The Edmond Sun


November 26, 2012

VET Q&A: Should I really spay my dog?

EDMOND — Q: I have a female Rottweiler that is just 15 weeks old and my veterinarian just gave her the last puppy shots. He says it is time to think about getting her spayed. This seems so young. I do not want to contribute to the overpopulation problem, but neither do I want to cause any problems for Kadi now or as she ages. What do you recommend?

I would say your veterinarian is “right-on” with his recommendation. We now try to spay dogs somewhere between 4-6 months of age. Kadi likely will start to cycle or go into heat at around 6-8 months of age. Shelters are doing spays on strays at 8-10 weeks of age.

Multiple studies have been done and none have provided any scientific evidence for any detrimental effects, now or in the future, for early spaying.

On the other hand, spaying before the first heat cycle can help Kadi in a number of good ways. Mammary cancer tops the list. A female dog that is spayed before the mammary glands ever “see” estrogen, has greater than a 200-fold decrease in her developing mammary cancer as she ages. If she cycles once the mammary cancer incidence jumps from less than 1 percent to greater than 8-9 percent. Multiple cycles can increase it to 26-27 percent or one in four dogs likely to develop mammary cancer.

Many female dogs, especially at an older age, develop a pus-filled uterus (called a pyometra) about a month after they cycle. This is a life-threatening condition and has to be treated as an emergency surgery. You do not want this to happen when Kadi is 8- or 10-years-old. It is totally avoided if she is spayed early on in her life.

If not spayed, Kadi will go into heat every eight or nine months. It is difficult to deal with if she lives in the house simply because of the bloody vaginal discharge. If she is left outside, the chances are great that she will breed and have a litter of puppies. Her breed usually has 8-12 puppies per litter. This is a lot of responsibility, and definitely contributes to the already hundreds of thousands of homeless pets. Even if you find all of them homes, that is 8-12 homes that might have been able to rescue a pet from a shelter.

Other, more minor health problems that can occur in a non-spayed female dog include uterine torsion, vaginal hyperplasia, prolapse of the uterus to the outside and vaginal, ovarian or uterine cancers.

Some argue that she should cycle a time or two before being spayed- to help her “mature” or have a better “personality.” Some argue that the urethra or vulva will not develop properly. Absolutely no evidence exists to support any of these misconceptions. The urogenital tract has been shown to develop normally in multiple studies when female dogs were spayed anytime between 8 weeks and up to 6-7 months.

The surgery itself usually takes less than an hour. Complications such as excessive bleeding, anesthetic reactions and a drop in blood pressure are possible. These are, however, rare, and in most cases they can be reversed.  With the advent of the use of gas anesthesia, these problems are even less likely to occur. Your veterinarian will review the entire process with you prior to her surgery, including the procedure for getting her ready for surgery, the fasting, the surgery, recovery and after care. Ask away until you understand the entire process. The end result of her being spayed is certainly worth your time and investment.

DR. M. MARGARET KING, a longtime Edmond veterinarian, is a guest columnist. If you have any questions for her, email them to

Text Only
  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 23, 2014

  • clock edit.jpg Antique clock collection on display at Edmond Library

    In a world that’s often hurried and brief, the Sooner Time Collectors have nothing but time. Oklahoma chapter members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors have provided antique pieces from personal collections to display at the Edmond Library until the end of April.
    Since the 1950s, Sooner Time Collectors have gathered to learn about the inner workings of clocks and to admire one-of-a-kind finds. Of interest to the community is their involvement with repairs for the Cowboy Hall of Fame clock and the UCO tower. They now have 35 members who meet monthly as a chapter of the 16,000-member NAWCC community across America and the world.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 22, 2014

  • 6th annual run event in Guthrie to benefit Free to Live

    The sixth annual “The See Spot Run” will take place at 9 a.m. May 10 in downtown Guthrie. This 5K, 10K and 1-mile run/walk event benefits Free to Live, a nonprofit animal sanctuary located Logan County. In the past five years of this event “The See Spot Run” has welcomed more than 3,000 runners and raised $30,000 for the Free to Live Animal Sanctuary.
    “The See Spot Run” will offer all participants the opportunity to compete in either the 5K or 10K event in addition to a 1-mile “Fun Run.” Walkers and runners (both two- and four-legged) are welcome and can register directly at Visit Donations also can be sent to “The See Spot Run,” P.O. Box 292, Guthrie, 73044.

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 20, 2014

  • Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 4.44.15 PM.png Paint, doodle and sketch: 3 apps for art lovers

    In the absence of a palette of watercolors and a sketchpad, these three apps can fill in as your art supplies of choice.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo