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Spaying a female Great Dane before her first heat

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You know you- want to pet me
Barked: Mon Jun 27, '11 10:44pm PST 
I have a friend who has adopted a 9 month old female Great Dane. She's about 100lbs and is a great dog.

Her previous owners did not get her spayed and my friend is going to have it done, but he's hearing different opinions on when a good time to spay.

His vet (who does not work on large breed dogs, surgically) told him to wait for her first or second heat and then do it because of the growth plates
Then he was talking with a few people who have male GD's and told him that having her spayed now won't affect her growth plates. They said it's more the males that that affects.

Now my friend is confused.
Of course he'd love to do it now, but he doesn't want to risk any possible issues with doing it before her first heat.

Would he be ok with doing it now or should he wait?

He's calling another vet, who works on large breed dogs, and is getting another opinion.

Barked: Tue Jun 28, '11 12:24am PST 
Growth plates do not close until the dog is done growing and filling in. For Giant breeds like that, the bare minimum I would suggest spaying is 2. Ideally 3 is better. By that point what would even be the point in spaying..

If they spay before 2 years of age I can bet they are going to possibly end up with a Dane with weak bones from not closing properly.
Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
Barked: Tue Jun 28, '11 7:29am PST 
We have numerous Dane friends, and not a one waited til after the first heat to spay. All their girls are fine. So, no, I don't think it'd be horribly detrimental if he's at all concerned about keeping her safe during a heat. I've also heard that the growth plate thing is more of a concern with males, for whatever reason.

However, if it were my girl, I would wait until after the first heat. Not necessarily because of bone growth, but because of the risk of spay incontinence. It's a concern especially with larger breeds, and spaying after the first heat can greatly reduce the risk.

As for the growth plates, I've never found a definitive answer. We switched Tanuk to an adult food early due to digestive issues and neutered him just before a year due to constant sheath infections. So technically we did everything "wrong" on the growth plate front. However, he's in tip top condition, so maybe we lucked out, I don't know. The vets here are not knowledgeable in giant breeds at all, but the local giant population doesn't seem to have suffered from it thankfully. shrug


I'm sticking my- tongue out at- you!
Barked: Tue Jun 28, '11 11:52am PST 
If spaying is done before full maturity, the hormones are not present to tell the growth plates to close on time and the dog WILL be taller with weaker bones and joints than if the hormones were present. This is not a might, but a will. Now, that doesn't mean the dog will suffer ill affects from it, but there is no way of knowing until after it is done. I would not have the dog spayed until an x-ray has confirmed the growth plates have closed.

Barked: Tue Jun 28, '11 8:24pm PST 
Hershey is right, with a dog of that size I wouldnt risk it. They may not suffer ill effects right away but a dog with weak bones is more suseptable to breaking them or tearing something. I shutter when I see Great Danes that are bareky 6 months old getting booked for their speuter...

mommy\\\\\\\'s- guardian
Barked: Tue Jun 28, '11 10:08pm PST 
We spayed Roxy before her 1st heat, she was around 8 mnths old, we spayed her early because where we lived at the time had a super low fence and i would rather spay than risk an accidental pregnancy from a loose dog. She is 2 now and has had no side effects from her spay. We waited with all our other girls till they were over 1 and have had no side effects either.

Don't Litter - Fix Your- Critter!
Barked: Tue Jun 28, '11 10:26pm PST 
"For Giant breeds like that, the bare minimum I would suggest spaying is 2. Ideally 3 is better. By that point what would even be the point in spaying.."

There's plenty of reasons to spay after 2 or 3... Every dog that enters my rescue gets spayed or neutered (unless the veterinarian declares them too old). My very first rescue back in 1998 came to me at the age of 9 and he was promptly neutered. Other than a medical or competition reason, what point is there not to spay or neuter? Just because you wait until 2 or 3 with a giant breed is no reason to just say forget it... Sorry, just struck me as an odd remark.

To the OP, the Great Dane Club of America says the following:

Giant breeds like Great Danes need to have their spay/neutered "delayed" in the sense that the general consensus of both breeders and veterinarians about dogs this size is that 6 mo. is NOT a safe age to spay/neuter, and in fact, a year is a better target date.

Here is a link to the Great Dane Club of America's health page... If you scroll toward the bottom, you will see the spay and neuter section.

Here is another important part of the Great Dane Club of America's website, Surgery Guidelines for Great Danes - it discusses general surgery along with spay/neuter and is an important read.

Barked: Wed Jun 29, '11 10:59am PST 
On dogster its perfectly acceptable to ask why your dog isnt fixed. But its not okay to ask why your dog is fixed. Is Arthur fixed? if not, dont go singing a song you dont know. It drives me bonkers when people push speutering and there own dogs arent even dogs or not.

Here is a link to show your friend. yneuterindogs.pdf


Pulled from the website above

Here is the information I have gathered on the ill-effects of desexing through direct observation, substantial anecdotal evidence from reliable sources (breeders/trainers/veterinarians, and affirmed published medical reports.

Altered Females:

- Increased aggression in altered females. (recent study)
- Increased occurrence of urinary calculi.
- Increased difficulty passing urinary calculi.
- Increased likelihood of vulvar pyoderma (urine scald)
- Increased likelihood of urinary incontinence.
- Increased likelihood of adverse reaction to vaccinations (27-38%).
- Notable decrease of activity/drive. (this is important to those whose animals aren't just pets but are trained to do work too)
- Increased chance of "perpetual puppy syndrome" undesirable urination.
- Inhibited social adjustment if spayed prior to complete cognitive development (usually a good time AFTER sexual maturity).
- Substantial likelihood of appreciable demeanor change after spay (menopausal women know about hormone drop.. it's not fun)
- Increased likelihood of cognitive disorders if spayed before sexual maturity.
- Increased likelihood of, or speeded progress of, degenerative osteological disorders.
- Notable decrease in muscle mass (again, not all dogs are lawn ornaments or carpet speedbumps)
- Generally live 2 (or greater) years shorter than unaltered littermates in controlled studies.

Spaying only eliminates unwanted puppies and pyometra. Thats it. There is a cure for pyometra and IF she ever gets it a spay can be done then. Also, unwanted puppies are pretty easy to eliminate (by not letting your dog out unsupervised while in heat).

Why not get a partial spay? The dog keeps her hormones and can grow properly therefore not suffering any ill effects. That way the spay could be done anytime. If they are spaying, I would have the vet tact the stomach to the abdominal wall as well (or whatever that procedure is for bloat)
In Memory Of- Fade

Mommy's Guardian- Angel
Barked: Fri Jul 1, '11 3:15pm PST 
I'm sorry, but I disagree with a lot of things said. Fade was spayed at 8 weeks. She never had issues with hormones, growth plates, etc. Her bones were just as strong as anyone elses. I think that whole thing is a load of... Spaying her great dane wouldn't change anything. The only thing the vet recommends is waiting until at least 5 months. And I trust my vet as well as my professors 100%
Brown Collar Male

Brown Dog, Brown- Dog, What do you- see?
Barked: Fri Jul 1, '11 7:35pm PST 
Yeah, this is an interesting topic that has been discussed many times over. I think a year will be fine for your friend's dog. Ask your friend to read the articles from the Great Dane club, and let us know what he decides. wishes
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