Best age to spay? When to expect first heat? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 11-20-2010, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our pups (maltese/poodle mixes) are about 5 months old. I have read conflicting advice on when to spay a female pup. What are your opinions on this topic? Before or after the first heat? They are currently about 8-9 lbs each. Also, I have read that the first heat can come anywhere from 6 to 12 months - with the smaller breeds, what is your experience?

 

Thanks! I appreciate any advice and input on this!

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#2 of 15 Old 11-20-2010, 03:53 PM
 
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I can't offer you any direct experience as I have a 19 week old male puppy, but I have been researching neutering. I don't plant to neuter until my puppy is at least a year old, likely over 18 months, but he is a giant breed (mastiff), so to ensure proper growth he should not be neutered before fully grown. Obviously, in your puppies' case it is very different. Anyway, I found this research paper highly informative:

 

 

Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs

 

 

 

 

Quote:

Ms Sanborn has reviewed the veterinary medical literature in an exhaustive and scholarly treatise,

attempting to unravel the complexities of the subject. More than 50 peer-reviewed papers were examined to

assess the health impacts of spay / neuter in female and male dogs, respectively. One cannot ignore the

findings of increased risk from osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, hypothyroidism, and other less frequently

occurring diseases associated with neutering male dogs. It would be irresponsible of the veterinary

profession and the pet owning community to fail to weigh the relative costs and benefits of neutering on the

animal’s health and well-being. The decision for females may be more complex, further emphasizing the

need for individualized veterinary medical decisions, not standard operating procedures for all patients.


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#3 of 15 Old 11-20-2010, 05:22 PM
 
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IMO you should go with whatever your vet suggests.  With small breeds, sometimes they like to wait a bit longer than larger breeds just to give the dog more reserves to draw on after surgery, but I also know that the shelter I worked at for several years would s/n any animal who was at least 8 weeks and 2.5lbs and had a fabulous record.

 

IME small breeds go into heat sooner than larger breeds, often right around 5-6 months, though it's a very individual thing.


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#4 of 15 Old 11-20-2010, 05:29 PM
 
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If you spay before the first heat you lessen their chance of mammary cancer greatly. Most smaller breeds go into heat around 8-9 months. I waited to spay my yorkie/maltese until 6 or 7 months. My great dane I spayed right at a year.


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#5 of 15 Old 11-21-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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I would spay after the first heat for a small dog. But its a highly individual decision, if you don't feel that you could handle a heat cycle and keep your dog from being bred, you should definitely spay her beforehand. A female dog in heat can NEVER be left unattended. Male dogs have been known to climb fences to get to females, and in some instances, dogs can even mate through chain link. So you have to be prepared to watch her very closely when she is not safely confined in the house.

Spaying before the first heat does lower the risk of mammary cancer, but the risk of other cancers goes up. Its about balancing risk. the risk of mammary cancer raise a little with every heat cycle- so one heat cycle raises it a little, but never spaying raises it a lot. Also, you should check to see if your dog has an innie or outie vulva. In some immature female dogs the vulva is recessed. It nearly always self corrects after the first heat when the hormones produce a sexually mature vulva. But if you spay before and your dog is an innie, it might stay like that and it can cause health issues down the road. This page explains a little about this- http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/ins-outs.html

I'll also link you some really great articles on spay/neuter times. Most come from respected journal or are heavily cited-

Easy to read, from a vet's website
http://www.mmilani.com/commentary-200509.html

Spay specific, a study done in Rottweilers
http://www.gpmcf.org/respectovaries.html

Easy to follow, mostly focuses on canine athletes
http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

Technical and long, but excellent and comprehensive
http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf

For pet owners, from a Labrador breeder
http://www.claircrest.com/Problemswi...pay-neuter.pdf

Long and technical but excellent, from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/pdf...ma.231.11.1665
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#6 of 15 Old 11-22-2010, 06:35 AM
 
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There's no right answer to be found I discovered.  We waited until after our pup had her first heat, which was right around 6-7 months.  She isn't a small breed though.  I'd ask your vet.

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#7 of 15 Old 11-22-2010, 08:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubliette8 View Post


Easy to read, from a vet's website
http://www.mmilani.com/commentary-200509.html

Spay specific, a study done in Rottweilers
http://www.gpmcf.org/respectovaries.html

Easy to follow, mostly focuses on canine athletes
http://www.caninesports.com/SpayNeuter.html

Technical and long, but excellent and comprehensive
http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf

For pet owners, from a Labrador breeder
http://www.claircrest.com/Problemswi...pay-neuter.pdf

Long and technical but excellent, from the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/pdf...ma.231.11.1665


Not all the links worked for me, but I really appreciated the article from the vet. What I found really interesting was the research on the role of animal behavior and his/her relationship with the owner and its links to cancer. Emotional trauma and stress in humans most certainly can effect health, so why not animals? I course I would add that a species appropriate diet also helps in protecting our pets from ill-health.

