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Questions about an older dog.

Species: Dog
Breed: Shih Tzu
Age: 2-5 years
I have a female Shih Tzu, turning 5 this coming July.

To let you understand the whole situation:

I just moved from Malaysia to South Africa, and has brought her with last November.

I have been advised by the vet in Malaysia to have a full blood check (kidney,electrolit,etc) done, just to see how she is adapting to the environment and new food in SA.

I am also planning to have her spayed. Reason she was not spayed earlier is i've always wanted her to at least have a litter, but we never got to it. Now i decided she is getting old, and wants to reduce the chances of her getting uterus/ovarian cancer.

Her annual vaccination is due.

My question is:

1) Is it advisable for her to be spayed at this age? She is a very laidback dog, sleeps most of the time.

2) Tried an Elizabathen collar on her before due to allergy scratching, but she would not move at all for at least more than half an hour. Worried she might not move at all after the operation with the collar on.

3) Since i am planning to have the blood check, is it advisable to have Blood Check and Spay AND vaccination all at the same time?

4) She had her first rabies injection on Nov 2009. Next rabies injection is only on Nov 2010.
Her annual vaccination is overdue on Feb 2010.
The vet says the annual vaccination in SA comes together with Rabies. He wants to give her the whole thing (including Rabies) although its not due yet.
What is your recommendation?

Thanks in advance,

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi there and thanks for your question! Here are my answers for you:
1) I would definitely advise her to be spayed. As she gets older, if she is not spayed she is at risk for pyometra which is a life threatening infection in her uterus. Spaying her will also remove the risk of uterine or ovarian cancer. I have no concerns about anesthetic risk in a 5 year old dog as long as her bloodwork is good.

2) In our practice I find most pets don't need an elizabethan collar after surgery, so if she is not bothering with her incision she may not need one. You can possibly also put a baby t-shirt on her to stop her from being able to get to her incision.

3) Regarding the blood check, if your vet is able to run bloodwork in their clinic then it is perfectly ok to do it at the same time as the spay. If they have to send it out to another lab then you may need to have it done a day or two before the surgery. The bloodwork is to tell us that her organs are healthy enough to undergo an anesthetic. I don't usually vaccinate at the same time as a spay simply because I feel that this is a lot for the immune system to handle. However, if your vet feels comfortable with this then it should be ok. Personally, I would rather do the vaccines first, then wait a week and then do the surgery. If you do this then you can do the bloodwork with her vaccine visit.

4) It certainly won't hurt to give the rabies again now. I can see your vet's point. If we wait till November, then she will be due for rabies every November and then the rest of her vaccines every April and you will always have 2 visits each year. This way, you can just come in in April each year.

I hope that helps! Let me know if you have more concerns!

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi Dr.Marie.

Thanks for your very elaborate answer.
Just a final question to clarify.

As i understood, bloodtest will be taken before the spay. But the vet told me "extra blood" will need to be taken if i want the bloodwork to be done. (The clinic has a lab).
The bloodwork that i want is the one that shows the kidney, liver, glucose, etc.
How much extra amount of blood will be taken for the bloodwork?
Will it be taxing.

I am considering having bloodwork done a week before as suggested - unless the bloodtest before the spay can be use for the bloodtest

If it is not too much to ask, can u please indicate to me what are the type of bloodtest available for dogs so i know how to request for one , to avoid confusion at the vet.

Thanks Dr.Marie.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're ver welcome!

If you are worried about the amount of blood that is taken it really is not a concern and won't affect Rainbow at all.

It sounds like your vet clinic is very much like ours. We can run a few tests here, but for more tests we need to send blood to the lab. There are a variety of different tests we can do but for a young healthy dog I generally do what is called a preanesthetic screen which includes a couple of kidney enzymes, a couple of liver enzymes, blood sugar and a CBC (to look at red and white blood cells).

Sometimes for a middle to older aged dog I will do a more complete profile that runs the above values plus a few more tests. At 5 I would likely do the abbreviated version unless I was suspecting a health concern.

Hope that helps!
Have a wonderful day!
Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.