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BLACKJACK

Cancer and female dogs?

11 posts in this topic

Was into the vet last week for the spring tune-up/shots for my two labs, both females, one 7 years old, the other 1+, neither one has been spayed. The younger one I eventually want to get bred. He was giving me the pitch to have the older one spayed (at the cost of $200). He said that 90% of female dogs eventually get some sort of uterine/ovarian/breast cancer. If you have or have had an older female dog, what has been your experience with them getting cancer?

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We have a 12 yr old GSP female, who is spayed and had a bout with thyroid cancer 3 yrs ago. Thanks to the great vets at the U of M she has been cancer free ever since. My in-laws had a female GSP who they waited until she was 6 or 7 to be spayed. She did end up with breast cancer that eventually spread elsewhere. They had her put down when she was 9.

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I had a 7 year old retriever mix she died of uterus cancer

and lab that had to put to sleep because of a turmor in the reproduction system she was about 9. the vet said it could

have been caused by not spaying them or not having pups

don't know if this is true or just bad luck with females

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So no one else on this forum has female dogs? Or am I just hearing from the two that have had problems and can assume that the rest of you never had cancer problems with your female dogs?

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My 3 year old lab was spayed as soon as possible. This was basically because we did not want to run the risk of accidental puppies. I do not remember what the vet said about it having an affect on her risk of developing cancer.

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I don't have any info to give other than my oldest dog had cancer so we had her put down. She was spayed at 9 months and never came into season before that. Sort of the opposite of your situation. The guy I use as a trainer does spay some of his bitches when their breeding days are over.

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Just a suggestion. Try calling several other vets in your area and definately outside your area, that would not know your vet about their input on females. Not to mention the cost.

My husband has ALWAYS had male German Shorthair Pointers. Alot of his hunting buddies have had females, some spay and some don't.

shocked.gifMy mouth dropped on the cost of having your female spayed. I don't remembered what you said her age was, but $200.00 WOWWW! In our area it is about $90 -$100- (that's if the female is current on shots.) My advise is to check with other vets on their look on cancer in females (and price).

I do know that in male dogs (all breeds, I have an silky, which my husband calls an ankle bitter) our vet recommends nuetering males for the risk of prostate cancer. Still my husband will not neuter his GSP and never has any of his GSP and the one he has now is 13 1/2 - no prostate cancer and only gets tired quicker. I'm sure ALOT depends on the blood lines and history of the lines.

Good luck-

smile.gif

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I have always had female dogs. One died from skin cancer.

One died from Lukemea(sp) was not making blood anymore.

All of my dogs have been spayed before the 1st heat period excpet the 1st one, she had couple litters of pups.

The last one i have now, just was spayed. she weighs 70#.

and it was 177. with all of the blood tests. with out the blood tests it would have been 123. my vet goes by weight.

I to have heard that if you have a female and dont breed them that they can get cancer. I have been told this by more than i vet. I feel if you are not going to breed the dog then get them spayed so there are no unwanted animals around. I feel this way on all animals. but that is JMHO.

Good Luck.Lynn

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In context of spaying or nuetering dogs, the types of cancer we are trying to reduce the risks of are Breast, Ovarian and Uterian in females and mostly Testicular in males. For the most part spaying and nuetering will have little impact on other types of cancers. Also from what I gather, breeding does not nessacarily help reduce the chances of these, and in some instances may increase them. Also the earlier in life you spay them, the greater you lessen the chance of these developing. I read a report once that you lessen the chance of "female" cancers in a dog by 300% if you spay them before 10 months of age.

I personally do not feel $200.00 is an out of line cost for what in essence is a total hysterectomy. The same surgery on Humans would run I bet in the $30,000 range. I believe there are still rural vets who can perform the procedure for less, but as in all things related to larger metro areas the costs go up. The vet needs more income to be able to live in the area, all his help is hired at a higher rate of pay, his land and building costs are higher etc. etc....

Another thing to consider in regards to spaying a female is pyometra. As you read below, both of mine were "closed" pyometra. This is nothing you ever want to deal with! I've dealt with it twice in females I've personally owned and luckily I managed to save them both. The 1st time I dealt with it, the vet said I would have been lucky to have her live throught the night to come in the next day! And only gave her a 50-50 chance of surviving the surgery. She was in surgery 30 minutes after I got her to the vet. Her uterus had 5 pounds of puss in it! The second time I knew the warning signs and got her in a little earlier. The second dog was never bred and she still developed it! Since then all non-breeding dogs of mine get spayed. This includes females I've bred and they are no longer going to have litters. My currently 11 year old female had just turned 8 for her last litter and was immediatley spayed when she was through. I urge female owners to read this below and take it seriously... It can happen and your dog can be dead in a matter of days! The 1st time I dealt with it, I figured "oh well, what are the chances of another one of my dogs getting it?" Well 3 years later I was dealing with it agian... The surgery costs +/- $700.00 depending on how bad they are, and there is a night at the vet and high doses of meds and pain killers. A traditional spaying at $150-200 is a fraction of the costs for the two dogs I've dealt with that had this. So now they all get spayed when I know they will no longer be bred.

WHAT IS A PYOMETRA?

