Second spay?
April 12, 2011 11:47 AM   Subscribe

my puppy's first spay went poorly (let's not discuss what happened - i'm focusing on something else now). she's having surgery again tomorrow. looking for stories of things going well.

she was spayed right after we got her from the shelter. about 3 weeks ago, though, she went into heat. the vet says that some of her ovary or reproductive tissue must still be present. research shows that going into heat once increases breast cancer risk in dogs (one study says 8%), twice, it significantly increases it (same study says 26%). a successful spay before first heat leads to a 0% breast cancer risk.

so tomorrow they're going to fish around inside of her, and hopefully find the tissue. which is very difficult to think about! but the vet said it was important.

has anyone gone through this? it's pretty scary and i really really hate that my dog has to go through this and recover.


ps, i know you're not my vet!
posted by anya32 to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
Do you have a question, or do you just need reassurance?
posted by TheBones at 12:07 PM on April 12, 2011

Best answer: It shouldn't be hard to find the tissue. Spaying is a simple procedure and the parts aren't usually hard to find. Dogs almost always recover well; those that don't often have an underlying issue, like they got hit by a car last week but the owner didn't tell the vet. (Really. I volunteer in spay/neuter clinics, have assisted in hundreds of these procedures, and have heard all the stories.)

As for the cancer risk, it's minimal. Mammary cancer is rare in dogs spayed before the age of 4. Some breeds, like labs, are at higher risk but it is highly, highly unlikely that your dog will develop this if she's spayed as a puppy.
posted by grounded at 12:08 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: i didn't know if i had a question, TheBones, but grounded's reponse made me realize i am wondering about the reality of the cancer risk. she's a rescue pup, and probably has some lab in her, but we're not sure. and yes, victoriab, she's a sweetie. and very good at cuddles. and i guess i'm also wondering if finding the missing tissue is an easy thing to do. we were told to bring her in as soon as possible because it becomes harder to find after the dog is no longer in heat.
posted by anya32 at 12:12 PM on April 12, 2011

Response by poster: and i really appreciated your comment, grounded.
posted by anya32 at 12:13 PM on April 12, 2011

Best answer: If it makes you feel any better, they used to recommend that dogs go into heat once before spaying. My childhood dog wasn't spayed until after her first heat. I know it's completely anecdotal, but she was a Springer Spanial who nearly made it to 16. Also, none of my childhood friends' dogs ended up with mammary cancer despite being spayed after their first heat. I think the mammary cancer is rare in dogs.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:14 PM on April 12, 2011

Best answer: My dog did have issues when she was first spayed. Thankfully, a second surgery fixed any problems.

From what I understand spaying isn't an excessively complicated procedure. Neutering is even less so (first hand experience shadowing several veterinarians).

I imagine this isn't a big deal though, even if it is worrisome. Spaying and neutering are likely among the most commonly performed procedures among veterinarians.
posted by graxe at 12:54 PM on April 12, 2011

Best answer: This happened to one of my dogs. She was fine and went on to live a long and healthy life.
posted by fifilaru at 1:09 PM on April 12, 2011

Best answer: Let me clarify those percentages for you, anya32. The increases of 8% and 26% are, according to Wikipedia, increases of those amounts relative to the normal risk, not increases to them.

The normal risk across all dogs is 3.6%, so an increase of 8% only brings it up to 3.88%, and an increase of 26% is still only 4.5%. So your pup is still overwhelmingly likely to live a long and happy life.
posted by cogat at 1:42 PM on April 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: thank you, cogat! i'm absolutely not an engineer or mathematician today for a reason :) that really helps!
posted by anya32 at 1:45 PM on April 12, 2011

Ill fated Meta
posted by Blasdelb at 3:56 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My dog was spayed at age 1 at the shelter where I got her. 10 years later, she went into heat. Apparently some tissue fragments had been missed and eventually managed to produce enough hormones to trigger enough response to notice. I can't address the cancer risk (as far as I can tell, she is cancer free) but she weathered the surgery fine, at age 11 or so. The surgeon said it was a challenging surgery, and it was difficult to find the tissue to remove, but she came home the same day and recovered extremely well (she will be 13 this summer!)

Depending on your dog's response to pain, you might want to talk to the vet about extra pain medication. After the surgery, Callie was clearly in a lot of pain and I had to call in to see if we could start the pain meds that evening, instead of the next day. I don't know to what degree it was the complicated surgery, or if she just has a low pain tolerance.
posted by periscope at 4:24 PM on April 12, 2011

Response by poster: thank you everyone - and thank you periscope - this really helps. we were told that finding the tissue fragments could be hard, but hearing it from one vet did not make me feel secure in knowing it. and some other folks here say it can also be a less complicated process. i appreciate your responses - and also the advice about pain medication. she did not need it after her first spay, but this is supposed to be a more invasive procedure. thanks again and goodnight!
posted by anya32 at 8:03 PM on April 12, 2011

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