Desexing versus sterilization

LilF

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As I posted, I am adopting a new dog and she is 4, intact. They were going to spay her before transport to me. I emailed my own vet and asked if he does surgery that leaves the dog with her hormones, i.e. sparing the sex hormone secreting tissue. Is this a special surgery vets know about or have to be specifically trained in? I have not heard from him. But the shelter wants to spay the new dog and I wanted them to hold off knowing the benefits of preserving the hormones.
So if the hormones are preserved does the animal still go into heat and have periods where other male dogs come into the yard? What is the rest of the story here on sterilization without removing the hormone capability? I don't want to deal with pheromone season or problems with other dogs. Can someone just explain quickly the downside. The shelter will probably do this on my new dog soon so I would appreciate if you could help me make the decision. My dog JJ was neutered at 7 and lived the longest in spite of his horrible background with overvaccination and other illnesses. The dog spayed at 2 died a horrible cancer and the dog spayed very early had atypical cushings. Thanks
 

Dr. Jeff

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Is this a special surgery vets know about
Yes (OSS or ovary sparing spay). But as you wrote in your other post, at this time in the US (and this is changing) only some vets do it.
hormones are preserved does the animal still go into heat and have periods where other male dogs come into the yard?
Yes.
What is the rest of the story here on sterilization without removing the hormone capability?
For the whole story please listen to D5r. Sara's wise words in her webinar. You can download the audio and listen on a walk, inn the car when picking her up, etc.
 

GinnyW

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You can find a lot of info at Ovary Sparing Spay and Vasectomy Info Group on FaceBook. I think it is admirable of you to want to take this course with her, but you will bump into many obstacles and naysayers. Yes, the girls retain a semblance of heat cycles, but often not as intense as would have been. The boys will find them attractive, and an attempted mating can cause serious damage to the female as she has no vagina to speak of. Most folks find the urges a little less intense, and can keep males and females separated but at least in the same house during the most intense days. Wishing you good luck accomplishing this!
 

LilF

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I am having a disagreement with the rescue and shelter. The dog, named Massamune there, has serious fears and shut down. So what will the abrupt shift in her hormones due to her in terms of her behaviour. I know what I am in for now but do not know what I am in for if they strip her of her hormones and then they hand her over to me for a car ride for 3 hours. Will she turn aggressive????? I told the rescue they should keep her if they spay her to "watch her" and not put ME at risk. Like I said I know what I have to deal with now as I read her behvior for the past month---no aggression. So that is my concern. For my safety if she gets spayed. I have been listening to some videos and this is one reason I did not want dogs anymore--the ignorance is astounding. My JJ could have benefited from testosterone but the holistic vet did not believe in it because she did not want to take a 2 hour class. So one video I am watching says that testosterone can chill an anxious/nervous dog. So again, will this dog turn aggressive or worse after a spay. I guess vets don't typically know how to do this modified surgery? That is probably why my vet did not answer me. Sometimes I think my knowledge is way over their heads. So thank you and I will check out the FB group
 

Dr. Jeff

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she has no vagina to speak of.
No. I do not believe this is in correct. @Dr. Sara, care to weigh in here as my personal experience is more theoretical than clinical.
if they strip her of her hormones and then they hand her over to me for a car ride for 3 hours. Will she turn aggressive????? I told the rescue they should keep her if they spay her to "watch her" and not put ME at risk.
She probably will not get aggressive on the car ride home. Her blood hormone levels will reduce over time, and not right after adoption. However, as her hormones decrease she may become more anxious (whether she becomes increasingly anxious and aggressive depends on her individual susceptibility to these symptoms) and anxiety increases fear aggression.

In addition, the double whammy of spaying while she is super stressed and anxious at the shelter are stressors like the double whammy of getting vaccines during an infection (or other dis-ease).

Will the shelter let you get her home to calm down and de-stress (you'll probably see more "normal" calmness within a few weeks)
 

GinnyW

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No. I do not believe this is in correct. @Dr. Sara, care to weigh in here as my personal experience is more theoretical than clinical.
It is my understanding that the surgeon will often choose to remove the cervix, due to a perceived risk of future pyometras, thereby shortening the remaining vagina. This is what leaves them vulnerable to tearing from penetration. Obviously, this depends on the dog, the surgeon, and the exact procedure, but I have heard of occurrences of damage in OSS girls.
I also believe there will be no problem with fear or aggression as an immediate result of the surgery, if at all. I have not seen or heard of aggression in spayed females of any age, but any such should be mitigable by proper diet, homeopathy and appropriate positive training. There is, as always, nothing as powerful as love and the happiness protocol.
 

