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I spayed my 5 year old female setter about a year ago.  Since then the coat on her back has grown thick, long, fluffy and orange.  Really makes her look dumpy.  Also she has only 1/2 the energy of her former self.  Any thoughts ?  She was so pretty and lively before.

Thanks Brenda 

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This is a very common result for Setters unfortunately.

Before my dog Ruby was spayed, she had a beautiful, glossy coat. When she was spayed I noticed her coat became dull and kind of dry. Evening primrose capsules and fish oil capsules are good for the coat and I've noticed have helped to restore Ruby's colour. There is also several grooming products on the market which help to restore shine and colour... If you would of desexed her at any early age, it would be worse. I had my Setter desexed when her coat was fully mature she was about 3 and half years old. Also, there is a product called 'Mars Coat King' it is excellent in removing dry coat, works wonders!

Coat King is fantastic - keeps my Rubys coat in check. She is not the girl she was coat wise but a mammary tumour dictated that spaying was the only option. I would not have had her spayed her otherwise.

I think this must be common because of the three bitches I have had spayed the same think has happened.Ellie reminds me of a dandelion clock! We keep her coat clipped now and she looks better and feels better too.Ellie is not in the best of health so she is less energetic anyway but the other two were stilll quite lively but not as they were before spaying.


I did notice the coat change in Pitanga as well. She also gained a bit of weight, but it was OK, since she was too thin anyway - she finally looks like a properly fed dog! As for her energy, she did not change at all!

I tried fish oils and olive oil for her coat and it worked: she was still a bit orange, but the coat was not so fluffy anymore!

I recently changed my girls food brand, and the new brand is working wonders for their coats: Romã (not spayed) is darker, a lot more shiny and loosing much less fur! Pitanga is getting her old coat back - she is back to being red, the fluffy bits are almost gone and she does not look so different for her daughter anymore!

It's a lamb dry food, by the way!

Which dry food was this please.

Thank you so much for your replies.  I will try the fish oil and also see if I can find the grooming products.  If I had know then I don't think I would of spayed her as her heats were not of much problem but I had read of health problems with not spaying. Well I definitely won't do it with my new pup.

I had no choice with mine as they all had pyometra.I think I was unlucky!

Is that risk more so in Irish Setters or just females in general?  And how common is this coat change in the Irish? 

The risk is for females in general, and it is trully a big risk, specially if they have a closed pyometra! On an open pyometra, at least you'll have a nasty looking fluid/paste running down from the bitche's vagina, giving you a clue there is something very wrong - but it is still bad!

I only have two irirsh bitches, and only one is spayed, and her coat did change! Can't tell you if I was unlucky or if it is more common, but this was the first breed I had were the coat is a concern when spaying the bitch! More expereinced setter owners will give you a better answer concerning coat changes!

Brenda, We have had many a heated debate on this topic. 

May I say that in nearly 40 years I have never had a pyo or breast/testicular cancer in any of my Irish Setters and not all my bitches have had litters.  Out of all the dogs I have bred who have gone on to pet homes only around 5% have developed any of the conditions.  I have owned dogs all my life, both pedigree and crossbred and have never had pyometra.  Others, like Howard, have been unlucky.  I would say generally that if a bitch has problems with her seasons, gets infections, they last longer than usual then there is a good chance she could develop a pyometra in later life and in this instance every season must be carefully monitored.  On the whole healthy bitches can go through life without any problems. 

People who do not breed generally neuter for convenience.  Vets encourage this and feed on the fear of pyometra etc in later life if they don't.  I have had the sxperience many a time.

With respect to coat change after neutering........yes!  A castrated dog or spayed bitch will not have the same quality or condition of coat.  This varies from slightly dull to full blown orange and linty.  The dog can look like a fur ball.  It is much harder to maintain.  Others have already posted about oils in the diet, stripping, plucking etc.  No vet will tell you about the hormonal and coat changes after neutering nor will they tell you about the increased risk of incontinence.

I personally do not believe in interfering with nature.  We don't do it in humans why should we do it in dogs.  However if there is a an underlying health problem then you must neuter.  The life of the dog is more important than a glossy coat. 

I agree that unless there is some kind of risk with your dog, there is no reason to spay your bitch, or neuter a dog.

I can also tell you that I have one neuterd male and two spayed females, and before the op, all the risks linked to it were very clearly explained to me  - coat changes, weight issues, incontinence, infection, mood changes and so on! At least here, vets don't dare not to explain all the risks to their clients. Of course they also put in a lot of questionable benefits, with that I agree!

When it comes to coat changes, I'm not experienced, but I believe setters have it worse, specially the irish, because the color change becomes very obvious. You can only notice the change in Pitanga, my other two are black and white and I can't honestly tell the diference!

Hi we had our baby spayed in May this year she also is 5 years old and we have found exactly the same problems she used to be so lively and now doesn't even seem to enjoy her walks as much as she used to we also would be happy to find out what others have to say, by the way we never chose to have Tiffany spayed it was our vet here in France who decided it was the best course of action following a womb infection.

Love & Best wishes to all





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