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Thread: When to spay a Giant Breed Dog?

  1. #1

    When to spay a Giant Breed Dog?

    I have a female Great Dane that is currently a few weeks over 6 months old. I have an appointment to get her spayed for next week. My vet recommended spaying her because she could go into heat at anytime. And he says after they go through their first heat cycle there is 80% more of a chance they could get breast cancer.

    But I was talking to another lady that has great danes and she says that a great dane does not come into heat till they are 12 months and that I shouldn't spay her so soon because she isn't developed yet. Any suggestions??? Please help!!!

  2. #2

    Spaying

    In general the larger the breed, the later the first heat. Small breeds for example can easily be in their first heat at 5-6 months. That's not to say a larger breed can't go into heat at 6 months, but usually it's delayed.

    Some breeders claim early spaying can lead to hip problems. But I'm not convinced of it. The loose connection is that the estrogen production helps seal the long bones. Ironically male dogs will actually grow taller if they are neutered at an early age. Another consideration is that if spaying on a large dog is performed under 6 months a female can have puppy wee wee control problems later on in life.

    Probably you could wait till 8 months. But you might want to research it on the Internet to make absolutely sure. My previous female 1/2 Golden, 1/2 Yellow Lab, was getting to be quite the girl at 9 months. If I had waited maybe just a couple of more weeks, she might have gone into heat. For most of her life she was in the 74-80 lb range. My current female GP+Lab+something was spayed at 6 months. Her weight is around 72-75.

    Per the chances of mammary cancer:

    A spayed female never having undergone their first heat = <1%
    After the first heat: 8% chance.
    After the second or subsequent heat, or pregnancy: 25% chance.

    So it's not quite 80%, but none the less why go over 1%?

    P.S. When the dog is spayed, I'd ask the Vet for one dose of Torbutrol (probably 5 mg). This is for the first night. After they get past the first night the usual NAISD pain medication does the trick. After 48 hrs the main problem is keeping them calm, and not wanting to run. They recover very quickly.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by dragondawg
    In general the larger the breed, the later the first heat. Small breeds for example can easily be in their first heat at 5-6 months. That's not to say a larger breed can't go into heat at 6 months, but usually it's delayed.

    Some breeders claim early spaying can lead to hip problems. But I'm not convinced of it. The loose connection is that the estrogen production helps seal the long bones. Ironically male dogs will actually grow taller if they are neutered at an early age. Another consideration is that if spaying on a large dog is performed under 6 months a female can have puppy wee wee control problems later on in life.

    Probably you could wait till 8 months. But you might want to research it on the Internet to make absolutely sure. My previous female 1/2 Golden, 1/2 Yellow Lab, was getting to be quite the girl at 9 months. If I had waited maybe just a couple of more weeks, she might have gone into heat. For most of her life she was in the 74-80 lb range. My current female GP+Lab+something was spayed at 6 months. Her weight is around 72-75.

    Per the chances of mammary cancer:

    A spayed female never having undergone their first heat = <1%
    After the first heat: 8% chance.
    After the second or subsequent heat, or pregnancy: 25% chance.

    So it's not quite 80%, but none the less why go over 1%?

    P.S. When the dog is spayed, I'd ask the Vet for one dose of Torbutrol (probably 5 mg). This is for the first night. After they get past the first night the usual NAISD pain medication does the trick. After 48 hrs the main problem is keeping them calm, and not wanting to run. They recover very quickly.

    Thank you for all of your wonderful advice. No I just have to make the decision on what I want to do and what I think is best. It all seems for the most part a matter of an opinion. Thanks for your time.

  4. #4
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    When we were deciding on neutering Dozer or not (French mastiff) this question weighed on my mind. Through all the research I did, I found the best idea was to wait until at least 12 months. Giant breeds usually don't finish growing/maturing until well after 24 months and fixing can lead to growth problems. We're not fixing him, but he's just now hitting the point where we'd get him fixed, if we were going to. He's 2 1/2 years old and is JUST NOW finishing growing. Have you talked to your vet about it?





  5. #5
    I have a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog and our breeder recommends not spaying until they go thru their first heat. She is our first female Swissie, but apparently, he says, that if you spay too early that it can lead to bladder incontinence with large breeds. I guess it is something he has seen happen often enough. My mom has a standard poodle, and while that isn't a giant breed, she has read the same thing about standards and the the possiblity of bladder incontinence if spayed prior to their first cycle.









  6. #6
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    I would definitely speak to your vet about all your concerns about
    growth, and any other problems. As you can see you are going
    to get different opinions. Maybe health studies have changed?

