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What is Not Coming Into Heat?

Female dogs have heat cycles, or estrus. During this time, the female is receptive to a male and has the ability to reproduce. There are some times when your female dog, or bitch, has an abnormal heat such as a silent or split heat or does not come into heat at all. If your female does not come into heat for over 10 months, there is a strong chance that her reproductive cycle is being suppressed.

Sometimes you may not realize that your female has actually cycled on time because she has had a silent heat. This is when your dog goes into heat but does not exhibit any of the normal signs of a regular heat cycle. Your female can still become pregnant during a silent heat. It is important to watch any intact male dogs closely; they will be able to detect a silent heat.

Possible causes of why your dog is not coming into heat include:

  • Silent heat cycle
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Ovarian hypoplasia 
  • Malnutrition
  • Tumor on the ovaries

Why Not Coming Into Heat Occurs in Dogs

Many times a female dog will not have a proper heat cycle until they are about two years of age. This is especially true in many large or giant breeds; they do not reach sexual maturity until they are two years old. You should be concerned if your female does not have a heat cycle until they are 24 to 30 months of age you will want your veterinarian to examine her. 

Silent Heat Cycle

This occurs when your female will have a heat cycle without the normal symptoms such as bleeding and swelling of the vulva. Females will still be receptive to males and can become pregnant. Your veterinarian can check for a silent heat cycle by performing vaginal cytology and progesterone assays.

Hypothyroidism

Your dog may be suffering from a thyroid problem that can cause irregular heat cycles and in more severe cases can cause your female to not cycle at all. Hypothyroidism is thought to be genetic and dogs diagnosed with it should not be bred.

Ovarian Hypoplasia

 

There are instances when the ovaries do not fully develop and are incapable of producing enough estrogen for your female to come into heat or have a normal heat cycle. The mammary glands and the vulva will stay small and look underdeveloped. Ovarian hypoplasia is a result of abnormalities of the sex chromosome. 

Malnutrition

Female dogs that are malnourished from poor diet or recent illness will many times not have a heat cycle. Feeding a commercial dog food that is low in protein and fat content can cause your female to not have a heat cycle. If you are planning on breeding your female, be sure to feed her a high quality food to ensure that her body is able produce enough estrogen for a proper heat cycle.

Tumor on the Ovaries

Tumors can develop for many different reasons, some being cancerous and some being benign. When a tumor develops on your female’s ovaries, this can inhibit heat cycles. Your veterinarian will need perform diagnostic testing to determine if a tumor is present and whether or not it is cancerous.

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What to do if your Dog is Not Coming Into Heat

Your veterinarian will need to conduct a full examination of your female and also run routine tests such as biochemistry panel, complete blood count and urinalysis. If you suspect your female is experiencing silent heat cycles, you will need your veterinarian to do weekly vaginal cytology and progesterone measurements to determine the exact days that your female is in heat.  

Females with ovarian hypoplasia will have elevated LH and an ultrasound will show if the reproductive organs are immature. Spaying a female that is diagnosed with ovarian hypoplasia is usually recommended. Blood testing will show if your female is experiencing a thyroid problem.

There are some instances where your veterinarian can induce a heat cycle by using human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH). Your veterinarian will need to closely monitor your female while undergoing these reproductive therapies.

It is recommended if your female is experiencing significant reproductive problems such as abnormal heat cycles or lack of heat cycles, she be spayed. Reproductive difficulties can be genetic and also can be indicative of a female who will be unable to properly carry or care for a litter.

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Prevention of Not Coming Into Heat

While genetics can play a major role in your female’s reproductive health, there are certain preventative measures that can be taken to give your female a better chance of having a normal heat cycle. Feeding a quality food that is high in protein and fat is one way to ensure that your female is not suffering from malnutrition. Do not feed a low quality food and avoid giving extra treats or table scraps.

Speak with your veterinarian about supplements that target the reproductive system of your female. They may recommend a supplement that will keep your female cycling regularly. Regular checks by your veterinarian will hopefully catch any underlying problems such as hypothyroidism or tumors on the ovaries. If you are worried about your female’s lack of heat cycle, be sure to have your veterinarian do a full assessment to figure out the cause.

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Cost of Not Coming Into Heat

The treatments for this symptom can range from very little cost, such as an office call to your veterinarian, to $7,000 depending on the exact cause. For example, hypothyroidism often averages at a cost of $1300, while ovarian cancer is much more expensive, with treatments ranging to $6500. On average, treating a female that is not coming into heat can cost around $1300.

