Author Topic: Still undecided about spaying  (Read 290 times)

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Offline SandyT

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Still undecided about spaying
« on: September 09, 2017, 08:30:53 AM »
Hello everyone, I am so unsure what to do!  Our cocker spaniel is almost 8 months old now and my husband and I have been in a debate as to whether to have her spayed.  I cancelled one spaying appointment but we have another one scheduled next week.

One of my main concerns is ruining her beautiful fluffy coat - she's so soft and silky.  But my husband argues we will always have to worry about when she goes into season and other dogs around. 
We have a fenced garden and the neighbouring houses don't have dogs.

How do you know when a dog is in season?   I havent noticed anything so far.  Do they behave differently?  Is there bleeding to worry about?

How much does spaying actually change their coats?   

Offline BonnieScot

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2017, 04:40:37 PM »
Hi Sandy.

There's lots on the forum about this and a range of opinions!

I've decided not to spay Bonnie just yet- she's two and a bit and has had three seasons and three phantom pregnancies. I don't find it difficult to manage her and as you rightly point out, there aren't many stray dogs about to worry about- the garden is secure to all but the most determined suitor, but we've not even had any try. There's a little mess in the house but with wooden floors it's easy sorted. I walk her on a long line and she doesn't get off leash for the whole season.

I wanted to let her mature before I thought about doing it- I've spayed females before their first birthdays in the past. I've also had lots of conversations with our vet about the pros and cons. She's a big, bold lass, raw-fed mostly and very healthy so far so we're happy.

I know others will have different opinions and worries for their fur-babies so it's one of individual choice. But, I found that reading a lot on both sides of the argument helps you understand what's right for you.





Offline Guelder Rose

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2017, 07:54:57 PM »
I opted to have Grace spayed after her second season.  Grace is eight years old now, so it was a few years ago and I remember being shocked that the recommendation at that time was to spay before the first season!  I researched as much as I could at the time and felt comfortable with my decision at that time. 

As for the blood, I used a hygiene belt that held a panty liner - Grace wore that when she was relaxing around the house and at night.  Grace has full access to my bed 24/7 so this obviously solved the issue of mess and it didn't bother her wearing it.

If I had a puppy now and had to make the same decision again I would opt to wait longer - maybe like the previous poster after the third season, or the fourth.  I think I would prefer to not spay at all but I would worry about the risk of Pyometra increasing as each year passed - but again, I would research that if I had a puppy now before making a decision.

As for knowing when your girl comes into season, with Grace it was obvious as her vulva swelled to about four times its normal size!  She really didn't act any differently and thankfully I wasn't bothered by dogs trying to get to her.

I read recently that there is an operation where the ovaries are retained - if I had a puppy now I would definitely research that option.


Offline SandyT

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2017, 06:05:59 AM »
Thank you both, I think even if we do spay I should wait a bit longer.   The way it sounds I would know if she's had a season yet and I don't believe she has.  The 16th of September  she will be 8 months so perhaps I can expect it soon.  :o

A coworker told me about another option yesterday  - that there was an injection to stop ovulation?  If that's a possibility it might be a perfect compromise.  Anyone here try that?

I was also told by the same coworker her hair and eyes will become dull after spaying.  She's such a beautiful girl, I don't want to ruin her! 

Offline Gazrob

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2017, 09:16:02 AM »
My boy isn't nuetered and I don't plan on doing so unless there is a medical reason. His behaviour is the same as always he's not interested in other females. I'm going to let nature takes its course. He's never unsupervised when out for walks or in the garden. If she's never out of sight and has no chance of mating with other dogs I would leave it unless you see a massive change in her. As for coming into season you might not see much of any blood at all.

Offline alexdo

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2017, 10:44:55 AM »
My dog is 4 and she has not been spayed.
Her first season was at 12 months and every 6 months after that.
You will most definitely know when she is in season!! For me it's always other dogs who let me know in the first place, as both girls and boys start sniffing her a lot! Then come the physical signs, which you can't really miss, as was said previously the lady bits will become very large and your girl will start licking herself a lot.
I don't have any carpets to worry about in my house, there is spotting although my dog keeps herself clean.
Her behaviour also changes a lot, she becomes very needy and affectionate and clingy, and there is one week, usually from day 10, where she becomes very agitated, doesn't sleep much, doesn't eat much, and humps cushions and legs (yes girls do it too!) - my kids call it 'humping season'.
I don't take her to high traffic areas for the 3 weeks she is in season, we stick to quiet woods!
I have had a litter from my dog and I think will do one more, then I will seriously consider spaying her to the risks of pyometra and mammary cancer.
I am thinking of getting another female cocker spaniel, if I have her spayed it will be definitely when she has had at least one season and is fully grown and mature.
How are you planning to have your dog groomed? Because clipping will change her coat anyway...

