Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fat Dog Spays

(sarcasm) Today reminded me how much I miss doing mature, fat dog spays. (sarcasm)

Conventional teaching tells us to spay a dog before her first heat cycle to significantly reduce the risk of mammary cancers (and it does!). There are some vets that recommend letting the dog go through one heat to help other things mature appropriately - bone/muscle structure being a top one - esp in large breed dogs or working/field dogs. 

If you follow the latter protocol, this means the dog WILL be larger and sometimes overweight. If the owner brings the dog in soon after that first heat and she's at a good body weight, your vet will be happier.  However, here are some reasons that doesn't happen:
- they "forget" 
- don't see the importance
- never get around to it 
- wanted to breed her but never found a male
- thought she was too old to spay (never too old to spay..a pyometra - serious uterine infection- can hit at any age.) It usually is an older dog with potentially OTHER health issues. Now you will HAVE to do a very expensive complicated spay!

Overweight dogs just make the procedure longer  (longer anesthesia) AND potentially more problematic (which yes, is MY problem) but can be totally avoided. AND you are preventing a host of other health issues (diabetes, joint issues, etc) later on in life. 

Today also reminded me how grateful I am that I am an experienced surgeon and was able to deal with the more difficult aspects of the procedures and remain calm. 

Just remember to keep your dog from getting overweight. While you may know some of the health benefits, you may not have considered the effect it can have on a surgical procedure.  

Oh and spaying does NOT make a dog fat (after all, I wouldn't be writing this if all UNSPAYED dogs were a good body weight!) - feeding MORE calories than she burns does. Her metabolism WILL decrease with AGE and spaying so please decrease her calories after surgery (before if she's already a chunk muffin!). If you are not sure, ask your vet (don't go by the chart on the food bag - ANY food bag!).  

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