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Ok..so I will be as precise as possible with my question: First know that I am a retired medical professional who has exhausted myself with researching all the current medical knowledge and research on the Spay age issue as well as had long and detailed conversations with my 2 Vets.

That being said, I am now turning to my Border Collie friends here. I am having a serious dilemma making a decision on when to get Rosie spayed.

She is now 5 months old, so the final decision needs to be made. I am turning to y'all to ask a very specific question (as I stated, I have done a lot of research: I have 2 Vets ....one is a Holistic Vet who says spay after 1 or 2 heats at the earliest. My other Vet (whom I have trusted with the care of my fur babies since 1988) who is a Traditional Vet, says spay before the 1st heat. Both with good reasons for their opinion!


Rose has a strong working lineage, however, most of her working will be done at herding clinics and maybe now and then with a friend who works his dogs locally. I am hoping to maybe someday go to trial with her, but who knows?


Sooooo, all you Mom's and Dad's with female BC's..... please help me with my decision. there are sooooo many good reasons for early as well as later spays.


Mostly, I would like to know how your females have done (especially concerning bone and joint health and any types of cancers in later life that may be due to spay age.

How are your older females doing that were spayed early or the ones spayed after heat(s)?


I have an appointment for her surgery this coming up Thursday the 19th of Sept, but that is subject to cancellation.


PS....if I do decide to wait and let her go in to heat I PROMISE .....she will be supervised VERY closely...and I am not concerned about the potential mess or the additional care to prevent mess in the house.. all this I can and will handle ok.


PLEASE...and thank you for any words of Wisdom you can share......SOON!!! ((hugs))JA

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My experience isn't with BCs, but my females that I spayed early were the ones that had hip problems. Ask your breeder if one of her females ever got mammary tumors. That might give you a better indication of whether that is even a worry.

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I have some that were spayed younger, though probably not less than a year old, and others that were spayed later (5-7 years old). Aside from spay incontinence, which has occurred in both the younger and the older spay age groups, I have not seen any correlation between health issues and age of spay.


If you are not comfortable with going through heat cycles and all that entails, then go ahead and spay now. I don't think doing so will damage your dog's health. If you have some idea that you really would like to see how she turns out as a working dog first, then wait. It's really up to what you think will work out best for you and your dog. As Liz notes, there are compelling arguments for either decision (early or late).



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If you don't mind taking the major risk of mammary tumours of which 50% are malignant and you aren't going to breed then wait if you want.


This will give you better answers than any anecdotal evidence any of us can give you.




Any other risks suggested in early spaying pale into insignificance for me. The minor possible risk of a non life threatening condition versus something that has a worryingly high chance of killing my dog.


Spay before the 1st heat and the risk is negligible. Spay after the 3rd heat and the risk is similar to not spaying at all.


So my dog may grow fractionally taller if spayed early - big deal.


When half the unspayed bitches we had in the family when I was young died of mammary cancer, and so did half the late spayed bitches of a friend I have to take notice.

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Ok....THANK YOU A L L sooooooo much , I VERY MUCH appreciate all of you and your help in this difficult decision! You are right, there are compelling arguments on BOTH sides!!??? Grrrrrr! and my brain is on overload! LOL!


I just want to do right by my baby girl , and I am open minded to learn "new ways", which is why I have spent sooooo much time reading, conversing with Dr's. , friends, relatives etc.... BUT sometimes ya gotta go with what ya know OR what your gut says!

So I am weighing all the new research and information I have learned as well as my personal experience and the fact that my husband and I have raised 12 dogs (Rose is #13, 6 of them females ), in the years we have been married and my females lived to between 13 & 15 yrs old . AND in addition, ( my grand-dog and my Mom's dog both lived to be ***19 years old *** !!!!! both spayed early), (none of my girls pure breed dogs btw...do not know if that makes a difference?)....all were spayed before first heat. Ranged in size 40 lbs to my biggest girl Sitka, Akita mix at 85 lbs. Never had any issues until a little leaking and general getting up and down at about 13 yrs old (hell I am 66 and let's just say there are age related "issues" with us humans too)...


It never crossed my mind about spaying late or after she went in to at least one heat UNTIL... I started going to a Holistic Vet, and that was her advice.


I have only heard of this new spay/neuter way of doing things, over the last couple of years. Apparently it is growing in popularity in some segments of the Veterinary community and some owners.


I also read there is a procedure they can do where they remove "part" of the uterus, and leave the ovaries intact, sterilizing the female but allowing hormone production. I also read there is only abot 10 Drs nation wide that are certified to perform this procedure.


So suffice it to say: I have read sooooooo much data, including suggested information on these boards, and heard soooo many opinions and pros and cons.... ALL of which I have asked for and ALL good.


So I now have a wealth of good information and since I NEED to decide now since she is 5 months old...I will turn to meditation, prayer and lastly my gut feeling! LOL!




I feel like I am writhing all this down to convince my self one way or the other! BIG (((((HUGS))))) TO YOU ALL !

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"No regrets" is what I try to live by. I weigh my options, then make a decision.


I left a female intact who has had multiple surgeries to remove mammary tumors. All benign so far, but she is at high risk of developing a malignant tumor. When she had her one and only litter, she nearly needed a c-section. I will not beat myself up because I knew what I was getting into. I made my choices well informed of the risks.


I just had to neuter one of my males (the son of the above female) because he had tumors in both testicles. Did I decrease his risk of other cancers by keeping him intact? Maybe. I hope so. Doubt I will ever know. I can live with that.


Make sure you can live with your decision. That's the bottom line.

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Thanks Liz! Very good advice indeed. I have pretty much decided to go ahead with her spay this week. Just a prayer or two and a little inner soul searching meditation, and that will seal my final decision.


I will indeed be able to live with my decision, because I KNOW I educated my self and in my heart I am doing what I feel is best for my dog.

I am doing all I know to do to make my choice, and that is all we humans can do. :)

Thanks from the bottom of my heart for your wisdom and kind words! ((Hugs))

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Journey... that would be good if there was some darn way to know, it would give her more time to "mature". But, apparently there is not which is too bad. :(

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