Offline Guelder Rose

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2017, 12:04:06 PM »
Alexdo said that her dog humps cushions when in season - for my Grace this a year round activity!  Every single day as soon as she has her lunch she humps her cushion in the kitchen for about 15 minutes straight - I've never corrected her as I just see it as she's happy after her lunch.  The only time it's been awkward is when I have clients over and she happens to perform in front of them!!!

Offline JeffD

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2017, 11:37:56 AM »
I don't do dogs, I do spay bitches if not intended for breeding but not before they have matured I prefer 2 seasons before spay, Teal had the most wonderful coat until she was spayed but I would still spay I believe that the pro's out weigh the cons 
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Offline SandyT

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2017, 10:16:35 AM »
I spoke to my vet about alter stoves to spaying and there doesn't seem to be any other options.  They said there were too many negatives side effects using birth control injections so they stopped doing them 15 years ago.  A half-spay wasn't offered as an option either.  Sadly I think the only solution is to have her spayed and ruin her beautiful coat.

Offline Guelder Rose

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2017, 10:19:12 AM »
I spoke to my vet about alter stoves to spaying and there doesn't seem to be any other options.  They said there were too many negatives side effects using birth control injections so they stopped doing them 15 years ago.  A half-spay wasn't offered as an option either.  Sadly I think the only solution is to have her spayed and ruin her beautiful coat.

Maybe contact a couple of other vets in your area to see if they offer any alternatives to the full spay?


Offline Holly Berry

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2017, 10:11:43 AM »
These are my experiences. My first two bitches I didn't spay. I don't intend to breed or show my dogs.

One developed mammary tumours, which despite having a complete strip on one side progressed to liver cancer, she was 8. The other I lost at 9 to pyometra and an on going infection.

All the others I have had spayed, but not until they have had at least one season. Some have coped well with their seasons, but Ebony was a complete nightmare. She was quite messy and cried almost constantly either to go outside or maybe being uncomfortable.

Although I don't show mine I do keep them in full show coat. I hand strip them before that are spayed and therefore get a good shape. After spaying I will then scissor and coatking to keep on top or as in Ebony's case at the age of 7 had to resort to clipping as her coat has become quite woolly. She is solid black though which tends to be woolly, whereas Rosie is predominantly white has a much silkier coat and I only partially clip her now beacause she is nearly 14 and can't stand so long on the grooming table.

I tried to do as much research as possible but there is so much conflicting info and so in the end I just based my decision on losing my first two relatively young.
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Offline Guelder Rose

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2017, 10:33:05 AM »
These are my experiences. My first two bitches I didn't spay. I don't intend to breed or show my dogs.

One developed mammary tumours, which despite having a complete strip on one side progressed to liver cancer, she was 8. The other I lost at 9 to pyometra and an on going infection.

All the others I have had spayed, but not until they have had at least one season. Some have coped well with their seasons, but Ebony was a complete nightmare. She was quite messy and cried almost constantly either to go outside or maybe being uncomfortable.

Although I don't show mine I do keep them in full show coat. I hand strip them before that are spayed and therefore get a good shape. After spaying I will then scissor and coatking to keep on top or as in Ebony's case at the age of 7 had to resort to clipping as her coat has become quite woolly. She is solid black though which tends to be woolly, whereas Rosie is predominantly white has a much silkier coat and I only partially clip her now beacause she is nearly 14 and can't stand so long on the grooming table.

I tried to do as much research as possible but there is so much conflicting info and so in the end I just based my decision on losing my first two relatively young.

I heard that Grace's mum was PTS at only 9 y/o due to mammary cancer.  It is such a hard decision for all of us to decide what is the right choice, when as you say there is so much conflicting advice - I think we all end up confused for a while and then settle on what feels right, for me at the time with Grace it was to wait until she had two seasons. 
It was interesting what you said about the coat, Grace has quite a large amount of black fur and I have to clip this very short as it's very soft and fluffy - whereas her white fur remains nice and silky and allows me to keep a decent length to her coat on her sides, chest and legs.  What I don't get is that her ears and head are mainly black and yet this is also silky - it is just the black fur on her back which is soft, fluffy and curls up.

Offline chien

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2017, 11:30:02 AM »
I'm glad to see this discussion as Iím in the same boat.

My girl is now 1 year and 8 months.
She has had two seasons already and is now close to having her 3rd if my timings are correct...

Her first was a phantom for sure as she produced milk etc. The first vet prescribed galastop (expensive mistake as she vomited every time she took it Ė I deemed it not necessary and the vet eventually agreed I could do without it.) why I was given a useless £30~ medicine in the first place I donít knowÖ.

The second time she went into season she went off food etc. but no milk. I am sure she got some infection I donít believe it was full blown Pyometra. It soon cleared up after anti-biotics. He claimed she would always have a phantom and is most likely infertile. ? I have a suspicion that maybe the pants I used could have promoted the infection as she would have been unable to keep herself as clean even though we changed her pads frequently.

