Spaying to young???

spiritual_gardnerMarch 7, 2007

O.K. here goes.

Last April, I adopted a four month old female Shepard/Hound. Her life up to that point was pure turmoil. That said, she was also already spayed. Within the past 5 months, she has had two urinary infections (treating one episode now) and been diagnosed with "urinary incontinence" that requires lifetime medication, twice a day. My vet said that this could be from early spaying, but also noted that other factors could be the reason also. After we talked a while, she also noted that she has had to do corrective surgery because of early spaying.

I know there are good reasons for spaying. I have no issue with this. My problem is, the more I talk to people about this issue and read, the more concerned I get.

I well remember in my younger days, dogs were simply not spayed until they were at least eight to nine months old or before they had their first heat. 16 years ago when I got my first dog in many years, this was the case. My two other females who came along a few years later, also waited, and I might add, have/ had no urinary problems.

Yesterday, my groomer (who also breeds ShepardÂs) noted that when the dog is only four months old, they have not grown fully. This is a point that I had not really given much thought to. Now I have discovered that puppies as young as 6-8 weeks are being spayed.

Because I research subjects that have to do with my dogs thoroughly, and will ask anyone that will listen, I am now curious about what other people think. Having said that, I also know that some research indicates that there is no problem spaying when so young, however, research is not always correct.



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My vet won't do it if less than 6mos of age. I know down at the rescue shelter, they don't hesitate to do it at any age. There is very little discussion about the downsides of early spay/neuter. And to tell you the truth, what is the emergency to do so? Where's the fire? Are you letting your dogs out to roam the neighborhood? Do they live outside chained to a tree in an unfenced yard? No? OK then.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 9:35AM
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I don't agree with it, unless it's from a shelter. And even then I wish there was a better way to go about it.

But dogs do get loose, people do get lazy and don't take their pet to get fixed. And then all of a sudden, a few months later, the shelter has a litter of puppies/kittens to find homes for. I wish there was some way to enforce a mandatory spay/neuter by a certain age, rather than have to do it right then and there, but there just isn't. You can't fine someone for not showing proof, because then they may not be able to afford the spay/neuter for longer.

I guess shelters could make the people pay before hand, and set a future date for it, so there is no reason not to go do it. Already paid for, already set up. When I adopted my kitty she was between 8-10 wks old, and had to be spayed. I was so worried about her, but she didn't get to come home until she was spayed. She's had no problems, thankfully, but I was definatley worried.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Not commenting on early spay neuter. My thoughts heretofore have been expressed ad naseum.

I will, however, tell you that my oldest lab was spayed at the appropriate age, and still suffers from the spay incontenence. It is no problem to give the Propalin 2x a day, I've been doing it for 12 years now.

Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 1:06PM
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I agree that it is no big deal to give my dog pills twice a day labmomma. In the big scheme of things, it's nothing. I just wish the higher power who keeps sending me these dogs would consider that these pills do cost lots of money. Not that I'm poor, I would just like to have a healthy creature!

This is the third in 16 years that I have had to give pills to daily. I once figured that I spent well over $15,000,00 on my 14 year old dogie no longer on this earth (I'm starting to shred the medical records). That amount of money is nothing to sneeze at!

I have two other dogs, one is on thyroid meds once a day. so far, I do have one that does not require any meds,,,,


    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 3:15PM
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SG - I hear you. My old gal takes 16 pills a day. Fortunately the other two dogs haven't reached that point yet. One of the three cats has a daily med as well.

I think there is a higher power interceding that sends the animals who really need the most help to those who actually will/can afford them:)). We will beg, borrow or steel from Peter to pay Paul (THE VET). Most of my friends are in the same position with the multiple meds and visits to the University Hospital for odd things?

The shredder is my best friend when I return from my monthly medicine pick up at the vet's office. LOL

Sorry I hijacked your post!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2007 at 5:22PM
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No problem labmomma,

I have thought of your theory.

I keep all records in a file for each dog, just in case I need to look back for something.

I did discover that purchasing 3 months of pills is a lot less expensive than just getting one bottle, also I have an automatic shipment that saves some.

What gets me the most is how things add up! For instance, two of my dogs needed a bath (one thing I refuse to do, aside from my pup) and this week alone I have spent $75.00, and that doesn't count the daily meds, special bones I got, new bedding, special food and other treats! Then, pup needs a urine test to make sure her infection is clear, another $35.00!

I do wonder how some people deal with all of this. It is a challenge even for me and I'm used to it (I think).


    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 8:37AM
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No such thing as spaying/neutering too early.....only too late or by the wrong vet. :-) OUCH! stop throwing things at me. I'm a spay/neuter fanatic and the earlier the better.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 10:59PM
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Shelters started early spay and neuter because although it was part of the contract when adopting a pet, most adopters did not get it done. Even if it was paid for as part of adoption fee or reduced price or whatever. People just didn't do it.