    A few years back, I discussed my concerns with two different vets,
    my males breeder who is a vet tech. and asked questions from
    a Veternary web site. I have no qualms about neutering a
    male large breed dog by 7 months or to spay a female dog before her first heat.


    ----<---<--<{(@

  7. #7
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    There has been a lot of discussion recently about the advantages of both spaying before the first heat and after the first heat. You may go through some of the older dog health threads and read up on that if they're still available. I think most of that info relates to all dogs, not just the giant breeds, since it's relative to when they stop growing/have their first heat, etc. and not just by what age they are

  8. #8
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    Wait till after first heat

    I am a believer/supporter in the wait till after FIRST heat or Batch of puppies. They are more mature and I've seen less health issues associated with it. Larger breeds do tend to go into their first heat later around the 8 to 12 month range so you have time. The closer to the heat cycle the better if you can't wait.
    IMO the reason for this trend of fixing early is a reflection more of convenience and population control. Similar to the C-section trends it seems in human births nowadays. 10 years ago, vets weren't so insistent with recommending the fixing of the animals as they are nowadays. Maybe it's due to advances in medicines or population levels are out of control. Either way, I am sticking with waiting till the appropriate time.
    Scooby, Shaggy the "Dogs", Ms. Thang the "Cat" and introducing Measley Weasle "The Ferret".

  9. #9
    My biggest concern with EVERYTHING I have read, that if you wait till after the first heat you are already giving your pup 25% more likely of a chance to get cancer. I am not so sure if I am willing to deal with the fact that my choice gave my pup more of a chance to develop cancer. I will have an in dept convo with our vet. Thanks everyone!!

  10. #10
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    Here's one of the articlees I was looking for. I still don't have time to continue searching but I hope it helps.
    http://www.caninesports.com/EarlySpayConsiderations.pdf
    Soar high & free my sweet fur angels. I love you Nanook & Raustyk... forever & ever.


  11. #11
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    here is some more research I stummbled upon:

    The following text was written for a labrador site:

    A study by Salmeri et al in 1991 (Salmeri et al JAVMA 1991;198:1193-1203) found that bitches spayed at 7 weeks were significantly taller than those spayed at 7 months, and that those spayed at at 7 months had significantly delayed closure of the growth plates than those not spayed (or presumably spayed after the growth plates had closed). The sex hormones close the growth plates, so the bones of dogs or bitches neutered or spayed before puberty continue to grow. This growth frequently results in a dog that does not have the same body proportions as he/she was genetically meant to. For example, if the femur is normal length at 8 months when a dog gets spayed or neutered, but the tibia, which normally stops growing at 12 to 14 months of age continues to grow, then an abnormal angle may develop at the stifle. In addition, with the extra growth, the lower leg below the stifle becomes heavier (because it is longer), causing increased stresses on the cranial cruciate ligament.

    Also in your link is reference to a study undertaken by the Golden Retriever Club of America where they state in their results that:

    Both bitches and dogs neutered at < 1 year of age were significantly taller as adults than
    those neutered at > or = 1 year of age or intact animals.
    Soar high & free my sweet fur angels. I love you Nanook & Raustyk... forever & ever.


  12. #12
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    I would spay her as soon as possible.
    Krista : Buster : Coonhound : Rudy : Airedale Terrier x : Dixie : Schnauzer/Terrier X : Miagi : Tabby : Tiger : Tabby/Bengal X : Angel : Russian Blue X

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawsdanes
    My biggest concern with EVERYTHING I have read, that if you wait till after the first heat you are already giving your pup 25% more likely of a chance to get cancer. I am not so sure if I am willing to deal with the fact that my choice gave my pup more of a chance to develop cancer. I will have an in dept convo with our vet. Thanks everyone!!

    From everything I've read and heard, there isn't a huge risk if you wait a bit longer to have your dog spayed. I think the percentage only rises about 1-2% or so. IMO, people make such a big deal out of the cancer risk just to scare you into thinking that the dog must be altered ASAP. Personally, with the large breed dogs I fully agree with Sue (Lv4dogs) and would definitley wait until she's a year or older to have her spayed as long as you are a responsible dog owner. I don't know a whole lot about Danes, but I do spend a lot of time around Dobermans as my friend breeds them. When she first began she had her new owners alter their pets around 5-7 months and each of those dogs tower over the ones who were done after a year (the show dogs from the same litter). They're huge. I'm not saying this happens with all dogs, but there are studies to back it up (like the one Sue posted) You've already been given a lot of opinions and info on this subject so I'm not going to say anything else but as I said earlier, I'd wait 'til she's older. That's just me though.

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