Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pawbly Question."Based on the latest research, at what age would you recommend to spay a German Shepherd?"

This is CC, who was spayed last week.
She is a 6 month old shepherd (and lots of other stuff) mix.

Pawbly has been aflutter with questions lately..here's one I haven't talked much about.. 

"at what age do I recommend spaying?"

Always a smile..

Ready for surgery.

 Here is my answer;

There have been a few studies done that have altered our old perceptions of "ideal time to spay."

Certainly some breeds of dogs seem to be predisposed to some diseases, so we looked for ways to alter the statistics of incidence to see if anything (other than diluting out the gene pool,,a subject for another debate), might influence the incidence of disease. Of note is the study done on Golden Retrievers and a lower incidence of many diseases like hip dysplasia, cranial cruciate ligament tears, and even cancer IF the age of neutering was delayed. This study sent shock waves through the veterinary community who is now re-thinking our previously held belief that ALL dogs should be spayed/neutered at 6 months old.

Unfortunately, the decision is not so simple. As awful as watching a pet suffer from one of these diseases is, it is even more awful to deal with the other end of the spectrum of this debate. It has been decades of trying to convince pet parents to spay and neuter their pets in an effort to curb the unwanted pet population. In this country alone we euthanize upwards of 10 million pets a year. And we are sometimes forced to euthanize puppies and kittens because we do not have homes for them.

If my clients did not spay/neuter this number would be larger. Most of my clients do not want to have an unwanted pregnancy, or deal with a pet that goes into heat so they spay at about 6 months old.

The other thing I have seen all too often is aggression. I see more anxiety, fear, and aggression related problems in un-spayed/neutered dogs than those that are fixed. Of all of the breeds of dogs that have the worst fear aggression and most devastating consequences German Shepherds have been the most horrible cases.

No one wants to admit it but medicine is all about statistics. I know that statistically as a population GSD suffer from aggression, fear, hip dysplasia, allergies, and immune mediated diseases. Whatever I can do to help avoid these I will do..But starting your dog on the best path can only be done by understanding the client, their abilities, restrictions, lifestyle, the pets bloodlines, genetic markers, parental diagnostics, and then deciding with as much information as possible what age is best to spay.

If I have to give an age without knowing any of these I say 6 months old, (before the first heat cycle).

I hope this helps..As always every pet is a unique individual who should be treated as such. After that the rest of the guidelines are based on statistics, they are the best guide we have to go on for now.

Surgery is done,, cleaning up the incision.

Waking up.

To find the Golden Retriever study please visit;

A little snack before heading home with dad.

If you have a question about anything pet related you can ask the community on Pawbly.com. Pawbly is dedicated to providing a safe, credible place to help people and pets the wide world over. Pawbly is free for everyone to use. We are also on Facebook..

You can also find me at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, or on Twitter @FreePetAdvice.

Thanks to Jana Rade for this question. Jana is the amazing woman behind Dawg Business, a blog to help people take care of their dogs, dedicated to the memory of her Rottweiler, Jasmine. 

Happy Spring Everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment