Estrus Symptoms After Spaying Average Cost

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What is Estrus Symptoms After Spaying?

Female dogs go through several stages during their reproductive cycle. Symptoms of estrus usually occur about twice a year with an infertile resting period in between. The spaying operation, called an ovariohysterectomy, includes complete removal of the uterus and ovaries, the tissues that release hormones and create the estrus cycle. After spaying, your dog’s reproductive cycle should cease and she should not exhibit any more estrus symptoms. Sometimes however, over the course of the operation, part of the ovarian tissue is overlooked and left behind. This part may continue to release hormones which activate fertility and your dog may appear to be in heat even though she is no longer able to get pregnant. This is called ovarian remnant syndrome (ORS.) This condition is usually reversible with surgery. The longer the tissue is left, the higher the risk of complications.

Sometimes female dogs will continue to exhibit symptoms of being in heat after they have been spayed. This usually happens because part of the ovarian tissue was left behind during the operation. Veterinarians define this condition as ovarian remnant syndrome.

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Symptoms of Estrus Symptoms After Spaying in Dogs

Your dog may develop symptoms shortly after the operation, especially if she was already in heat. Symptoms may be cyclical and resemble a normal period of estrus. Try to see a veterinarian during the time your dog is exhibiting symptoms:

  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Increased licking of the vulva
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Behavioral changes
  • Lifting the tail (flagging)
  • Standing to be mounted

Types 

There are four periods to a female dog’s reproductive cycle. The first two constitute the fertile period of being in heat:

  • Proestrus – the pre-mating period which lasts for 7-10 days, symptoms include swollen vulva and vaginal bleeding
  • Estrus – the mating period which lasts up to 10 days, symptoms include flagging and attempted mating
  • Diestrus – the period when your dog is either pregnant or resting between mating cycles, it can last from 10 to 140 days
  • Anestrus – the non-fertile dormant period which lasts until the beginning of the next proestrus.

The time between cycles as well as the length of the mating period can vary based on the breed and the individual dog.

Causes of Estrus Symptoms After Spaying in Dogs

  • Failure to remove all of one or both ovaries during surgery
  • Accidental dropping of ovarian tissue into the abdominal cavity during surgery
  • Ectopic ovarian tissue – ovarian tissue which develops in another part of the body (rare)

Surgical error or poor technique is the cause of most problems, although occasionally a dog may have a genetic abnormality and generate ectopic tissue outside the ovaries.

Diagnosis of Estrus Symptoms After Spaying in Dogs

The veterinarian will be able to diagnose a swollen vulva and signs of bleeding on a physical examination. Anesthetic may be required to make a more thorough examination and insert a catheter to check that the blood is not coming from the urethra. Vaginoscopy will allow the veterinarian to examine the inside of the vagina to check for injuries or other problems. Biopsies of the vagina will often be also taken to evaluate estrogen levels. Bloodwork can often show elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone as well.

Ultrasound of the abdomen will usually reveal the presence of abnormal tissue. Some tissue can be difficult to see, so, if your dog has strong symptoms of estrus, the vet may decide to perform exploratory surgery even if the mass is not visible. Biopsies will be taken and any removed tissue will be evaluated for malignancy.

Treatment of Estrus Symptoms After Spaying in Dogs

Treatment of Estrus Symptoms after Spaying in Dogs

Surgery is the recommended treatment for ORS. The surgery is called an exploratory laparotomy. This is typically a low risk surgery, similar to the ovariohysterectomy that is performed during spaying, although the remaining tissue may be more difficult to locate. Your dog will likely be released the next day. You will need to check the incision for signs of infection and the veterinarian will schedule a two week follow-up appointment.

Some dogs with additional medical issues may not be good candidates for surgery. If this is the case, the veterinarian may still be able to treat your dog’s symptoms with medications that prevent her from going on heat, including megestrol acetate and milbolerone. You should discuss any medication with your veterinarian as these drugs often have significant side effects.

Recovery of Estrus Symptoms After Spaying in Dogs

Most dogs who receive surgery make a full recovery and do not have any further complications. If possible, it’s advisable to treat the condition through surgery, however. The longer the tissue remains in the body, the more likely it is to develop into a cancerous tumor. Studies of groups of dogs with ORS have found a link between the length of time after the original ovariohysterectomy and the development of malignant neoplasia.

If your dog is not able to have surgery, or if the veterinarian is not successful in finding the abnormal tissue, then the condition will have to be managed with medication. Try to use the medication with the least number of side-effects and the lowest possible dose. The behavioral changes in your dog can be difficult to manage, but they are not necessarily hazardous to her health. The main risk with untreated ORS is the increased chance of cancer development and this isn’t greatly affected by medication.

Estrus Symptoms After Spaying Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Hannah
Mutt
10 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Yellow discharge

Hi, my female dog was just spayed about 4 days ago. All seemed to be going well but she has yellow discharge coming out of her vagina. It's very little but it smells. Could this be a result of poor surgery technique or residual heat or a stump left in her?

I am going to the vet in a few days but just want to check in

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1067 Recommendations
4 days post op is early for any of the problems that you have mentioned, but sometimes dogs do have infections related to the surgery. She may be having normal discharge, or she may have an infection, but it is good that you are taking her in to make sure that she is okay.

