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I have gotten different advice from different vets on when to spay my pup. My puppy has a very small vulva. It is also high set, which I have been told means that it stays too damp. This has caused issues with vaginitis and UTIs. As a young pup, she went through 3 courses of antibiotics without her vaginitis clearing up. All vets agree that her vulva is very small and that contributes to these issues. What they don't agree on is whether spaying before or after first heat makes a difference. My vet in Michigan strongly advised that I wait to spay her until her first cycle. He said if I spayed her before she came into heat she is likely to have UTI's and vaginitis throughout her life because of her structure. I also spoke to another vet at the same practice who agreed and said he had studied with the person who wrote the textbook for reproductive issues that many vet schools use. He said that she has been delaying spay for dogs like mine for many, many years with excellent results. Both these vets say that when a dog goes through heat, the vulva swells and while much of the swelling goes away after the cycle, it never goes back to as small as it was. So we decided to wait to spay her until she comes into heat once. Then I moved to Massachusetts. I have spoken to two vets here at two different practices and neither of them have ever heard of delaying spay to deal with small vulva/UTI/vaginits. They both advised that I spay her right away. One said that the chance for breast cancer goes to 1 in 4 for a dog who has gone through one cycle. My first vet in Michigan did discuss that the risk of breast cancer increases with each heat cycle, but I 'm pretty sure he said it was more like 1 in 50 or 1 in 20 after one heat cycle. He definitely didn't say 1 in 4.

So, I have spoken to 4 vets, 2 who say I should spay her ASAP (she is 9 months old now) and 2 who say I should wait. :confused: I really want to do what is best for my dog. I will be extremely careful and I am not worried about her getting pregnant. Part of me wonders if the reason the vets here wanted me to spay right away is that they don't know me and they know accidental pregnancies happen all the time, while my vet in Michigan knows I will be extremely careful. If it is not going to make any difference in her chances of UTIs and vaginitis, I would rather not have to deal with a heat cycle, but I absolutely am committed to doing it if the chances are at least somewhat likely that it will help.

Have you heard of there being a relationship between UTIs and vaginitis and whether a dog has gone through heat? Does a heat cycle change the size of the vulva? How high are the chances of breast cancer in dogs who have gone through one heat cycle?

Sorry to write so much.
 

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I would wait, I went through the same problems with my dog Maddie who has a very "folded" vulva, but unfortunately she already had been spayed because the vet I brought her to at that time (in MA) said there was nothing wrong with spaying her even though she had so many UTI's.

Since she was already spayed, it was advised that she would need a surgery to fix her vulva that could have been prevented if she had gone through one heat cycle. However, I did not have the money (it was expensive I think like $1500) at the time and so I put her on a cranberry dogzymes supplement and amazingly she has not had a UTI in a really long time. I don't really know why, maybe it's the cranberry or maybe her immune system needed to catch up as she matured - but I still wish the vet hadn't said it was fine to spay her.

If you are looking for another opinion I would go to Tufts Vet Hospital in Grafton, MA but I think that the vet in MI who advised you to wait is correct.

I have gotten different advice from different vets on when to spay my pup. My puppy has a very small vulva. It is also high set, which I have been told means that it stays too damp. This has caused issues with vaginitis and UTIs. As a young pup, she went through 3 courses of antibiotics without her vaginitis clearing up. All vets agree that her vulva is very small and that contributes to these issues. What they don't agree on is whether spaying before or after first heat makes a difference. My vet in Michigan strongly advised that I wait to spay her until her first cycle. He said if I spayed her before she came into heat she is likely to have UTI's and vaginitis throughout her life because of her structure. I also spoke to another vet at the same practice who agreed and said he had studied with the person who wrote the textbook for reproductive issues that many vet schools use. He said that she has been delaying spay for dogs like mine for many, many years with excellent results. Both these vets say that when a dog goes through heat, the vulva swells and while much of the swelling goes away after the cycle, it never goes back to as small as it was. So we decided to wait to spay her until she comes into heat once. Then I moved to Massachusetts. I have spoken to two vets here at two different practices and neither of them have ever heard of delaying spay to deal with small vulva/UTI/vaginits. They both advised that I spay her right away. One said that the chance for breast cancer goes to 1 in 4 for a dog who has gone through one cycle. My first vet in Michigan did discuss that the risk of breast cancer increases with each heat cycle, but I 'm pretty sure he said it was more like 1 in 50 or 1 in 20 after one heat cycle. He definitely didn't say 1 in 4.

So, I have spoken to 4 vets, 2 who say I should spay her ASAP (she is 9 months old now) and 2 who say I should wait. :confused: I really want to do what is best for my dog. I will be extremely careful and I am not worried about her getting pregnant. Part of me wonders if the reason the vets here wanted me to spay right away is that they don't know me and they know accidental pregnancies happen all the time, while my vet in Michigan knows I will be extremely careful. If it is not going to make any difference in her chances of UTIs and vaginitis, I would rather not have to deal with a heat cycle, but I absolutely am committed to doing it if the chances are at least somewhat likely that it will help.

Have you heard of there being a relationship between UTIs and vaginitis and whether a dog has gone through heat? Does a heat cycle change the size of the vulva? How high are the chances of breast cancer in dogs who have gone through one heat cycle?

Sorry to write so much.
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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I would take the advice of the MI Vets and wait until after she is done with her first heat cycle.
 

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What are the variables that make it differ by case?
All dogs are individual, as with humans. What works for one may not work for another. As your vets indicted with Maya, having a small vulva has contributed to the recurrig infections, whereas a dog who did not have any physical anamoly might have been treated once with antbiotics and never had a problem again. Environment can be a contributing factor, even. The cleanliness of the potty area, or crate, etc. (ie UTI's are pretty common in puppy mill type situations...) Water intake - puppies who have their water restricted can have UTI problems.
It is important that if a puppy, (more commonly females although males can have UTI's) is uriniating small amounts frequently, appears to be excessively thirsty, has very strong smelling urine or even blood in it, they should be seen by a vet immediately. It is sometimes difficult to determine whether frequent urination is simply a housebreaking issue or the beginning of a UTI, so better safe than sorry...
 

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I agree-I would take the advice of the Michigan vets and wait until after her first heat. The increase in the chance of breast cancer is minimal after 1 season, but increases with each season thereafter.
 
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