Last Updated on 2022-05-08 by Admin
Last week we brought Annie to the veterinarian to be Spayed. I dreaded the thought of Spaying Annie. When we got Annie as puppy, we had plans to do what everybody else seemed to do and get her fixed. But with a little research, we found a big difference in attitudes to neutering\spaying between Europe and North America. In Europe having an intact dog was much more common and accepted.
Research on Spaying or Neutering
I posted another article where I provide links to very recent research done with up to 15 years worth o data. Research every dog owner will want. As is provides important details at what age it is best to neuter or spay a specific breed of dog. For many kinds of dogs, the recommended age is much higher than six months. The research shows that there is an increased risk of cancers, joint problems, and other issues for some breeds if they get neutered\spayed at a young age.
Boxer Breed findings
It was natural for me to read what the study published on 2020-07-07 has to say about Boxers as a Boxer owner.
Males neutered before age 2 had a much higher occurrence of certain cancers (32%) than those neutered after the age of 2 (17%). For spayed females before the age of two, the rate of certain cancers was 20%. For females, spayed after two years old was 11%.
The study checked for other issues as well, but for Boxer’s, there were no significant increases reported.
My wife and I were always against spaying Annie young. So the Idea was to make sure Annie would at least go through one heat. With dogs, when it comes to growing and developing, it goes fast. Before we knew it, Annie started to smell just addictively beautiful. I remember going near her just to smell. How naive I was, next we observed some light red stains on the floor. Then I finally got what was going on. My baby was only eight months old, way earlier than I expected.
Smelling so beautiful had a reason. If a human could notice the smell, it made sense that male dogs would get excited. My wife and I did some reading online and read all the horror stories where male dogs went to houses where female dogs lived and barked all night. I thought that was exaggerated, in our neighbourhood, there are some intact female dogs. And we don’t have male dogs barking because of it.
Hope for a litter
Once Annie was with us for a while, the love for her was growing deeply, and we thought she was just the most fantastic dog. And I, for one, could not bear the thought that Annie would be the end of the line. The hope for one litter was a big thing for me.
The Power of hormones
With each new heat cycle, it seemed that it took longer for Annie to get back to her usual self. After the bleeding stopped, she would get shine pregnancies and start nesting. During the whole heat cycle, she was moody, lethargic, unless she would see another dog. And each new heat took a little longer and was a little more severe. There were also good things when she was in heat. It seemed her knee problems went away. Annie does not limp when she is in heat. To reproduce becomes the only thing in life, and her hormones triggered a chemical reaction that acted as a pain killer.
My wife felt that it was torture for Annie, and for us, we could not see how we could have puppies. Some events in our life made this unpractical. Annie was soon to be four years old, and we thought it would be best to get this done before the next heat. Some people we know told us that you could get your dog fixed at the Humane Society. That, however, is not the case. They don’t perform this operation on flat-nosed dogs.
Dreaded Surgery Day – Spaying Annie
On the day of Annie’s appointment for surgery, Annie came and woke me at 5:30 am. She was very excited, the whole dog wiggled. She came close to my face and licked my neck and went to the living room, waiting for me to get ready. The weather was beautiful and fresh. When we went for our walk, she was all happy and wanted to play. I felt guilty and thought to myself; you don’t know what is going to happen to You today. After our walk, we got ready to bring her to the veterinarian. She was all excited. At the veterinarian, she smelled other dogs and could not wait to go in. The receptionist was also a Boxer fan, so she knew how to please a Boxer. After we handed Annie over to the receptionist, we drove home.
Wait and Worry
On our drive home, we were not in the mood to talk much. We, of course, we’re worried and hoping that all goes well. And the fact that Annie would be the end of the line made me sad. Once at home, the house felt empty without Annie; something was missing.
Around noon we called the veterinarians receptionist and asked how Annie was doing. The surgery was over, and Annie was recuperating. Dogs with flat faces\short nose don’t breathe as easily as dogs with a long nose. Because of this, they also get different anesthetic. Annie was four years old, which meant she was fully grown, and her reproductive organs fully developed. So the surgery took a little longer. It also costs three to four times more to operate on a breed like a Boxer compared to a long-nosed dog.
