Appropriate age to spay mastiff?

Discussion in 'Breeder Discussion' started by zstevens, Jun 16, 2015.

  1. zstevens

    zstevens Well-Known Member

    Anyone with experience like to share what they believe to be the proper age to spay a mastiff without compromising its size and health? Also from your experience about what age is first heat and how far about our heat cycles?

    Thank you so much
  2. Th0r

    Th0r Well-Known Member

    18 months at the earliest.
  3. dpenning

    dpenning Well-Known Member

    I waited till 17 months to spay Daisy, she went into heat at 7 months and I did not want to go through a second! I believe it was early for most dogs though.
  4. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    Denna's first heat came on at about 9 months old.
    Heat cycles are anywhere from 4-10 months apart (average being 6, I believe).
    18-24 months is the normal recommendation for waiting... the longer the better... but eventually the risk of pyometra out-weighs leaving them intact.
  5. spd7143

    spd7143 Member

    Hate to necro a post but I have questions on why so long a spay my EM from what I'm reading here. I'm brand new to EM's only having experience with GSD's and Akitas. I let my GSD go through her first heat before spaying her but that was more for temperment reasons. Can someone lay out for me the pros and cons to waiting 18 months to spay? Thanks in advance!
  6. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    you'll end up with a physically and mentally different dog .......... if the differences don't matter to you , spaying a young dog is much easier on the dog ..........
  7. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Well-Known Member

    Well, my knowledge is related to my research about when to alter a Great Dane, but I'm assuming it's mostly the same for Mastiffs. The cons of early (pre-16-18 month) altering:

    1. In both male and female dogs, the sex hormones directly influence the closure of growth plates. This is more obvious in males, but early-altered dogs tend to grow taller and lankier than their non-altered counterparts. Ovaries also produce hormones that directly influence the development of healthy bones and muscles. The biggest difference will be seen in dogs that are pediatrically altered (less than 2 months old). It's no coincidence that the last four world's tallest dogs were pediatrically altered Great Danes. They all also died very young (at the ages of 5, 5, 7 and 7), one of osteosarcoma, one to an intestinal rupture, one to "old age"-related symptoms at the age of 5 and one of unreleased causes.

    2. Early altered dogs are at a higher risk for multiple diseases (as shown by 3 separate surveys, one all breed, one done on Rotts and one done on Golden Retrievers). These diseases include cruciate disease, hip dysplasia and osteosarcoma (and several other less severe diseases). Early altered dogs also show a higher propensity for obesity.

    3. Early altered dogs (especially females) are more likely to suffer lifelong incontinence issues than their later or non-altered counterparts.

    The pros:

    1. The aforementioned studies also show that a female dog's chance of mammory tumors increases with every heat cycle she goes through. So with a female, there's a delicate balance between spaying too soon and predisposing the dog to HD/CCL/osteo or spaying too late and raising the chances of mammory cancer significantly. I'd rather err slightly on the side of "too late", having recently lost a dog to osteosarcoma at the young age of 6.5 years old. Osteo is terminal 99.99% of the time. Mammary cancer does not have a fabulous outlook, but can be managed far better than osteo can, in the long run. But that's just a personal experience point of view.

    2. Fewer heat cycles. Less mess and inconvenience.

    3. Altered dogs tend to have lower metabolisms and burn calories at a slower rate, meaning you can feed them slightly (about 25%) less. This is in general, and doesn't apply if you're doing heavy muscle building and calorie burning activities like jogging, skijoring, bikejoring, etc.

