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Our girl is 6 months and we've started the conversation about when to spay her. Our breeder recommended 18 months or at least after one heat cycle. Our vet is doing some research for us to give us his recommendation. He asked us if there was history in her breeding line, and now I'm freaking out because I found a lot! When we picked our breeder, she came recommended from the local GRC and does all the health testing, showing, etc. There's no doubt she's a responsible breeder, but we didn't look in depth at the line before settling on the litter and picking our girl.

In our girl's history, 2 dogs died of lymphoma (her great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother), and 3 died of hemangio (great-grandfather, great-great-grandmother, great-great-grandfather). Is our girl doomed? Did we screw up picking one from her litter? Or is this "typical" since goldens are prone to cancer? Here are the links to her mom and dad's pedigree: Pedigree: BISS AM CH GCH Pendery's Worth the Wait at Infinite CGC THDN MBISS BPSS MBOSS TDI and Pedigree: Brianne's It's Only Make Believe.

Given this, how long would you wait to spay? We were planning on doing it after one heat cycle, but now I'm panicked with the history of cancer and wondering if we should wait until 18 months.
 

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Kate
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Look at longevity.

A quick glance at both pedigrees - looks fine to me.

Sadly if goldens don't die of anything else before old age, they will die of some kind of cancer. It's the young cancer (before age 10) which is more concerning - and even there you weigh that against the rest of the pedigree.

Regarding spaying/neutering - boys don't ever have to be neutered. And most of my dog related friends in "real life" leave their girls intact until middle age (6) at least. You are fine waiting a few months.
 

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I went back and forth about spaying. Spay early (before 12 months) and you get increased Lymphoma and potentially Mass Cell Tumors (mammary tumors is a frequent MST) and increased risk of knee ligament tears (Think ACL) and spay late data shows an increase risk of Hemangiosarcoma. No spay at all and all that is reduced to almost nill.


I've gone back and forth and thought of other procedures like Ovary-Sparring spay and came away with my vet as to not spay at all. Keeping her under wraps while she's in season isn't hard pyometra is the risk if you don't spay. It's not crazy common but must be mindful the first 4-6 weeks after a heat cycle. Talk to your vet about this as well. I'd also bring this up with your breeder too.
 

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I agree with Megora. This is a good breeder, and there are both long-lived dogs and dogs lost young to cancer in a way that represents a normal risk in our beloved breed. There are dogs in your pedigree who lived healthy lives too, and I hope your puppy does. As for spaying, you will feel best I suspect, just following what your breeder asked of you.
 

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Puddles
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I agree, this is a really good pedigree and lots of very long lived dogs. Try and relax and enjoy the current pup... no one can predict the future for any of us, man nor beast :) So make your decision based on the dog you currently have and all the literature suggest waiting until goldens are closer to 2. Getting cancer at 12 is sadly just part of life with goldens (or any dog really), if it wasn't cancer it might be something else. If you are fortunate to have a senior in double digits it's a treasure and this bloodline has quite a few. FWIW panic is never a good foundation to base any decision on :)
 

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Ann
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I agree with Puddles everywhere. There is no real way of knowing and all that worrying does is keep you from truly enjoying your pup. My Bear has a retained testicle so we’ve been told that there’s a risk of testicular cancer, however, I don’t plan to have him neutered before his first birthday. We had our 10 yr old, Lincoln, neutered at 6 months (vet advised us to and I think that was the general thought years ago). However, Lincoln tends to drag his back legs slightly. His nails scratch the floor and you can hear him coming. It hasn’t stopped him from running around or going up and down our stairs but I have often wondered if it would have been different if he was neutered after his first birthday.
 

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I wouldn’t worry. Take a breath and enjoy that baby! Would you honestly give up having 10-12 years with a dog knowing they could possibly develop cancer at that age? And it’s not a certainty they will. I lost mine at almost 11 and not one thing would I change had I known I’d only have her that long. I consider myself lucky to have had her for as long as I did. And that being said I have a puppy from one of the dogs you mention and that didn’t stop me from wanting her. The pedigree checked out and I was happy with it. Mine just went through her first heat and I’ve not decided what I’m doing re: traditional spay/when & OSS. I’ll see my breeder in a month and want to talk to her about it again.
 

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I wouldn’t worry. Take a breath and enjoy that baby! Would you honestly give up having 10-12 years with a dog knowing they could possibly develop cancer at that age? And it’s not a certainty they will. I lost mine at almost 11 and not one thing would I change had I known I’d only have her that long. I consider myself lucky to have had her for as long as I did. And that being said I have a puppy from one of the dogs you mention and that didn’t stop me from wanting her. The pedigree checked out and I was happy with it. Mine just went through her first heat and I’ve not decided what I’m doing re: traditional spay/when & OSS. I’ll see my breeder in a month and want to talk to her about it again.
Just a little info in the ovary sparring spay is that everything is the same other then they can't get pregnant. Still have a heat cycle and the risk for pyometra is still there as it leaves a uterin stump which can still lead to pyometra. So if they get pyo, you'd likely have to do a second true spay. That's why my vet thought it would be better to leave intact and I agreed

So make sure to discuss all the pros and cons with your vet
 

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You can not take the cancer out of a Golden unfortuantly. You want to look to see if there was any super young ones who died of cancer. At least 65% of Golden will die of cancer. You just hope it is in old age.
 

