• Disclaimer: Hello Guest, Doberman Chat Forums presents the opinions and material on these pages as a service to its membership and to the general public but does not endorse those materials, nor does it guarantee the accuracy of any opinions or information contained therein. The opinions expressed in the materials are strictly the opinion of the writer and do not represent the opinion of, nor are they endorsed by, Doberman Chat Forums. Health and medical articles are intended as an aid to those seeking health information and are not intended to replace the informed opinion of a qualified Veterinarian.”

Seeking suggestions on navigating spay timing of a rescue dobergirl

HMKK

New Member
Hello again,
Grateful for past help on this forum, I would like to tap into the collective wisdom again:
Our rescue Dobergirl is now 5 1/2 months old and doing great. The problem is with the rescue organization we adopted her from.
When I signed the adoption contract, I agreed to having her spayed a 6 months of age, but I have learned a few things since then and would like to delay the procedure. Tessa's vet is recommending to let her go through 1 heat and then spay 1 month after that - this way she will have proper hormone balance while she is still growing, we are minimizing the risk of joint issues and spay incontinence (issues our first rescue dobergirl suffered from and that I would like to avoid), while still keeping the risk of mammary tumors down. It seems like a prudent course of action.
My objective is to make the best possible decision for long-term health and well-being for our pup. Unfortunately, the rescue agency disagrees and has been prodding me to get the spay appointment set up ASAP. Their only concern seems to be avoidance of unwanted pups at all cost - never mind the insult that they concurrently are asserting that I cannot be responsible to keep her safe from impregnation. I am confide t that I can - this pup is never out of the house unsupervised or in an uncontrolled environment.

Does anyone have experience with this kind of situation and any advice on how best to navigate through this?
Thank you in advance!
 

jazzies mum

Hot Topics Subscriber
This is an ongoing problem with rescue groups. I can't advise on how to negotiate the outcome you need, but just wanted to say to stick to your guns. For the health of your pup! Maybe gather all the information you can regarding health risks of early spay, and also look into a partial spay that leaves the ovaries intact, then get a firm appointment set with your vet to show to the rescue organisation. The general wisdom is that any time before 18 months is too early for a Doberman. Having made the early spay mistake myself, through ignorance, and finding that my girl has spay incontinence as a result I would strongly advise standing your ground on this. Good luck!
 

Kaiser2016

Active Member
Tessa's vet is recommending to let her go through 1 heat and then spay 1 month after that - this way she will have proper hormone balance while she is still growing, we are minimizing the risk of joint issues and spay incontinence (issues our first rescue dobergirl suffered from and that I would like to avoid), while still keeping the risk of mammary tumors down.
I'd find a vet that supported the findings around spaying large dogs later on. Surely the rescue group can't go against veterinary advice?
 

HMKK

New Member
This is an ongoing problem with rescue groups. I can't advise on how to negotiate the outcome you need, but just wanted to say to stick to your guns. For the health of your pup! Maybe gather all the information you can regarding health risks of early spay, and also look into a partial spay that leaves the ovaries intact, then get a firm appointment set with your vet to show to the rescue organisation. The general wisdom is that any time before 18 months is too early for a Doberman. Having made the early spay mistake myself, through ignorance, and finding that my girl has spay incontinence as a result I would strongly advise standing your ground on this. Good luck!
Thank you for your encouraging words!
I looked into a partial spay and inquired about it with Tessa's vet. They have no experience with performing this surgery and therefore it is not an option at this provider. There is a vet in NM, a 2 hour drive from our location, who does perform the procedure, but I then I am looking at going through heats for the rest of her life or have a later ovariectomy, neither of which I consider ideal. I am trying to find the best compromise. I have also asked about hormone replacement if we go through with the spay, but based on the puzzled looks, I suspect I must have been the first person to inquire :) The argument against it was that figuring the correct dose would be tricky, which makes sense.
 

HMKK

New Member
I'd find a vet that supported the findings around spaying large dogs later on. Surely the rescue group can't go against veterinary advice?
Their vet supposedly says that 6 months is the right age for the procedure. So it's vet against vet.
I took Tessa to a different vet in town a couple of weeks after we adopted her (she still had ringworm, which the rescue's vet had declared her healed from) and this vet wanted to spay immediately, at 4 months old. When I questioned it, she sent me links to several papers on the reduced risk of mammary tumors when spaying before the first heat. She did not seem to look at any other data. I immediately switched vets, because I need a provider who can have a rational scientific discussion and look at pros and cons of each course of action.
 