 

 

 

Quote:
Because cortisol is also one of the hormones that's elevated when stress results in animal behavioral problems which, in turn, may result from human-animal relationship ones, it would seem that avoiding such elevations of this hormone by treating bond and behavioral problems could conceivably lower the probability of cancer in some animals, or improve the survival chances of those already afflicted with the disease.

 

I can understand spay/neutering for a population control stand-point but I have a hard time believing that sex hormones don't play an important part in the well-being of living creatures and the practice of juvenile spay/neutering strikes me as misguided.

 

It seems the take away message on neutering is really far from conclusive:

 

 

 

Quote:
I, too, have reviewed the literature and am not sure what to tell clients. However, I do know that unless we can free the subject from the emotional cocoon that has protected spay and neuter from objective scrutiny all these years, our pets won't be able to benefit from the knowledge that is slowly, but surely, being generated on this subject.

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#8 of 15 Old 11-22-2010, 11:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mirzam View Post

Not all the links worked for me, but I really appreciated the article from the vet. What I found really interesting was the research on the role of animal behavior and his/her relationship with the owner and its links to cancer. Emotional trauma and stress in humans most certainly can effect health, so why not animals? I course I would add that a species appropriate diet also helps in protecting our pets from ill-health.

I checked and it seems the last 3 aren't working? I'll try and fix them here-

http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
http://www.claircrest.com/Problemswithearlyspay-neuter.pdf
http://avmajournals.avma.org/doi/full/10.2460/javma.231.11.1665

I hope they work now! smile.gif

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#9 of 15 Old 11-24-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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Quote:
 

I can understand spay/neutering for a population control stand-point but I have a hard time believing that sex hormones don't play an important part in the well-being of living creatures and the practice of juvenile spay/neutering strikes me as misguided.

 

Please visit your local shelters before saying this. Having to euthanize animals as population control is horrible. I would much prefer our shelters to neuter and spay all animals before adopting them out regardless of age. And most do.

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#10 of 15 Old 11-24-2010, 10:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post

 

Quote:
 

I can understand spay/neutering for a population control stand-point but I have a hard time believing that sex hormones don't play an important part in the well-being of living creatures and the practice of juvenile spay/neutering strikes me as misguided.

 

Please visit your local shelters before saying this. Having to euthanize animals as population control is horrible. I would much prefer our shelters to neuter and spay all animals before adopting them out regardless of age. And most do.


Because it is the only option shelters have, doesn't make it ideal for the dogs' health, that's all I am saying.


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#11 of 15 Old 11-26-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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I just found this article written by a vet which might be of help to you:

 

At What Age Should I Spay or Neuter My Dog or Cat? What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Neutering My Pet? Revisiting The Idea of Early-Age Neutering


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#12 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the great replies - you all have really helped our family with your advice and have made it so much easier to welcome these dogs as family members. Our vet recommended before the first heat, and wanted to schedule it for right after the holidays. I postponed the appointment until late January.... well... surprise! They're both in heat! At 6 mos. We're going to have them spayed after they go out of heat, in a couple of weeks. Admittedly, it's been a real nuisance... we are having to monitor them at all times when they're in the backyard and really don't want any surprise puppies! While we have a privacy fence, I don't trust that some male dog will not dig under, or, something similar to get to them.

 

Does anyone know how long a heat lasts? My vet said the whole process can take up to a month, but, that the actual heat lasts 7-10 days, and, that the "window of opportunity" is about 48 hours.

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#13 of 15 Old 01-11-2011, 04:37 PM
 
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I agree that it's an individual decision so I won't agree or disagree with what's been said.  But I do have experience with managing a heat cycle.  

 

My large breed female's lasted around that timeframe, 7-10 days.  We used the store bought dog pants and pads to deal with the mess and were extra careful when taking her for walks, watching out for male dogs that tried to run up to her.  I never fully trusted any set days that she could get pregnant, just figured that if a male was trying to mate with her or I could detect any odor, she's probably still in the fertile days.  Good luck, IME dealing with a heat was not fun and has a pretty heavy odor... although I did have a large breed and you seem to have much smaller dogs than mine.  I recommend changing the little dogpants pads often.  And wiping her down with a wet rag with a few drops of an essential oil that she doesn't mind, during her heat cycle (tangerine and a drop of tea tree worked for us)... and giving her a full bath after the heat is over.

 


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#14 of 15 Old 01-12-2011, 07:40 AM
 
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The dog people I know usually recommend keeping them safe for about three weeks....meaning no access or opportunity to accidently breed.  No outside time unsupervised.  

 

I would caution against spaying right after their heat....usually you want to wait awhile and let their hormones and system settle back down a bit before spaying.  Two to three months is what is I have been told is about the amount if time it takes.


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#15 of 15 Old 01-14-2011, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I had that same thought, greenmajik, that we might want to wait awhile longer and let everything settle down. The vet never mentioned anything about it being an issue, but, I think I will postpone their surgery appointment until late next month, or, even early March.

 

At this point, I think we're almost through the 7-10 day timeframe... or, the active heat cycle seems to be ending, anyway. Thanks for the advice!

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