I've seen a few similar threads recently but thought I'd ask again. My dpup has been at the vets for some dental work and we got talking about best time to get her spayed. We've been back and forward to a few appts so have managed to ask three different vets about when they think is right time to spay. She is only four months just now so won't be for a while yet, but they were all of the opinion that because she is a small terrier breed there is less need to delay. We discussed the pros and cons, risks and benefits but they were all of the general consensus that anytime after 6 months would be fine. One vet in particular seemed very up on the latest evidence and told me all the statistics on reducing cancer risks. She mentioned there was a slightly higher risk of incontinence with early spaying but that it was uncommon in our breed and they would always assess how mature she was physically before doing it anyway. I asked re growth hormones etc and she said that is more of a concern the bigger, slower growing the breed and that she would expect the majority of our pups growing to be done before the age of one. They didn't push either way but were of the consensus that there was no need to wait for her to have her first season.
I've been reading around and although there does seem to be a lot of info suggesting that you should delay, it seems to mostly be opinion rather than evidence based. So, I'm looking for advice as at the moment the vets are sounding quite reasonable. Is there an actual proven benefit to letting a small breed have her first season? And does that benefit outweigh the benefit in reduced cancer risk with spaying beforehand? I'm a bit torn. I know it's a controversial topic so not looking for an arguement, just genuinely looking for the evidence.
Personally I would spay a small breed around 10-12m and a larger breed somewhere around 18m. We've done this with many many dogs and never had an issue, I work in veterinary referral and alongside a charity who spays a lot of dogs per week
I've never really seen any true incontinant bitches. I had one that was slightly leaky for want of a better term but she was spayed in season due to my mistake.
I also think younger bitches recover quicker and are easier and faster to spay.
I don't think there's masses of evidence proving it's beneficial to allow small bitches to have a season either.
I would also weigh up how much you think you would manage with a bitch in season, I found it much more annoying than I thought it would.
I would never leave intact as there's nothing more disgusting than a pyo and mammary masses are really common in unspayed bitches.
I suppose it's all personal opinion and everyone will tell you something different! I would probably judge my individual dog, if she was happy, confident and physically mature early I would do it. If not I would wait a few extra months.
Thanks greyhorses, good to hear from someone that deals with it regularly. I'm really not that keen on dealing with her having a season if I'm honest but I want to make sure I'm not just basing my decision on when to spay her on what's easiest. If there were health benefits to her in waiting then I would but given her breed, I'm not really sure there are. My cats were done at 6 months without a second thought but I've seen so much online about how you shouldn't spay that young but struggling to find evidence behind it.
The vets offer a free dental check at six months so they've said they will check her then to see if they think she is mature enough.
What greyhorses says..
We have an incontinent bitch due to spaying, we manage her using daily medication (propalin syrup) so it is no longer a problem. We have also had a bitch kept intact until she had pyometra at 8 years old. I would take the very small risk of incontinence over pyo any day..
Thanks, that's reassuring. Glad I'm not missing something obvious when considering getting her done on the younger side 😊
It always used to be recommended to spay 3 months after the first season, that way they’ve fully recovered and it’s an easier procedure due to the thinner lining of the uterus.
There’s no real rush to get her spayed so long as you can guarantee to be able to keep her fully secure and contained during her season and for a couple of weeks after the bleeding stops. If a male gets to her she can be spayed straight afterwards or alternatively have an anti-mate injection (but that doesn’t always work).
Meant to say that there’s no real rush to get her spayed before she’s 12 months old.
I'd delay the spaying till your girl is around 18 months.
(Or not at all & live with the consequences of having a girl with seasons every 6-12months.)
My girls 7 & 2 years are not done and I haven't encountered any problems. But have to admit, that the older one had 2 litters. I certainly wouldn't do it on the belief of avoiding certain illnesses as you really can't control your dogs health.
I have a giant breed and we can't even think about spaying until she is 2.
My mum has a small terrier and spayed ASAP. She regrets the decision to not leave it a little longer. Rightly or wrongly she thinks it affected her girl's development and character.
It's not an easy call. Pyo is a real fear. On the other hand I didn't find our girl's first season too awful to deal with. Worth her having one? Or at least being closer to a year of age?
Mainland, thats not something the vets mentioned so will look into it. Im fairly sure she wouldn't come into contact with a male, but unless there's a benefit to letting her have a season I would rather not.
Why would you wait until 18 months ylvamoon? Are there particular benefits? I can't control her health but I can take precautions to reduce risks. Spaying does have definite health benefits in terms of reducing or eliminating the risks of some cancers and other disease, never mind the risk of unwanted pregnancy, so she will definitely be spayed, just trying to decide when.
It's not hard to weather a season. On lead walks away from off lead dogs.
And washable bedding in case of spotting.
Thanks wolfie. The vet did say if I'd brought her a Labrador she'd say not before 1 and if it had been a Great Dane not before 18 months. Does really seem to be down to size and rate of growth. Apparently the reduction in risk of mammary cancer is a bit less if you let them have a season. And I'd be concerned about phantom pregnancy, my friends dog had one and it wasn't nice.
I'll definitely get them to check her around 7 months to see what they think. I do really trust my vet. Just such a dilemma!
Oh we had a phantom. I thought she was dying. (I suffer from anxiety and she's my pfpup!) She didn't eat for days, slept curled up in a ball. Didn't play or show any interest in anything and lost a ton of weight. I was convinced it was pneumonia! (The breed is susceptible to that.)
Worth waiting until about 9 months? When is the typical age for a first season? Wolfie was 11 months and that's early for her (giant) breed. What does breeder suggest?
We are exactly one week on from having small ish 9 month terrier spayed and I'm glad she's getting back to normal.
