To spay or not to spay... ANESTHESIA is the question.
While I'm on the topic of health here lately, I wanted to ask about anesthesia! My tiny 3lb chinese crested had bad bad parvo when I got her and EXTREME allergy complications from the time I adopted her (11wks) until she was about 10 months old. She's only been in decent health for about 4 months now, and she's about 14 months old. The LAST thing I wanted to do was put her under after the struggles she went through to survive.
She's in her SECOND heat now and I have never seen so much blood from such a tiny creature that wasn't dying!! She wears a diaper (homemade due to her size) but it makes her sad and she's driving my other fixed boys insane. On top of that, both heats caused her to lose a lot of weight and put it all in her boobies, so she looks like a skeleton with udders. It would be nice to think her chance of girly cancers were reduced as well. I think it's time to get her spayed but I have never in my whole life been so obsessively in love with an animal and I am down right terrified of leaving her with the vet, much less sedating her.
I know parvo weakens the heart and she barely makes 3lbs when she's full of poop... Can a blood test and routine check up determine for SURE whether or not she would be strong enough for surgery? I don't think I can explain just how devastated I would be if something happened to her and I'd rather live with her bleeding for the rest of her life than to RISK her life. And she is not allowed to play with other dogs unsupervised, much less intact males, so puppies will never happen.
With the knowledge provided, what should I do? Is there any risk at all or am I just a big chicken poop? I mean I'm REALLY scared something might happen even though I've had every dog I've owned fixed (just never had a dog this small before). :-p
i work for a vet...
And in the almost 3 yrs I have worked there NO dog has died during , or after a spay or neuter...I think doing a pre-op before surgery..and going to a vet that monitors their heartrate/blood pressure and gives IV fluids during surgery (like ours does) would be a good idea too..
I recently was told about a dog who died at another vet during her spay (by the owner)...when they opened her up she was full of blood..they euthenized her on the surgery table...later many test were done on the dog, including a necropsy....she had ovarian cancer...had she been spayed earlier...well you know the rest..
(The reason she wasn't was because she was one of the top sussex spaniels in the nation for conformation and the top in obediance.)
I think with taking all the precautions...the risk is far greater without the spay...
The bloodwork will check liver and kidney function as well as platlets, but will do nothing towards checking her heart. In addition to the blood work you need to have them run a full heart screen prior to anesthesia. Unless they are a specialty clinic with a board certified veterinary heart doctor, the test results cannot be read in clinic. However, they should have the ability to hook her up to wires, etc and have it read by experts over the phone. That should pick up any anomolies and thus be sure that it is as safe as possible. If they cannot do it, you need to find a vet that can run that test for you. (That doesn't mean you can't go to your regular vet for the spay.)
Then you have a good long talk with your vet. Most issues with anesthesia are due to a vet that is complacent and leaving too much in the hands of his staff. Vet needs to know that won't cut it with your special little girl. They need to be 100% attentive and your girl must be on IV fluids during the surgery and protected from cold during recovery. She also needs to be on an EKG/blood pressure monitor during surgery (not all clinics have the equipment, so you need a different vet if your vet does not have it.) Don't be surprised when I say that most pets recover on the floor after surgery, just be aware that should NOT be done with your dog. Due to size and history, she just does not have enough body to maintain proper body temperature and she must be carefully monitored. I would not allow her to stay overnight at the clinic unless it is a true 24 hour clinic where she can be closely monitored. Most clinics leave at 6 and the dogs are alone until morning, and if that is the case, she's better off being home. Schedule the surgery for when you can be home with her for the few days following surgery. Not all complications happen immediately, and this is one dog that should be closely watched.
While odds are in your favor that all will be okay, no surgery and no anesthesia can ever be considered 100% safe. You must weigh odds when determining what is best for your dog. Ultimately, it sounds like being in heat really affects her, and because of that, she is a definite candidate for spaying due to health reasons. If she were my dog, I would spay her. However, I would be sure she was in optimal weight and condition before doing so and would time her surgery to be done 4 months post heat cycle, which should then have her 2 months prior to coming in again. I would be super careful to not do the surgery close to a cycle due to the increased size and blood flow in the uterus at the time of a cycle.
I don't know if there is such a thing as dog birth control pills but is that an option until she gets older and stronger or would that just be more stress for her. I have a Chi, my first small dog and I was scared to get her spayed because of her size but I did. I don't have any knowledge for you. I'm sure someone here will, just wanted to let you know I care.
I absolutely agree with everything Swiss-n says. Also...if you wanted the additional peace of mind (and have a few extra hundred bucks sitting around, lol!) and a Cardiologist near by...you might consider having an echo-cardiogram done prior to surgery.
I might consider that if I was super, super, concerned,...given the dog's history. The only real benefit (I think) would be that IF anything were to happen...you could tell yourself you had done everything possible to inform yourself and the vet of any potential complications.
I think your concerns/worries are valid,...and getting the best information you can will help you make a decision you can both live with.