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I guess I am a little partial but I have met both of these breeders and think the world of them. Neither of them would make any decisions lightly. They love their dogs and truly love the breed. Just my opinion but I think it is important to have an on going relationship with your breeder. I think you should contact her and talk to her about your concerns. She knows her dogs and knows their history. Trust her.
 

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My daughter is a vet who is also a Golden breeder- she is very cognizant on all Golden specific issues, more so than your general practitioner would be unless s/he is also a Golden breeder... anyway- she does not find the OSS a reasonably safe method of preventing pregnancy, and it might even be more likely to endanger a pet person's bitch (assuming likely to pyo in the first place) more than leaving intact because an intact bitch comes w the awareness of pyo where a OSS bitch might have a casual 'she's ok because she's spayed' mindset associated. I personally have never seen any studies suggesting keeping the ovaries longer than one heat is an important piece for health- and in fact, those same hormones (which are wonderful to get the benefits at puberty from so the long bones stop growing, etc) might just engender a higher risk for some cancers.
 

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There are no studies that show leaving females intact leads to mammary tumors like some have stated either, only speculation. In fact, some of the info shows leaving them intact really reduces cancers in females such as Hemangiosarcoma and Mass Cell. Spaying late really seems to increase this cancers. Intact and spaying early has no difference in rate of Lymphosarcoma. No these aren't a study but rather statistical analysis suggesting a full blown study should be done but shouldn't be ignored either. I linking 1 site but there are others links suggesting this as well.


https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055937
 

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There are no studies that show leaving females intact leads to mammary tumors like some have stated either, only speculation. In fact, some of the info shows leaving them intact really reduces cancers in females such as Hemangiosarcoma and Mass Cell. Spaying late really seems to increase this cancers. Intact and spaying early has no difference in rate of Lymphosarcoma. No these aren't a study but rather statistical analysis suggesting a full blown study should be done but shouldn't be ignored either. I linking 1 site but there are others links suggesting this as well.


https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055937
Am I reading the chart for males correctly thinking it shows less lymphosarcoma (LSA) and hemangiosarcoma (HSA) for late neutered males than intact and more and mast cell tumor (MCT) for late neutered than intact?
 

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Am I reading the chart for males correctly thinking it shows less lymphosarcoma (LSA) and hemangiosarcoma (HSA) for late neutered males than intact and more and mast cell tumor (MCT) for late neutered than intact?
Yes that is true but I was talking about spaying females. For males, it seems to be pick you poison.
 

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My breeder recommends spaying after two heat cycles, which I am going to follow. Years ago when I stupidly trusted my vet, it was recommended to have females spayed before the first cycle. A protocol that a lot of vets still follow. I felt my dog was too young but I caved in to my vet and had her spayed at five months. One of the issues associated with early spaying is bone cancer. My beautiful Sadie died of bone cancer at nine. I still feel guilty to this day. Goldens are so cancer prone that you have no idea when it will pop up. Just enjoy your dog. Goldens are the best!
 

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We spayed our dog at I think nearly 2 years old. I'm not sure if I regret that decision or now, because she just turned 4 and has been diagnosed with lymphoma. I'm still hoping they are fat deposits but with 5 lumps and a lethargic dog, the news we are going to get this week on the biopsies are most likely between bad, and very bad. Yes, I am wondering if that decision led to this disastrous outcome and I feel guilty, but it's a senseless exercise in making myself even more miserable than I already am. At the time, our vet presented her health issue and said it was necessary (she had some ovary problems). I would never had done it, if it wasn't for that advice.

It's in the gene, that much is sure. And if the breeding line has a mix of early and late cancer, you can't really tell if your GR is going to be dealt the unlucky gene card and get cancer early (under 6 years old). I read somewhere that spaying "ages" the female dog, and that is possibly why there are higher possibilities of them getting cancer because the body thinks it's old. That's one of the hypotheses from a study I came across while reading up on the golden retriever lifetime study. How logical that argument is -- I don't know. Nobody really knows why this breed is so prone to it. On the other hand, I've been a dog owner of other breeds, and cancer is just as prevalent a reason for their demise as old age is. So, I think whenever you decide to spay your dog doesn't really make much difference as the body reacts the same and will react the same whether you do it this year or next. However, knowing that your dog's breeding line shows susceptability to lymphoma, you may want to adjust your dog's diet (low carb/fresh meals) and give her supplements. And, every year, ask your vet to do a very thorough check for lumps and to teach you how to check yourself.
 

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I'm not sure how the lack of ovaries would make the body think it is old.. dogs cycle their life long, do not go through menopause.
But it is an interesting theory.
 
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