The word “pyometra” is derived from latin “pyo” meaning pus and “metra” meaning uterus. The pyometra is an abscessed, pus-filled infected uterus. Toxins and bacteria leak across the uterine walls and into the bloodstream causing life-threatening toxic effects, Without treatment death is inevitable.

WHAT MIGHT MAKE THE VET SUSPECT THIS INFECTION?

Classically, the patient is an older female dog. (Pyometra can occur in the cat but its not nearly as common.) Usually, she has finished a heat cycle in the previousl 1-2 months. She has a poor appetite and may be vomiting or drinking an excessive amount of water. In the more usual “open pyometra” the cervix is open and the purulent uterine contents is able to drip out thus a smelly vaginal discharge is usually apparent.

There is also a form of pyometra called a “closed pyometra” where the cervix is closed. In these cases, there is no vaginal discharge and the clinical presentation is more difficult to diagnose. These patients also tend to be sicker than those with open pyometra due to retention of the toxic uterine contents.

Lab work shows a pattern typical of widespread infection which is often helpful in narrowing down the diagnosis. Radiographs may show a gigantic distended uterus though sometimes this is not obvious and ultrasound is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

HOW DOES THIS INFECTION COME ABOUT?

With each heat cycle, the uterine lining engorges in preparation for pregnancy. Eventually, some tissue engorgement becomes excessive or persistent (a condition called “cystic endometrial hyperplasia”). This lush glandular tissue is ripe for infectionf (recall that while thei inside of the uterus is sterile, the vagina below is normally loaded with bacteria.). Bacteria ascend from the vagina and the uterus becomes infected and ultimately pus filled.

WHAT IS THE USUAL TREATMENT?

The usual treatment for pyometra is surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. It is crucial that the infected uterine contents do not spill and that no excess hemorrhage occurs. The surgery is challenging especially if the patient is toxic. Antibiotics are given at the time of surgery and may or may not be continued after the uterus is removed. Pain relievers are often needed post-operatively. A few days of hospitalization are typically needed after the surgery is performed.

It is especially important that the ovaries be removed to remove future hormonal influence from any small stumps of uterus that might be left behind. If any ovary is left, the patient will continue to experience heat cycles and be vulnerable to recurrence.

While this surgery amounts to the same end result as routine spaying, there is nothing routine about a pyometra spay. As noted, the surgery is challenging and the patient is in a life-threatening situation. For these reasons, the pyometra spay typically costs five to ten times as much as a routine spay.

PROS:

The infected uterus is resolved rapidly (in an hour or two of surgery). No possibility of disease recurrence.

CONS:

Surgery must be performed on a patient that could be unstable.

PREVENTION

Spaying represents complete prevention for this condition. Spaying cannot be over-emphasized. Often an owner plans to breed their pet or is undecided, time passes, and then they fear she is too old to be spayed. The female dog or cat can benefit from spaying at any age. The best approach is to figure that pyometra will eventually occur if the female pet is left unspayed; any perceived risks of surgery are very much out-weighed by the risk of pyometra.

Good Luck!

Ken

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IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH THE COST WOULD BE NORMAL FOR THE AREA YOU ARE IN. I GUESS WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE OUR VET AND TO LIVE IN OUR AREA. OUR PRICE COULD BE ALITTLE LOWER, AS WE ALSO USE THIS VET FOR ALL OF OUR LIVESTOCK. I ALSO CHECKED INTO THE COST WITH THE UNIVERSITY IN AMES (ISU) AND THE COST IS AROUND THE $200-$300 RANGE BASED ALOT ON THE ANIMALS SIZE, AGE AND HEALTH. I BELIEVE IN SPAYING AND NEUTERING AS I HAVE HAD THIS DONE ON THE RECOMMENDED ADVISE OF OUR VETS FOR MY SILKY THAT I HAVE. MY HUSBAND HOWEVER FEELS THE OPPOSITE WITH HIS HUNTING GSP WHICH ARE MALES. I ALSO SPOKE WITH MY SISTER WHO LIVES IN THE CITY AND SHE CONFIRMED THE PRICE AS SHE HAS A HOUSE DOG THAT IS OF MEDIUM SIZE.

I AGREE THAT IT IS REALLY A CHOICE THAT EACH PERSON HAS TO MAKE FOR THEIR PET. I ALSO WAS TOLD BY MY VET THAT YOU SHOULD SPAY AT AN EARLY AGE IF NOT BREEDING, BUT IT IS A GOOD IDEA LATER TO DO SO ALSO, IT CAN PREVENT NOT ONLY UNWANTED PUPS BUT ALOT OF HEALTH ISSUES THAT COULD ARISE. OUR NEIGHBOR HAS A FEMALE AND NEVER SPAYED HER AND THOUGHT SHE WAS TO OLD TO GET PREGNANT AND AT 14 SHE DID GET PREGNANT AND IT WAS VERY HARD ON HER AND THE PUPS.

WISH YOU THE BEST OF LUCK!!!

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Thanks for the input Labs. Thats what I was looking for, real life examples of whether female dogs have problems. I think I'll make the appt next week. I can handle the $200 but I was just trying to figure out whether it was really necessary.

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