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Old 06-10-2008, 07:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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spaying an older dog

We recently acquired a female who had been previously bred. Her last litter was a year ago. She is just turning five and has had 3 litters in the past. We do not intend to breed her, and I wanted to know if there is any down side to spaying an older dog. The vet tested her clotting factor and has no concerns about von wil. Are there hormone related issues or cancer risks like with humans?
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Scarlet View Post
We recently acquired a female who had been previously bred. Her last litter was a year ago. She is just turning five and has had 3 litters in the past. We do not intend to breed her, and I wanted to know if there is any down side to spaying an older dog. The vet tested her clotting factor and has no concerns about von wil. Are there hormone related issues or cancer risks like with humans?
Yes, she definitely should be spayed. Intact females are at risk for pyometra, a uterine infection which can be fatal.

If it were me, I'd go ahead and do the Vetgen test for vWD. It's a dna test, and the only definitive test for vWD. The test your vet did was almost certainly the ELISA blood test, and it has a high error rate, there also is an overlap between categories with this test.

I'd do bloodwork, just to make sure liver and kidney function were good.

Immediately prior to the spay (or any surgery) I'd have the vet do a BMBT clotting test-this checks on how quickly the blood clots on that particular day. This is because vWD isn't the only disorder that can cause clotting issues in dogs.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks. I actually know a pony that suffered that complication in her uterus.

How much should a spay cost? The vet quoted me $700.00+. That suprised me, but they said an older dog is more difficult and her size adds to the cost.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlet View Post
Thanks. I actually know a pony that suffered that complication in her uterus.

How much should a spay cost? The vet quoted me $700.00+. That suprised me, but they said an older dog is more difficult and her size adds to the cost.
It's probably been 4-5 years since I've had anyone spayed..I think at that time I paid around $300. I'm not a vet, but I think $700 is pretty hard to justify.
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Well $700 isnt hugely over priced, it depends where you are.
Where i am it is just under $450, that is Spay, Pre anesthetic blood work and fluids.
It really depends on what is included in that cost, some vets do mandatory testings other dont.

Some vets also charge more for a "mature" spay, than just a routine spay.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:38 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I have to respectfully disagree that she should "definitely be spayed". There was a twelve page research paper written by a prominent professor with a PhD in animal sciences at a well know university that talks in detail about the many dangers of sterilizing your pet. I think it should be required reading for ANYONE who owns a pet dog or cat, then maybe people would jump off of the "spay/neuter is good, ask no questions" bandwagon.

I am not suggesting that spaying is never an option, but I would caution you to make it an INFORMED decision between you and your vet, based on the particulars of your dog.

I am working on finding the document so I can post it here on this thread.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry for the delay. The article I reference can be downloaded in pdf form here...http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/LongT...uterInDogs.pdf

If you prefer html format, then you can go here...Long-Term Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Spay / Neuter in Dogs

(you may have to copy and paste these into your browsers address bar)
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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My DH didn't spay our Min Pin and she developed pyometria at age 11. We had no choice but to spay her and correct the infection, but I was concerned that she may not make it through the surgery (which she did). She is old and has cancer. They did the bloodwork and all the pre-tests and charged us around $450 which we got most of it back through our pet insurance.

IMO, it's a decision left between you and your vet. If you're not comfortable with the vet's recommendation, get a 2nd opinion.

Good luck and keep us posted on what you decide to do.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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700 is extremely overpriced, in many places vet prices aren't regulated, I would check around- where I am I have heard of people paying 500, but the vet who does my ear cropping is 120 + $1/pound over 50 lb weight. See if there is a spay clinic near you. Having lived thru 2 girls developing mammary cancer, I'm in favor of spaying after they are retired from breeding.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarlet View Post
We recently acquired a female who had been previously bred. Her last litter was a year ago. She is just turning five and has had 3 litters in the past. We do not intend to breed her, and I wanted to know if there is any down side to spaying an older dog. The vet tested her clotting factor and has no concerns about von wil. Are there hormone related issues or cancer risks like with humans?
I think that there are a lot more risks to leaving her intact than to spaying her. Each comes with its own possible issues, but if it were my dog, I would spay her.