Ravenbird

$ Forum Donor $
What Jazzie said. Stick to your guns & I'm pretty sure you can find a vet that will advocate for you. I can't believe you help save a life, keep one more from hitting death row and they treat you like you have no responsibility. If you can at least beg out to 18 months you will be doing Tessa a huge favor. I can't recall the name, but think theres a vet in Albuquerque that may side with you on age for optimum health benefits.
 

HMKK

New Member
What Jazzie said. Stick to your guns & I'm pretty sure you can find a vet that will advocate for you. I can't believe you help save a life, keep one more from hitting death row and they treat you like you have no responsibility. If you can at least beg out to 18 months you will be doing Tessa a huge favor. I can't recall the name, but think theres a vet in Albuquerque that may side with you on age for optimum health benefits.
Thank you for your support. Tessa's new vet is completely on board with waiting and in fact brought it up independently. It's the rescue agency that is not and not really open to discussion. They evoked the contract, which I signed before I started fully researching the question. The contract also stipulates that they reserve the right to reclaim the dog if I don't stick to it - that's the part that concerns me. I don't know how far they would be willing to go to just stick to the contract. Part of the contract also stipulates that they will pay for the procedure - I am happy to pick up that cost in exchange. It's not like they offer to pay for incontinence meds or the cost of managing joint issues later in life. That added up to a lot of $ for our previous dobergirl.
 

Oh Little Oji

Formerly Tad
Hot Topics Subscriber
$ Forum Donor $
Welcome.

What kind of pressure is the rescue place putting on you?

Do you think they might try to retake possession of her? That might sound intimidating, but I doubt they can actually physically force you to hand her over. They'd have to bring cops with them, and where I live, the cops would laugh at such a request of their time. Just don't leave her alone in your yard, which I doubt you'd do anyway.

Take you to court? I doubt they'd do that, as that's complicated and an expense. They probably don't have time for that.

So I wonder if you can put them off and let months pass and try to get to 18 months.

You are on the right side of the facts here in terms of what is best for the dog. I commend you.

There is a lot of research and evidence nowadays regarding the ill effects of early spay/neuter. Gather and compile as much of it as you can.
 

HMKK

New Member
Welcome.

What kind of pressure is the rescue place putting on you?

Do you think they might try to retake possession of her? That might sound intimidating, but I doubt they can actually physically force you to hand her over. They'd have to bring cops with them, and where I live, the cops would laugh at such a request of their time. Just don't leave her alone in your yard, which I doubt you'd do anyway.

Take you to court? I doubt they'd do that, as that's complicated and an expense. They probably don't have time for that.

So I wonder if you can put them off and let months pass and try to get to 18 months.

You are on the right side of the facts here in terms of what is best for the dog. I commend you.

There is a lot of research and evidence nowadays regarding the ill effects of early spay/neuter. Gather and compile as much of it as you can.
I am not sure how far they would go.
I appreciate your perspective and I suspect that you are correct that they would not take any legal action. I found several good papers that support my argument, maybe that will be sufficient for them to loosen up a bit. I searched PubMed for original articles. Lots of research out of Europe, less so out of the US, which I think is reflective of the bias towards indiscriminate neutering here.
 
Last edited:

Kaiser2016

Active Member
Handy new feature of the software update 👍 “Similar Threads” brought up this link:

The study in part 3 went to pubmed too, but the vet is American.
 

HMKK

New Member
Handy new feature of the software update 👍 “Similar Threads” brought up this link:

The study in part 3 went to pubmed too, but the vet is American.
This came up for me as well - an excellent resource. I read all parts.
 

HMKK

New Member
I meant to add:
I have no issue with whether the source of a study is US or European, they are equally valid. But given that early spaying and neutering is not the default in Europe, there may be greater incentive to investigate the risk and benefits of spay/neuter with regard to the optimal time-point.
Growing up in Germany, none of the dogs I knew had been spayed or neutered. None of the females ever had an unexpected litter either, so this clearly can be responsibly managed.
 