Dr. Sara

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Dear Lil,
Dogs of both sexes with normal sex hormones are more bold than they will be without them. Boldness, behaviourally, is the other end of the bold - shy axis. Boldness (as a behavior) may be described as a combination of desire to associate with people and a desire to examine the environment.
Several studies, most notably Chris Zink's studies on vizslas, have shown that removing the sex hormones before 6 months of age increases the risk of the dog developing a behavioral disorder.
Other studies have shown an potential increase in behavioral problems at any age of neutering, though the effect is not as great.
I have been on the receiving end of agonistic behaviour (unprovoked aggression) from dogs of all sexes - both intact and neutered. Neutered animals are more shy, overall, so fearful aggression is more likely.

As Dr. Jeff notes, the effect of the change in sex hormones takes time. However, any surgery is a major stress, and it is not best practice to rehome an animal immediately after surgery. Shelters rehome animals immediately after neutering because of their great concern for the overpopulation problem. It would be ideal if you could convince them to trust you to bring the new girl home without subjecting her to this stress.

Ovary sparing spay surgery that removes the cervix is ideal as that minimizes the risk of pyometra by removing all of the uterine tissue. OSS girls can still develop vaginal cysts, a rare, benign, occurrence. OSS girls are at the same risk as their fully intact counterparts for other hormonally affected diseases. At this point, full spaying will not change your girl's risk of mammary cancer, as her mammary tissue is sensitized.

An OSS female will be attractive to males. I have had three OSS females, and the marking is considerably less as there is no bloody discharge. I have never had a problem with males 'hanging around', and I walked them in rural, suburban, and urban areas. I would not knowingly bring my girls around an intact male during their cycle!

We used to believe that removing the cervix makes the vagina more at risk to tearing if mating occurs after surgery. However, after reviewing canine anatomy and physiology, the risk is believed to not be significantly greater than the risk of normal mating. The canine vagina is long and elastic, much more so than in primates. As long as the surgical site has completely healed it should be resistant to mating. However, mating in completely intact dogs can result in serious damage to the vagina and penis, so dogs should never mate without supervision for their own safety.

If you have seen dogs mate, you will realize that even among dogs of the same breed and size it is a vigorous affair. Females are tied with the male, and if either becomes afraid and tries to run away, serious damage to the male's penis and the female's vagina may result. Size mismatches are more worrisome, as a large male can damage a small female. Even when it is all performed as gently as possible, the female will experience bruising afterwards; my Berners always appreciated a few doses of Arnica!
I hope this helps,
Dr. Sara
 
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LilF

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No. I do not believe this is in correct. @Dr. Sara, care to weigh in here as my personal experience is more theoretical than clinical.

She probably will not get aggressive on the car ride home. Her blood hormone levels will reduce over time, and not right after adoption. However, as her hormones decrease she may become more anxious (whether she becomes increasingly anxious and aggressive depends on her individual susceptibility to these symptoms) and anxiety increases fear aggression.

In addition, the double whammy of spaying while she is super stressed and anxious at the shelter are stressors like the double whammy of getting vaccines during an infection (or other dis-ease).

Will the shelter let you get her home to calm down and de-stress (you'll probably see more "normal" calmness within a few weeks)
Dr. Jeff, this is exactly what I emailed them last night. I said that I could certify she is sterilized/spayed whatever after giving her some time to decompress at home. I mentioned to the rescue my concern about safety of a surgery with her 3 weeks of turbulence, toxins, shutting down etc.... As you know some of these organizations don't individualize and everyone is treated the same no matter the circumstances. So I am sure I will find out monday. I had a lot of questions about this adoption and the rescue seems to be annoyed with me. However, before I adopt a dog I need a lot of information and take it seriously as a responsibility and commitment. I do have a thirst for information in all my endeavors. The shelter notes said the dog is "eligible" for spay surgery which tells me that the rescue has some requirement. The rescue keeps saying they will cancel the contract. I tell them not to do that and I might have to get her spayed. Thank you for the clarification on this issue. I admit I know little about reproductive dog health because all my animals were desexed before getting them so no need to know.
 

Dr. Jeff

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You're welcome Lil! Please let us know what happens.
 

