Friday, 20 June 2014

Spaying your dog..

I bet you've been told that spaying is a must for your female dog? Absolutely necessary? All negatives? Also that spaying should be done as early as possible, certainly by 6 months old?

YUP... me too.. in fact everytime i set foot into my vets, I am asked when am I bringing them in to be spayed.. :(

I know all the arguements, I feel I have educated myself with all the available facts, I have even fallen fail to one of my bitches having to have an emergency spay because I suspected she had early pyometra, and still, I am anxious and unsure about the other two girls being automatically given over to the surgeon's knife.

here are some interesting facts I have found, and I decided to make this into a blog just so I can keep this on record, then I can decide and research further with this to refer to..


happy symbolSpaying prevents the nuisance of heat periods.
  • Heat periods can be messy and embarrassing. During a heat period, the genitals swell. She will have a bloody discharge, which can stain her coat and your carpets and furniture. She may spend a lot of time licking her private parts. She may flirt shamelessly with other dogs (even other females), presenting her rump and encouraging other dogs to mount her. She may mount other dogs herself or hump pillows or stuffed toys.
  • Heat periods require vigilant confinement. If your dog is in heat, you can't leave her alone in the yard for a single minute. A female in heat can be smelled from a long distance away and fences mean nothing to a lust-crazed male. Indeed, you may have to curtail walks altogether.
  • Heat periods can upset your own plans. Vacations and trips may have to wait, since there are too many opportunities for your dog to escape. Friends and relatives may not appreciate a visit when your dog has a discharge or will leave tempting scents on their doorstep. And leaving an unspayed female with a pet sitter or boarding kennel is extremely risky because of the extreme requirements for vigilance.
happy symbolSpaying prevents uterine infections. Nearly 1 in 4 unspayed females will develop a uterine infection called pyometra at some point in their life. It's a life-threatening condition – the uterus swells up with toxic pus and the only cure is an emergency spay, even though your dog is already sick from the infection and could be middle-aged or elderly. So many beloved dogs are lost to pyometra, which can be completely prevented by spaying while your dog is still young and healthy.
happy symbolSpaying prevents false pregnancies. A few weeks after a heat period, some unspayed females act as though they're going to have pups. Their belly swells, their nipples may produce milk, and they may even become attached to stuffed toys. It sounds harmless, even amusing. But the hormonal changes associated with a false pregnancy can throw your dog's metabolism all out of whack and result in serious infections of the mammary glands (mastitis).

Spaying prevents real pregnancies. If your dog becomes pregnant – either deliberately or accidently – she will be vulnerable to the considerable risks of pregnancy and birthing. It is not uncommon for female dogs to die trying to give birth, or shortly after birth. Imagine the guilt you would feel. Your beloved dog was happy and healthy.... then suddenly she's gone.... simply because you wanted puppies. In addition, responsible breeding requires too much knowledge and expense. To do it right, you need to learn about canine genetics and researching pedigrees. You need to do expensive health tests on both parents. You need to pay higher food bills and veterinary costs, and if anything goes wrong during the pregnancy or birthing or with the puppies, vet costs go up really fast. Breeding is simply not worth it.
happy symbolSpaying offers partial protection against breast cancer. If your dog is spayed before 2.5 years old, she is less likely to develop mammary tumors, the most common malignant tumor in female dogs. In addition, the fewer heat periods she experiences, the lower the risk of mammary tumors. Thus, having only one heat period before being spayed is safer than having two or more heat periods.
happy symbolSpaying prevents cancer of the uterus and ovaries. However, these cancers are not common in dogs, so this particular benefit of spaying is just a little extra perk.
happy symbolSpaying may mean lower licensing fees.In many communities, license fees are lower for spayed and neutered dogs.

