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I am so sad to think that my baby will have to be spayed soon. Bailey was spayed when I got her so this will be my first time to deal with this. I am so worried about the anesthesia and her being so tiny. She is barely 3 pounds right now. Through all of my worrying about her having to be spayed I have some questions.

1. I have heard conflicting views on this but what age is best to have her spayed? (she will be 5 months tomorrow)

2. Does the laser surgery make a huge difference? (I called my vet and they don't do laser but I would be willing to find someone who does if necessary)

3. What should I expect after surgery?

4. Do I need anything special for her recovery process? (I plan to get onesies for her to wear to keep her from biting her stitches)

5. Is there anything that I should request or ask when I bring her in to have it done?
 

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1. I have heard conflicting views on this but what age is best to have her spayed? (she will be 5 months tomorrow)
Before the first heat. 6 months of age.

2. Does the laser surgery make a huge difference? (I called my vet and they don't do laser but I would be willing to find someone who does if necessary)
It is nice, but I would rather select a vet I am comfortable with than one I don't know just for a laser.

3. What should I expect after surgery?
Your pet may not want to eat after surgery. She may be painful for a few days. You will need to restrict activity for a week. You should discuss this with your vet.

4. Do I need anything special for her recovery process? (I plan to get onesies for her to wear to keep her from biting her stitches)
A crate to confine her in.

5. Is there anything that I should request or ask when I bring her in to have it done?
Bloodwork should be performed before surgery. If they do not automatically place an IV catheter and give fluids during surgery you should request it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She will turn 6 months on May 7th. I have some things planned up until then and I want to be sure that I can be with her for a few days after the surgery. Do you think that it would be ok to wait until the May 10th? Also what is the blood work for? Is there anything that I should look for with it?
 

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1. I have heard conflicting views on this but what age is best to have her spayed? (she will be 5 months tomorrow)

Before the first heat...by 6 months if all is well. I would try not to wait past 8 months for sure because of the risk of going into heat.

2. Does the laser surgery make a huge difference? (I called my vet and they don't do laser but I would be willing to find someone who does if necessary)

I'm really not sure how much better laser is. I've heard that with laser there is less bleeding, less pain, and faster recovery.

3. What should I expect after surgery?

She's going to be groggy, tired, painful and maybe nauseus after surgery. It takes a while for the anaesthesia to completely wear off and for them to completely wake up. She may not want to eat right away, and she may throw up and also may not poop for a few days after.

4. Do I need anything special for her recovery process? (I plan to get onesies for her to wear to keep her from biting her stitches)

They usually seem to feel a lot better 2-3 days later, but don't let her jump or run around or be too active for at least a week. With Lacy, she tore her internal stitches a few days after she was spayed because she was too active too soon. She then had to be reopened and restitched so I definitely learned my lesson there. Don't let her be active for at least a week..she needs to heal.

5. Is there anything that I should request or ask when I bring her in to have it done?

Be sure to have a complete physical exam, especially listening well to the heart. Do complete bloodwork, including a CBC, blood chem panel, and electolytes. I also recommend doing a pre and post bile acid test a week before surgery to make sure her liver is healthy.
 

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I don't want to hijack this thread ... but can you guys answer the same questions regarding neutering?

I know that neutering is easier, but I'd like to know what to expect as well.

Thanks bunches! Jules
 

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It appears that I'm in the minority here but so long a girl puppy can be kept away from any intact males should she go in season before her spay, I prefer to wait until the adult teeth come in before doing a spay or neuter, that way any retained puppy teeth (especially those deeply rooted canines) can be removed at the same time, eliminating the need for the dog to be put under anesthesia a second time. None of my females have come into season before 8 mos. of age and by then I know what needs to be done, if anything, about teeth being removed. Pre-op bloodwork is always a good idea. My vet always give an injection of pain killer before discharge and sends home a couple of days' worth of pain pills. Onesies work great for keeping them away from their stitches.
 

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I agree with MaryH on this one. I also like to give them time to grow.
 