    These pros and cons are based on hundreds of hours of research I did before I purchased my first giant breed. Not everyone will agree with them. However, my personal feeling is that the cons greatly outweigh the pros of early (before 16-18 month) altering. I am more than happy to link the surveys I mentioned if you'd like to read them to gather the information in as unbiased a way possible so that you can draw your own conclusions :)
  8. I think the links would be great. Thanks for taking the time to first research for your own pet's health, but also for taking the time for doing the write up Hiraeth!
  9. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Well-Known Member

    The all breed survey: Host related risk factors for canine osteosarcoma (PDF Download Available)

    "There were no sex related differences in risk, but neutered dogs had twice the risk compared with sexually intact dogs. The associ- ation between risk of osteosarcoma and neutering was evident for both males (age adjusted OR 1.4, 95% CL 1.2-1.7) and females (OR 1.9, 95% CL 1.6- 2.2). These findings were consistent for all the pal'- ticipating institutions and unrelated to the anatomic location (axial vs appendicular skeleton) of the osteosarcoma."

    The Rott survey: Endogenous Gonadal Hormone Exposure and Bone Sarcoma Risk

    "Our results indicate that dogs undergoing early gonadectomy have a significantly higher risk of appendicular bone sarcoma, suggesting that sex hormones may be important modifiers of bone sarcoma development."

    "In males, bone sarcoma incidence rate for dogs castrated before 1 year of age (lowest gonadal exposure) was 28.4 bone tumors/10,000 dog-months at risk, which was almost four times greater than the rate of bone sarcoma in sexually intact males [RR ± 95% CI = 3.8 (1.5–9.2); P = 0.002]. In females, bone sarcoma incidence rate in dogs spayed before 1 year of age (lowest gonadal exposure) was 25.1 bone tumors/10,000 dog-months at risk, which was more than three times greater than the rate in sexually intact females [RR ± 95% CI = 3.1 (1.1–8.3); P = 0.02]."

    The Golden survey: PLOS ONE: Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Cancers in Golden Retrievers

    "Of early-neutered males, 10 percent were diagnosed with HD, double the occurrence in intact males. There were no cases of CCL diagnosed in intact males or females, but in early-neutered males and females the occurrences were 5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Almost 10 percent of early-neutered males were diagnosed with LSA, 3 times more than intact males. The percentage of HSA cases in late-neutered females (about 8 percent) was 4 times more than intact and early-neutered females. There were no cases of MCT in intact females, but the occurrence was nearly 6 percent in late-neutered females."

    @EverythingEnglishMastiff - I actually did the research after I lost my GSD/Great Dane to osteo at the age of 6.5 years old. He was an early neuter (7 months old) because I was not aware of these survey results and their implications. Had I been made aware of them, I would have made a very different choice. Maybe he'd be here with me today. Maybe he wouldn't. But I'll never forgive myself the fact that I potentially directly contributed to Loki's diagnosis and subsequent suffering through a massive and traumatic surgery and chemotherapy, only to have the cancer recur and have him euthanized a short twelve weeks after diagnosis.

    Everyone should make their own decision, based on breed and their personal lifestyle, when altering a dog is right for them. However, I want to make sure that everyone can make the most educated decision possible so that they won't end up suffering with the kind of guilt I feel every day for the rest of their lives. It's a small mission, but it's mine :)
  10. Joao M

    Joao M Well-Known Member

    Great posts Hiraeth. Thanks for your input and time
  11. spd7143

    spd7143 Member

    Hireath, thank you greatly for all the detailed information. I'm sorry for your loss of Loki, in his memory you have now helped countless others so his memory lives on through others. For the moderators, I think this would make a great sticky, but should probably be moved to the health forum.
  12. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    the golden study has an overall rate of hd for their golden retrievers at 7.5% ........ ofa , with 140,000-150,000 dogs evaluated , has the breed at 20% dysplastic , and without question that is a low estimate ....... so it appears that study is not representative of the breed as far as hd for some reason ? the rottweiller study has an overall rate of of hd for the breed at 12.5% , ofa with 95,000-96,000 dogs evaluated have the breed rate of hd at 20% , again biased toward normal , the true rate is unarguably higher ....... those are significant errors for a scientific study ............. there is a reason for it
  13. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Well-Known Member

    Firstly, they are surveys, not studies. A study is research that includes interaction and testing of living patients (think a sleep study, where participants are actually coming into a facility and being monitored). A survey is done by a group of research scientists who want to find evidence of correlating factors, often so that they can propose their "study" to a financial backer with evidence to support their reasoning for wanting to perform a study. A survey compromises, as you would probably guess, a literal physical survey, usually with hundreds of questions pertaining to the subject's health, history, etc. The dog does not have to be alive at the time of the survey completion.

