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To Spay or Not to Spay?

Many pet owners find themselves questioning if they should spay or not spay their pet. Here it is a simple answer — spay.

Have you ever had to deal with an intact female dog that is in the heat? I have, and it was terrible. Peppa is my dog, and she was found as a stray. Shortly after catching her she went into heat. Poor Peppa was adjusting to living indoors, and her poor system was in hormonal overload. I spent a month cleaning up behind her and watching her every move. You see an in-heat female can be just as sneaky as the intact male dog that catches her scent. I did not want puppies. Peppa wore doggie shorts to help prevent her from leaving bloodstains where she would lay. She spent time on a rotation from her crate as I have two other dogs who wouldn’t leave her alone even though they had been fixed. She couldn’t stand the other dogs they drove her nuts and then right on schedule she was in LOVE with them. She was begging for their attention, looking for love, and this all went on for a full month. Needless to say, when her heat ended, and it was safe to do so, Miss Peppa got spayed.

By spaying her, I have completely removed another huge risk to an unspayed dog, and that is uterine infections. Pyometra is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate treatment. It is a secondary infection that occurs when the hormones change in an intact female dog. White blood cells get blocked from the uterus during estrus (heat cycle). After their heat cycle hormones remain elevated for some time and the uterine lining can thicken and begin to develop cysts in the lining. These cysts secrete fluids, and the hormones can prevent the uterine wall from contracting. Then fluid accumulates and whamo PYOMETRA. If treatment is not performed quickly, it could be a fatal outcome for your pet.

Mammary Cancer
It’s estimated that more than 25% of unspayed dogs will develop mammary tumours in their life. What’s worse is that about 50% of those tumours will be malignant. I, unfortunately, know-how that story can end for that unfortunate beloved pet. I have been through it with a past rescue. She was a new mom thrown out of a moving car with her two puppies. She was sweet, kind, and I loved her to pieces. She was also brewing a terrible disease. Only about two weeks into rescuing her she got very sick, was in extreme pain and became very weak all within a few days. We found a small mammary lump and sent it for biopsying. The results came in, and we couldn’t help her. A tiny little lump took her away from me just as fast as she came into my life she was gone.

The risk alone of these two complications should be enough to make you wonder if it is worth risking your pet’s health. Spaying protects your dog from pregnancy. Though puppies and kittens are cute and fun, they are also adding to an overpopulation problem we already struggle to help. Next time you pass by a shelter stop in, and you will see the effects. So why risk your pet’s health when you don’t need to? Do your pets a favour and talk to your vet about getting them altered and in the wise words of Bob Barker, “Help control the pet population. Have your pet spayed or neutered.”

If you have any questions, give us a call at 905.689.8005.

Written by: Amy Hanchiruk, ACA

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