Spaying an old dog. Is it safe? Is it necessary?

This forum is for dog lovers seeking everyday advice and suggestions on health-related issues. Remember, however, that advice on a public forum simply can't be a substitute for proper medical attention. Only your vet can say assuredly what is best for your dog.

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Barked: Mon Jul 25, '11 9:26pm PST 
My vet recommends spaying my 12 year old Sheltie, approx 40 lbs. She's blind in one eye, has skin problems (hair loss/flea allergy) but is under treatment, and is otherwise in ok health. He says the risks are minimal (anesthesia) at her age. She still has a heat once or twice a year, which I thought was odd at her age. She's never had a litter. Is spaying "necessary" in a dog this age? Is it safe, and what are the risks of having it done vs not having it done? Thanks!
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Mon Jul 25, '11 10:07pm PST 
If you have confidence in your vet, do it. If you don't have confidence in your vet, find another vet, and get their opinion. Although actually, there's nothing wrong with getting a second opinion before surgery, regardless of how much confidence you have in your vet.

But yes, it is worthwhile to spay an older dog, even an old dog if her health is good enough for surgery. She's gotten all the benefit of her hormones in terms of development and continued normal functioning while she was younger, and now, at her age, the risk of pyometra is rising. That would mean an emergency spay when she's sick, rather than a planned spay when she's healthy.

And if, God forbid, you had a perfect storm of Things Going Wrong during one of her occasional heats, you could wind up with a pregnant old dog, not the best or safest time for her to have a litter, and that could also mean a spay under less than ideal conditions.

I wouldn't do it if she's at any increased risk from anesthesia or if there are any other health issues that would put her at greater risk during the surgery or the recovery. But if she's basically still in good health, I would at least talk to another vet or a veterinary surgeon before you decide against it.

Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 1:10pm PST 
i would never spay my girl being that old! i hate to have any of my dogs at any age go under anesthesia. sorry, but i think this is absurd unless it were for a medical issue.


Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 1:31pm PST 
Why does the vet recommend spaying?

If there's no sound medical reason for it, I would not do it. The pup is 12 years old...you shouldn't just spay them at that age because "it's what you should do".

If you want your pup spayed, then go ahead. But if your vet is just pushing it on you, I wouldn't do it. I'd probably look for a new vet too if that were the case.

Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 1:39pm PST 
I wouldn't spay at that age either to be honest. She's suffering other ailments and on medication you say? I just wouldn't put her through any surgery now if it's avoidable.

I love the sound- of my own voice
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 1:45pm PST 
I probably wouldnt spay my dog either at that age unless there was some medical reason to as of why it should be done. Im my honest opinion.

Where can I run- today?
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 4:07pm PST 
One of my best friends had a Chesapeake Bay Retriever who was unspayed and never had a litter -- when she was older she got Pyometra and they almost lost her. Just some food for thought, maybe that's what the vet is concerned about.

Edited by author Tue Jul 26, '11 4:07pm PST

Lexi Hope

Mamma\'s little- attitude girl
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 4:22pm PST 
I took my dau.'s 9 yr old Yorkie in for other things and the vet felt it wasn't neccessary to spay her at this age.....so I'd be hesitant.
Just my opinion.

Vaccine free- -Disease free- goes pawinpaw
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 4:48pm PST 
Does the vet suspect risk for pyometra? Has she had any UTIs in the past? Maybe he thinks mammary cancer?? Def talk to your vet further maybe he has reasons or maybe he has no valid ones. ETA oh but while she has the skin problems, at least, and/or is on any medication I wouldn't spay her unless necessary.

Edited by author Tue Jul 26, '11 4:49pm PST


Changing one- mind at a time - APBT style
Barked: Tue Jul 26, '11 9:12pm PST 
I would wait until she is healthier, personally unless it's medically necessary ASAP or she has a risk of coming in contact with intact male dogs. The decision really rests on you and a competent vet. I know a rescue in my state that specializes in elderly dogs, and unless there's a huge medical risk all the dogs get spayed or neutered and they haven't lost any seniors from it yet. But they make sure the dogs are healthy enough for the surgery of course.
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