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Kaya
Cairn Terrier
7 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Licking at Genitals

Hi, our 7 month old cairn terrier was spayed 2 days ago. She had been recovering well, and her behavior was back to Normal fairly quickly (peeing, pooping, eating etc). We had no issues with her behavior for the first 24 hours, however since then she has been consistently trying to lick her private parts. She does not go after the incision at all, but seems to be specifically licking her vagina/vulva. We quickly order her to stop which she does, but a few minutes later will go back to doing it again. We have not noticed any form of discharge or liquid or any irritation to the area. Also, prior to this she had never done this before in the past or have had any symptoms related to her being in heat. Do you have any idea why she is doing this? Could this be her trying to alleviate any form of discomfort that may be lingering from the surgery, or is this something more serious?
Thanks in advance

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2485 Recommendations
This could be due to discomfort, changes in the body due to the shift in the lack of certain hormones among other causes; if you’re in the first few days after surgery you should keep a close eye on her and monitor for signs of discharge, fever or anything else which may be concerning. If you have further concerns or you notice other symptoms develop, pop into your Veterinarian for a quick check up. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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D
Pointer mix
18 Months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Licking vulva after spay

My dog was spayed at 18 months one week ago. She is feeling very well and looks great. The issue is she is obsessively licking her vulva. There is no bleeding, could this be ORS?

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1067 Recommendations
Some dogs do experience infection after a spay surgery, and it would be best to have her seen by her veterinarian to make sure that she isn't having any problems. I hope that all goes well for her.

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Chloe
Dachshund
7 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Behavior Change

We adopted a female puppy mill rescue, about 5 months ago, who was a breeder in the mill for her whole life. She's 7 years old. Recently, like the last 10 to 14 days, she's been having abnormal anxious behaviors we haven't ever seen her exhibit. They told us she was spayed when we adopted her. When we take her outside, it's almost like she's having nervous/panic/anxiety attack. She constantly runs and we can't get her to calm down to even go potty. She normally loves other dogs, she's always enjoyed the, way more than people, but she just cowers lately when another dog is around. My husband suggested that maybe she's acting up because this is the time of year she normally went into heat and she's having anxiety from all of her past breedings. As long as she's inside, she is our princess like always. Is it possible she might be having hormone fluctuations similar to the heat cycle that's causing her behavior? Or could it just be anxiety from the time of year and her history? We just want to make her life as great as we can, so we want to figure out what's behind her sudden behavior change.

Dr. Michele King, DVM
Dr. Michele King, DVM
1067 Recommendations
Thank you for your email. Dogs can be quite intuitive, and she may sense or hear something outside that you are not aware of. It is unlikely that any hormonal fluctuations are causing this behavior if she is spayed. In the short term, try to make outside very positive with treats and play time, and if the behavior continues, she may benefit from anti-anxiety medications until she feels more confident outside. Your veterinarian can guide you as to whether she may need that type of therapy. I hope that she does well.

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Manya
Siberian Husky
8 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Medication Used

prednisone

My 8 year old female Siberian husky, who was spayed before ever going into heat, has a swollen vulva and vaginal bleeding.
About a year ago she was prescribed prednisone to treat symptoms to a respiratory issue that the vet was unable to diagnose after x-rays, heartworm tests... We are still giving her small doses of prednisone to help her to breathe better during long episodes wheezing and coughing up flem. Though the prednisone does cause her urinary incontinence, excessive drinking and makes her grumpy. Could these two issues be related?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2485 Recommendations
Any change like bleeding from the vulva should be checked by your Veterinarian; long term use of corticosteroids puts dogs at a high risk of infection so this should be looked into. Other causes may be other infections, tumours, remnant ovarian syndrome among other causes. Without an examination and urinalysis, we cannot say for sure. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Sadie
German Shepherd
14 months
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Our shepherd was spayed two weeks ago, immediately she started squatting like she has to go pee. This is about every few minutes and after two weeks it is still going on. They have been treating her foe urinary track infection but today they said it could be that the Blatter has attached to the sutures on the uterus . Is this normal and will the symptoms get better?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2485 Recommendations
If Sadie is starting to exhibit this behaviour immediately after spaying I would be looking into doing an ultrasound or better, an exploratory laparotomy to look at the uterine stump and the sutures at the peduncles to ensure that there are no adhesions or other structures trapped there. Understanding the actual cause will help to determine whether it will spontaneously resolve or requires medical intervention. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Dixie
pit mix
3.5
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Bleeding

My dog was spayed june 28th 2017 and she was in her 2nd week of heat during the surgery. She seemed to recover fine and the incision is healed. It is now kuly 14th and she is spotting is this normal or could it be risidual heat blood?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
2485 Recommendations

There should be no bleeding or spotting after a female dog has been spayed; the most common cause of spotting after spaying is ovarian remnant syndrome, you should speak with your Veterinarian about this. Other causes of vaginal bleeding may be due to infection or urinary tract problems, either way a visit to your Veterinarian is needed; treatment may consist of antibiotics or in the case of ovarian remnant syndrome, another surgery to remove the remaining tissue. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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