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Author: Dr. Juon Abbass | DVM M.Phil PhD (veterinary microbiology) | February 1,2022

AN OVERVIEW OF SPAYING IN FEMALE DOGS

Dog lying on green grass ground

Dogs are lovable creatures. Have you ever heard about Spaying? Spaying is a surgical procedure to remove both ovaries along with the other parts of the reproductive system of a female dog to the cervix. This surgical procedure is deliberately done with the consent of the owner to stop unwanted pregnancies. All along with that, there are several important causes of spaying in female dogs. In this article, we will discuss “Spaying and its importance in bitches” along with other relevant facts under the light of scientific literature and the general field experience.

WHY SPAYING IS DONE IN FEMALE DOGS?

As discussed earlier, there are some reasons for spaying in female dogs. Here, we have summarized a few important reasons for spaying in the bitches.

1) To stop unwanted pregnancies. (This surgery is performed with the consent of the owner)

2) The spaying is also done in case of reproductive tumors or damage. Keep in mind; spaying is usually performed to save the dogs from getting mammary neoplasia. This has been scientifically documented that the chances of mammary neoplasia in spayed bitch are less than the unspayed bitch.

3) The spaying is done to calm a super excited bitch. The super excitation in female dogs occurs due to the hormonal changes in the body. This surgery reduces the excitation in the female dogs and makes them calm. Note: This has been also shown that some bitches show sexual excitation even after spaying. So, exceptions are always there. Some bitches can show sexual excitability even after the spaying.

4) Spaying also helps in the prevention of urinary tract infections in dogs. All along with that, scientific studies have revealed that spaying helps in the protection of uterine infections in female dogs and a condition called (Pyometra).

5) Spaying also prevents the risk of ovarian and uterine cancers in female dogs. In addition, spayed dogs enjoy a longer life span as compared to unspayed dogs.

WHICH IS THE IDEAL AGE OF SPAYING IN BITCHES?

This depends upon the owner. However, the ideal age of spaying is six to nine months of age. This is better to spay a bitch as early as possible. For most breeds or sexes, desexing can be performed without concern of age, at least with regard to the joint disorders or cancers covered in the latest studies. Last but not least, you can take guidance from your vet in this regard.

Our Recommendations:
 
Small Breeds <15kg: Around 6 months. (Before their first heat cycle)

Large Breed Dogs: 1 year age. (After their first heat cycle)

High Risk Cancer/Joint Disease Breeds: After 2 years of age.

 IS SPAYING A COMPLICATED SURGERY?

Spaying is considered minor surgery. Usually, there are very low chances of complications associated with this surgery. However, you can the post-operative care of the female dog is very crucial. Give your dog plenty of rest. Preferably, use Elizabethan collars to prevent your beloved canine friend from licking her incision. Keep in mind, better post-operative care ensures better and timely healing. Note: With proper post-operative care, your dog can restore her normal activity after 5-10 days.

WHAT ARE THE CONS OF SPAYING THE FEMALE DOGS?

However, there are a few cons of spaying which have been seen in many dog breeds. Here, we are going to discuss a few important cons of spaying.

1. Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) has been seen in the bitches which are spaying before one year of age. 

2. An increased risk of vaginitis, vulvar disorders, and vaginal dermatitis has been observed in the female dogs spayed before puberty.

3. Triple risk of hypothyroidism has been seen in spayed bitches. However, the chances are low.

4. Last but not least, obesity has been observed in spayed dogs. Keep in mind, obesity is a corridor to so many problems.

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Spaying is an important surgery in the pet world. Various medical conditions require spaying. This also depends upon the owner whether he/she wants to spay the dog or not. This is highly recommended to discuss this thing with a certified veterinarian.

REFERENCES

Sorenmo, K.U., Shofer, F.S. and Goldschmidt, M.H., 2000. Effect of spaying and timing of spaying on survival of dogs with mammary carcinoma. Journal of veterinary internal medicine, 14(3), pp.266-270. Reichler, I.M., Welle, M., Eckrich, C., Sattler, U., Barth, A., Hubler, M., Nett‐Mettler, C.S., Jöchle, W. and Arnold, S., 2008. Spaying‐induced coat changes: the role of gonadotropins, GnRH and GnRH treatment on the hair cycle of female dogs. Veterinary dermatology, 19(2), pp.77-87.