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To spay or not not spay? Need help!

Posted: Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:07 pm
by AgyNO
Hi everyone,
I'm standing in front of a big decision of sterilising my female tamaskan (named Hati) and there's a lot of uncertainty. She's from Vargskuggans newest litter, born 11th of March so she'll be 6 months soon. According to the articles I read we should expect her first heat cycle between 6 and 7 months.
We train Hati toward competing in obedience and she's been doing great so far. She has only conditional registration in TDR. We're first time dog owners and both because of our inexperience (upgrading from first time owner to a breeder seems like a big leap) and the fact that Hati does not exactly match the tamaskan standard (pictures included, let me know if you agree. You can see her mask isn't perfect. The colour of the fur is shown best on the picture where she's visible from her side) we've been thinking about sterilising her.

We're aware of the potential health benefits such us no risk of pyometra, ovaries and uterus cancer. At the same time we've been warned about the risk of serious personality changes as mentioned in "Behavioral and Physical Effects of Spaying and Neutering Domestic Dogs" study ( ... dyZink.pdf ). Hati is already quite fearful of unknown people (something we're working on) and we don't need extra challenges that could jeopardise our chances in competing. Other things mentioned are problems with fur (falling out), higher risk of hemangiosarcoma and hypothyroidism.
We've been told that the spaying is most recommended before the first heat cycle or at least before the 2nd one (biggest health benefits) so we don't have much time to decide...

What are your experiences? What would you recommend?

Re: To spay or not not spay? Need help!

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:00 pm
by Wolfsbane
Hi, I would not spay so young. I believe the advice to spay before 1st heat cycle is very outdated. Newer research shows it is better to let the dog mature first. So for Tamaskan this would be around 3 years of age. Also just because you don't want to breed her does not mean you must spay. There's health risks keeping a female intact but also health risks when you do spay. My very first bitch was kept intact and needed emergency spay at around 10 years of age because of pyometra, it was a closed pyometra. So the 2nd bitch we got we had spayed... (to prevent this from happening again). But then she got cancer at 9 years of age (had to put her to sleep 2 weeks after her 10th birthday), a form of cancer (Perianal) that happens only in spayed females!

My third female dog., Konah (Tamaskan) is now 9 years old and still intact, have not had any issues so far. Please don't make any haste decisions. If you do want to spay her then I strongly recommend to wait another 2 years or so.

Re: To spay or not not spay? Need help!

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:32 pm
by Booma
As Rahne said, you don't have to breed her just because she hasn't been sterilised.
I live in a pro desex country (Australia), and I know the pressure people can put on you to desex (some vets are terrible!). For my first (and only so far) litter I had it in my contract that pups could not be desexed before 12 months of age - so far they are just over a year and only one person has had their male neutered, the rest haven't been done yet.
Early spay incontinence is a very common problem for bitches who are desexed too early, and as rahne mentioned there are some cancer risks both ways.
Having an entire dog can be very inconvenient (bitches bleed, boys can get narky etc), but In my puppy classes I give a bit of info to everyone, then ask that they research it a bit themselves before giving in to vet and social pressure and desexing at 6 months.
An ovary sparing spay is an alternative desex for girls, where the uterus is removed, but the ovaries are left (some vets will take one as it's easier to only need to find one if the owner decides on a full desex later), so the dog still has its hormones to grow correctly. As there's no uterus, there is no risk of pyo.

Re: To spay or not not spay? Need help!

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 2:09 am
by ArwenT
I'm really new here and I don't even own a dog, so others will be probably more helpful than me...
But I've researched this subject a few years ago for my cat as I had the same doubt that you have.
I didn't find much about cats, but I have saved this beautiful article about dogs: ... neutering/

Eventually, after a lot of thinking, I didn't neuter my cat. It means that when he's outdoor I must always have him on the leash, that I must be responsible at all times, but today he's such a happy, energetic and healthy cat that I have never regretted it.

I hope this can somehow help.

Re: To spay or not not spay? Need help!

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:21 am
by Sylvaen
Somehow I missed this original thread... I agree with the others that it is better to wait. Ideally, around 18-24 months old is a good age to sterilize as that's when the growth plates are closed and the dog is fully mature / properly developed. Since she is lacking confidence, which is relatively common at her age, it would be best to wait until she is fully mature before sterilizing her, so as to avoid any behavioral issues.

As for Hati "not exactly matching the Tamaskan standard" and not having a "perfect mask" - don't worry about it. These are relatively trivial details and pretty easy to fix in the subsequent generations. Genetic diversity is more important and it's better to breed as many Tamaskan Dogs as possible at this stage, even the ones that have minor color / masking faults or larger ears, etc. It's a lot harder to fix structural/conformational faults so color/masking really isn't a big problem, especially if you select a male with a good mask, from a bloodline with good masking/coloring.

If you definitely don't plan to breed, then it's good to get her sterilized by around 2-3 years old at the latest, as the risk of pyometra increases over time (the canine reproductive cycle is progesterone based)... but it would be wise to consider all the pros and cons well in advance, before you make a decision. :)