Kimmy is a toy poodle and she is about 4 months now. I'm planning to get her spayed at the local humane society. Just wondering when would be the best time to get the procedure done? I've read mixed opinions online and was wondering what everyone here thinks/did.
In general, there seems to be a shift of thinking away from very early spaying, unless there is a very high risk of an unwanted litter. In the UK the advice has generally been to spay between the first and second season - there has been research that indicated that spaying before the first season practically eliminates the risk of mammary tumours later in life, but according to the review in the link above that research may not be wholly reliable. There are definite benefits to the bitch in reaching full sexual and physical maturity before being spayed - and in many European countries bitches are rarely spayed at all.
The huge push to spay all female dogs in the US and, increasingly, in the UK is at least as much about trying to control the population of unwanted dogs as it is about the health of the individual animal. Having said that, current evidence is that spaying before the second or third season reduces the risk of mammary tumours, and spaying at any age removes the risk of pyometra.
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Is there a reason you'd like to do it now? As long as she isn't in a high risk situation of becoming pregnant, I would personally wait until a year, or a year and a half. Until there's been at least one heat cycle, and the body has matured. I've heard of people having issues with coats not necessarily develping to their full potential if spayed or neutered too young, but, the choice is up to you!
Talk to your vet. Mine recommended spaying/neutering at 8-9 months. It has worked well for me. There are many opinions out there. One breeder I might have liked to get a puppy from would not let her pet quality puppies go without being spayed/neutered first. I think she had been burned by selling puppies on a spay/neuter contract that were later bred. Don't worry about being perfect. None of us are.
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Any femalae I have that will not be used for breeding is allowed to have at least one heat cycle. That way, I know they are mature enough to spay. It's only a three week period of time to confine them and be super viligant, with yours being a toy, I am sure you're going to be watching her very closely anyway.
I would wait until all (or most) of her adult teeth have come in. Then the vet can extract any retaining puppy teeth while your puppy is put under for her spay surgery. That's around the same timeframe recommended by your breeder. Is there a reason why you don't want to follow your breeder's recommendation?
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my original plan was to wait until she's at least 6 months...but I started doing some research in advance to prepare and saw some people/articles saying that neuter/spaying early is good...so thought about posting it here to get everyone's opinion.
Thanks everyone for all your thoughts! I think I will wait until she gets her first heat and talk to my vet as well and see what he says : )
Just out of curiosity though, what would happen if you spay a puppy before she gets her first heat/matures?
Pipikuma: It's good you're giving this decision much thought. I'm sure you'll wind up doing what feels right for you and your poodle. I always had my dogs spayed or neutered at around 6 months of age, with no ill effects. Our former dog lived to be 16+ and she enjoyed lifelong good health and was extremely active. I use two veterinarians, one of whom advocates pediatric spaying and neutering. Chagall's breeder is adamantly opposed to that and suggested waiting to neuter until at least one year of age, longer if possible. I wound up neutering Chagall at 6 mos. If I had the chance to go back in time, I would have waited longer because he turned out to have retained baby tooth and had to be anesthetized a second time to have it pulled. I have no major regrets, however. Good luck with whatever you choose to do.
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