Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby sindorei » Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:49 pm

well 5 posts on an internet forum do not a census make

Talk to your vet and raise all your concerns and your pros and cons and make sure he or she takes you seriously. there is great risk when the animal is older, and if shes had puppies there might be even more risk. I had a vet refuse to spay a 9 year old bitch i had because of the state of her uterus, clamping it to prep it for removal wasnt going to work terribly well and there was a high risk of her bleeding out on the table. so we ended up not doing it and she stopped going into heat shortly thereafter

pyometra isnt a guaranteed thing, in all my years of dog ownership iv never had a spayed bitch and iv also never had pyo. iv also never personally known anyone experience pyo. just because it *could* happen doesnt mean it *will* happen. dont let scare tactics herd you into a quick kneejerk decision. research it for yourself, and figure out what the best thing for this 8 year old bitch is.maybe it is a spay, maybe its not.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby heartbullies » Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:42 am

Misskiwi67 wrote:
One thing to note, I would not recommend senior anesthesia be done anywhere that does not utilize (not just have, but USE) blood pressure monitoring and does not catheterize and provide IV fluids under anesthesia for senior pets.


.. . I agree. Do labwork first. Get a skilled surgeon who uses modern methods and is comfortable with the procedure-- this goes for any kind of operation. Uncomplicated spays shouldn't be leaving a huge 2-3" incision. Ask how many spays the vet performs. Ask what their anesthetic protocol is. Ask if they use metal sutures routinely, or if most spays are successfully closed with dissolvable sutures and glue.

If she is overweight, then it would be good to get her in shape before this particular surgery, just logistically.

Anyway, I have seen surgeries performed on older animals many times. As long as the animal is otherwise healthy, and (in particular for an older critter) the vet uses modern anesthetic practices, the risk is not so great. But I would run, not walk, from the original old-school vet, at least to perform this procedure, since you already know he isn't comfortable with this.




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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby PitbullLover* » Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:49 am

spay! A few months ago i have let my 9 year old girl to the vet to get spayed, and when under the vet saw that everything was not as it was suppose to be it already became infected and if i waited longer she could have died, and its just so much comfy for a older girl to not have to go through heat and possible false pregnancy etc.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:08 am

sindorei wrote: I had a vet refuse to spay a 9 year old bitch i had because of the state of her uterus, clamping it to prep it for removal wasnt going to work terribly well and there was a high risk of her bleeding out on the table. so we ended up not doing it and she stopped going into heat shortly thereafter


And as a surgeon, this just tells me the inexperience of said surgeon. Yes, old dog tissues feel soft, but they do NOT break down nor will vessels break if you handle those tissues appropriately. I actually prefer to spay older animals (unless obese) because those soft tissues are stretchier and more compliant. Unless the tissue is grossly abnormal (ie, cancer), it will not fall apart and result in a massive bleed-out.

However, if a surgeon is not comfortable, he should not be performing this surgery. Props to him for knowing his comfort level and taking care not to put a pet at risk by doing more than he was comfortable with.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby buckaroo » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:16 pm

I've had an ancient Chihuahua neutered, adenomas removed, perianal hernias fixed and then a 3rd surgery to fix nerve damage caused by the perianal hernia surgery. He did fine and he had significant CHF. We did spend 8 weeks getting his liver in better shape and curing his kennel cough but after that he was good.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Leslie H » Sun Jan 15, 2012 7:49 pm

Xanny was in good shape at age 8, but got an intestinal blockage. I asked the vet to go ahead and spay her if he felt she was up to it, he did so w/no complications. I spayed my son's female at age 12, she starting falsing, which was uncharacteristic, and I was concerned about pyo. She was also fine, though I would have preferred not to do surgery on a dog that old. I did have a female develop pyo years ago, a friend's brood bitch. I plan on spaying Soleil this year, she's 6 1/2.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby afrikaPB » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:49 am

Misskiwi67 wrote:Meh, we do surgery for tumors etc on dogs 12 and older all the time. Its sad sometimes how the general public thinks pets will die under anesthesia after 10 years of age. Dental procedures require much longer anesthetic than most surgeries, and we perform these on senior dogs every day. Unless she was quite obese, the spay should not have been a problem for her.

x2. We've had 5 pyo dogs come in in the past six weeks, one died post op from respiratory failure (old bulldog), another is still being monitored three days after (and was abandoned by the owners when they couldn't pay the bill for their 16 y/o gal). The rest made it, but it's a much more taxing surgery on an already sick/older animal than a simple spay.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Sarah » Mon Jan 16, 2012 11:46 am

afrikaPB wrote:
Misskiwi67 wrote:Meh, we do surgery for tumors etc on dogs 12 and older all the time. Its sad sometimes how the general public thinks pets will die under anesthesia after 10 years of age. Dental procedures require much longer anesthetic than most surgeries, and we perform these on senior dogs every day. Unless she was quite obese, the spay should not have been a problem for her.

x2. We've had 5 pyo dogs come in in the past six weeks, one died post op from respiratory failure (old bulldog), another is still being monitored three days after (and was abandoned by the owners when they couldn't pay the bill for their 16 y/o gal). The rest made it, but it's a much more taxing surgery on an already sick/older animal than a simple spay.


