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I have a wonderful Irish Setter, Rosie, she is just over a year old. I am wondering whether to get her spaying to avoid health problems but really don't won't to loose her perfect coat.


If anyone has any advice that would be great.

Also Before and After pictures of spayed Irish Setters would be great!


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I can only agree with you Eva. Have a look through the forum, Charlotte, I think there are several discussions already in that direction - and welcome on ES! I hope you like it here and find your answers and many ES friends.

Thanks a lot Tracy, that really helped :) But  Eva, As i am training to be a Veterinary Nurse i have learnt everything in this area and cant justify not spaying her just for the reason of her coat changing gradually. With Pyometra, Cancer, False Pregnancy's at the back of my mind. But i guess thats just me. I totally understand your point of veiw and respect it and thank you for letting me know :) i appreciate it :) x

Charlotte, read this please!

Hi Charlotte,

I can only tell you my personal experience. As a vet student, I have pretty much the same info you do, and so I always advise people to spay/neuter. I inicially wanted to spay Pitanga, then the oportunity to have a litter came up, and so we did! 

The one thing is, she has cronic ear infections, and in every heat they became worse and she had to go under a course of Antibiotics every single heat. I decided to spay her when she had to have ear surgery because I have the same things in my mind! I don't regret spaying her, because her health did improve, but I must warn you... the coat change is worse than you can imagine!! I can make Pitanga look just like before she was spayed, but instead of wasting five minutes every week to make her look amazing, I have to spend at least 15 minutes daily to keep her coat decent.

If I have the chance to go back, I'd do the same, but be prepared for a lot of extra work with her coat!


I must say that is a very intelligent detail, that had never crossed my mind!!!! If I decide to spay another IS bitch, I'll be sure to check Thyroid first! 

Thank you for posting the link once more, it sliped me before!

Many years ago I had to have my girl spayed she had pyometra and of course it was christmas day...cost a fourtune.....she had a very long coat and she ended up looking like fozzy bear but went on to live until she was almost 14yrs.....More recent we got a new playmate for Riley our young Irish. Cassie is a labradoodle bitch and as I did not want any mis haps after a lot of research she had keyhole surgery at 6 months they just remove to overies (which you prob know) this cuts the chances of pyometra as its the hormones that cause it...It was amazing stuff she was running around straight after surgery and it was hard to stop her she did not appear to have any pain and no stiches to be removed just two tiny holes and not once did I see her licking....would I spay an irish bitch..if I thought it the right thing yes I would but again it would be keyhole....am glad Riley is a male and will stay intact unless his health is at risk..

I'm sorry Charlotte the veterinary profession make me hopping mad. A lot of woman get breast cancer (including me) but we don't all go & get our breasts removed just in case!!  The same with Ovarian cysts etc, the problem is usually dealt with if it occurs.

I have owned & bred Irish Setters for 40 years now, usually having at least 2 bitches at a time (4 at present) never had a pyometra or mammary tumours that needed removal. I had a Gordon Setter spayed once because she was producing copious amounts of urine but regret having it done as the problem got far worse with her not being able to control herself at all & needing to be put to sleep.

my husband also had an Irish spayed as the vet thought she may be developing Pyometra, most likely a slight infection which could of been treated with antibiotics, her coat was horrid afterwards but worse was she developed a leaky bladder & always smelted of wee.

So i am with Eva, no no no unless needed. It's a major operation in the bitch & any surgery can result in death, I've known it happen to a setter.  But if needed, Incurin  has been known to help prevent the fluffy coat & is suppose to help with the problem of leaky bladder but from the number of bitches we have in our boarding kennels it is of little use.

I agree with Jane.  I too have owned and bred Irish Setters for 40 years and before that, when I was a child, we had various breeds and crossbreeds and have never had a problem.  Of course there will be those that have had the opposite experience and that is unfortunate.

Most people who have pets spay there bitches not for health reasons but for convenience because they don't want to be saddled with the hastle of twice yearly seasons. Vets play on that by scaring owners into believing if they don't neuter they will have massive health issues in the future.  Bread and butter for them.  When I had my puppies inoculated I had a different vet who asked me when I would be booking them in for castration.  So the pressure is there from the very beginning.  My own vet wouldn't have dared. 

Jennie freely admits that she had Cassie spayed because she didn't want any mishaps and that is a responsible attitude when you have both sexes and do not want to breed.  Why interfere with nature and put a compleately healthy bitch through the trauma of "preventative" surgery, with all the additional side effects when there is no need.  Enjoy your girl Charlotte, keep her intact and with a glorious coat unless there is a problem with her seasons or you have any concerns and don't let your vet pressure you.

By the way, you haven't said whether Rosie has had a season yet.  She might be a bitch who has only yearly seasons.

But Tracy do you not think that in the wild nature itself interferes by only allowing the alpha bitch to mate and have a litter.  The other bitches in the pack have to wait their turn.

I can only speak from my experience and I have had bitches who have never had a litter and have not had Pyometra nor mammary tumours.  Maybe it runs in lines as breast cancer runs in families.  Bitches who have had litters could still be at risk.

As my bitches have got older I have put them onto Sepia 200c for the duration of their season and a few weeks after.  Sepia is purported to be the homeopathic way to treat a Pyo.  As I said I have never had it so whether the treatment works or whether I have just been lucky I couldn't, in all fairness, tell you.

O Tracy....the voice of reason!  Of course our experiences do tend to colour the decisions we make and I am no different to anyone else.  As you say and in a balanced debate, people will weigh up the pros and cons and make the best judgement for themselves.  Scientific evidence is the best criteria, provided it is not based on a limited number of cases.

A friend of mine had a bitch who she mated and who had the same experience as you did.  She was pregnant but the infection killed all the pups and the combination of dead puppies and Pyo nearly killed her.  She did manage to save her, thank god.

This bitch always suffered from bad seasons and phantom pregnancies and her vet advised my friend to mate her in the hope that it would sort this out.  In most cases it should have worked but in this instance, unfortunately, it made it worse.  I can see how it would have scared you to death.

I agree with you Tracy, hypthyroidism is a problem in intact and neutered animals and can live quite happily with a special diet or medication. Where as with Pyo or Cancer its either death or surgery anyway. I couldn't live with knowing i could of prevented it and i'd hate her brillant personality being comprimised by a false pregnancy. With all this information good and bad, i think i'm swaying towards spaying her.

She has had her first season which was no problem, just she got nervous around curious males and jumped in our arms :) but other than that a happy girl. I have a feeling she is coming into her secound now as she is showing the same signs as before.

I'm think i'll spay her after this season as she has had a chance to grow fully and mature but at the age where the risks are still quite low.

Thank you so much for all your help everyone.

When she does get spayed it will be in the vets i work at to make sure all goes well and to be with my baby on recovery :) i trust my vets i use, however i'd like to be with her. The other thing is, she will be having pre GA bloods to check her health against anaesthetic.

I'd still love any more info anyone else has to offer :)

Thanks again!!




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