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There is a bit of a debate when is the best time, before the first season or after it, but probably this does not matter as long as she is not actually in season at the time of the spay and any time from five months forward would be just fine.
Spaying has a number of health advantages to dogs ...
1. The Obvious : There are a number of advantages to having your bitch spayed which will be apparent to any dog owner such as the avoidance of the danger of unwanted puppies, the mess and inconvenience of the bitch coming into season, and there may be male dogs hanging about making a nuisance of themselves.
2. False Pregnancy : This is a normal part of the female dog’s reproductive cycle and it occurs a few weeks after the end of the bitch coming into season. Not all bitches show the same symptoms and some are worse than others but an affected bitch may be depressed, not want to eat, may show anxiety, or strange behaviour such as bed making or carrying objects such as toys about as if they were puppies. Spayed bitches do not get false pregnancy.
3. Breast Cancer : Data collected over many years shows that the incidence of mammary tumours in un neutered bitches is significantly higher than in those spayed at an early age. If your dog is spayed before she has her first season (i.e.. between 6 months and 1 year of age) she will almost certainly never develop mammary cancer. Many canine mammary cancers are malignant and will have already spread by the time they are detected. The surgery involved can be extensive, in our clinic we do a few mammary cancer operations per month so you can see it is a common disease.
4. Womb Disease: A significant proportion of unspayed bitches develop a condition called pyometra in later life. This is where the womb becomes infected and full of pus. This infection can be fatal if not surgically corrected. Of course if the animal has been spayed and does not have a womb then it cannot contract this disease, we carry out about one emergency pyometra operation per month at my clinic.
1. Surgical Risk : This is major surgery, a full hysterectomy as well as taking away the ovaries so it is possible that there will be complications in a small number of cases. This is the case with any surgery that is carried out, the risk is small however as most vets have done so many of these operations that they quickly become very slick at it.
2. Weight Gain : Spayed bitches have a lower metabolic rate and therefor need less food intake, if you continue to feed them the same amount of food after the spay there is a high risk that they will put on weight. Having understood this point all you have to do is to modify their diet, monitor their weight on a monthly basis and make changes to their diet accordingly so that they stay trim.
3. Incontinence : A small number of spayed bitches become incontinent in later life, most cases of urinary incontinence of the spayed bitch can be effectively handled with drug therapy.
At what age did you have your bitches spayed ?