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Hi There Setter lovers


I was after any information that ytou can help me with.


I have an entire 7 year old entire Red called Kerry. As she is getting older I want to ensure that I can ensure her life as much as it is possible. I realise that spaying her can reduce the risk of disease and the big C as she gets older. However, I have an 8 year old English called Trixie who we spayed last year and her coat has gone haywire!

I have heard that if you just remove one overy it will help maintain the coat and help with hr all round health as I am led to believe that once spayed other issues normally occur.

I want the best for her, but I thought best to seek any advice other experienced setter owners can give.

Can anyone offer me advice?Wakefield-20110923-00096.jpg

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Hi Sean,

This is a topic that has been discussed a lot of times before, and if you search the older discussions I'm sure you'll find most of the answers you look for.

However, I personally would not remove just one ovary. Mamary cancer in bitches is hormone related and the hormones that cause it are produced by ovarian tissue, therefore, if you remove just one ovary, the way I see it, you'll be doing an unnecessary surgery to your girl, because the hormones will still be there, and nothing will change really. Your girl will have the exact same risck for cancer, piometra and all the other hormone related problems.

The way I see it, either you spay her, or you leave her intact, you just need to balance the pros and cons for your girl, for each situation, and decide what is best to her. Every case is a case:

I have decided to spay two of my girls for health reasons - one had an ovarian problem that was afecting her coat and weight, so the solution was spaying her - in this case, her coat was better and she lost weight.

My other girl was spayed because of ear infections!!!! Every time she was on heat, she had terrible ear infections that meant two or three months of antibiotics and ear treatment. It was very painfull and uncorfortable for her, and so much AB will only harm anyone's health. Ever since she was spayed I have been able to manage the ear infections a lot better. Her coat did change, but no other changes

My third bitch will not be spayed unless there is a health reason and I don't intend to do it to prevent old age issues.

My personal view is if they aint broke then don't fix them.  I had an older bitch spayed years ago, and she went downhill from that time onwards.  Partial hysterectomies are now being recommended by some vets, but all the hormonal changes which come with seasons remain, the only difference is that she can't become pregnant, so why bother putting her through all that? 

Spaying at this age wont prevent mammary tumors, indeed a friend of mine has a spayed springer who has had a mammary strip on both sides. I also find the big C reasons for having a dog neutered/spayed quite invalid.  To me it is rather like saying to a woman "you need a mastectomy to prevent breast cancer in future". There have been quite a few scientific papers put together over the past few years blaming spaying/neutering for all kind of health issues.  Most of the papers I have read so far can be pulled to pieces due to the way the studies were conducted.  However my personal experience is that spaying can affect many things (coats included), due to the fact that the entire metabolism changes and slows.... unless of course you do go for the option of a partial hysterectomy.

Hi Fran


To be honest that is exactly what i'm thinking, however she is quite a moody girl and I was wondering if this may help her moods. Its my other half who is pushing.


She suffers from seperation anxiety when away from me for to long and self harms - lick granuloma so its like a form of depression. Would removing thehormonal balance help that?


Also, Theresa and Sue, may thanks for your advice.

If she is moody and suffers from separation anxiety, perhaps a meeting with a behaviour specialist would be more appropriate than  a vet.

Well done Cornelia :-) but then again you took my advice :-D Thanks for putting the Hemopet details up too, as Jean Dodds results are far more accurate, but unfortunately, a lot of vets in the UK dismiss them, because of their own training on this subject is in many cases inadequate.  That's the worry over here, and many people have ended up fighting their vets, moving elsewhere, or unfortunately for the dog concerned - believing their own vets rather than what Jean Dodds results are saying.  The thing with Jean is that she has compiled her own breed averages over the years.  Her results are not based upon averages taken from 35 (or thereabouts) laboratory Beagles.

Hi Sean, as a qualified behaviour special (but not practicing much due to my health issues), I would say any case of separation anx/depression combiined with lick grans,. I would want to see some blood test results before I even went to see the dog concerned.  I would be honing in on thyroid in particular (particularly in IS ! ) I would want to see T4 results being much higher than very low side of normal range, and same with T3 results.  If the results were very low normal, I would be wanting the vet to bring the levels up before I started doing any behaviour modification, otherwise it would be a waste of my time, and a waste of the clients hard earned, for the simple reason the hormone is required to help with feelings of anxiety and depression.  If  the thyroid is on the low normal side, then no, spaying will not help at all. In fact within approx 3 months, you could find she crashes further, which is precisely what happened to my old girl years ago, whose behaviour eventually resulted in me studying the subject of behaviour (including physiological changes) to a much greater depth. Hope this helps you make a decision.  If you want to get your girls blood tested, including a thyroid assay and want to run the results past me, please feel free to do so.

I agree Fran..."if they ain't broke don't fix them".   I had a couple of my girls spayed and it didn't help them at all!   Both became incontinent and their beautiful coats changed to woolly, uncontrolable messes....never again will I have any of my girls spayed unless their life depended on it.

Coat Kings are wonderful tools for getting rid of the fluff Torie, but my goodness you have to work to keep on top of it.

Ladies (esp Fran)


I can't thank you enough for the advice you have given me. A lot to consider to be sure, Everyone please do continue to offer any advice as much more consideration will be taken before anything will be decided. Perso nally, I think some blood tests like fran said will be the way to go and once I have them, I will take you up on that offer Fran. (by the way my best friends name is Fran and she also gives great advice!)


Thank you one and all!


I have a 1 1/2 Irish setter and with a lot of deliberation, my family has decided to get her fully spayed in August.

My personal opinion is to neuter your animals when mature but in bitches before around 2 years of age and after their first season if your not planning on breeding them. With all dogs they need to mature their bodies before being neutered as this helps to minimise the risk of incontinence and other problems but just leaving your bitch longer than two boosts up the risk of pyometra (puss in the uterus), False pregnancy and mammary tumours which could turn into secondary tumours.

But of course a lot of people say spaying can effect their coat but in my experience the animal is old so would have coat problems anyway and a good brush could sort it out. But a little coat change is the least of my worries with my own dog.

But its totally up to you and as she is already 7 there isn't as much as a hurry and i see entire bitches come in to my vets and don't have any problems.

Also its not just the reproductive system that produce sex hormones so even after spaying the hormones will still help her coat :)

And your dog is very beautiful


Sorry Charlotte...but I can't agree with your comments.

My girls were well over two and both became incontinent and I know of others who have also had the same problem.

Both turned into woolly mammoths and I had to cut chunks of sprouting ginger hair off because no brush went through it.

Setters can have wonderful coats right up until they die of old age and most never have coat problems until they are spayed.

A good brush will not sort it out and it will take more than a few hormones to help her coat, believe me.

My spayed girls lived to the same age as my unspeyed girls, give or take a few months.








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