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When to Spay?

Discussion in 'Doberman Health Issues and Questions' started by KSmith, May 1, 2017.

  1. KSmith

    KSmith Member

    Oh how I know there are 100 + 1 opinions on this but really I can not make up my own. My entire life we've only ever had male dogs so I have never dealt with a heat cycle before. I honestly just want to do what is best for her but it seems so up in the air on what is correct. Medically if you spay too early you can cause incontinence, but if you spay later then the percentage is higher for breast cancer.. ? And then hormone wise is it really true if you spay too early they will just be "all legs" and not reach full potential? I don't exactly like the idea of going through heat cycles but if it helps her mature properly then I would obviously do what is best for her.
    Then we just have the issue where my in-laws refuse to neuter their dogs because "never know if we will want to breed" (Australian shepherds) :facepalm:and so the one good playmate she has that is her size (I just have two mini dachshunds that still currently dislike her lol) she is not going to be able to be around because I most certainly do not want the risk of anything happening between them!! :nono:
    Any who I would just love maybe some personal opinions on what you chose to do for your pet Doberman? :help:
    Here's some photos of my little cutie from a couple weeks ago! She's 14 weeks old now!

     

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  2. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    She's so darn cute and growing so fast!

    Yes that is very true (especially with our breed), even though more so with males from what I've heard. I personally think it's best go let the females go through at least one heat cycle and wait til they're close to at least 15 months, with 18 being better. You're right about so many opinions and theories being out there but I'd guess the general consensus with Dobermans is to wait until they're fully mature.
     
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  3. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    Like you said, 101 opinions out there.
    My very very limited experience owning one female from 10.5 weeks.
    I would wait until two years of age.
    That's about the age I felt she had completely matured, both physical and mental. A male I would probably wait a little longer, they mature slower it seems.
    I know, I know. Dealing with the heat cycles sounds like a pain in the ass but it's easily manageable.

    That's my :2cents for what I feel would be best for my dog if I opted to. Opinions may vary.
    She was not spayed for more than 5 years.
     
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  4. KSmith

    KSmith Member

    The Vet is just so pushy with getting them spayed right way citing it's healthier for less cancer risks and what not but then when I question the hormones needed to fully develop he completely shuts that down. He laughed at me when I mentioned the "being leggy" thing. It was only when I laid out that I intend *to* spay her it's just a matter of when it was only then that he eased up and explained a heat cycle and seemed okay with waiting. It's extremely off putting to me for him to just insist on spaying her right at 6 months and act like I can not have an opinion or do not know what I'm talking about.. :thumbdown: I do understand why they may need to be pushy however with the insane amount of "oops" litters and dogs in the shelter. I just wish they would put a bit more trust into those of us conserving the breed and being responsible owners!
    I honestly do not think we will be able to last until she is two to be spayed just because all of the other dogs she can be around are males and even the mutt owners aren't responsible enough to neuter. And while I fully intend on being watchful and protective of her I just would never want a slip-up to happen. :rp: haha. I feel like so much of a healthy dog mind is being able to interact and be around other dogs. I wish more of our friends and family had female dogs!

    This is just all new to me because our mini dachshunds were both snipped immediately at 6 months old since they both had quite the fetishes with their stuffed animals and human legs... lol! Of course we didn't pay the price for them that we did her so I certainly want her to be as a healthy as possible!

    Is 7-10 months usually the age range for a Doberman to go into heat? Is it a genetic thing I should maybe inquire to my breeder to know when to expect it or is just every dog different?
     
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  5. Gelcoater

    Gelcoater Expert ThreadCrapper $ Premium Subscriber $ Hot Topics Subscriber

    They're all a little different but that's the typical range. Daisy started at about 10-11 months.
     
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  6. Rits

    Rits Admin Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Mammary tumors: not every intact dog gets them and if they do, most are benign anyways. 25% unspayed females get them, 50% are benign and of the other 50% very few are fatal. Vets use mammary cancer as a scare tactic. You have to look at the breed if they are at high risk for mammary tumors and the individual dogs history (if dam had tumors?). Mammary Tumors | ACVS

    You could go the Ovary Sparing Spay route. Removes the uterus (removing risk of pyo), leaves the ovaries (allows hormones to do their job and reducing risk of other cancers caused by removing hormones too soon).

    Ovary-Sparing Spay - Parsemus Foundation
    Ovary Sparing Spay and Vasectomy Info Group

    Bonus of OSS is she cannot get pregnant.
     
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  7. Regalis

    Regalis Notable member

    There are also "Chastity" type things for dogs. Delay her spay, I believe is the name.

    It's actually quite difficult to have a true "accidental" litter. There's only a brief time during the heat when they can even become pregnant. Worst case would be to just keep her away from intact males for the entire heat. Or get a Chastity belt thing. It's been a LONG time since I've been around intact females, so I'm sure someone else can chime in with the particulars I've completely forgotten.

    With large breeds, they definitely become abnormally leggy when desexed before maturity. There's also an increased risk of joint issues.