Shelters nationwide are now spaying and neutering before putting the animals up for adoption.

As puppies and kittens are adopted more readily than older animals, they are doing it earlier than in years past.

What you do with your own pet, is your and your vet's business.

Spaying before first heat cycle does significantly reduce incidence of mammary tumors.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 4:48PM
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My boy was neutered when he was over one year old. That was his age when I rescued him from a shelter. He was fully intact with huge you know whats. We went to look at a St. Bernard Mix puppy.NOT! This dog was black and white, not a puppy at all and not a St. Bernard anywhere in his background. I turned around to leave to leave, because I knew the rescue I was fostering for would probably not ok him. Other dogs in the kennel started growling, barking and acting like they were going to attack him while he just layed there giving them a bored look. My husband freaked and said "We gotta get him outa there, NOW!"
Long story short, he was out and in the truck within 15 minutes. He was never a foster and was our own dog from the start. He had to be neutered within 30 days. (ridiculous) he never should have been allowed to leave with us until he was. Anyway, of course he was neutered within a few days. It went well, I guess. However his recovery time and the discomfort he seemed to be in was much greater than puppies and kittens I've had done at a much earlier age. Puppies and kittens are hard to keep quiet next day after surgery.They don't even seem to know they had a surgery. As far as any problems caused by early S/N I've yet to any proof. Only the "well maybe it caused it"

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 6:50PM
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In an ideal world animals would be spayed and neutered at an age specifically chosen by loving owners to best benefit the animal in terms of it's size and behavior.

But this is not an ideal world, and very often animals not spayed and neutered early will simply slip through the cracks and perpetuate the problem of unwanted animals.

So in my view early spay and neuter is the most advantageous method of dealing with the larger problem of overpopulation.

I've owned dogs that were spayed very early and never developed spay incontinence, and dogs that were spayed late in life and did. Some do, some dont.
If it is something that plagues your pet I would first look at food and make sure the sodium content is reasonable so they aren't forced to comsume mass quantities of water. Second- make sure to keep the dog in hard physical condition via the proper exercise. When you go "couch potato soft" ligamnets stretch out and that's where your problems come from. You may not be able to control it 100% but you can make a difference, and stave off many arthritic conditions as well.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 6:41AM
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Hi Cearbhaill,

Thanks for your advice.

All of the things you suggested were considered, plus many many more you didn't cover. This has been a very long painful process for all involved.

My vet says there was definitely an issue with the spaying, probably at to early an age.

I have FINALLY cleared up her urinary infection, after almost a full month of meds. A sample will be taken in for testing in about 3 weeks, just to make sure she is still clear. I am cleaning her "lady parts" as my vet puts it, every day to try and keep bacteria from forming, which can cause the urinary infection.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 5:44PM
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Ok,it seems many of us disagree. Some say, trust your vet. Well what if you have a vet that says "wait until after firt heat?" Trust that vet?
How about if your vet says 6 mo. is the proper age for a cat, when numerous cats are pregnant before 6 months and more likely to get cancer after going through a heat cycle?

Old time vets need to get with the program, and realize early S/N is not only good for shelter animals, but also for the every day pet owner looking for the least painful, less traumatic, and the least likely to have cancer or other problems including behavioral problems in the future.
I feel blessed, that my boy dog, neutered later in life, acts just like any other dog neutered at an earlier age. No marking, humping etc. However, he DID go through much more pain, being fully intact when he was neutered.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 10:54PM
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Hi Beeanne,

You hit on a very important subject. Trusting vets.

Fortunately, I trust my present completely. She is my 8th in 16 years, I've had her about 3 years.

Unfortunately, I can't say that for the other 7 vets that I had. I learned early on to question and research everything the vets says or wants to do, plus I always ask about timing for when meds are supposed to work and fix things. This saved my old girl from certain death at least 3 times.

The prior vets simply did not know what they were doing.


    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 8:46AM
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I'm jealous spiritual. I still don't have a vet here. I dread trying to find a good one. My past vets were great. Shoot, I used to have three, now I have none. I sure hope I don't have some kind of emergency any time soon.
But, whatever, I will never trust one that says wait until 6 mo. to spay a cat.
Then again...I'm such an advocate for early spay and neuter, that if someday they can do it in the womb, I'd be all for it.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 10:43PM
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Finding a vet that that I knew beyond doubt I could trust was truly a blessing. I also have a dermatology vet who I have the same regards for.

I was really feeling lost when I called the Pennsylvania Veterinary School to ask them for their recommendation a number of years ago, they gave me the same idiot I had just fired.

Very difficult, very frustrating.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 11:42AM
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