LifeofRubie

Active Member
It 100% can be responsibly managed. Unfortunately for rescues, the reason they end up with dogs is because people 1. didn't responsibly purchase the puppy from a reputable breeder or 2. they're not responsible enough to care for a dog long term so I do think they see the worst of the worst and do intend to do the best they can to look after dogs going through their system. They also do not want people rescuing a less costly purebred dog and then turnaround and use it for breeding to make money.

I understand their thought process but that's not to say I agree with their push for an early spay. Tough spot to be in, for sure.
 

HMKK

New Member
It 100% can be responsibly managed. Unfortunately for rescues, the reason they end up with dogs is because people 1. didn't responsibly purchase the puppy from a reputable breeder or 2. they're not responsible enough to care for a dog long term so I do think they see the worst of the worst and do intend to do the best they can to look after dogs going through their system. They also do not want people rescuing a less costly purebred dog and then turnaround and use it for breeding to make money.

I understand their thought process but that's not to say I agree with their push for an early spay. Tough spot to be in, for sure.
I understand the rationale for rescues insisting on spaying and I have no issue with this, I am just hung up on the timing. If I wanted to breed, I would not get a rescue without papers, I would get a puppy from a reputable breeder. We are sufficiently well off to be able to afford a purebred puppy if we wanted to go this path and we certainly don't need to make money by selling puppies. We just want a companion dog and prefer a particular breed over a shelter dog of unknown and possibly random heritage. It seems that the rescue agency would be able to assess this when they check references and interview us...
 

HMKK

New Member
I am starting to see why people avoid rescues - I received a response to my desire to delay the spay, supported by 5 recent studies of the benefits of a delay, and all I got in return is a "either schedule the spay asap or return the dog." I don't think she looked at anything I sent her and she clearly didn't consider my arguments. This is so frustrating!
 

Rits

Admin
Administrative Staff
Moderator
Hot Topics Subscriber
It's frustrating. Is this a rescue or a shelter? I adopted two dogs through two different county shelters 12+ years ago. They also had a "spay asap" contract, emphasis on the "as soon as possible". I let them go through one heat with me then spayed, that was as soon as I personally could. They were probably 18 months by the time they were spayed and I adopted them when they were a year to just under a year. This was when delayed spaying info was very new. Java the lab lived until she was 14 and Paige the heinz 57 mutt is still with us and turning 13 this year. The shelters didn't call or bother me once they were adopted ... I simply lost the free spay/neuter they offered. Not sure if it would work out the same for you and I wouldn't normally advise this but... You seem like you are trying to keep their best interest in mind and capable of handling a heat cycle.
 

HMKK

New Member
It's frustrating. Is this a rescue or a shelter? I adopted two dogs through two different county shelters 12+ years ago. They also had a "spay asap" contract, emphasis on the "as soon as possible". I let them go through one heat with me then spayed, that was as soon as I personally could. They were probably 18 months by the time they were spayed and I adopted them when they were a year to just under a year. This was when delayed spaying info was very new. Java the lab lived until she was 14 and Paige the heinz 57 mutt is still with us and turning 13 this year. The shelters didn't call or bother me once they were adopted ... I simply lost the free spay/neuter they offered. Not sure if it would work out the same for you and I wouldn't normally advise this but... You seem like you are trying to keep their best interest in mind and capable of handling a heat cycle.
It's a rescue, I think I could easily fly under the radar if it was a shelter. But they have my e-mail and keep checking in.
I had hoped that laying out my reasons, supporting them with objective data and assuring that I can handle the responsibility of one heat cycle would be met with reason and we could discuss this rationally as intelligent, thoughtful adults do. I even contacted Tessa's vet and asked if she would be willing to discuss this with the rescue and after she agreed, I provided her contact information in my last e-mail with the offer to discuss. If I was suggesting not to spay at all, I could understand their reaction. But I am trying to strike a reasonable balance and for the benefit of the pup. One would think that they would support this.
 

Rits

Admin
Administrative Staff
Moderator
Hot Topics Subscriber
I would pursue the vet route. Have them write a doctor note of sort that she cannot be spayed until x age due to health reasons.
 

Top