I think that $700 is A LOT for a spay unless there are other issues like being a clinically affected bleeder.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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From the document I posted the link to earlier...

"On the positive side, spaying female dogs
• if done before 2.5 years of age, greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors, the most common
malignant tumors in female dogs
• nearly eliminates the risk of pyometra, which otherwise would affect about 23% of intact female
dogs; pyometra kills about 1% of intact female dogs
• reduces the risk of perianal fistulas
• removes the very small risk (0.5%) from uterine, cervical, and ovarian tumors
On the negative side, spaying female dogs
• if done before 1 year of age, significantly increases the risk of osteosarcoma (bone cancer); this is a
common cancer in larger breeds with a poor prognosis
• increases the risk of splenic hemangiosarcoma by a factor of 2.2 and cardiac hemangiosarcoma by
a factor of >5; this is a common cancer and major cause of death in some breeds
• triples the risk of hypothyroidism
• increases the risk of obesity by a factor of 1.6-2, a common health problem in dogs with many
associated health problems
• causes urinary “spay incontinence” in 4-20% of female dogs
• increases the risk of persistent or recurring urinary tract infections by a factor of 3-4
• increases the risk of recessed vulva, vaginal dermatitis, and vaginitis, especially for female dogs
spayed before puberty
• doubles the small risk (<1%) of urinary tract tumors
• increases the risk of orthopedic disorders
• increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations"

Again, I don't take a stand on the issue either way, but I feel there is far too much misinformation on this subject and not nearly enough people are aware of the possible effects of this.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:43 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I also agree that if I were in your shoes, I'd get her spayed as well.

I do have to say that 700+ sounds pretty out there. I paid about 300-350 when Lexus was spayed, and she was also an adult dog. Just my input though

Good luck!

Last edited by Lexus; 06-11-2008 at 12:11 PM..
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Yah I would say to get her spayed if you can and you and your vet talk it over.

$700 is a lot! My vet did a great job on both my dobes! Duke was not fixed till he was almost 2 and Mia was fixed at almost 3. I think I paid about $600 give or take about $50 for both of them!
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:16 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Cheers was just spayed three weeks ago at 19 months old....she is vwd dna (Vetgen) affected but not clinically afffected. They did a clotting test the morning of surgery and it was normal.
We had ordered cryoprecipitate a few days before the surgery and they started an IV, gave her the clotting factors to be safe (and I'd paid for them whether used or not).

The spay without the cryo would have been $175, and the cryo was another $275 (it is expensive) for a total of $450.

So, your quote sounds kind of high for a spay only unless she has other health issues we don't know of. Is she overweight, have other complicating factors, etc?

** The article on spay/neuter basically did not say NOT to do it...just not at too early an age is my understanding of what you have typed out. It seems to say have a female spayed between 1 year and 2.5 years for optimum benefit. Is that what you get out of this? I could not open the link to read further.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I have done a lot of reading on early spay/neuter, what was listed is found in that research, I was wanting to look at the issue b/c of some pet owners hearing that pups can be fixed at the same time the ears are cropped, and wanting that. I was opposed and needed to have some imperical evidence to back up my position. Another article I read lately by a vet states that there are no real health benefits to a male being neutered but there are benefits for bitches.
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Old 06-11-2008, 12:29 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ellenm View Post

** The article on spay/neuter basically did not say NOT to do it...just not at too early an age is my understanding of what you have typed out. It seems to say have a female spayed between 1 year and 2.5 years for optimum benefit. Is that what you get out of this? I could not open the link to read further.
Actually, the "article" is a research paper, and it did not give any specific recommendations either way. It simply gave a very thorough analysis of the potential negatives and "non-effects" (such as behavior modification), and did a very good job of counterbalancing what appears to be the popular consensus, which seems to be "sterilization is always good and always outweighs the risks". It is a very well written paper in my opinion, and I don't make any sweeping conclusions from it, but it is definitely worth reading in its entirety.

