weimaraner and a vet

Health

When To Spay/Neuter a Weimaraner

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Before you get a Weimaraner (or any dog, really), you should be clear on their purpose. Would you like a working dog that you can take hunting? Maybe you want to have a champion for dog shows, maybe you want a breeding dog. Or maybe you simply want a companion, a furry best friend to spend time with.

If you’re looking to breed your dog in the future or attend dog shows, then your dog needs to be obviously intact. If it’s just a companion, you can choose to leave them intact or spay (female) / neuter (male) them.

Spaying or neutering can prevent many health problems, though it might bring some issues as well. The best time to spay or neuter is different from vet to vet, generally most vets recommend

Most vets recommend spaying females after the first heat between 12 – 18 months. Males should be neutered after 12 months of age.

Avoid veterinarians who suggest spaying/neutering as fast as possible.

Spaying a Weimaraner Female Dog

Spaying is a surgical procedure that removes inner reproductive organs. The vet can remove either just ovaries or both ovaries and uterus. This procedure is undertaken in full anesthesia.

Many modern vet clinics perform this surgery with a laparoscopy, where small incisions are made in the abdomen. This type of surgery greatly reduces bleeding and may speed up the recovery process for the dog.

Of course you can spay your dog at any point in their life. If you have a breeding dog, it’s best to spay her after her last litter, which is around 7 or 8 years of age.

Recovery From Spaying

When you get your doggo back from the vets, she’ll be totally out of it. She might even give you a stink eye for what you have done to her. She will sleep a lot for the first day, she might whimper too.

Your female Weimaraner should take it easy for ten to twelve days after surgery to avoid any complications. It’s easier said than done because Weims around twelve months of age are still giant puppies and overall have a great amount of energy.

Usually around the 10th day the stitches are removed. Until then you need to prevent your dog from licking the wound as that can introduce bacteria and can lead to an infection or even them pulling out the stitches.

You have a few options: most vets will give your pup a cone (the “cone of shame” aka lampshade or Elizabethan collar) but some dogs don’t deal well with that and destroy everything around them with it.

Your next option might be a soft collar (this one by Kong) which will allow your pup to have peripheral vision and freedom of movement. I think the best option is the recovery suit for dogs, which is basically a onesie for your dog. 🙂 It doesn’t impede anything and you dog might tolerate it more than any kind of cone or collar.

Myths

There’s a widespread myth that before spaying your female dog, she needs to have puppies at least once. This is false.

Pros of Spaying

More than half of cancers in female dogs appear on the mammary glands. These cancers are usually caused by hormones (estrogens and progesterones), which are created in the ovaries. Therefore by removing the ovaries the hormones causing these cancers will be removed (lowered) as well.

Besides that, there are also a few other positives of spaying your dog:

  • Female dogs don’t go into heat, which means you don’t need to be as vigilant over her. There is no discharge that can stain furniture or clothing.
  • You can attend hunting and other dog events
  • Training will be easier as she can concentrate more
  • Preventing false pregnancies, diabetes, some types of epilepsy and skin issues
  • Preventing infection of the uterus (pyometra)
  • Reducing pet overpopulation

Cons of Spaying

Any surgery carries some risks, such as issues with anesthesia, post-operative infection, bleeding and difficult healing of the wound. These risks can be minimized by inhalation anesthesia, pre-surgery checks and laparoscopy.

About 10% of female dogs experience urinary incontinence due to the drop of estrogens. However, non-spayed dogs can be incontinent too. These issues can be medically treated.

One of the most spoken about drawbacks of spaying is weight gain. By lowering the hormone levels, the metabolism slows down. However, dog’s weight gain is caused by overfeeding and lack of exercise, not the spaying itself. Check my article here on the best way to exercise your Weimaraner.

Nelly’s Experience With Spaying

We didn’t plan to breed Nelly so we decided to wait until after her first heat had passed. She went through her first heat when she was around 10 months. The vet wanted to wait until she was at least 12 months old.

However, she developed a pyometra (infection of the uterus where it fills with pus) around that time. Thankfully it was the open type, so the infection was somewhat discharged from her, otherwise it would have been much more serious.

She got spayed shortly after and within 10 days she was back to her silly self and her weird sleeping positions.

Neutering a Weimaraner

You can neuter your Weimaraner for many reasons:

  • Reducing dog overpopulation
  • Removing them from the breeding pool due to hereditary health problems
  • Treating issues with the prostate, testicular cancer, etc.
  • Cryptorchidism (retained testicle) – one or both testicles haven’t descended into the scrotum and that poses an increased risk of testicular cancer
  • Preventing unwanted behavior due to sex hormones

Male Weimaraners should get neutered after the age of 12 months, when they reach sexual maturity. Obviously this procedure can be done at any point in their lives.

It’s interesting to note that many male dog owners are reluctant to neuter their male dogs, some are even strongly against it. If you don’t plan to breed your dog, it’s better to have him neutered.

The benefits of spaying or neutering your Weimaraner greatly outweigh the risks.

What Are The Risks Of Spaying/Neutering Too Early?

When to spay a Weimaraner has always been an issue of contention among many pet owners. Bear in mind there are cons associated with this procedure being done too early in your Weimaraner’s life. Spaying and neutering your dog too early can lead to health complications.

In most cases, the hormones of your Weimaraner don’t get enough time to develop and work as expected. Early spay and neuter can lead to:

  • Torn ligaments
  • Bone cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Change of coat quality (long-haired Weimaraners spayed too early have very fine “puppy-like” hair)
  • and others

Does Spaying/Neutering Treat Behavior Issues?

Spaying or neutering is not the solution for trained behavior problems. If your dog didn’t listen to you, was aggressive and wild before castration, that won’t change after.

Castration can only solve problems with hormonal (sexual) behavior.

Is There a Dog Contraception?

The veterinary medicine is ever evolving and thanks to modern medicine we can offer contraception to our dogs as well. As with everything, there are certain drawbacks and cons that you need to consider.

Hormonal Injection

This injection is applied twice a year. It is not recommended for breeding females because they can cause the ovaries to atrophy, which can lead to sterility.

Chemical (Temporary) Castration

Chemical castration is for male dogs in form of implants. They are put under the skin just like chips at the back of the neck or between the shoulders. The implant releases a substance which lowers the sex hormones and thus lowering the dog’s libido.

These implants work from 6 to 12 months at a time, so it’s a temporary solution. This contraception isn’t recommended for dogs attending dog shows because its use can temporarily shrink the testicles. Not fully developed testicles are a reason for disqualification.

Conclusion

If you’re not planning to breed your dog or attend dog shows, it’s better to spay or neuter them. You can prevent many health problems that can pop up later in their life and these benefits greatly outweigh any risks from undergoing this procedure.



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