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I have two 7 month old ladies.  My vet has said that for their long term health it is better to have them spayed as I do not intend to breed from them - any comments

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That is something I wouldn't do. View also this topic: http://irishsetters.ning.com/forum/topics/neutering-ruins-the-coat
I had a setter dog many years ago and didnt get him neutered - lived 13 years without any serious illness until old age caught up. 
No, I'd never spay unless necessary. luckly for me my own vets has always owned irish and now owns and IRW and never once has he asked me about spaying, also any other vet that I have had to see has never said that I should because of cancer etc.

Alan,

  Our Molly is roughly 2 1/2 years old....she is a rescue dog so we did not have a choice in whether to spay or not as it was already done ( and one of the conditions of adopting from most rescue groups here in USA).  I do believe I would have had her spayed anyway due to fact I do not show or breed Irish Setters....just love them as companions and members of our family. Molly was spayed prior to her first heat and our vet told us that since Molly is simply a pet it is a good thing due to the protection it offers against cancer of the breast and also female problems.  We have had no issues with dribbling or leakage of urine here and our vet told us if that should occur it is treatable with a pill ( not sure of name as so far has been a non issue here) . If you will look at her pictures you can see what her coat looks like....wee bit fuzzy on lower legs but have not noticed any other coat issues.  The picture of her looking at the snow was after she was running in and out in sleet so will give you an idea what she looks like when humidity is high.  I do bathe her with a good shampoo and always use a conditioner on her at the end and about twice a year she goes to the spa for her beauty touchups !  ( and for nail trims as needed).  I don't know if spaying of females is a bigger issue other places besides the USA and perhaps it depends on what you want from your IS.  In a perfect world we would never lose a dog to cancer or any other disease and they would grow old at the same rate as we do.....having lost a male to cancer years ago that is one reason I would have most definitely spayed Molly ...just a little extra protection for her .  Just wanted to offer you a look at our Molly's pictures as it might help you in making your decisions.

Sherry

Truth be told there is no right or wrong answer to this question although people tend to have strong beliefs one way or the other.  In the States you are viewed as almost a negligent owner if you don’t spay or neuter your dog. The vets push for spaying and I am always amazed at the reasons that I have been given about why it is essential for the dog’s health to do it.  Total nonsense for the most part. As a researcher, my immediate response is "show me the research" so far only my own vet (and why she is our vet) has ever been able to give me the research based pro's and con's. She has never recommended spaying although she has recommended neutering our dogs. The best, easy to read, unbiased review of the research I have found (and I suspect it is maybe the one Tracy is referring to) can be found here:

 

http://www.naiaonline.org/pdfs/longtermhealtheffectsofspayneuterind...

 

From personal experience, I have had IS and IRWS bitches all my life and my mother bred and raised them for 30 years. Some of our bitches were spayed when they came to us (from rescue) but the rest weren't. I can't say that there was much differences in the quality of the coat based on whether they were spayed or not BUT a couple did have thyroid problems that resulted in wispy patches. 

 

So my bottom line is that you need to do what you think is best for you and your dogs. It hasn’t been a difficult choice for me primarily because we have a large yard and a 6 foot high fence and all the dogs in our neighborhood are neutered. We never minded a few drops on the floor now and then. Ironically, Gracie was recently diagnosed with Pyometra (no bacterial infection) and was therefore spayed. She is fine now and back to her normal goofy self. Truth be told, now that the decision was taken away from us, I am glad that we won’t be restricting Gracie’s freedom to run in the woods, fields and dog park for a month at a time anymore.

 

Best of Luck, it isn't an easy decision.

Only you can make this decision.  It is not a easy one.  I have spayed and neutered my dogs when they are over two,  the only male I neutered at 11 months -Scout I lost at 2 1/2 to Lupus.  My girls all lived past 13 years.  For myself I will only spay and neuter for health reasons since loosing Scout. 
Hi Alan. I have had both dogs and bitches since the early 70's. Have never had a dog castrated or a bitch spayed. Have never had either mammary tumours or Pyometra in any of my bitches whether bred from or not. Have known a great number of pet bitches who have never been spayed and not developed either. We have had discussions on this before so you will know about the coat debate. If the vet nicks the bladder during the procedure there will be a high risk of incontinence for the rest of your bitch's life. Many pet owners neuter their bitches because they don't want the inconvenience of seasons so that is a lifestyle choice. Rescue dogs are neutered to obviate the risk of more unwanted puppies. I do think vets exaggerate, probably because they are also concerned about the problem of too many dogs but they know putting that argument forward doesn't work as well.
Your choice.

I have in the past 40 years had one with Pyometra and one with mammary Tumours, it is just ''the luck of the draw'' neither had been spayed, but I would never have any of mine spayed just because the vet advises it...there is a lot more that can go wrong if they are spayed, and yes it is true that their coats will change..(I had a puppy come to visit the other day, took one look at him and knew that he had been castrated.) and again with the boys there is a lot more that can go wrong when they are castrated, and yes it will stop Testicular Cancer, but, that you can keep a check on, just as you can keep an eye on your bitch for any signs of Pyometra...So think very very hard, I know that if it were me, I wouldn't do it...

Of cause if your dogs life depends on spaying or castrating then yes there is no contest, go ahead and do it..you must do it in those circomstanses...but do think long and hard about doing it just in case....there are many many dogs and bitches out there that haven't been spayed or castrated living perfectly happy healthy lives...and I agree with Aleks change your vet....

first IS setter was desexed quite well into her life (I can't remember). Coat an issue but no other problems, lived to 15 years. Last IS desexed before 1st season and had coat problems which were managable but the incontinance was hard to handle. I had medication from the vet which was very expensive and did not work well. She died at 9 years with a brain tumur. Molly who we have now is 15 months. She has had 1 season and I am not sure what to do either about having her desexed. We are still in the thinking stages. It is a hard decision and at the moment prepared to have her in her regular kennels when in season. That was what we did last time. Only want is best for Molly as she is such a good IS.
This is a subject hashed over many times here and one I tackled as well.  I neutered at 7 months.  I know it angered my breeder and she told me I had "ruined" my pup.  She was very upset with me.  I will admit that the data seems to point to it being healthier to not do it.  I know it avoids some health issues but really it seems to me now that the data does seem to show that those hormones we stop are so important for the immune system.  I am not sure about all breeds but I know that it Golden Retrievers here in the states have more bone cancers than in other countries where leaving them intact is the norm.  Having lost our first Irish boy to prostate cancer at the age of 6, I neutered from then on before a year.  Now in hind site, I should of at least waited till Cash was over a year old and done growing.  Not that I see that much evidence of it hindering his growth, he is a big solid strong boned dog.  He doesn't appear overly leggy to me at all but rather balanced and well gorgeous actually.  His coat while it was a mess, and Sue and Tracy you know we have discussed my wooly mammoth boy- he is started to grow this amazing feathering and thick hair.  The crazy all over hair is settling down and becoming quite nice.  I think it is a crap shoot.  My last one neutered had super nice shine to his coat, but not much of it.  He was neutered at 6 months.  But he was way to long legged and skinny.  The only setters I see around here are english and gordons and they are all fixed and their have nice coats.....so I am not sure what to tell you.  If your dogs aren't around other dogs then I would leave them alone.  If you need to run them in a crowded place and are around other dogs then it might be best to fix them.
excellent reply. I am in much the same situation as Alan. I am leaving it for now and I don't think I could go through the incontinence issue again.
i am going to ask Molly's breeder thanks   

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