Considerations for the Canine Athlete
When the heat is on Lock it with PABS When your girl is in season use one of these to prevent an accidental breeding. PABS is an alternative to spaying. That your girl comes in season once or twice a year is not that much of an inconvenience if you have this belt. "You should consider your pet to be "in season" for 21 days: 7 days coming into heat, 7 days in heat, 7 days going out. Remember, although conception is most likely during the middle 14 days, Mother Nature doesn't always follow the rules."
We personnaly recommend the belt for 22 days to be safe.
WHY NOT SPAY IN THE FIRST 2 YEARS:
|Those of us with responsibility for the health of canine athletes need
to continually read and evaluate new scientific studies to ensure that we
are taking the most appropriate care of our performance dogs. This article
provides evidence through a number of recent studies to suggest that veterinarians
and owners working with canine athletes should revisit the standard protocol
in which all dogs that are not intended for breeding are spayed and neutered
at or before 6 months of age.
Other Health Considerations
I have gathered these studies to show that our practice of routinely spaying or neutering every dog at or before the age of 6 months is not a black-and-white issue. Clearly more studies need to be done to evaluate the effects of prepubertal spaying and neutering, particularly in canines.
Currently, I have significant concerns with spaying or neutering pets before puberty. But of course, there is the pet overpopulation problem. How can we prevent the production of unwanted dogs while still leaving the gonads to produce the hormones that are so important to canine growth and development? One answer would be to perform vasectomies in males and tubal ligation in females, to be followed after maturity by ovariohysterectomy in females to prevent mammary cancer and pyometra. One possible disadvantage is that vasectomy does not prevent some unwanted behaviors associated with males such as marking and humping. On the other hand, females and neutered males frequently participate in these behaviors too. Really, training is the best solution for these issues. Another possible disadvantage is finding a veterinarian who is experienced in performing these procedures. Nonetheless, some do, and if the procedures were in greater demand, more veterinarians would learn them.
I believe it is important that we assess each situation individually. For canine athletes, I currently recommend that dogs and bitches be spayed after 14 months or neutered after 18 months of age.
This article is available for download in Adobe Acrobat PDF format Early Spay Considerations (PDF).
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