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To spay or not to spay?

(5 Posts)
hellymelly Thu 27-Feb-14 16:28:00

I have an intact bitch for the first time. She is only 15 weeks at the moment, but we have chatted about spaying with our vet, as she has had some vulval discharge and the vet has said she must not be spayed before her first season, as it increases the risk of bladder problems. There are other issues, she has a heart murmer caused by Arterial stenosis (an abnormality of the heart) which could be passed on to any puppies if she did get pregnant, but which is also an issue in that I imagine it makes a GA more risky. Our vet mentioned new keyhole surgery as a possible route to explore. What are the problems if we leave her unspayed? I have no experience of an unspayed dog, other than a close friend's dog who tragically died of pyometra. Is it very common in unspayed bitches? Puppy is being monitored over time by a cardiac vet, she will have another scan in a few months and I can chat to him then about GA risks, but I wondered what people's experiences are of leaving a dog intact?

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Feb-14 17:38:31

Sounds like she has vaginitis Helly and this would be a case where I would adv. waiting till after the first season. Talk to your cardiologist about spaying and GA sometimes they suggest medicating prior to surgery or will give the practice a specific protocol ( he gave me one once).
Leaving her unspayed there is a high chance of mammary cancer and in bitches between 8 and 10 years of age who are not spayed 25% will get a pyometra.

hellymelly Thu 27-Feb-14 23:09:56

Hello lonecat! Thanks for posting. Blimey, pyometra- 25% risk? That is shockingly high. And mammary cancer,- I have seen a dog with this, in the vet's after surgery, poor thing was in a terrible state. So it sounds as though spaying is essential? I do have friends with unspayed bitches- one has had a single litter and may have one more, the other is 7 and hasn't had pups, although they intended to, which is why she is unspayed (also we live in a rural area and the dog is far from any others, maybe they haven't thought it necessary). I grew up with a spayed bitch, she was a rescue and was spayed when we got her, then as an adult I've had two male dogs, one castrated, one not, so I suppose I half-thought we could probably leave our pup intact and thus avoid a GA. Clearly the health risks for bitches are high. Are they less if the dog has been bred from? (I'm not going to do that, am just curious) Or do bitches still have the same risk of pyometra even when they've had puppies? Is there a breed disposition, or does it affect all breeds equally? I think I will always worry much more about pup because of the heart problem. She is limping badly today, yesterday she played- not roughly- with a larger puppy and was limping afterwards, straight to the vet this morning, i was awake half the night worrying, convinced she'd ruptured her cruciate ligament, but luckily the vet thinks it is just a sprain. She is on beta blockers now and will have the next scan in May to judge how things are progressing. sad .

hellymelly Thu 27-Feb-14 23:12:14

Sudden thought- can dogs go on the pill? Have heard of zoo animals taking it, so just wondered!

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Feb-14 23:16:12

Having a litter does not provide any protection I am afraid and pyo affects all breeds equally. There is a pill for dogs though it is rarely used as increased risk of pyometra is one of it's side effects.

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