You should spay your dog while she’s young and healthy.

Pyometra__2_ Because if you don’t, this is the sort of thing that can happen.  Tinker Belle is a fourteen years old, seventeen pound Rat Terrier.   They never got around to spaying her.   She has had two breast tumors removed in the last three months, one malignant, and one pre-cancerous.   Her owners asked if there was anything they could do to help prevent new ones.  Since these tumors are hormonally influenced, removing the female hormones couldn’t hurt.  The googly thing in the picture is her reproductive tract, the uterus and ovaries.   The dog’s uterus is Y-shaped, two long tubes, joined near the cervix.  You see the two "horns" spread out and leading to the ovaries.  The swellings in the little tubes are filled with pus. Whoops!  Good thing we got that out of there.

Cystic_ovary__2_ Here are the ovaries by themselves.  The one on your right is the normal one, about the size of a black-eyed pea.  SO… if the ovary on the right is normal, what does that make the ovary on the left?   That’s correct, it is abnormal, with quite the big cyst, which was probably cranking out some crazy hormones that Tinker Belle didn’t really need so much of.  She’ll be a lot better off without that baby. 

Getting rid of the pus-filled uterus was an unexpected bonus.  This is the sort of situation that has been a low-grade debilitating problem.  As she recovers from surgery we will soon find out just how bad that thing was making her feel.  I predict she will have a quantum improvement in energy and attitude.

We are fortunate that we found this before it made her critically ill.  A pyometra (pus-filled uterus) can spread through the bloodstream and poison the whole body.  Now you’re doing an emergency hysterectomy when your dog is old and sick.

This is Tinker Belle’s fourth major surgery in four months.  How much nicer it would have been for her, had she been spayed before her first heat cycle.  No breast tumors, no female trouble, no catalog of operations in her old age.

One thought on “You should spay your dog while she’s young and healthy.

  1. Doc says:

    Hello.
    With my husband job, we move about every 4-5 years. I really like our new veterinarian. However, she is the first
    vet that requires that the puppy be at least 7 month or older for spay/neutering. She explained something about the growth plates. What is your opinion?
    Kitty

    Hello, Kitty,

    The American Veterinary Medical Association endorses early age spay-neuter as early as 8 weeks in a shelter environment, but recommends waiting until four months of age for pets in a normal home environment.

    Traditionally, we waited until the pet was six months old. The subject has been studied extensively in the past fifteen years and no rational basis for waiting until seven months has been found. It was just tradition.

    It is unlikely that your pet will reach puberty before seven months, so you should still be able to get the surgery done prior to puberty. For females this is especially desirable. Going through even one estrous cycle increases the risk of breast cancer later in life.

    Your veterinarian may have had some personal experience that affects her viewpoint in the matter. You might ask her to elaborate on it if you do not wish to wait.

    Thanks for writing.

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