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Not Coming Into Heat Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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No Heat Cycle

My dog turned 1 on July 29 and still hasn’t had her heat yet. I wanted to know if that was normal or should I go get her seen for it ?

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. Most dogs go through their first heat cycle between nine and 12 months, but larger breed dogs may not go into heat until they are 12 to 18 months of age. If she doesn’t go into heat in the next few months it would be a good idea to schedule an exam with your veterinarian. At this time though I would just continue to monitor her.

Sept. 29, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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3 1/2

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No Heat Cycle/Late

Last heat cycle was in the beginning of March and lasted till the end of March. It’s now the middle of September and still no new cycle

Sept. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I can't imagine that an ear infection would have caused her to go off schedule on her heat cycles, and I think it is probably more just her physiology. If you are needing to know a date for her next heat cycle, there are progesterone tests available that your veterinarian can perform, or they may be able to help you time everything by doing some vaginal cytology for her. Different veterinarians have different skills with these tests, and it would probably be a good idea to ask your veterinarian if they are comfortable with that. I hope that all goes well for her.

Sept. 22, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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8 months

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8 found helpful

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None

My dog is 8 months old and she still hasn’t gone into heat, should we call our vet?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Dogs typically come into their first heat between 5 and 18 months old. If she has not come into heat by then, having an examination for her would be a good idea. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 8, 2020

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Boerboel

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Five Years

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2 found helpful

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Full Breast

Shes milking without pregnancy

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There are a lot of hormonal changes that might be going on if she is coming into or going out of a heat cycle, or she may be having a false pregnancy. If the producing of milk continues for more than a few weeks, or if she is lethargic or you think that there is an odor or infection going on, and it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. Otherwise, you should be fine to monitor her. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 2, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Five Years

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3 found helpful

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None

My dog isnt coming into heat and she's not fixed

July 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. She may have a problem with her uterus or ovaries that is causing her not to come into heat. If it is a concern for you, it would be a good idea to have your veterinarian examine her, and possibly run some lab tests to see what might be happening. I hope that all goes well for her!

July 24, 2020

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Lily

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Chihuahua

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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No Heat

I have a 4 1/2 year old chihuahua I have inherited from my mother when she passed away last year, she normally has heat cycles every 6 to 7 months, it has only been that amount of time but she is not showing any signs of even going into heat. My male dog did try and hump her a couple times and was doing his male thing a few times back there, but nothing else, and hasn't since. should I be worried here or just let it go. I am going to say she's overweight which I am working on, walking her cutting her food intake in half. She's spoiled because my mother never said no to her, so I have to fight the whimpering and barking but it's worth it to get her weight down. Is this a factor in it maybe? I had a dog in 99 who died of closed pyometra. I am all ways concerned and do want to spay her. But that comes after her weight loss. And this pandemic

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Mochi

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Miniature Australian Shepherd

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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None

Can a veterinarian tell if your dog has gone into heat before and you just couldn't tell? My mini aussie is over 2 years and she should have gone into heat already, but my mom has a mini aussie who went into heat at 8 months, but it was very subtle and she could barely tell/ there wasn't very much blood at all.

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ND

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Australian Shepherd

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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No Heat/Silent Heat 2 Years,

I have a 7 year old intact Aussie female. Until 2 years ago, she cycled regularly, in sync with our female Rottie (they were raised/housed together). Tragically we lost the big dog, and the Aussie has not cycled ever since then. We’ve always reserved the option to breed her and the right opportunity has arrived. Are there any options to induce a normal estrus so she can be bred?

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Smooch

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Foxy cross

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14 Years

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Swollen Valua

I have a foxy cross. We got here back in 2006. She was a year old and really small. We had been told she had an accident at the age of 3 months where a wroght iron gate fall on her. The fact she had been over weight saved her but due to the truma she would not go in to season. She has never been on heat. Then yesterday we woke and her vulva is swollen and her nipples are sticking out. And it's like she's got a new lease of life. Could she be on heat. We have a cat on heat as well. Don't know if animal sink or not lol she is now 14 soon to turn 15. Other wise she is healthy

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Lola

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Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler)

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11 Months

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Moderate severity

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Just Not Going In Heat

My Dog Lola i Found her on the side of the road a long time ago back in august after a good health check we were feeding her lower priced foods until she got a skin condition and now she gets fed very expensive food but she was probably about 2-3 months old when i got her she was tiny and it is now april next year which would make her almost a year old. And she still has not got her cycle which sucks because i was planning on breeding with our older dog.

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