    Not to drag this OT. But there are valid reasons to leave a "mutt" intact, particularly a male. I never neuter my dogs unless a medical issue arises that requires it. My dogs have also never produced or caused a litter. Desexing males is linked to all sorts of issues with very, very minimal "benefit". The vast majority of obese dogs are desexed. There are also temperament issues and loss of drive concerns, especially done before maturity. It's not always due to an irresponsible owner.

    Personally, if I ever get a female, I would be opting to wait until maturity (2 years, minimum) before spaying.
     
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  8. My2Girls

    My2Girls Notable member

    This is my 2 cents. Try to wait as long as you can that works for you and your situation. I originally was going to have Shadow spayed after her first heat. Luckily it was a very light heat and we almost weren't sure that that's what was going on except for the little bit of blood droplets in her bed and her distracted behavior. She was about 8 months currently she is 10 months. I am hoping to be able to wait till she is 2 yrs which seems to be the "optimal" age if you're not breeding. That means only 4 heat cycles in 2 yrs total. At least that's my understanding. So for me I only have 3 more cycles to go. I think for my situation I'm willing to sacrifice the few weeks of their heat cycle for her health/hormones and full development. Now my other dobie, Princess, who is from a BYB, I got spayed at 6 months because that's what I thought was the right thing to do, my vet did not pressure me it was just what I thought was the norm. She is all legs and looks more greyhoundish in her body type. I saw both her parents and neither looked like her. Her dad was probably Euro he was huge (Simba the Giant is his name) and mom was standard. I don't know if it was definitely the spaying but she is leggy. She's still a great dog and luckily we've had no real health issues yet. But she is only 4 yrs old. So do your research and decide what's best for you. Don't let the vet pressure you cause you can find plenty of vets that will side with waiting. Good luck.
     
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  9. JanS

    JanS DCF Owner Administrative Staff Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    Well we had to have Boris neutered by 7 months per the breeders contract and he was extremely leggy and over 30" tall. This was him at 4 years.
    By pine tree Dec 14 10 sized.jpg

    Albert has many of the same bloodlines as Boris did but we waited until he was over 2 to neuter him and you can see the difference.
    Standing alert by pine Apr 19 17.JPG


    Show that to your stubborn vet. ;) Our vet totally agrees and advises that you should wait until Dobermans are mature before they're fixed, which is another thing I love about him.
     
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  10. GennyB

    GennyB Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    I agree on waiting as long as you can. I have a pair of dobies, both intact. My female just had her first heat cycle and it went pretty well.
    Take a look at this thread for some tips on making it easier. Heat cycle
     
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  11. Archer

    Archer Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber

    First and foremost....the decision is yours, but if you have a contract with your breeder you need to see if there is a clause for when to alter. I guarantee she wants you to wait until 18 months.

    I have two altered Dobemans and three still intact. My oldest I neutered per breeding contract at 12 months and he is like Jan's boy. 30.5" tall and vey lanky. He has muscle tone, but it is not correct for a male. As a result of his early neuter, he has had to have bilateral ACL repairs and has spinal issues as he grew to fast secondary to the lack of hormones. He also has Addison's disease, which too resulted from neutering too early. There is more scientific fact and research out there nowadays to support waiting to alter than there is to alter pediatrically. As puppies, the growth plates in Dobermans don't close until 18 months so technically they grow until that age which is why 18 months is the advised age to alter. Veterinarians push pediatric altering because as a whole, the average pet owner can't maintain responsibility for an intact dog and the cancer risk is real, but said risk (as Rits posted above) is lower than once suspected. Most cancer is genetic anyway. There is enough evedence out there to show that the effect of pediatric altering is far worse than the effect of keeping your dog intact.

    As far as the heat cycles..educate yourself on them. They are different then ours and the more knowledge you have on the process the better. Each bitch is different. Typically they have two a year, cycling every 6 months. Starting age is from 6-12 months on average and the cycles last 3-4 weeks. They don't bleed the entire time. At first you will notice dropping down of the vulva and then it will start to swell. This is a sign that they are starting to get ready to have a cycle. Day one of the cycle starts when you see blood. The discharge ranges in color and lasts for around two weeks. It's best to buy panties for them to wear to keep the house clean. After which, the discharge leasens and turns straw colored. This change happens when ovulation starts and it is VERY important to keep males away from them at this stage as they can get pregnant at this stage. Their behaviors change. They will flag a male and become more moody. They typically have zero interest in males prior to this stage. It lasts a week typically. From day one of the cycle to the end of week 4 the female needs to be kept away from all intact males. This includes offleash areas and families' homes. I never let my girls outside alone when they are in heat.

    You are a good pet owner and responsible, so no doubt you could handle going through a few heat cycles before you spay her, but totally understand the concern and worry over dealing with it, especially if you haven't before. It does take a lot of responsibility. If you do decide to wait, we are here to help! You are the only one who can make the best decision for your girl and what is best for your family. If you have any more questions, let us know.
     
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  12. My2Girls

    My2Girls Notable member

    @Archer you mentioned each female is different as to when they go into their first heat but is it typical for females to have only 2 heat cycles per year (12 months) or am I not understanding that correctly.
     
