard of it, certainly, but from no one I know. I have never spayed a bitch by first, second, or third heat, and have never experienced mammary tumors in my bitches. Nor pyometra, which I have heard of first hand. I expect it is just a matter of time, IF what has been promoted was based on fact and not just to promote altering dogs.

I suppose that makes me a bit cynical. But I have a real skeptical feeling of increasing the risk of some pretty bad cancers by doing something totally un-natural, to prevent something that may or may not be a true health concern facing all bitches. My grandmother and my aunt had breast cancer, but I am not cutting off mine to prevent it, nor am I cutting out my womb and ovaries to prevent it. There was one rather small study in Rottweilers that suggests that the longer one maintains their pieces parts, the longer their natural longevity. And doctors do not alter women willy nilly either. They leave an ovary if at all possible, even if other stuff must be removed for a medical reason, because hormones are for more than reproduction.

So if you don't want to separate dog and bitch, or you don't want to deal with messy heat cycles, or don't want to put your bitch on the shelf for a few weeks -- don't have the luxury of switching your training to another critter during her heat cycle, than that's up to you. For health reasons, I think the jury is way out on that.
 

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with a male I agree that it can be better to simply wait until it is necessary if at all. With a female it is different. Each heat can raise the risk of mammary cancer and tumors. And there is the inconvenience of having to restrict what your female does at least twice a year for about a month each time. Still, if you can wait until a female is full grown that might be the best answer.
I have heard that for (less chance of) breast cancer if spayed after the first heat there is the most protection statistically. After the second heat 8% less of a protective factor. After that spaying offers no protection statistically. I am having Inga spayed after the first of the year, she's had two heats.

She is my first GSD bitch. I must say, at her last heat there was so much blood on the porch it looked like someone had butchered a chicken.

I would like to know- how does it change them? Obviously neutering a dog would affect him because he no longer has testosterone. But a bitch seems not so influenced by her hormones except when going, being and going out of heat, that is, twice a year.
 

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From the above study on GSDs. (MC is mammary Cancer.)

"One of the frequently mentioned advantages of early neutering of female dogs is protection against MC (Root Kustritz 2007). While none of the females neutered at <6 months were diagnosed with MC, we found that only 4% of intact females followed through 11 years were diagnosed with MC. Neutering at 1 year and beyond resulted in an incidence level about the same as intact females. There may be important genetic breed-line differences in the occurrence of MC that are not portrayed in the database. But, the relatively low level of MC occurrence in the intact females suggests that MC is not a major disease for this breed, at least through 11 years of age. Relevant to the discussion of MC is the recent meta-analysis of published studies on neutering females and MC, finding that the evidence linking neutering to a reduced risk of MC is weak (Beauvais et al. 2012)."

Ok, what about pyometra?
 

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I've had female spayed mutts before and they lived good long lives. This is my first pup that I've had since 8 weeks. I spayed between her 2nd and 3rd heats. The biggest change I saw was the her nipples all got smaller. Mentally she no longer goes through the mood swings of changing hormones. And my intact male isn't spending a week and a half doing nothing more than singing songs of his adoration and love. She still has spunk. I feed her a bit less. I've read that neutered dogs need less calories and in my case that seems to be true.

But this is my only female dog that I've had intact even if it were only for 18 months. I've seen with some others in our club that it can vary quite a bit how dogs respond to their heats.
 

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Last week at the show, I mentioned to my friend that maybe Quinnie was coming into heat. Since she was in heat the last week of July through two weeks in August it would be early, but.... Yep, went in the day before yesterday, about 5 days after it struck me that she may be coming in. She wasn't moody. She had momentary skittishness that is not normal for her. And while she allowed a bazillion (yes that is a word) people to pet her and even KISS her, she was a little less outgoing than normal.

As for the amount of blood? It varies, even with the same bitch. Bear never had a heavy period, this time it looked pretty heavy. Joy had one that I thought was scary. But she was perfectly fine and her next heat was normal. Ramona is spewing now too. There is something about the herd-effect.

Babs and Jenna are 12, Heidi 11, Milla and Ninja 9, Joy 8, Bear 7.5 -- all are intact, no mammary cancer yet, no pyo.

Princess (shepherd hound mix we had when I was a kid) was spayed after the lion dog got to her when she was in heat. We got her at 9 months, and she was spayed about 3-4 months later. At 18 months she got an aggressive form of stomach cancer. But they did surgery and got it. All. She ended up living to be around 14. We put her down when she started having seizures and there were neurological signs according to our vet. It was time.
 
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