Spaying border collies

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by stormi, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. stormi Well-Known Member

    I'm interested if anyone spayed their BC/WSD when they were middle-aged and what effects it's had on the dog, e.g. changes in coat texture, etc?

    Breeze is 3 1/2 and I'm seriously wondering whether she should be spayed? However, I dont know of many BC's spayed around this age and wonder how it affects them. I know it's different for each individual, but if there are things that generally change?

    We've had spayed BC's before, but they have either been rescues that have been spayed very young, or bitches that have needed to be spayed when they are old (either due to illness or because it's a rescue centres policy). I havent really noticed big changes in their coat although the rescue that was spayed young was always very fluffy. I'm mostly concerned about whether the spaying will alter the coat texture and make it less waterproof as I work Breeze out in all weathers and I wouldnt want to do something to her that might make her less 'hardy'.

    should have added: Breeze is a medium-textured, rough coated (long haired).

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    Golden females of any age typically develop what are called spay coat when spayed. The same is true for most dogs as I understand it. Spaying doesn't ruin their coat. Coat changes happen due to chemical changes to the hair and but does not alter its growth cycles from the research I found. Sometimes the fur can get a little denser. Our 4yo female got thicker and softer fur when spayed at 6 mos. The puppy, which we wanted to go through one heat for cancer and other disease prevention, is due to be spayed soon. Spaying does prevent possible fatal uterine infections which can happen in older females. Unless you're showing or breeding your dog there is no reason not to spay her just for the prevention of unwanted puppies alone. It can in fact prevent thyroid problems, estrogen related cancers, and some other problems.

    The one side effect I had with two females was a little urinary incontinence which is treatable with a cheap drug called PPA or phehylpropanolamine which is an antihistamine. The drug tightens the urethral sphincter. It was stopped for humans use a few years back b/c of some very small risks of stroke though there doesn't seem to be the same risk for dogs. It's also treatable with estrogen but again with the dangerous possible side effects of hormones. My other female dog has never had an issue with incontinence. Both dogs that did have issues were very very minor and mostly confined to wet fur. No leaking buckets or peeing in the house.

    Weighing the health risks and inconvenience of heat in house dogs like ours esp since I don't want her pregnant ever I'll always spay my dogs. Spaying after first heat does seem to be preventative for several types of cancers in some breeds including hemangiosarcoma. Going through surgery at this young age would also be easier than a later more urgent surgery for uterine infection etc. You still need to monitor for mammary cancer since she had a heat but that is at least more external and anomalies are easier to spot.
  3. stormi Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your reply and for sharing your experiences with goldens.

    With cockers the coat changes are generally quite drastic. It's unlikely you will be able to handstrip a cocker 1-2 years after it has been spayed, which means the coat needs to be cut or clipped.

    The incontenence thing I was aware of and it is something else that concerns me, but as I understand it each bitch is different and some wont be affected. I think the condition would upset Breeze; she is a very clean dog. I'm not sure if PPA is licensed for use in the UK; I must ask my vet...thanks for suggesting it.
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    You're welcome. PPA isn't licensed for use in the US for humans but it is for animals. I think they actually get it from out of country but it's very very cheap so that's nice. It worked very well and controlled the problem almost perfectly for my two. I had one friend with a Dobie that had to use estrogen which worked well when the PPA wasn't quite perfect. I remember reading somewhere that waiting to spay past a heat made the leaky problem less likely but I can't remember where I read it.

    I've never had a dog with a hand strip coat so that would make a difference. After losing two dogs to cancer I'm a very sensitive to avoiding it hence the late spay on this last puppy. I don't know the incidence of cancer in Cockers. It's fairly high in Goldens so I do a lot to give them whatever makes their life longer and healthier. Maybe checking genetic statistics for death in the breed might help make a decision. Most national breed groups compile those stats if you mine through www.akc.org (or the UK equivalent).

    Hopefully you'll have your pup for a very long time. :dogbiggrin:
  5. stormi Well-Known Member

    Thanks snooks.

    I'm really sorry to hear you lost two dogs to cancer; it is understandable how you advocate spaying now.

    I'll do some more reading up on PPA and ask my vet about it too (or other treatments there are for the condition); just in case I do go ahead and spay her and incontinence becomes a problem. From what I have read so far it seems the PPA in Europe is slightly different than in the USA (different isomers), but even though it was agreed the UK version was safe (in small doses) after what happened in the US most drug manufacturers have either reformulated their preparations or withdrawn them.