I was going to get her done before her first season, one vet recommended that but dog beat me to it and had a season.
I hated wiping up and wiping her with tissue etc, not because I'm fragile but because I found it annoying!
She did have quite a lot of discharge.
Another vet preferred to see dogs have a season, I'm not sure why.
Recovery wise it's probably been easier with her being slightly more mentally mature, as she's been on a lead for a week to prevent jumping up and we've had a stair gate.
She's better at 'no' than 3 months ago, but it depends on your particular dog. She had her one and only season bang on six months.
I'd go for 18months because you said that you have a small terrier. So I would assume by that age she is fully grown.
I did have a Person Russell boy many years ago and he wasn't grown up/ settled till just over 2. As I said, my current dogs (medium sized) are not done and I can say that my girls seem to be fully grown at around 18 months. My boy is 5 and still behaves like a puppy!!
I have no idea why people would leave an old bitch intact when roughly a quarter of older bitches get a pyo.
I honestly feel it's irresponsible as they are so sick, painful, usually older and recover slowly or not at all and it's entirely preventable. I would say on average we see 5-6 pyos per week and most of those also have mammary masses.
Even the breeders I work with spay routinely after about 5-6 years.
I don't know a single vet with an unspayed bitch over the age of maturity either
Ylaf I think you should take a look at the photo figures, after eight years of age in anyone 12 month period an unsieyed butch has a 25% chance of developing a pyo. Having had a dog not make it yesterday through a pyo I just don't understand why anyone would risk. Pyo is an incredibly serious life threatening condition.
scaremongering! I grew up in a country the dogs are generally left intact. I guess we always have had the 75% that don't get pyo. Let's hope it's also true for my 2 girls. (But than, I think I should chop their ears off as they are prone to ear infections.) I think things have to be seen in context, I am not completely against spaying, but would always recommend to wait till dog is fully grown. That is both physically and mentally.
My mum has a brother and sister 15 yo JRT x Border she had them both done at 6 /7 months ( boy came to me to convalesce post op ) . The girl has literally had no health issues at all until last month when she has started to succumb to old age .
Unless it’s for medical reasons I don’t have my dogs spayed or neutered
If you do NEVER have them done before 2 years of age. Please do your research.
My last dog had pyo, luckily she survived. I still won’t have my current dog spayed unless it was to save her life
You run more risk getting them done than you do leaving them alone.
*Mainland, thats not something the vets mentioned so will look into it. Im fairly sure she wouldn't come into contact with a male, but unless there's a benefit to letting her have a season I would rather not.
Why would you wait until 18 months ylvamoon? Are there particular benefits? I can't control her health but I can take precautions to reduce risks. Spaying does have definite health benefits in terms of reducing or eliminating the risks of some cancers and other disease, never mind the risk of unwanted pregnancy, so she will definitely be spayed, just trying to decide when*
Not to be rude OP but you really haven’t done any research, have you??
Getting dogs spayed or neutered before they have fully grown physically mentally and emotionally stunts their growth. Dogs need hormones to grow into the healthiest dog they can be - having them done before they’re fully grown reduces those hormones.
Of course there’s a benefit of letting her have a season!! In fact there’s a benefit of letting her have many seasons!! My vets won’t spay until 18 months of age, and even then they won’t spay until 3 months after the last season because of the dogs cycle. A decent vet wouldn’t touch your dog, sorry.
It’s not hard to avoid pregnancy. Walk at quiet times, keep her on the lead, lots of treats for ignoring other dogs etc. As for the blood - boohoo it’s a bit of blood, it’s normal, it’s easy wiped up, that’s if the dog hasn’t licked it up before hand. I don’t see why anyone would get a female dog and then complain about the norm??
Early spaying is no different than preventing a 10 year old human female from going through puberty
Not scaremongering a retrospective study carried on multi-centres and multinational looking at the clinical records of over 10,000 unneutered female dogs. Good quality evidence based medicine says you should spay your bitch.
I don't believe some people realise the sorts of people vets deal with on a daily basis I spend my day promoting spaying as this is the real world and in the real world there are the following problems:
1. People don't stop bitches mating. They are constantly getting caught by their brother or the next door dog or whatever. It's too tempting for people to breed because they can and they often don't have any money for the bitch or puppies. No insurance or charity will cover breeding related illness. It's easy for someone to say stop them mating but that's assuming people care enough to do it.
2. People leave dogs ill for a long time. They leave mammary masses hanging down until ulcerated. They leave pyos until almost dead (or dead in some cases) because they don't have the financial resources to bring them in at the first sign of illness. Spaying is much cheaper than a pyo.
Yes I am cynical but we as a practice make almost NO money from spaying but it does prevent a lot of diseases that the dog would suffer from.
To the previous poster with a dog who had a pyo, your dog will have felt awful from that no question and I wouldn't do that to mine.
It is possible to allow them to mature and also be responsible.
Simmer down chippyway. I have and still am doing research. I was simply asking pp to elaborate on why they had said what they had as I am looking for evidence rather than opinion. The actual quality evidence to delay spaying in my breed isn't really stacking up so if a pp had evidence for their opinion I genuinely want to hear it. You've given no evidence, just overly forceful opinion and that is not something I will base any judgement on. My dog will be physically fully mature well before 18 months so that random figure really means very little. And I've never complained about having to deal with a season, I have no issue doing so if that is what is best but I'm yet to be persuaded that it is.
To the previous poster with a dog who had a pyo, your dog will have felt awful from that no question and I wouldn't do that to mine.
This. Pyometra is the most hideous thing for your poor bitch to go through and I would rather spay than take that chance (and in fact, I have spayed). I've seen it happen to a friend's dog and it's not pretty.
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