happy symbolSpaying doubles the risk of obesity. Extra weight leads to debilitating joint disease, arthritis, heart disease, pancreatitis, and diabetes. Spayed dogs become overweight when owners feed the same amount of food as before their dog was spayed. Spaying, you see, changes a dog's hormonal make-up and metabolism so that she doesn't require as much food. Notice your dog's shape as you feed her. Keep adjusting the amount you feed so she stays on the slender side, and provide plenty of exercise. Then your spayed dog will not become fat.
happy symbolSpaying increases the risk of a deadly cancer called hemangiosarcoma, which typically attacks the heart or spleen. Apparently the reproductive hormones offer some protection against this particular cancer, because spayed females are twice as likely to develop hemangiosarcoma of the spleen and 5 times as likely to develop hemangiosarcoma of the heart, compared to unspayed females.
Hemangiosarcoma can strike any breed, but it is much more common in certain breeds, especially the Afghan Hound, Belgian Shepherd, Bernese Mountain Dog, Bouvier des Flandres, Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, Doberman Pinscher, English Setter, Flat Coated Retriever, French Bulldog, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Rottweiler, Saluki, Scottish Terrier, Skye Terrier, and Vizsla.
happy symbolSpaying triples the risk of hypothyroidism. Removing the reproductive hormones appears to upset the endocrine system, resulting in low thyroid levels. Hypothyroidism causes obesity, lethargy, and hair loss, but can be managed with daily thyroid medication.
happy symbolSpaying is major surgery requiring general anesthesia. Studies show that about 20% of spay procedures have at least one complication, such as a bad reaction to the anesthesia, internal bleeding, inflammation or infection, abscess, sutures coming undone, etc. Fortunately, most complications are minor. Less than 5% are serious, and the death rate is low – less than 1%.
happy symbolIF DONE AT THE WRONG AGE, spaying increases the risk of hip dysplasia, ligament rupture, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and urinary incontinence. This is because the reproductive hormones are essential for helping your dog's bones, joints, and internal organs to develop properly. If you remove those reproductive hormones too early, they don't have enough time to complete their valuable work.
  • Early spaying causes the leg bones to grow unevenly. This leaves your dog more vulnerable to hip dysplasia and torn ligaments.
  • Early spaying triples the risk of bone cancer. However, this deadly cancer is mainly a threat in giant dogs and large dogs, and much less common in smaller dogs.
  • Early spaying causes urinary incontinence in up to 20% of spayed females. Weak bladder muscles start to leak in middle age. This is stressful for both you and your dog, who is understandably upset at "having accidents" when she can't understand why. Lifelong supplementation with estrogen will be required to manage the leakage, and getting the medication properly balanced takes some trial and error.
  • Early spaying can adversely affect the size and shape of a female's "private parts." The vulva of a dog spayed early remains small and may even be recessed inside her body instead of protruding as it should. Abnormal vulvas have folds of skin that trap bacteria, leading to recurrent dermatitis, vaginal infections, or urinary tract infections.

So in conclusion I suppose there are more benefits to spay than negatives, but that will depend from my point of view to what sort of owner you are, for me I am totally on the ball when it comes to detecting a problem, as for the inconvenience of the bleeding, yeah it's lots of throws needing to be laundered, but it doesn't faze me twice a year for a few weeks at a time..  and as for the lusty male dogs, well, I think I would notice if one shagged my girls, and they wouldn't be going on secret meets without me chaperoning them.. so no unwanted unplanned pregnancies would occur in my house.. which is a paramount reason for our vets, because of the tens of thousand of strays and shitty breeders..

I think its worth thinking about the breeds which are prone to hemangiosarcoma (cancer of the spleen and heart), and my dogs fall into that category so I'm hesitant when I think of the fact that spaying dogs lends them more likely to develop this. 

Remember, ALL dogs, whatever their breed or mix, are prone to health problems when spayed too early. Your dog needs her reproductive hormones for some time so that her bones, joints, and internal organs can develop normally.

Don't rush into this, think about it, it's YOUR decision.. 

And don't forget that spaying is major surgery under general anesthesia. For your dog's sake, you shouldn't simply hand her over to the vet expecting all possible safety precautions to be taken as a matter of course.

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