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We've come to the agreement with our vet and breeder that it's best for us to spay after the first heat. I've been doing a ton of research, and this seems like the best compromise that's out there to attempt at mitigating the health issues. Our girl (a week shy of 8 months) just started her first heat cycle. Now I'm paranoid that she went into heat "too early" and it's too early to spay after this heat. Does the advice to spay after first heat depend on age? Like, should you only spay after the first heat if they go into heat after X months old?

I'm not sure if that advise is based on the hormones associated with heat or if it's an age thing. I'm just trying to do the best by our pup and don't want to mess things up. As a note, according to our vet, she'd be spayed 6-8 weeks after her first heat ends, which would probably be around 10 months old.
 

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Puddles
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Most breeders want you to wait until they are through growing 18-24 months so be sure and read your contract. Dogs need those hormones to grow properly. So to avoid problems later in life please consider waiting. Early spays will mess with her coat, cause her to have longer legs and contribute to joint issues later in life. But you need to wait about 6 weeks after her heat cycle ends, all the swelling inside needs to be gone before surgery.
She will be in heat about 3 or 4 weeks so keep her safe, no outside (even in your own yard) alone, no walks, playdays or anything else that you cannot be right beside her.
 

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She will be in heat about 3 or 4 weeks so keep her safe, no outside (even in your own yard) alone, no walks, playdays or anything else that you cannot be right beside her.
The rush of hormones will be the same whether the pup is 8 months or 12 months during the first heat. But it is recommended to wait as long as possible (growth plates should be closed by 24 months). However, I know it's not that simple for most owners to manage a bitch in heat. Lana's first heat was when she was 11 months old and she was on house arrest for 22 days. All potty breaks were supervised (and on leash during the week that she was most likely to ovulate). We don't have any male dogs in the house, but if we did, they would have to be separated 24/7 during the duration of the heat. I've been told it doesn't matter if the male is intact or not. While neutered boys couldn't get her pregnant, they could still injury her trying to tie (or successfully tying) or if a fight breaks out.

I believe the heats come every 6 months or so. If you opt to wait until she is closer to 24 months, you might end up enduring about 3 heat cycles.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The rush of hormones will be the same whether the pup is 8 months or 12 months during the first heat. But it is recommended to wait as long as possible (growth plates should be closed by 24 months). However, I know it's not that simple for most owners to manage a bitch in heat. Lana's first heat was when she was 11 months old and she was on house arrest for 22 days. All potty breaks were supervised (and on leash during the week that she was most likely to ovulate). We don't have any male dogs in the house, but if we did, they would have to be separated 24/7 during the duration of the heat. I've been told it doesn't matter if the male is intact or not. While neutered boys couldn't get her pregnant, they could still injury her trying to tie (or successfully tying) or if a fight breaks out.

I believe the heats come every 6 months or so. If you opt to wait until she is closer to 24 months, you might end up enduring about 3 heat cycles.
Thanks for the feedback. We aren't sure about waiting that long because 1. The increase cancer risks with waiting longer to spay and 2. We live in an extremely dog-friendly apartment complex in a very high-traffic dog suburb. We figured waiting one heat cycle was a good compromise. Our breeder doesn't have a spay/neuter date contract, just that we need to spay at some point.
 

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After much research we have decided to wait to spay until close to 2yrs. old. We have always know that Goldens do not really reach full growth potential until that age, but after our research we are fully convinced that the necessary growth hormones are needed until then.
Ruby is 9 months old and in her first heat cycle.
So glad we did our research, instead of the current early spaying trend.
 

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Esquire Golden Retrievers
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We've come to the agreement with our vet and breeder that it's best for us to spay after the first heat. I've been doing a ton of research, and this seems like the best compromise that's out there.
Thanks for the feedback. We aren't sure about waiting that long because 1. The increase cancer risks with waiting longer to spay and 2. We live in an extremely dog-friendly apartment complex in a very high-traffic dog suburb. We figured waiting one heat cycle was a good compromise. Our breeder doesn't have a spay/neuter date contract, just that we need to spay at some point.
I'm not sure why you've asked for advice. It seems you've already made up your mind.

You've gotten good advice about waiting until the closing of growth plates. Waiting until then certainly does not appreciably affect cancer risk, at least according to all of the science I'm aware of, and I do study these things. It might make a difference if you waited until she was 7 years old, or something. Female golden retrievers spayed at an early age have a higher incidence of mast cell tumor. Among the concerns associated with early spaying are increased risks of hip dysplasia and torn cruciate ligaments (which is why people are advising you to wait until the growth plates have closed), possibly decreased life span, some evidence for increased incidence of hypothyroidism, hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma. On the flip side is concern that intact bitches are at risk for mammary cancer. So it's a balancing act.

But again, you've already made your decision, right?
 

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I see her asking for advice, not saying she's definitely made up her mind. She asked:

Now I'm paranoid that she went into heat "too early" and it's too early to spay after this heat. Does the advice to spay after first heat depend on age? Like, should you only spay after the first heat if they go into heat after X months old?

And her comment: We aren't sure about waiting that long
was in response to this comment from Brave
If you opt to wait until she is closer to 24 months, you might end up enduring about 3 heat cycles.

OP, if you wait to spay her until she is at least 12 months it would allow her some of growth plates to close, if you can wait until 18 months even better.
 

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I'm not spaying Maggie unless there becomes an issue with Pyo, which is the only real set in stone issue to worry about for late spay. There is nothing in stone about late spay and increased risk for mammary tumors, only speculation and the exponential risk of mammary tumors are even less a certainty it's more speculation then fact. Based on talks with my vet and the info that is out there, there is much more risk with early spay then there is with late spay. Hemangiosarcoma is an increased risk from spaying late but no real increased incidence risk if left intact.


Goldens can have their first heat anywhere from 6 months to 13 months of age. So your initial question, the answer is yes, if the first heat is after 12 months then it is safer to do it then then after a heat at 6 or 7 months of age, but overall it is best to wait 18-24 months to spay if you decide to spay..
 
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