When to spay

(24 Posts)
sian1971 Fri 04-Sep-20 21:24:17

I have an almost 7-month Labrador who has just gone into season. I've read quite a bit about the advantages and disadvantages of spaying earlier/later, and am veering towards spaying in 3 months (i.e. between first and second seasons), but would like to hear your views on this. I'm trying to maximise the benefits of early(ish) spaying for decreasing the risk of mammary tumours while at the same time allowing her to mature a bit so as not to detrimentally affect growth, etc.

Also, I don't think I can keep her in for 3 weeks so am planning to take her out at times in the day/night when there will be fewer dogs about, and to keep her on the lead. Is this feasible do you think?

OP’s posts: |
Stellaris22 Fri 04-Sep-20 21:28:00

Ours was spayed after her first season with no issues. In terms of walks during her season we walked early/very late and on lead and away from other dogs.

I'm glad we spayed when we did as she was miserable with being lonely and not seeing her doggy pals.

Sniffypup Fri 04-Sep-20 21:29:50

I took my dog out on lead when she was in season. A few dogs showed some interest in her but it was fine.
She was really strange for about 9 weeks after her season. Quite barky and guarding things. Generally anxious. The vet said that all bitches experience the same hormones after a season as if they were pregnant.
We had her spayed 3 months after her first season as we were told by the vet she was fully grown and we didn’t want her to go through the anxiety of another season.

StillMedusa Fri 04-Sep-20 22:35:53

My dog had her first season at 7.5 month and breezed through it. As she is a medium breed we were advised by her breed society to wait until she was 2 for optimum bone growth and emotional maturity..also it reduces the rist of incontinence in later life (plenty of studies to show this
So... at the beginning of August she came into her second season.
Nightmare. Unlike the first, where she barely noticed and we just walked her in quiet places, this time she was moody and miserable from two weeks before hand, becoming more and more depressed and anxious. Then, from being a dog friendly dog, she became snappy and growly towards all other dogs..even her best friend sad She even lunged at another dog she has known for ages.

She is finally coming out the other side now (saw her best friend for the first time today and didn't try to eat him grin but I can see it's going to be a while before she's back to normal.

I am not putting her through it again, and she will be spayed in three months time!

Walking.. I put her back on a long line so I could reel her in if I saw another dog, and she kept herself very clean so the season itself wasn't a big problem, but the emotional effects have been awful poor girl.

Alexandernevermind Fri 04-Sep-20 22:38:40

You need to wait until she is physically and emotionally mature. Early spay has been linked to and increase in joint issues, hormonal cancers and behavioural issues. A dog the size of a lab shouldn't be spayed any sooner than 2 years old.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sat 05-Sep-20 09:09:32

Mammary cancer is a variable risk from breed to breed - there is some good recent research from UC Davis which I'll try and remember to dig out and link to later today. Early neutering can also have a negative impact on joint health in some breeds. That's also in the UC Davis study.

Some bitches breeze through their seasons (mine has so far, she's now 3 and will probably be spayed next year) but even then you have to keep an eye open for pyometra.

Personally I'd never neuter a dog before physical and mental maturity. I've made that mistake once (on vet advice - 'neuter at six months') and never again.

Bergerdog Sat 05-Sep-20 09:31:06

You shouldn’t spay close to or in season. I would wait until at least 6-10 weeks from this season finishing if you are planning to spay sooner.

Personally I wait until around 18 months although I did one of mine at 12 months as she had awful seasons.


GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Sat 05-Sep-20 10:00:06

Here is the study I promised

It's great if you dog is one of the 35 breeds they looked at, less good if not. But it's certainly food for thought. IIRC it didn't look at any impact on behaviour or personality, and IME larger dogs really don't mature mentally until they're at least 2 and sometimes rising 3. A dial seems to turn at this point and they get much more focused and sensible.

sian1971 Sat 05-Sep-20 10:05:48

@Stellaris22 - good to hear that all went well. Reassuring to hear that you managed walks okay.

@Sniffypup - ah, that's sounds miserable. Good that she was considered fully grown at 3 months after first season.

@StillMedusa ah, poor dog. How old will she be, then, when she is spayed?

@Alexandernevermind @GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman @Bergerdog
I was hoping to hear from those who think it's important to wait until the dog is mature, so thanks for your comments. I want to understand this better though: why do you think so many Vets seem to want to spay either before or after the first season (so not when dog is fully grown)? Do you think it's because they are focusing on the decrease in mammary cancer risk, which I think you only get if you spay before first season or in between first and second?

OP’s posts: |
sian1971 Sat 05-Sep-20 10:16:25

@GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman - ah, I posted my message before seeing your second one. Thanks! I will look at that link now.

