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    1. #1
      House Broken
      NoVA Lab Mama's Avatar
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      Talk to me about spaying

      Our breeder had asked us not to spay until the pups had gone through at least one heat cycle. DH and I have been torn, since it seems like such a huge hassle (both the mess and the risk of pregnancy), however it appeared that she had a tipped/inverted vulva so our vet had been reluctantly agreeing from a medical perspective that perhaps we should do one heat cycle to get the vulva squared away and get rid of the ongoing vaginitis.

      In the last two or three weeks, it appears that this has resolved on its own. Our next appointment, the pup will be 6mos old, so the vet will be assessing pros/cons again.

      If you feel strongly one way or the other about spaying early versus waiting, I'd appreciate your thoughts. We have the breeder's thoughts and recommendations, we also weigh heavily the medical counsel of our vet (whom we've worked with for 15yrs with our other dogs who have now passed away), and we're doing online research. Yet I'm still torn. Crowd sourcing people with lots of experience is another source of input.

      My biggest stress is the hassle of estrus -- the blood, and most importantly, the criticality of keeping her restrained, not letting her get loose, etc... so that we end up with an unintended pregnancy. I'm weighing that against the health benefits of delayed spaying. FWIW, my first puppy whom I got in 1999 was spayed as a puppy based on the vet's recommendation. I purchased from a breeder but we didn't have long-term contact after I brought the pup home.

    2. #2
      Senior Dog
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      I can't say I have a strong opinion but we did let Lark go through one heat cycle and for us it was no biggie. She did not have a recessed vulva. She didn't have her first cycle until she was 15 months old. I don't work full time, she wore those lovely pants when she wasn't in her crate. She was crated when I wasn't at home. I have an older boy who is neutered and there are many other dogs in our neighborhood of unknown neuter status but generally none just roaming freely. No other dogs came into our yard. She did not try to escape our yard. I did not take her on walks outside our yard during her estrus but there's enough room for her to run around and chase balls or frisbees, so she got exercise. Chase didn't try to hump her. There wasn't that much blood, although if she hadn't had her panties on there would have been some drips around the place. For us, the tales of horror with strange dogs trying to get to our poor little girl or her out looking for love did not materialize. One of my neighbors had her pup spayed early because they hadn't caught the fact of her recessed vulva and she's had to have several surgeries to try to correct that, when going through a heat cycle might have fixed it and avoided those surgeries. Do what seems right for your situation, but I will say that if I had a pup with a recessed vulva, I'd try my best to get through one heat cycle. For us it wasn't a difficult experience.

    3. #3
      Chief Pooper Scooper
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      Honestly, the bleeding and the care of a bitch in season isn't as hard as you think. Though the pregnancy risk is there, if you live in a normal suburban neighborhood, most pets are altered and the chance of seeing an intact boy looking over your fence is probably not going to happen.
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    5. #4
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      Read your health contract from your breeder. Some breeders have a clause regarding age of spaying. Many times the health guarantee is null and void if the pup is fixed prior to the breeder's wishes. Also, you went with your breeder for a reason. You trusted them and their lines and in their professional opinion, your puppy is not ready to be spayed until whatever date they stated.

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    7. #5
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      I am highly opposed to early spay, because it is not healthy for the dog. There's tons of peer-reviewed data to support this. Vets know this, but they don't trust their clients to be responsible. The heat is not as huge of a deal as people seem to think. When mine are in heat, I keep them off the carpet and furniture while their bleeding. I mop more frequently. I don't let them out (in my fenced yard) unattended. Sure, it's a few weeks of slight inconvenience, but worth it to me over the long term.
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    9. #6
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      With all of the data available that supports waiting to spay/neuter, I wouldn't do it early. Vets, especially older ones, are pretty programmed to recommend sterilization at six months. They are typically still vaccinating dogs every year also. I can't speak for dealing with the girl's cycle in your home, but as long as you are a responsible pet owner, you should not have any issues with keeping her from getting pregnant.

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    11. #7
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      If inconvenience is your real only reasoning, why get a puppy in the first place? I know, that sounds like a smart *ss response but try to look at it from the long term. Here is a start:
      GPMCF: Healthier Respect for Ovaries
      http://www.caninesports.com/uploads/...tions_2013.pdf
      http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf
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    13. #8
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      There is a lot of evidence that allowing dogs to mature before sterilization; allowing your girl one cycle, is beneficial to their long term health. Vets often recommend early spay/neuter because they are socially programmed to do so or are from an older school of veterinary medicine. Listen to your breeder. Presumably you went with them for a reason. Rely on their expertise. A good breeder is an expert at their lines and probably has more experience with the raising and longterm care of their breed than any vet. If you're in NoVA (I'm originally from there), there are plenty of places where you can walk your girl on lead if you don't have a backyard to exercise her. Either way, you will not be attacked by crowds of intact males trying to breed her. At dog shows there are intact males and females in standing heat. Everyone manages to control themselves. It's not as crazytown as people are often led to believe.

      It's a few weeks of inconvenience on your part vs. your girl's longterm orthopedic and general well-being. Just be responsible, and you'll both be fine. IMO letting her go through one cycle before spaying is the way to go.

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    15. #9
      Senior Dog
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      Have you read at the section we have here?

      Neuter/Spay - Pros, Cons, Risks, Benefits - Research Article Links

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    17. #10
      Senior Dog
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      WAIT! WAIT WAIT WAIT!

      Seriously, it's not like human periods. You'll find maybe a couple pencil eraser sized spots of blood a couple times a day. It's really, really, really not a big deal at all.

      The health benefits of waiting SO outweigh cleaning up about a teaspoon of blood a day. And if you're really freaked, just poke a tail hole in your old underwear. Just maybe don't let her on any white or beige carpets. I have all hardwoods here so it was no issue to clean up. A spritz of Windex on the floor and a paper towel and all clean.
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