Picking Annie Up from the Veterinarian
When we picked up Annie, she was groggy, walked slow and seemed disoriented. It took us a while to get her in the car. After surgery, Annie was not supposed to run or jump for the next ten days. For that reason, I brought some boxes with me so Annie could walk on them like stairs to get in the car. Annie was too disoriented from the anesthetic and pain medication to understand what I wanted her to do. So we patiently waited and guided there till she made it into the backseat of the car
Annie was standing wobbly on the backseat, head out of the window. Fresh air must have felt good to get the anesthetic out of the system. Getting Annie out of the car was a challenge, once she made it out. She slowly walked to the grass to do her business. Then slowly trotted into her home. On the way, she bumped into door-frames, her crate and other furniture because of the Cone. The Cone was put on her to prevent her from licking where she had the surgery. In front of the Balcony Door, she almost collapsed, with the head facing the open door. The Cone prevented her from getting into a comfortable position. There she lay exhausted.
My wife and I just looked at one another and felt terrible for Annie. We petted her but felt that its best to let her rest. I sat beside her on the couch. To be there if she turned around, and the Cone got in the way. Eventually, Annie wandered into our bedroom and lay down.
The first night was very restless for us all. Annie was getting up and trying to get a more comfortable position, but in the process got stuck between the office chair and bed with her Cone.
She made her way to my side of the bed, but there was not enough room for her to turn around with the Cone.
About 2 Am, my wife got up and pulled Annie’s Bed out of the crate and positioned it in a way so Annie, if positioned correctly, could put her head on the dog beds edge and be comfortable with the Cone on. During the night, we check on Annie a few times to make sure she was Ok.
In the morning, Annie woke up and was hungry. She had been fasting for more than 24 hours. I had prepared some food for her. Then it was placed on the raised platform where she usually has here food and water. On the way to the food, she banged on chairs, doors and everything else. That Cone was annoying. She could not reach the water or food with the Cone on. I asked Annie to stay and slowly unhooked all the connections that held the Cone together. Annie was now able to eat and drink in comfort.
We monitored Annie to see if she would lick the area where she had surgery. She tried it once. I told her, “No licky,” and she understood.
Whenever Annie’s knee is sore, she limps. She will position herself sideways in front of me. Indicating that she needed a massage, after the massage, I would rub Arnica cream on her leg. During those times, I trained her not to lick the cream because if she ate it, she through up because Arnica is poisonous for dogs.
That training was now beneficial. Annie would not lick the area where she had surgery. We monitored her all day. She was excellent, may have needed a reminder, but that was it. Knowing that the itching from healing usually comes a day or two after surgery, we ordered a more comfortable device to prevent her from licking.
Something more practical than a cone
I ordered a round collar that could be blown up and put around Annie’s neck. The inflatable collar is tall and wide enough that a dog with a flat face can’t reach the area of the surgery. Something that would allow her to walk around in the house without bumping into every obstacle. And if she laid down, it acted like a pillow, something more practical.
The next day we received the collar and filled it about 75 % up with air. It fit Annie perfectly; she did not mind it. So we left it on for a while to get her used to it. She fell asleep with the new air-filled collar that also restricted here from reaching the are of the surgery. Once Annie woke up, we removed the collar and just monitored her. She was not licking the wound. Once she tries again, that is when she will use the collar again.
Only short walks
For the next days, Annie is only allowed to have very short walks. That can be a bit hard to do with a Boxer, they get easily excited, and like to jump up. And Jumping or running is not allowed for ten days. Annie is not allowed to go near the people who call her and want to say hi. For the next little while. Other dogs she usually has contact with are off-limits. Every day Annie is getting better at understanding that she can’t go for walks like normal.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of pressure for dog owners to get their pets neutered or spayed. Just trying to find a place where you can bring and intact dog to doggy daycare can be difficult. I hope the latest research will be a driver for a change towards using facts, not hear-say regarding neutering and spaying.
I got Annie spayed with some regrets. But as I don’t envision the situation will be such in the next few years that we could have puppies, I have to live with that decision.
Spaying Annie was not something I did lightly. If I had to do it again, I would chose laparoscopic spaying instead of the traditional surgery. With laparoscopic spaying there is less pain for the dog and healing is much faster.
If you are interested, I also have a post on What it’s like to have an unfixed female dog.
Assisting Decision-Making on Age of Neutering for 35 Breeds of Dogs: Associated Joint Disorders, Cancers, and Urinary Incontinence – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32733924/
Canine laparoscopic ovariectomy using two 3- and 5-mm portal sites: A prospective randomized clinical trial – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432142/