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Most pet owners are not responsible enough to be trusted with an intact female. I just can't tell you how many people (on forums and in person) have had their puppy get pregnant on their first heat or were worried that their female was possibly pregnant... Most people just can't handle it for some reason. But also, both of my yorkies had all their baby teeth out except for their baby canines by 7 months when they were pulled...I know the really small ones usually lose their teeth a little later which in case wouldn't hurt waiting an extra month or two (especially because the tiny ones usually go into heat later) but the earlier you can spay, the better. I would never purposely wait until after the first heat unless I get a dog to show.
 

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I don't want to hijack this thread ... but can you guys answer the same questions regarding neutering?

I know that neutering is easier, but I'd like to know what to expect as well.

Thanks bunches! Jules
pretty much the same except they heal faster/easier and you don't really have to worry about stitches tearing like you would spaying. I would still make sure he rests and doesn't jump for several days though.

Also, if I ever got a male pet again (which I HIGHLY doubt that I will) he will be neutered as soon as I get him..the earlier the better. The later you wait, the more chance of male behaviors which I am not a fan of at all. I'd go ahead and neuter and then pull baby teeth later with a male..but that's just me. But with a female I'd wait until 6-8 months to spay and do baby teeth at the same time.
 

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Pre-op bloodwork is done to make sure Sophie is healthy and it's safe for her to go under anesthesia with minimal risk. It is just a precaution to take. If she's had bloodwork done in the last 3 months or so, they can usually use those results if you'd like.

Everyone has already chimed in with great answers to your questions. Regarding whether to spay before or after Sophie turns 6 months old is up to you. I waited until London was 9 months old, and she did not go into heat. She did not need any baby teeth pulled by that time, but we waited because her teeth took so long to fall out.

Preston was neutered when he was 4 months old and about 3lbs. Because he was done so young, they couldn't pull any remaining baby teeth (obviously) so that was a downside. In July when he goes in for his annual checkup, I am going to ask if they can look in his mouth for retained baby teeth (he has stinky breath).

The vet will give you detailed instructions on when you can try giving her a small portion of a meal, and when you can slowly introduce water to her. Don't be surprised if she does not want to eat for the first FULL 24hrs. She may also be constipated (from the anesthesia) and might have a hard time pooping for the first time. Sometimes they won't poop for 2 days or so, but this is normal, as long as she is drinking water and starts to eat after a day or so.
 

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I didn't know about it when Perri was neutered so I don't have experience with it, but I read a brochure about the benefits of laser surgery at the vets before and it sure sounds good: less pain and swelling, possibly less time under, and something about killing bacteria so there's less risk of infection. If you do it at another vet, when you're checking around make sure they aren't one who wants them to stay overnight - some do that as standard practice. I wouldn't feel comfortable with that.

ETA - Lisa brought up a good point about the constipation. Perri had that after his dental last year. Have some canned pumpkin on hand in case, and would be a good idea to have boiled chicken and rice ready for her for the first day or two. Also get probiotics to give after she's finished the antibiotics if they give her any.
 

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Does waiting cause the risk of cancer to go up? That is what really has me the most worried. So far she has only lost her bottom two middle teeth. The teeth next to those are loose but haven't come out yet.
Yes, with ever heat cycle the chance of mammary cancer increases. There is pretty much no chance of mammary cancer if spayed before the first heat. After the first heat, there is a higher risk (although still pretty small) but after the second heat, the risk for cancer is about 25% and it can increase with ever heat cycle after that. False (or real) pregnancies are also a concern, as well as pyometra (uterine infections). Pyometra isn't too much of a concern in young dogs, but with every heat cycle, the risk for pyometra increases as well.
 

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My little girl will be 9 months old April 12th. She weighs 3lbs. 7 oz. The vet wanted to wait until she put some weight on and said it can take longer for the little ones to go in to heat. But she is not gaining much weight and I am afraid of the anethesia. But I think he is suggesting to have her spayed the end of April.
 

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Most pet owners are not responsible enough to be trusted with an intact female.

Also, if I ever got a male pet again (which I HIGHLY doubt that I will) he will be neutered as soon as I get him..the earlier the better. The later you wait, the more chance of male behaviors which I am not a fan of at all.
Honestly, I find these to be a rather broad blanket statements not statistically or factually based.

