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Hi, I'm pretty confused as to when I should spay our Nala. She's a GSD X Mastiff mix so she's going to be pretty big. I've heard some contradictory things about it.. I've heard there are a lot of negative things in the long term with spaying, but does that out weigh the benefits? Also if it's worth it, when should we do that? The vet wants to at four to six months, but I've been told it's better to wait until large breed dogs are older.. We've always had our dogs spayed or neutered at four months, but now I'm starting to wonder if that was a bad idea.
 

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Spaying early can potentially cause joint problems, but dogs in heat are not for the faint of heart. They get irritable, they bleed and forget about walking her. Every intact male for 5 miles will be chewing through door and jumping through glass windows to get at her. These are actual things that happen.
 

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I was always told that each heat cycle a dog goes through increases the risk for mammary cancers later in life. Just something else to look into when you make your decision.
 

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IMO, do it 5-6 months or so. I have heard all the fuss about letting them grow due to it causing joint issues. If you want the truth, my Saint was diagnosed with hip problems the very day I took him in to be neutered at about 7 months. Clearly unrelated to being neutered. It costs you less when they're younger and smaller at most vets, they heal quicker, and it helps reduce the risk of cancer in both sexes. Especially females, because yes, once they have had their first heat they are at greater risk.
 

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I'd recommend between 10 months and 1 year. I am not a huge fan of pediatric spayings, regardless of the breed and size of dog.
 

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Most Vets that I've spoken with will quote the literature that Hambonez wrote about. The conservative recommendation is to spay around 6 mos, reducing the chance for cancer. There is no valid reason to wait for the first heat or to let the dog get older, if you intend to neuter.

On the other hand, the Vet suggested time to neuter a male is 6 mos, but you can wait until two years with minimal impact, if the dog is not aggressive. Personally, I don't know ... I neutered my male at 6 mos, with no resulting change in personality or body shape.
 

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Another issue besides the mammary tumor issue is that spaying before the first heat apparently reduces the risk of spay incontinence by more than half.

It's such a tough issue because there are pros and cons for earlier and for later, I honestly don't know what I would do. Good luck!
 

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Another issue besides the mammary tumor issue is that spaying before the first heat apparently reduces the risk of spay incontinence by more than half.
That would be waiting until after the first heat. . .spay incontinence is caused by lack of hormones, so if she gets at least some hormones it reduces the risk. Although one study showed that it didn't make much difference as long as she wasn't spayed before 3 months (which apparently really increases the risk).

I pretty much consider it a wash. There are benefits to waiting and benefits to spaying before first heat. If you think you can handle one heat, it may help her develop better, and only increases the risk of mammary tumors/cancer by a tiny bit. If you don't want to go through her being in heat, I wouldn't spay before 6 months. . .for a large dog probably 8-9 months. The big girls don't usually go into heat before then.
 

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I know they sell doggie feminine napkins for dogs in heat. The question is, does she piddle (leave blood) indoors like if she was going to the bathroom or only when taken outside? I' heard of Anti-mating sprays but I don't know how well those work.
 

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I have one girl who was spayed at 6 months old. No issues thus far and she is 3.5 now. Although we didn't get to choose her spay age (all shelter adoptions in Texas must be spayed/neutered before leaving the shelter's custody except in the case of very young puppies). I personally would consider how well you can handle a large puppy in heat because if she escapes, a male climbs your fence, etc and you have a pregnant large puppy on your hands that is going to mean a spay than or pediatric pregnancy (both of which are worse for the dog than just a young spay IMO).
 

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Spaying early can potentially cause joint problems, but dogs in heat are not for the faint of heart. They get irritable, they bleed and forget about walking her. Every intact male for 5 miles will be chewing through door and jumping through glass windows to get at her. These are actual things that happen.
That's just a Little bit over the top don't you think? Sure, things like that have happened, but you make it sound like everyone has that experience. I know far too many people who keep female dogs intact for many heats without one issue at all, even around their own intact males. I myself let my female go through one heat and didn't have a issue at all. She wasn't irritable at all, she did try to escape a bit more to go explore, but it just meant I had to keep her on leash outside. Even the bleeding wasn't horrible, she kept herself clean, I just let her not wear a pad or panties while she in her crate and changed her bedding daily. Got her spayed just before her next heat and she's doing just fine.