    Secondly, the Rott study does not list a percent dysplatic rate, it lists the percentage of the dogs diagnosed with osteosarcoma, which is 12.6%.

    Thirdly, current OFA statistics of 139,411 evaluations of Goldens have them at 13.2% dysplastic. While those numbers still vary from the survey results, the variance isn't nearly as dramatic as you are suggesting. I'm not sure where you got your statistics, but they're inaccurate (I pulled mine from the OFA site, here: Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).

    Also, I'm not sure where you got the 7.5% number as the percent dysplatic rate. Unless you simply took this sentence: "Outcomes at the 5 percent level of significance are reported. Of early-neutered males, 10 percent were diagnosed with HD, double the occurrence in intact males," and added 10+5 and divided by 2. Which does not come close to representing what that actual dysplatic rate of Goldens in the survey, as you are missing late-neutered males, as well as all of the female dogs. Unless I'm missing something and you got that number elsewhere.

    Because these are surveys, and NOT studies, errors in these statistics can be directly contributed to the smaller study groups used by the survey researchers versus the OFA. Comparing a sample group of 700 dogs to a sample group of 150,000 dogs is going to yield slightly different results.

    As it were, I'd suggest actually reading the surveys thoroughly before discrediting them because you skimmed and pulled inaccurate data from the abstracts instead of actually reading the entirety of the published conclusions.

    Again, everyone can, and should, make their own choice when to alter based on their particular breed, their particular lifestyle, etc. And NOT everyone has to credit these survey results - they are controversial because of the essential nature of surveys, and some veterinarians do take issue with the way some of the information is presented. The giant breed and oncology specialists I have personally spoken to all do heed these implications and recommend altering after 16-18 months, but not all vets across the board are in agreement with that.

    My intent is to make sure everyone has access to the information I was missing before I made the decision to alter Loki so that we all, as individual pet owners, can come to our own "more informed" conclusions.
  14. JamieHalverson

    JamieHalverson Well-Known Member

    I guess I'm lucky in that my puppy contract requires I wait until Lillie is 18 mos, and my breeder recommends 24 months. Out of my hands.

    So I just started as an assistant trainer at our training facility. My first class was a level 1 obedience class with lots of young dogs, the oldest is 8 months. The trainer asked if there were any intact bitches in the class, a couple people raised their hands. The rule is bitches in heat cannot attend, totally understandable. What I was incredibly surprised to see happen next was that the trainer recommended to everyone there that male dogs can be nuetered at 8 weeks, no problem and bitches should be spayed before their first heat, by 6 months, no problem. Then the couple who said they were planning on breeding their bitch got a big lecture on all the health testing needed and related expense. None of this is the trainers business... I was also asked at my own intro to level 1 with Lillie why I hadn't scheduled her spay??? What? The facility's rule is not to bring your bitch in heat, enough said...

    I guess my point is this is a hotly contested issue, no matter where you go. What I don't understand is why people get their panties in a bunch over how others choose to care for their dogs. There are pros and cons of both, for me, there is enough information to support waiting to spay/neuter, especially large and giant breeds. I won't lie, though, I am dreading her first heat.
  15. Females in heat aren't bad. It's males when there is a female in heat. They turn into blundering idiots.
  16. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    honestly i know they are surveys , you called them studie in your post , hence the quotation marks .......... i actuall didn't just skim through anything , i've actually seen the surveys , and all this stuff before .......... the rate of hd in golden retrievers per OFA is 19.4% , and with your apparent knowledge you know why that is a biased low number ? RANK 36 ....... Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ................ you will find any percentage of any 2nd party verifiable disease database to be grossly different than these surveys ................. at least any one i know of .... if i add the neutered late dogs in the golden retriever survey i get 48 dysplastic and 698 non dysplastic , which by the best i can tell is a 6.8% rate of hd ? that is a 35% error using OFA's 19.4 , 36th ranking and that is for ALL goldens in the database 140,000-150,000 ?????????? not that i'm never wrong , but i'm pretty careful ........
  17. tmricciuto