If you would like to read it, send me a pm, and I will try to give you the link.
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:45 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't know if this is available where you are geographically, or whether the cost of the procedure is within your budget - but our vets are now specializing in laparoscopic surgery for spays/neuters --- if you have concerns about surgical post-op complications for your older female.

Posting an FYI link here to the article from our newspaper's archive (Monterey County Herald), but if it (the link) doesn't work, I can send you the article via a PM.

http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/...upgradeable=no
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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As far as the price goes, it is dependent on location, and what is included. A 5-year-old bitch should have more monitoring, including a constant ECG and blood pressure cuff. Anesthesia should also be closely monitored. In addition, her uterine tissue will likely be more vascular, and need more care during removal to prevent against excessive bleeding. I think $700 sounds a bit high, but I think in my area, that procedure could easily run $500 for all the additional monitoring and different drug protocols.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:58 PM   #19 (permalink)
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WorkingInSTL: I will read that paper. Haven't done it yet. But I did go over the references used. Most of them are grossly outdated. Using research from the '80s is not generally the most support for one's point. All of his more current sources are on obesity - almost all vets acknowledge that decreased metabolism occurs shortly after castration/OHE. That's not news.

Also, where was this published. If this paper was published in a refereed scientific journal, great.

Additionally, maybe I'm being elitist, but I give less credence to someone with a masters in animal science than the veterinary researchers out there who often have a B.S., Ph.D., and DVM.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:45 PM   #20 (permalink)
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WorkingInSTL: I will read that paper. Haven't done it yet. But I did go over the references used. Most of them are grossly outdated. Using research from the '80s is not generally the most support for one's point. All of his more current sources are on obesity - almost all vets acknowledge that decreased metabolism occurs shortly after castration/OHE. That's not news.

Also, where was this published. If this paper was published in a refereed scientific journal, great.

Additionally, maybe I'm being elitist, but I give less credence to someone with a masters in animal science than the veterinary researchers out there who often have a B.S., Ph.D., and DVM.
All valid points. I certainly don't herald this single work as a "final authority" and as I've stated, I don't hold an opinion, but it disturbs me that so little studies have been conducted on this topic. It's almost like we have been indoctrinated as pet owners to believe that spaying/neutering is good, and the benefits always outweigh the risks, and everyone wants to dismiss (without any serious consideration) anything that may be contrary to that pre-programmed mindset.

Conventional wisdom stated that mouth to mouth recussitation be performed with chest compressions for decades, and was taught in every CPR class. The AMA recently came to the realization that it is in the best interest of victims suffering from failed heart function/respiration NOT to do that. I wonder how many heart attack victims died because of that practice, and I wonder how many pets suffer from the complications of unnecessary sterilization procedures. I don't consider you an elitist, but the medical community (as a whole) has been wrong in the past.

I don't know the answer to "how many pets.." at all...for all I know the answer could be "none", but it unsettles me that noone really seems prompted to ask that question, much less seriously research the answer to it, and we all, as a whole seem to fall back into the conventional wisdom that "spaying/neutering is good".
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:50 PM   #21 (permalink)
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wow $700 is a lot.. in the uk a neuter is about £100 and a spay £150 thats about $200 and $300 !!!
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:04 AM   #22 (permalink)
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700 is horribly overpriced. I live in a pretty expensive area and it was around 300 which I still think is over priced for my 7 year old afghan female. Spaying a mature dog that is healthy is no different. If I told my vet that she was 4 instead of 7 or 8 what are they to do?

In fact I did tell them she was 6 instead of 7 because I didn't feel like them demanding a senior full blood panel for a dog that is not a senior in any way shape or form. I'm a horrible person, yes yes.

I don't support the spay/neuter bandwagon for responsible dog owners. I think they are healthier with their bits and pieces intact. I spayed for behavioral reasons and it was the first dog bitch I've had altered in 14 years.

This bitch had also had two litters, one natural and one frozen implant. She had a c-section for the second one. Her seasons where all normal and healthy. She just had issues when other girls came into season.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:15 AM   #23 (permalink)
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$700 appears to be a very high price unless he expects some complications. Susie was spayed last month at 14 months. We had it done while we were on vacation, so the price of the spay, microchip, plus 1 week stay was $500.
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