    Cancer is the most common cause for death (from data submitted to our KC/BVA breed health survey) for Border Collies too: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/download/1519/hsbordercollie.pdf However the prevelance of the condition in the breed ranks at 13 of 21. The survey doesn't specify what types of cancers but from other data I've read mammary cancers are generally more common than some other forms, so it seems like the data collected here must be similar to what has been found in the USA.

    Similar results were found for cockers http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/download/1537/hscockerspaniel.pdf

    When you say your goldies coats got denser after spaying, were they still as waterproof? Thanks for your help.
  6. snooks Experienced Member

    The 4yo's coat was denser after spaying and still just as waterproof if not more. Since Goldens are "water" dogs anyway they have a little of that houndy oil in their coat; though not nearly as much as a lab or chessie. It still takes two shampoos to break that surface oil protection and get into the coat for a lather.

    From what the vets and breeders say about dogs in general, hemangiosarcoma (of any blood bearing tissue) and lymphatic cancer are the two dog biggies that kill. One of mine had hemangio of the brain and another had bone cancer.

    After hearing that the mammary cancer is rarer than both those and only lowered to zero by a before heat spay I opted for one heat spay. Mammary cancer is easier to check for since it tends to be more external; internal cancers usually aren't known until it's advanced and the symptoms are noticeable. So it was a weighted risk decision for me of raising the mammary risk a little and lowering everything else more.

    Hope that helps make your decision. I found it all very interesting since nobody really discussed it with me prior. Mostly vets were all pushing me to spay my tiny puppies because their main reasoning is no more puppies. Mine is longer life for my dog. Plus there's no way she's getting preggers on my watch. :dogbiggrin:
  7. stormi Well-Known Member

    Thanks snooks. If I do get her spayed hopefully it wont change how 'hardy' her coat is.

    Yes, I too read lymphatic cancers have a high incidence. I think the data on mammary cancer varies, like you say, between data collected on incidence (higher) or cause of death (lower).
  8. snooks Experienced Member

    You're welcome. The breed clubs may also be able to put you in touch with a very knowledgeable breeder or be one themselves. Often those emails end up with the officers of the club which often are breeders or know some.
  9. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    We just got Mr. Buddy neutered about 3 weeks ago...it seems his coat is duller? Less shiney? but it's only been 3 weeks = it is probably in my mind...? Besides the anesthesia, he was also given some immunizations, lepto-something, i think, for dogs who are in lakes a lot, come summer time--he will be in lakes a lot.....

    Oddly, he seems to be growing more freckles. :msnrolleyes: Now that is probably in my mind, but I've stared at this dog for 3 months, ha, i do, i know you're not supposed tostare at dogs, so i do it on the sly, but Mr. Buddy is so beautiful to me, my eyes always fall on him and stay there...and suddenly, he has a brand new freckle on his front foot, and his belly has way more freckles..and a freckle on his nose is now 2 or 3 times as big as it was before. I know, i know, this sounds weird. I'm sure i musta just never noticed/remembering it wrong. It's of no concern, i just think it's odd. :dogblink:

    I don't think it's possible to suddenly develop more freckles as an adult dog...?:dognowink:
    .....Okay, hopefully i will not be banned from forum for being weird. :msngiggle:
  10. snooks Experienced Member

    Actually the freckles can be a sign of maturity. An Australian cattle dog gets darker and more spotty/freckly with age. My girl started off white and ended up rather black at 15 yo. They are part Dalmatian (who get spottier with age) hence the freckles are more dots. Many dogs, even Goldens, darken with age starting out really near white. My GSD/BC mix always was adding new freckles and I used to pet her and count them, our favorite leisure activity. Are you nuts nooo. :msngiggle:

    My golden boy developed some black spots on his tongue which I freaked over until I found they were quite common. He was very individual after that I could always tell for sure who he was in a field of Goldens. LOL

    Coats do commonly dull and change after a neuter. Add some wild caught salmon, cod, or flax oil to his diet and watch his coat get glorious. The omega fatty acids 3,6,& 9 are very good for cardio health and coat. His metabolism is changing now and it may take a while but some adjustments to diet may be necessary to keep him in top shape. He'll need less calories perhaps so watch for that weight creeping up. It's hard to get it back off.
  11. stormi Well-Known Member

    Thank you tigerlily :dogsmile:

    Hope everything went well with Buddys 'op.'

