Neutering your Dog or Bitch
BITCHES (Ovariohysterectomy / spaying)
There are many benefits in neutering a bitch and it is a myth that it is somehow 'good' for a bitch to have a litter before being spayed. In fact, given the number of unwanted dogs that have to be destroyed each year it is clear that a bitch should only be mated IF there are exceptional reasons for doing so. It is a major undertaking to breed a bitch in a responsible manner and it requires considerable time, experience and investment, with eye testing and hip/elbow scoring as essentials for many breeds. It is therefore not something to undertake lightly.
There are many benefits to pet and owner from neutering a bitch, including the prevention of accidental pregnancy, some mammary tumours, false pregnancy and the development of a uterine infection or "pyometra" (a very common emergency condition requiring immediate spaying.)
The TIMING of spaying is all-important and we recommend either at around 6 months of age before the first season, or at least 3 months after the START of the season, provided the bitch is not having a false pregnancy at this time. We check all bitches with a consultation prior to admission for spaying.
The possible disadvantages of spaying include slight alteration of coat colour and texture, weight gain and an increased risk of developing urinary incontinence later in life (although this does occur in entire bitches too and is treatable). The nursing staff and vets are able to help you with monitoring and controlling your dog's weight.
The benefits of castrating a dog include the prevention of prostate problems, testicular tumours, some skin disease, some aggressive and inappropriate sexual behaviours and roaming. The possible disadvantages include an increased predisposition to weight gain and coat change. We can castrate any dog over 6 months of age, although we will often recommend waiting until 12 months of age depending on circumstances.