LilF

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Dear Lil,
Dogs of both sexes with normal sex hormones are more bold than they will be without them. Boldness, behaviourally, is the other end of the bold - shy axis. Boldness (as a behavior) may be described as a combination of desire to associate with people and a desire to examine the environment.
Several studies, most notably Chris Zink's studies on vizslas, have shown that removing the sex hormones before 6 months of age increases the risk of the dog developing a behavioral disorder.
Other studies have shown an potential increase in behavioral problems at any age of neutering, though the effect is not as great.
I have been on the receiving end of agonistic behaviour (unprovoked aggression) from dogs of all sexes - both intact and neutered. Neutered animals are more shy, overall, so fearful aggression is more likely.

As Dr. Jeff notes, the effect of the change in sex hormones takes time. However, any surgery is a major stress, and it is not best practice to rehome an animal immediately after surgery. Shelters rehome animals immediately after neutering because of their great concern for the overpopulation problem. It would be ideal if you could convince them to trust you to bring the new girl home without subjecting her to this stress.

Ovary sparing spay surgery that removes the cervix is ideal as that minimizes the risk of pyometra by removing all of the uterine tissue. OSS girls can still develop vaginal cysts, a rare, benign, occurrence. OSS girls are at the same risk as their fully intact counterparts for other hormonally affected diseases. At this point, full spaying will not change your girl's risk of mammary cancer, as her mammary tissue is sensitized.

An OSS female will be attractive to males. I have had three OSS females, and the marking is considerably less as there is no bloody discharge. I have never had a problem with males 'hanging around', and I walked them in rural, suburban, and urban areas. I would not knowingly bring my girls around an intact male during their cycle!

We used to believe that removing the cervix makes the vagina more at risk to tearing if mating occurs after surgery. However, after reviewing canine anatomy and physiology, the risk is believed to not be significantly greater than the risk of normal mating. The canine vagina is long and elastic, much more so than in primates. As long as the surgical site has completely healed it should be resistant to mating. However, mating in completely intact dogs can result in serious damage to the vagina and penis, so dogs should never mate without supervision for their own safety.

If you have seen dogs mate, you will realize that even among dogs of the same breed and size it is a vigorous affair. Females are tied with the male, and if either becomes afraid and tries to run away, serious damage to the male's penis and the female's vagina may result. Size mismatches are more worrisome, as a large male can damage a small female. Even when it is all performed as gently as possible, the female will experience bruising afterwards; my Berners always appreciated a few doses of Arnica!
I hope this helps,
Dr. Sara
@Dr. Sara Thank you for the comprehensive posting. This sure does fill in the blanks and educates me in an area I knew nothing about due to all my past dogs being desexed beforehand. I have not heard from the shelter if they would agree to the very proposal you made about letting me take her home to destress before adding on a surgery. It's funny how I never even considered this kind of decision with past dogs and how much we learn with each dog. I am going to have enough on my hands with her current status and prefer to just let her chill and deal with this surgery in a few months. I will read and digest your post a few more times and thank you so much for taking the time.
 

LilF

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@Dr. Sara @Dr. Jeff @GinnyW @Dr. Christina Well so a victory here....for the new dog... The shelter did agree to let me take this dog and get her spayed when my vet deems she has been decompressed some. Thank you Dr. Sara for saying it like you did.... "not best practice to rehome after surgery" I used those words.... YAY.... Now, my vet is still spouting that he has seen horrible mammary tumors on intact dogs that could have been avoided had they been spayed. He said that there are epidemiological studies to show that spaying after 1-1.5 years does prevent lymphoma and bone cancer. He said that the dog is also at risk for pyometra (which you cover for me to point counterpoint with him later on)
He says if you leave the ovaries intact you risk ovarian cancer and mammary adenocarcinoma. My vet is a scientist with experience in neuroscience. With that, you would think he would understand the importance of hormones in brain physiology, neurotransmitters, behavior and demeanor in physiological amount. What about the risk of atypical cushings in dogs spayed too early and stressing the adrenals. I had a dog with that and spayed very early. I remind everyone of my 5 dogs, JJ who died in June was the OLDEST and neutered at 7, the latest of all my dogs. Yes he chugged along for a few months but he had no cancer. I thought he would die the earliest due to over vaccination and illness before I got him---gut problems, heartworm and a host of other things they gave him meds for at the shelter before I got him.

I told my vet I disagree with him and would be devils advocate later on to discuss so thank you for some references that are not arguable with. Also at what age does the mammary tissue become sensitized I think one has to spay before then to avoid mammary cancer? So what age is that ?

Thank you again . We had a victory for the dog today and she will come home without additional stress.
 

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