    I think maybe the change in his coat is due to his immune response healing him from his operation and also processing the vaccines? I'd be interested to know if his coat goes back to how it was before, or stays 'duller'.

    You know...the freckles that develop on border collies are 'naughty spots'...Buddy's going to become a hooligan! :msngiggle: :msnwink:
  12. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ah, bah ha ha!! Naughty spots!!:msngiggle: Buddy the Hooligan!! LOL!

    Buddy DID heal up just fine, i did keep him kinda low activity for about 4 or 5 days, and gradually slowly resumed full acitivity. First day or two, he didn't move around too too much anyway, poor lil thing!! OH, he was on pain pills, too, for about 3 or 4 days, forgot that part, was Rimidil. Maybe that contributed as well to the duller coat, who knows?.. but Snooks, it is nice to know it is not uncommon for this to happen after neutering, so i'll worry a lil less.

    Snooks i AM going to add those oils!! I've been slapping a teaspoon of cannola oil in King Buddy's breakfast to keep him from shedding, i know you didn't think that cannola oil matters in decreasing shedding, but i go by the floor, not his coat, and it does seem to help. No cannola = more fur on the floor...Don't know why, but it does...but King Buddy doesn't shed much anyway, we are lucky.
    we're broke as heck,
    we live in that town that President Obama just visited cuz we have #1 lousiest economy in the entire country...ELKHART IN!! We are actually in full blown depression here, a grocer advertised a cashier job, 500 people showed up...whole town is broke...so is why i been using cannola so far, instead of pricier oils.

    I been putting an Omega-3 capsule, squirted into his evening meal. But soon i am gonna swap out the cannola oil for one of these better oils, and get him some salmon, too. Canned salmon won't do it? frozen? gotta be fresh? HOw often can Prince Buddy have salmon? LIke 2x or 3x a week?
    (actually, i can't see your post as i type this, seems like you recommend fresh wild caught salmon. wild caught has less mercury, right?)

    I feel so validated that Buddy IS getting new freckles!! I had thought it musta been in my mind!! A sign of maturity? How old do you think a BC is when they start growing new freckles? See, we are always trying determine Buddy's age. I think he is 5, Craig thinks he is three. The vets that have seen him all initially say two, then change it to be between 2 and five..one said between 2 and 7 years old...we'll never know for sure i guess!!
    .just curious about if there is some age that BCs would start developing extra freckles...
    EEEE..i'm derailing the thread again!! sorry!!:msnblushing:

    I will re-post if his coat returns to being real shiney again.:doglaugh: I'll keep ya posted on this!!
  13. stormi Well-Known Member

    Glad Buddy healed up OK. It sounds like it all went smoothly.

    I think the two oils used most in the UK for coat are salmon oil (for condition) and a new(ish) blend called 'Yumega' which I think is flax and starflower (for moulting/growth and condition)? Here's a link for it: (UK site...not sure if it is something you can get in the US?) I've not used it for my dogs, but several people who show their cocker spaniels speak very highly of it, others say they didnt notice much difference, so I guess it depends on the dog and their current diet? Vitamin E helps the uptake but may not need supplementing (depends what else you feed).

    I have, however, given salmon 'oil' to my dogs in the past, especially if their coat gets dull when they age, and have found it to work well. I've usually used tinned salmon or other oily fish as fresh fish or the salmon oil itself is quite pricey here.

    Also, my BC is chicken intolerant and she has a salmon and rice based kibble diet. Her coat is always in great condition, and really shiny. Our old rescue girl also has one meal salmon and her other meal chicken and we have noticed an improvement in her coat compared to when we just fed her a chicken based diet.

    I'm not sure there is a particular age BC's start getting more spots. They aren't born with them (visible) but they show in time. Breeze has had them since I got her at 5 months of age (and, yes, hers definitely are 'naughty spots' :msngiggle: ) I can't say I've noticed her getting more of them, but I'd probably only notice if they started coming through on her face!
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    UPdate, Mr. Buddy's coat did seem to return to mostly his pre-neuter coat. Pretty close. The shine came back eventually, did take a lil while, though. It's not quite exactly as silky as before, not quite...close, though.
    Tx told me to get a "slicker brush" once, and wow, does that thing make his fur shine. I don't use it on his belly, but wow, what a difference a brush makes!!

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