OP’s posts: |
StillMedusa Sat 05-Sep-20 13:33:49

Mine will be 19 or 20m old when she is spayed..she's 16m now. I would have much preferred to have waited until she was older, but having seen how unhappy she became and how reactive.. she couldn't cope with anything at all.. it seems the better option.

Alexandernevermind Sat 05-Sep-20 14:26:11

I also think vets and rescue centres encourage early spay to eradicate the risk of unwanted pregnancies. Many good independent vets now will tell you to wait as will behaviourists. Many vets unfortunately now are owned by large companies so (I suspect) the actual vet teams will be encouraged to persuade owners to early spay for profit.

Stellaris22 Sat 05-Sep-20 14:30:30

Is there evidence to prove early spaying is for profit? I dislike this theory as it's nonsense.

Stellaris22 Sat 05-Sep-20 14:33:29

It does depend on the dog. Mine was spayed after her first season (as was planned), but she was miserable, lonely and had a phantom pregnancy. It was far kinder to spay when we did than let her be miserable again and risk another phantom pregnancy.

Others breeze through so for them it is possible to wait.

Jojobythesea Sat 05-Sep-20 14:43:24

We had our black lab spayed between first and second seasons and she was and is perfectly fine and it's so nice not to have to dread another season of lead only walks for weeks!!!!!

PennyRoyal Sat 05-Sep-20 14:58:32

Speak to your breeder. S/he is in the best position to advice you.
Personally, I don't spay or neuter until at least 5yrs old, if at all (notwithstanding any medical issue of course). During a season, my girls are walked on leads and out of peak times and areas!
Your breeder will have (or should have!) experience and knowledge of your particular line and be able to be more specific.

Alexandernevermind Sat 05-Sep-20 15:08:59

Is there evidence to prove early spaying is for profit? I dislike this theory as it's nonsense.
I said I suspect, but would add strongly. Why else would they promote it? Vet chains are huge business.

IsletsOfLangerhans Sat 05-Sep-20 15:25:02

My pointer was supposed to be spayed between 2nd and 3rd season, but lockdown put paid to that. The breeder asked us to wait until she’d had at least two. After the 2nd, she had a phantom pregnancy, leading to the op being pushed back and then cancelled due to lockdown. She’s just finished her 3rd season and is starting to go ‘phantom’ again. It’s miserable for her and quite distressing to see how she is affected by it. So please bear that in mind when planning when is best to have it done.

We moved vets, as our first one was pushing for an early spay AND also pushing us to have a keyhole surgery (we had some other minor issues with them too). We got advice from the breeder and friends with pointers - all said wait and standard spay is fine, as they are fit, active dogs who recover quickly. Our current vets are much more trustworthy!

sian1971 Sat 05-Sep-20 19:44:59

Thanks everyone - really useful.

The link to the research @GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman posted recommends spaying Labradors from 11 months, which could work for us - that would mean four months after her first season. I still need to do more research before deciding whether to schedule it later.

@PennyRoyal - Yes, I suppose it would be interesting to hear her view: I'll message the breeder.

@IsletsOfLangerhans - And of course that's the other question - keyhole or standard 🤔

OP’s posts: |
Offredismysister Sat 05-Sep-20 19:54:13

I wish I hadn’t spayed my large breed dog. She had 4 seasons and was over 2 years old when she had it done via the laparoscopic method. She’s 5 now & has just started with urinary incontinence.

Mostlylurkingiam Fri 11-Sep-20 06:38:25

Not spayed until 5?! That is ridiculous. Just spay them, and avoid the risk of unwanted puppies. This nonsense about not spaying early is silly.

Mostlylurkingiam Fri 11-Sep-20 06:39:36


*Is there evidence to prove early spaying is for profit? I dislike this theory as it's nonsense. *
I said I suspect, but would add strongly. Why else would they promote it? Vet chains are huge business.

They promote it because it is what responsible dog owners do!

FippertyGibbett Fri 11-Sep-20 06:49:56

I personally always allow 2 seasons and would anticipate speying 3 months after the second.
And I walked mine in season ,on a lead , at quiet times without any problems.

GrumpyMiddleAgedWoman Fri 11-Sep-20 09:53:00

Not spayed until 5
That's not what the poster above said. She said her bitch had developed urinary incontinence. This is a known possible consequence of spaying, especially early spaying.

This nonsense about not spaying early is silly
Perhaps read the science. Early neutering is far from ideal for many breeds of dog.

Besides late spaying isn't a problem if the owner is responsible and sensible, and the bitch has easy seasons.

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