For a larger dog, I do suggest letting her go through one heat. Recent studies show that letting a female go through one heat helps them grow and reduces issues with incontinence. The cancer risk increase is very very slim. Your dog has more of a risk of getting cancer for other things then going through one heat. Now it is true the more heats you go through the higher risk of cancer and other issues like Pyometra which can be deadly.

In the long run it's your call.
 

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Every female dog I left intact developed breast tumors later in life..Im dealing with a 15 yo mix right now with a mammary tumor and cancer.
Im spaying my current pup after her first heat to prevent this..but that could cause incontinence and..maybe its to late to prevent mammary tumors in the future.
 

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I note that in Australia, there is belief system that you desex your dogs.
I come from uk, where id never owned a desexed dog, all my dogs were entire. But i only get boys usually. I didnt realise till moving to Australia, that entire males are difficult apparently? Go figure? id never noticed in my 3 male dogs i owned to date.

Here, ive been persuaded to desex my GSD. I waited till 18 months to do so. As i wanted him to finish growing fully. Never had any issues with him prior to that, just persuaded stupidly by a aussie vet that it was best. Its something i regret actually.

If i had female dogs, id desex after first season. This is as a preventative of uterine cancers.
 

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I have 5 Newfoundlands, spay at 6 months. Be sure to keep the dog on a large breed puppy food to help with joints. Also during spaying you may want to ask your vet about attaching the stomach to the wall lining to prevent bloat. If the dog bloats and you can't catch it in time the dog dies and it is a painful way to go.
 

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I have 5 Newfoundlands, spay at 6 months. Be sure to keep the dog on a large breed puppy food to help with joints. Also during spaying you may want to ask your vet about attaching the stomach to the wall lining to prevent bloat. If the dog bloats and you can't catch it in time the dog dies and it is a painful way to go.
Tacking the stomach (pexi) does not prevent bloat - it helps to prevent torsion, and that's what buys time to get to the vet while the dog is bloating.
 

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That would be waiting until after the first heat. . .spay incontinence is caused by lack of hormones, so if she gets at least some hormones it reduces the risk. Although one study showed that it didn't make much difference as long as she wasn't spayed before 3 months (which apparently really increases the risk).
I know that's the older conventional wisdom, but more recent research has actually shown that the incidence of spay incontinence is dramatically lower (half) in dogs that were spayed before the first heat -- but, conversely, when incontinence does occur in dogs that were spayed before the first heat, the symptoms are worse. I think, if it were me, I would spay at 6 months, before the first heat but not super young as they do in shelters. Especially since larger dogs are more likely to get spay incontinence anyway, and even a single heat increases the likelihood of mammary tumors.

Here are links:
http://dogaware.com/articles/wdjincontinence.html
http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=274460&pageID=1
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11787155
 

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We are neuturing our Bluetick at 9 months or later. He is also off of his puppy food as recommended by the breeder and the vet. Females different story, our vet likes to do them at 6-9 mos, although our 9 yr old is intact. Her heats aren't bad to deal with, she hardly bleeds and she's in excellent health. Vet says if she didn't know any better she'd say she's 5. She is breeding stock hence why she was never spayed but has never had pups (her heats have terrible timing and now she's way too old!)
 

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torsion is generally related to bloating when gas/air can't pass. The torsion is the twisting. either way it's still painful and you want to prevent it the best that you can. It's a lot easier and less expensive to get gas out of the belly than it is to operate on torsion so why not get it done during a spay? I think you are playing on words here and not looking at the overall dangers.
 

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torsion is generally related to bloating when gas/air can't pass. The torsion is the twisting. either way it's still painful and you want to prevent it the best that you can. It's a lot easier and less expensive to get gas out of the belly than it is to operate on torsion so why not get it done during a spay? I think you are playing on words here and not looking at the overall dangers.
I'm not the OP.. so not sure how your last comment applies :)

I was simply pointing out that doing a pexy does not prevent bloat (as you had implied). I think it's a great procedure to have done, regardless, because it does help prevent torsion - but I just don't want anyone misled in thinking that by having the pexy done they are safe from bloat.
 
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