  13. LifeofRubie

    LifeofRubie Active Member

    The heat cycles aren't *that* bad (my bf might disagree!). There is definitely some clean-up but the hardest part was dealing with her 'cooped up' feeling since we frequent the dog park. She's getting spayed next week, at 17 months old, because it's three months after her last cycle; she's had two already. We didn't see any major mood changes. She was definitely more distracted during walks but we continued to attend training classes and outdoor venues where she was leashed. As @Archer said, a lot of people can't properly handle intact dogs which is why vets push for the early spay/neuter.

    The only other issue we ran into waiting was the boarding place we used originally wouldn't take her after 6 months old and intact. Turns out, it wasn't a great boarding place (surprise, surprise) so we found another place. If you don't board, wouldn't be an issue, though!

    Waiting is ideal but do what feels right for you!
     
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  14. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    Yes its a big decision!!!!!!!
    I would wait until at least 2yrs. Then look into a Modified Spay, which they get to keep their hormones.
    Also loosing these hormones can down the road lead to Endocrine issues.
    Its your Dobe and NOT your Vets decision!
     
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  15. MischasMomma

    MischasMomma Hot Topics Subscriber $ Forum Donor $

    I personally waited until 15 months. I would have done 18 months but we were having company from across the country and didnt want to risk her being in heat or still healing when they were here! ;)

    I'm so thankful for my vet. We had some potty issues around 1 year old and his FIRST comment was "you didn't have her spayed yet, did you?" (We switched vets within the practice around this time) and I can't say how thankful I was to have a vet not push for early spay. Even being spayed at 15 months, we still deal with a little incontinence. I wish I could have waited longer, but it is what it is. She went into her first heat right around 12 months old and for US it really wasnt too bad. Not nearly as messy as I expected!
     
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  16. KSmith

    KSmith Member

    Thank you! Ugh I feel like I prepped and prepped so much on the puppy stage and training stage and somehow just entirely forgot I was getting a female for the first time ever and a heat cycle is something entirely new for me lol! Doesn't help that now that I have been scouring this site I have seen some pretty ummm... interesting "swollen" dobie girls... and I hate that my Vet just wants to push me a certain direction. Clearly the benefits of waiting to alter highly out weigh the early spay. My breeder is actually very understanding of what I choose to do but definitely would prefer me to wait at least a year and now just from all of your wonderful comments and now that I have scoured the forum here I do understand the importance of those hormones! The OSS is also a very interesting option that I think I will bring up to my Vet at her last puppy wellness/vaccine appointment. If he is still so insistent and rude to me then I do think we will end up going to a different clinic. It's a shame because I'm in a small area and they are the best rated clinic and he's been amazing with my dachshunds-- saving my oldest boys life when he had slipped discs-- but from the moment I brought Kimber in with her ears and tail done up I felt judgement and I hate that. :censored:
     
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  17. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    Some good info on Spay/Neuter with Dr. Karen Becker


    Good read from Dogs Naturally. Also 6 other articles at bottom of this article!
    Health Risks of Early Spay Neuter
     
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  18. KSmith

    KSmith Member


    Great reads! I particularly really liked this one ( Spay Neuter And Joint Disease ) & I feel more armed and ready for Kimber's last puppy wellness appointment in a couple weeks. I sort of just want to be done with this Vet altogether also ha but I may question him on some of these things to give him a chance to redeem himself. I just wish the gorgeous Doberman breed was more prominent around here... but alas I'm in the land of cows and corn so it's mostly all hunting labs & herding shepherds! Not that that has anything to do about the early spay debate, I just still am a bit sour on how the Vet reacts towards Kimber's crop each visit. And I quote "You should really try keeping those things out of her ears for at least a few days at a time, it looks uncomfortable." :banghead: The last visit I *almost* just did a post change right before her appointment to take her in without them in (since the visit is never very long and I'm a very unconfrontational person lol) but I told myself no, do what's best for her it's only a few months of her life anyways and wouldn't you know the first thing he says to us is "Still have those toothpicks in her ears I see?" :wtf2:
     
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  19. strykerdobe

    strykerdobe Hot Topics Subscriber

    Yes Vets like that can be problematic! Especially when they are sparse where you live.
    If there were more vets in the area I would be telling him :wtf2: we didn't come in today to treat her ears! :blush-alt:

    All you have to remember is that you the pet owner is the ultimate advocate for your pet.

    You can really get him going on this one. After Puppy Core vaccinations, what is his protocol on vaccinations. Is he a Vet that also vaccinates every year? If its yearly then he is not up to date on following the new protocols recommended by AMVA American Medical Veterinarian Association, Vet Schools, World Small Animal Veterinary Association and others. Like since 2011!
     
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  20. GennyB

    GennyB Moderator Hot Topics Subscriber




    It's a good thing that you are willing to change vets if necessary. I feel like a pet owner and vet are a team in the care of an animal. I love a vet that will present all options and accept your decision without inserting their personal opinion.
    A good vet understands that not all pet owners are created equal and should show some respect for the fact that you have educated yourself to allow you to make the best decisions for your girl. He is there to work with you and provide information, not judge you or insert a personal opinion.
     
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