Sunday, December 30, 2012

Spaying your Mastiff

Just this past week, another Mastiff friend sadly reported losing her Mastiff female to complications from a spay.  Post-op bleeding and hemorrhage is a huge risk we take when we spay these giant breed females.  I myself lost a female to this same post-op complication.

Since anesthesia is also a risk, most of the Mastiff breeders and owners I know are also reluctant to place their dogs under any additional anesthesia procedures, so we do it with great care and much consideration.  Some of us will risk doing a spay with a c-section just to prevent us from having to put our girl under an additional time.

During a recent conversation with a reproductive Vet, I was presented with a very interesting alternative to the complete spay (removal of the Ovaries, Fallopian tubes and Uterus)--just the removal of the ovaries.  The ovaries produce the hormone of the heat cycle, the estrogen that causes pyrometera and vaginal hyperplasia. So, if we remove the ovaries, we remove the hormone source--we stop these hormonal processes--the main reason we spay a female!! 

Please note-- This is considered an experiential procedure at present--but it makes perfectly good common sense to me!!  Within the next year, I will be doing this alternative procedure to the traditional spay with at least three of my girls. I plan on following up with an evaluation of long-term heath benefits, advantages, and disadvantages.

This procedure could also be done at the same time as a c-section (just remove the ovaries) reducing the possibility of post-op bleeding and hemorrhage. A bitch can still nurse her puppies and her uterus will contract and reduce in size since Oxytocin is produced by the posterior pituitary gland.  Your girl can have the benefits of a "spay" at the same time as her c-section with a lessor risk of post-op bleeding.

By not cutting all those large blood vessels to remove the uterus (arteries and veins) and other tissues, we eliminate those sites as potential post-op bleeding sources with  less surgical invasion and potentially quicker healing. Instead of an open incision,  a laporscoptic Bilateral oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) instead of the traditional spay could be done. Anesthesia time would be less, surgical trauma will be less, healing time would be shorter--and IMO, your girl would do better.

I suggest owners discuss this adaption to the traditional spay with your vet.  Get their recommendations to see if it would be a viable choice for you and your dog.   It could save your girl.

Catie Arney  KioKee Mastiffs, Hickory, NC