About spay/neuter - Like every other issue, we generally hear from the people who might be in trouble, but how many owners post anywhere saying "I have an intact female who was just in season and she didn't get pregnant."? Most pet owners are one dog owners and most Maltese aren't let out to roam the neighborhood whether they are intact males, in season females, or spayed/neutered. Maybe there are lots of unwanted puppies in other parts of the country but in the northeast the number of puppies in shelters is down so low that people wanting to adopt a puppy of any breed or mixed breed are importing them from other parts of the country or from out of the country. The humane societies and shelters will tell you that the number one reason why the number of unwanted puppies is dwindling is because we have leash laws, not because every dog is spayed/neutered by 6 mos. old.

About "male behaviors" - I find these to be training issues far moreso than hormonal issues. I've owned 2 neutered male Maltese. One was neutered at 5 mos. old and absolutely perfectly housetrained when I adopted him at 14 mos. old. He eliminates outside only and lifts his leg to do it. The other came to me at 8 yrs. old, I have no idea how old he was when he was neutered, but he had lost several homes prior to coming to live with me because he was a marker. He marked in my house the night he arrived and never marked in the house again. Why? Because I spent time training him. I own an intact male, he is 8 yrs. old, I got him as a 7 mo. old puppy. He was already paper trained when he arrived and quickly learned to eliminate outside. At 8 yrs. old, even being in a house with girls in season from time to time, he still squats to pee, sometimes lifting his leg out to the side about an inch off the ground or floor. I've had spayed girls lift their legs higher than he ever has.

To each their own regarding timing. My personal preference is to give them time to grow and put them under anesthesia as infrequently as possible. If that means that the girls go through one heat cycle (and the earliest any female in my house has had her first heat cycle was 9 mos. old) before being spayed I would still rather that than putting them under anesthesia twice as still growing puppies. For all the people on this forum, I don't ever recall reading a post where a Maltese has died of mammary or prostate cancer.
 

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We're not going to wait for all baby teeth to come out. As soon as the adult canines poke through, we will then be neutering and pulling the baby canines. The other baby teeth will be done later, with just a tiny anesthesia (out for just a few minutes) to remove those. I am not seeing any adult canines come through yet, so I'm guessing another month or two (at 6 to 9 months?) before we neuter. This is what my vet suggests, and I trust him!

HUGz! Jules
 

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I too was so scared for Libby to be spayed. She was only 3 pounds and has MVD.

We waited until she hit that 3 pound mark for the surgery. She was 8 months old when she was spayed.

The vet said she was in an internal heat but it wasn't complicated. She was able to go ahead and complete the surgery.:thumbsup:

Thank goodness, we made it just in the nick of time. I was scared some old big dog would break down the door and have his way with my baby.:w00t:

Since she was older, only her 4 canines were left to be pulled. We just found out recently that one snuck by the vet but it came out finally.

She was done in the morning and back home in the afternoon. She slept the rest of the day/night on my chest.

She was out of it so I gave her Nutracal and she sucked it right up. You might want to get some if you don't already have it.

Libby never paid any attention to her insision at all. It did seem like she had a prickly feeling down there though and she would run around kind of funny from rug to rug. That lasted about a week.

Best of luck in whatever you decide! As long as her bloodwork is ok and she's healthy she should be fine.
 

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Mary, do you think their personality changes once they go into a heat?
My girls? Not at all. Timmy's personality changes for 4-7 days ... he mopes around with this look like "The girl of my dreams is on the other side of that baby gate just waiting for me. How can you deny us?" But for all the horror stories I've read, he doesn't mark or howl or bark or cry. He just mopes. The only thing done differently here when a girl is in season is that she and Timmy don't get to run and play together. He goes out with the group for awhile, then she gets to go out and I pick him up and hold him and play with him. It's never been a big deal and I've never had neighborhood dogs come from miles around to jump the fence or break down the doors.

I am not advocating that anyone should keep their dog intact. All I'm saying is that I personally would not rush in to spay/neuter according to an arbitrary date of 6 mos. I think there are more factors to consider than just the magic 6 mo. deadline.
 
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