    tmricciuto Well-Known Member

    I think that people need to stay out of other people's business. I have enough on my plate to not worry if your dogs are spayed or not.
  18. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Well-Known Member

    For the record, the word "study" does not appear once in my original or second post.

    You're using the percent dysplastic rate from all Goldens ever tested. Since the trend is -42.1% dysplastic between the years of 1990-2015, the statistics are highly skewed. Goldens these days are far less likely to suffer from HD than Goldens living two decades ago. Since this survey concentrated on living dogs, the percentages in it are actually fairly accurate. Using the number in the last column on the OFA link is a far more accurate comparison to the Goldens studied in this particular UC Davis survey.

    I don't have any "apparent" knowledge. I have spoken at length with several veterinary giant breed specialists and oncologists. However, different veterinarians have vastly different opinions about these subjects. One vet told me to neuter my GD at 9.5 weeks. Another said 18 months. Another said never. All opinions from very educated people and that advice may be right or wrong depending on an individual owner and dog.

    You read the Rott survey and quoted a dysplastic percentage from an article about osteosarcoma. This indicates to me that you aren't familiar with the survey, or its results and that you didn't read it very carefully, but I could be wrong. Either way, you quoted it incorrectly and concluded that a survey about osteosarcoma was invalid because you thought it was about hip dysplasia.

    Survey results are always going to be skewed. If you think about it, the people who participate in these surveys are people who are more likely to be fairly dog knowledgeable, who take their dogs to the vet on a regular basis, who are seeking treatment for these issues, etc. Therefore, generally, these are also going to be the people who purchase health tested and certified dogs from reputable breeders. It's no surprise that the survey indicates that the participants are healthier, on average, than the average Golden.

    Again, the purpose of surveys is to prove a significant correlation so that hypothesis can be written and funding for future studies can be sought. If you have read them thoroughly and think they're inaccurate, then that's fine. You read it, you drew your own conclusions, and that's the only reason I am providing this information. I'm not arguing the validity of these surveys. I'm saying the results should not be unknown and that they have influenced my decisions. I'm arguing for education about the decision to alter before someone blindly listens to the first opinion they hear.

    The truth is that we live in a world in which veterinarians and shelters are pushing pediatric neuters in order to effectively control shelter populations. Because of this mindset (which isn't necessarily wrong, in regards to shelter population control), many dog owners who are perfectly capable of owning an intact dog are pressured to alter dogs at very young ages. I'd prefer to let those people know that pediatric or early alters are NOT their only option, or even the best option, which is an opinion they would maybe hear nowhere in the "real world". I thought neutering Loki was my only option, and I'll regret not knowing differently for the rest of my life.

    The point of a forum (as far as I know) is to answer people's questions and communicate and sometimes even have healthy debates. If we all sat around 'staying out of each other's business', we'd really have no reason to be here. Either way, I hardly think answering someone's questions about the pros and cons of spaying is getting into their business. It's using the forum for the purpose forums are intended - information, resources and learning.
  19. Hiraeth

    Hiraeth Well-Known Member

    @tmricciuto, if you were replying to JamieHalverson's post about their trainer asking about spaying and lecturing people who were planning on waiting, then I apologize for my above response.

    I thought you were indicating that I should stay out of other people's business and not let people know about the implications of these surveys. If you weren't, then please accept my apologies for my reaction to your post.

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