Pyo sucks. :( Everyone has to make their own decisions, but for me, I wouldn't leave an older bitch unspayed. I spayed both my girls after I decided not to breed them again, at 4 & 5 years old. If I hadn't, though, I'd definitely have had the spay done by the time the bitch was 8 or 9 years old.

A study based on a Swedish pet insurance database indicates that on average, 23-24% of bitches will experience a pyometra by age 10. (some variance by breed)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11817057
Not a risk level I'm comfortable with for my own pets.

The study was on bitches under 10, but I doubt that the numbers change much as the bitches age, a bitch does not go through menopause like a human does, they generally cycle for their entire life. It's the hormonal changes of the estrous cycle that predisposes a bitch to pyometra.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby FBODGRL » Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:08 pm

I think the risk is minimal vs the obvious benefits.

I'd have pre anesthesia bloodwork done and probably find a vet who is comfortable doing the procedure.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Mooresmajestic » Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:34 pm

I would do it. Heck, we just did 3 dogs over 7yrs and 4 or 5 over 4yrs today alone. They all do just fine. I would do a dental along with the spay. That way she only has to go under anestesia once.
We seem to notice more cyctic ovaries or abnormalities in older dogs, but those have been present in dogs as young as 4mths. In those cases the dogs were so much happier after surgery, could you imagine having cysts the size of golf balls (one dog had a cyst softball sized) on your ovaries? There was no way to tell they had this until surgery was performed. I've always wondered how common this really is and the owners just aren't told after surgery. At our place I would have to say its about 1 in 50 dogs/cats. And we see a lot of hydrometras too, just had one today in a 7mth old cat.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Sarah » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:26 pm

Mooresmajestic wrote:I would do it. Heck, we just did 3 dogs over 7yrs and 4 or 5 over 4yrs today alone. They all do just fine. I would do a dental along with the spay. That way she only has to go under anestesia once.
We seem to notice more cyctic ovaries or abnormalities in older dogs, but those have been present in dogs as young as 4mths. In those cases the dogs were so much happier after surgery, could you imagine having cysts the size of golf balls (one dog had a cyst softball sized) on your ovaries? There was no way to tell they had this until surgery was performed. I've always wondered how common this really is and the owners just aren't told after surgery. At our place I would have to say its about 1 in 50 dogs/cats. And we see a lot of hydrometras too, just had one today in a 7mth old cat.


The vet told me that Tully had ovarian cysts when she was spayed, she was 4 years old. I don't know how big they were, I doubt they were huge, she's not a very big dog. That vet does a fair amount of reproductive work, though, so I think he probably pays a little more attention to that kind of thing than a typical vet.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Leslie H » Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:13 pm

My vets don't combine teeth cleaning w/anything surgical, because of the risk of infection I think.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:36 pm

Leslie H wrote:My vets don't combine teeth cleaning w/anything surgical, because of the risk of infection I think.


We will not do abdominal or orthopedic surgery with dental cleanings. Skin tumor removals and other superficial surgeries are OK. There is a LOT of bacteria that is released into the air when using the ultrasonic cleaner, so its not safe to do these surgeries the same day as a dental cleaning. Specialty centers will not do any other procedures the same day as a dental cleaning...
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Sarah » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:46 pm

Huh. I had Tully's teeth cleaned when she was spayed. They were happy to do it, and Tuls had no issues with it. Her teeth weren't real bad, just some tartar and I preferred to get rid of it while she was already out. Might be an old-school thing, I know back when I was working for vets, they used to combine teeth cleaning with other surgeries (not at the same time, or even in the same room, the dentals were done in the treatment room by techs, the surgeries were done in the OR by vets). That was almost 20 years ago.
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Re: Pros/Cons for spaying 8 yr old?

Postby Misskiwi67 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:51 pm

Sarah wrote:Huh. I had Tully's teeth cleaned when she was spayed. They were happy to do it, and Tuls had no issues with it. Her teeth weren't real bad, just some tartar and I preferred to get rid of it while she was already out. Might be an old-school thing, I know back when I was working for vets, they used to combine teeth cleaning with other surgeries (not at the same time, or even in the same room, the dentals were done in the treatment room by techs, the surgeries were done in the OR by vets). That was almost 20 years ago.


Its probably an old school thing... there are vets out there who don't wear gloves who still seem to have healthy recoveries every time. Most likely because they've been doing it so long their surgeries take 1/4 the time of an average doc.

Thats the latest standards anyway. I would have to look again to see what the AAHA standard is, but I have a feeling they don't like surgeries and dentals together, and we have found a happy medium between financial reality and safety.
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