My vet was very keen to have her spayed straight away before first season. I wasn't keen on this at all , the other bits of miss information (her being infertile? how can he guess that?) doesn't give me much confidence.

I have no doubt about the risks of cancers and greater risk of Pyometra which are legit reasons for spaying but there are downsides too that I don't believe we're made aware of. We know already it impacts their coat. Are there other health issues like weight gain? that is something I believe is a serious issue for a canine as it can cause other issues such as ligament damage (overweight dogs more likely to damage ligaments) and the subsequent inactivity can cause other issues. Maybe i'm over thinking it but I do not want my girl to become inactive and gain weight as that's likely to impact her health just as much. 

My girls coat is very silky and is always complimented on how glossy it is. She gets hand stripped as well. She is a cross between working and show I believe as she doesn't have the "under skirt" if that's the correct name for it? But she does have the top knot. I think not spaying just because of the coat would be selfish for me but the other concerns i have about weight gain etc. would be a basis for me to consider otherwise.

Also let me express my sympathy for those that've lost their beautiful dogs to cancer or infection :(

Offline ips

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2017, 11:48:08 AM »
I'm glad to see this discussion as Iím in the same boat.

My girl is now 1 year and 8 months.
She has had two seasons already and is now close to having her 3rd if my timings are correct...

Her first was a phantom for sure as she produced milk etc. The first vet prescribed galastop (expensive mistake as she vomited every time she took it Ė I deemed it not necessary and the vet eventually agreed I could do without it.) why I was given a useless £30~ medicine in the first place I donít knowÖ.

The second time she went into season she went off food etc. but no milk. I am sure she got some infection I donít believe it was full blown Pyometra. It soon cleared up after anti-biotics. He claimed she would always have a phantom and is most likely infertile. ? I have a suspicion that maybe the pants I used could have promoted the infection as she would have been unable to keep herself as clean even though we changed her pads frequently.

My vet was very keen to have her spayed straight away before first season. I wasn't keen on this at all , the other bits of miss information (her being infertile? how can he guess that?) doesn't give me much confidence.

I have no doubt about the risks of cancers and greater risk of Pyometra which are legit reasons for spaying but there are downsides too that I don't believe we're made aware of. We know already it impacts their coat. Are there other health issues like weight gain? that is something I believe is a serious issue for a canine as it can cause other issues such as ligament damage (overweight dogs more likely to damage ligaments) and the subsequent inactivity can cause other issues. Maybe i'm over thinking it but I do not want my girl to become inactive and gain weight as that's likely to impact her health just as much. 

My girls coat is very silky and is always complimented on how glossy it is. She gets hand stripped as well. She is a cross between working and show I believe as she doesn't have the "under skirt" if that's the correct name for it? But she does have the top knot. I think not spaying just because of the coat would be selfish for me but the other concerns i have about weight gain etc. would be a basis for me to consider otherwise.

Also let me express my sympathy for those that've lost their beautiful dogs to cancer or infection :(

My girl is three and a bit and after much research I chose not to spay even though I do not intend to breed from her.  I don't want a ruined coat, I don't want an incontinent dog and I don't want any change in behaviour, plus I am not in favour of what I consider unnecessary surgery. She is no problem at all when in season so I just don't feel happy about spaying a perfectly healthy young bitch
And yes I fully understand about the potential health risks of not doing but they are potential risks not a certainty
Muddling along in the hope that one day it all makes sense.

Offline Holly Berry

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Re: Still undecided about spaying
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2017, 02:47:06 PM »
TBH weight gain hasn't been a problem. I'm in control of what they eat and whilst I now feed raw, which I feel is more beneficial (another area of great debate, but I can only comment on my experience) I feed according to the weight I want them to be, i.e. for 12kg it's 1-2% of that weight.

Exercise is the same, I control that and I've not had any problems with incontinence until recently with Rosie, but then she is nearly 14.

Behaviour changes haven't occurred post spay, but behaviour did change from being in season. One of my girls, the one who had cancer, that wasn't spayed had terrible phantom pregnancies and would carry soft toys around and make nests for them, it was quite pitiful to watch, especially as the other one would keep taking the soft toy out of the bed and play tug with it, to her it was a toy. The one in season would then become quite aggressive. She reverted back to her normal self when her season had finished. She would also stand to the other bitch to be mated, pestering the life out of her. Obviously it's not the same if you only have the one dog.

Each dog is different, and our decisions are based on our experiences and beliefs. I have a vet who respects my wishes and approves of letting them have 1 or 2 seasons. Personally a silky coat is not a reason to not spay, after all mine spend most of their time wet, muddy full of all sorts of twigs, burrs etc. The only time they're not is just after I've brushed them  :005:
Rosie Cassie Lucy Poppy and Holly My Angels at the Bridge