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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19120
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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I have a 5 month old German shepherd puppy and I'm not sure

Customer Question

I have a 5 month old German shepherd puppy and I'm not sure when I should take her in to be spayed. She hasn't been through a heat yet but I've been told two different things by two different vets. One says earlier the better, 6 months is the perfect age. Another said to wait until she's closer to a year and let her go through a couple heat cycles. Something about her hormones? He said if I spay her before 11-12 months she will run the risk of becoming Incontent becsuse of cutting off her hormones before she's mature. Can anyone offer some advice and experience? I don't want t to make the wrong decision.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 months ago.
Hello and welcome, This is just a quick note to let you know that I am locked on to your question and am working on it now. I am a small animal vet with many years experience and rest assured I will do my best to answer your question to your satisfaction today. You can expect a written reply sometime within the next five to ten minutes or so. We also have the option to talk things over by telephone or via an internet service such as Skype. Please get back to me if this is more convenient for you. { There is a small extra charge for phone calls } Regards, *****
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 months ago.
Hello again I have worked out an answer for you below ... 1. I personally suggest spaying a female dog a few weeks after the end of her first season but I have seen many dogs which were spayed before the first season who have never experienced any sort of problem, so my opinion is that it does not really make much difference. I am however an advocate of spaying female dogs at a young age { Say less than eighteen months of age }, lets list the pros and cons ... What Are The Advantages :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 unneutered bitches is significantly higher than in those spayed at an early age. If your dog is spayed before she is one year of age then she will almost certainly never develop mammary cancer. Many canine mammary cancers are often very malignant and will have already spread by the time they are detected.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.The Disadvantages :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 therefore 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. This is a rare event and in my opinion is not related to spaying either before or after the first season, if it is going to happen it will happen anyway. The bot***** *****ne? : As long as she in good health and reasonable size and development so she can better withstand the surgical procedure probably any time under one year of age will be fine as long as she is not actually in season at the time.I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you. Regards, ***** ***** be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 8 months ago.
Hello again,I am just checking back with you after our dialogue concerning spaying to make sure you have all the information you need. Please get back to me if you have any further questions on the subject ...Regards,Dr ScottPlease be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.