I don't expect any vet to allow me to supervise a spay, but how do you know who to trust? Not ONE vet I've been to locally (as in within a 2 hour radius or more) has been competent and knowledgeable about cresteds to help me with skin problems well known to the breed (I learned a LOT about nutrition and crested skin care on my own because of this, and between that and Mason's ear problem I have an unhealthy distrust for vets). How do I know for sure they aren't lying about 24/7 supervision like they lied to me when she had parvo? Is there any proof they could provide me that there would be an anesthetist present and the test WERE done before hand? Or assurance that she would not be left on the floor but kept in a kennel with a heating pad to keep her from freezing? I worked at a vet that charged for blood test but never actually drew blood and this vet and another I worked at had techs do 90% of the work during surgery, so supervision of the animals pre and post op was minimal. BTW these vets were both awesome and friendly people, so it was easy to trust them until I saw first hand hat was going on.
I'm considering forking up the money (what little I have left) to visit LSU in louisiana, but I still have my doubts and fears. Does anyone know of any southern clinics that could be recommended?
Will the long term benefits REALLY outweigh the risks of surgery in this case? Like I said puppies aren't going to happen so it's more convenience during heats and cancer I'm concerned about.
Your concerns are valid and if you don't have a great relationship with a vet, then you do indeed have to be more careful. Being sure bloodwork and cardiology report are done is simple. Go in the day before for those tests, and see the printed results before you bring her in the next day for the procedure. They can draw blood and run the heart tests with you in the room provided your girl can be still.
My concern is that you indicate she loses quite a bit of weight when she is in season. The bleeding does not bother me so much as it always looks way worse than it really is and she isn't going to bleed to death from it assuming she has no clotting issues. If you suspect clotting issues, then that is another thing you need to test for.
You might consider one more heat cycle to see how things go now that she is nearing adulthood. If you can feed her special so that she does not drop the weight then you may want to reconsider leaving her intact. Giving chlorophyll can often mask the smell so that the boys are not driven crazy.
It is very common for technicians to do all of the surgical prep work and all of the surgical recovery with the vet only being there to do the actual surgery. You will have to have a vet that truly believes your dog is higher risk for them to change the way they handle that. Only you can decide if you are comfortable with the vet's level of interest in your dog. How do you know if someone is there over night? That's pretty simple. If they are open 24 hours a day, then they have a vet on site over night. If they have a normal time they close, then they do not keep a vet on staff over night. Most vets close and leave, but there are some clinics that are 24 hour hospitals that handle emergency care and keep a vet there. If they do, they will be advertising it! Don't believe any vet that says they will stay as a special case for your dog.
Bear in mind that vets routinely spay animals as small as a chinchilla and smaller. Safe anesthesia is possible in most cases. if you don't trust the vet, don't leave your dog there. I would keep searching for one you trust.
I agree with what everyone else has posted... here are a few more ideas...
I think waiting another cycle, would truly be the way to go, allowing her to mature and allowing you time to find the right vet.
I went to the American Chinese Crested Club website, there are two breeders (show Breeders) in Mississippi. I would call them, explain the situation and see who they would recommend, and see what route they would take. Here's the link to the Breeder referral;
I have cresteds too 1 hairless, 1 puff. We show them, as well as the Pyrs. So I've been in the Crested breed for about 3 years, still alot to learn for me too....
With her breasts enlarging, are you sure this isn't a false pregnancy? Does it happen after the heat cycle? It's VERY common for cresteds to have false pregnancies after the first and second heat. This could explain why she may not be eating and losing weight, as well. If it is a false pregnancy, not to worry - but if she is producing milk, just make sure that no hardening develops in the breast area - mastitis (sp)... if it does, make sure to put warm packs on them...
And someone asked if there is a doggie birth control pill/drops, there is, but considering her size and potential health concerns, I certainly feel that the risks of the meds wouldn't be worth it. They are also fairly new contraceptives and who knows what the long term affects could be... Side note - I've heard of show dogs, bitches, being put on these so they can be specialed (campaigned) without having to worry about a heat cycle, then dropping weight, then blowing coat, etc... Then they retire the bitch, take her off the meds and she does not conceive...
Hope this helps, Good luck to you!! If it makes you feel any better, I have a beagle (spoiled rotten, sleeps with us every night)... I just spayed her and she's 3... She's in perfectly good health, but I was terrified of having it done. So I can only imagine what you are going thru, with such a delicate little one.
I'd love to see a picture ** Hint, Hint!!! )
Let us know what happens!
Haha, we are going to get santa pictures tomorrow so check back for more pics. Thank you Deanna, I will try to get in touch with them. As for the false pregnant, I'm not sure. The first heat she started growing boobs after the breeding stopped but she lost weight right before it started. This time she's growing knockers DURING the bleeding and she looks like a booby skeleton. I may wait another cycle before I do anything so I have plenty of time to find a vet I trust, and I will talk to the breeders to see how they feel about it and who they might recommend. Here's a couple of pics... Izzy is 5 months old in the second, and 11 months in the first. Garrett is 10.5lbs and neutered
Izzy Garrett copy.jpgIzzy Garrett copy2.jpg.
My mom's dog got pyometra this week and had emergency spay. You do not want this