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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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Not Coming Into Heat Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Timber
Siberian Husky or Alaskan Husky
3 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

excessive panting

My dog is 3 years and 1 month old. Shes a husky and went into heat once when she was around 9 months old. Since then she has not gone into heat. She has had no abnormal behaviors, though she does seem to pant alot.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations
It is possible that Timber has had a few silent heats that you didn’t notice, however it is also possible that she has some other underlying issue which is causing her not to come into heat; if you are not planning on breeding her you should have her spayed but if you are thinking about breeding with her you should visit your Veterinarian for a breeding soundness examination with focus on ultrasound of the ovaries. It would be irresponsible for me to recommend anything without knowing the underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

i have a 105 pound rhodesian ridgeback, she is almost 2 and has not gone into heat. I was told by her breeder to wait till she has one heat before spaying her.

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Madge
Olde English Bulldogge
18m
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

My Olde English Bulldog puppy had her first season at just 6 months, she's now 18m and not had a second season yet. She's a little large around her vulva but not bled at all. Any thoughts? I realise they can be irregular until full matured. She's in perfect health btw.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations
Sometimes dogs may have a silent heat where you may not notice she is in heat and wouldn’t notice any spotting around the home; I would keep a very close eye on her but if you are not planning on breeding her you should have her spayed. Also, a quick check with your Veterinarian for an ultrasound to check ovaries and the rest of the reproductive tract would be helpful too. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Thanks, I'll keep an eye on her for another month or so and then pop to the vets if nothings changed.

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Cherokee
german sheperd
20 Months
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

I have a female Shepherd who will be 2yrs old on March 1st. She had her 1st heat cycle Dec 30th of 2016 & has not come into her second heat as of yet. I've witnessed some light vommiting & she now has runny stools, also looks like she's losing weight. She acts perky and fine otherwise. She's a picky eater as well. I've had her on Diamond Naturals- Adult Beef formula for a year now. Please, any advice?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations
It is possible that Cherokee has had a silent heat or two since the first heat; other issues may be ovarian cysts or hormonal disorders. Without examining Cherokee I cannot say what the specific cause is, but if she has started losing weight and having some gastrointestinal issues I would look into her diet as well. I would recommend seeing your Veterinarian and if you are not planning on breeding with her you should have her spayed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Kallie
Siberian Husky
2 1/2 yrs
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

My dog is 2 1/2 yrs old siberian husky. She is small for her breed. She had her 1st heat when she was around 11 month and another about 8 months later. She has not had one since. I thought the last time she had a silent heathe. She had the personality change. Slightly swollen, but no bleeding just a few drops of a clearer secretion. Now she is having similar symptoms but no swelling at all. One person said her dog food may contain steroids I wasn't aware of. I am not planning on breeding her because of her size. She is full of energy but is shying away from her food.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations
There are various causes for a dog to not come into heat; hormonal disorders, silent heat (more common than most owners think), dietary deficiencies and other causes may cause a delay in coming into heat. If you are not planning on breeding her, it would be advisable all round if you had her spayed as it would eliminate issues of heat, risk of pyometra and decrease the risk of mammary gland cancer (this may vary depending on the literature you read). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Paulie
German Shepherd
1 year 1/2 old
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

I have my one year and half old german shepherd naned Pauli. And im wondering if i should be concerned that she hasnt got on heat by now her sister got on heat 2months ago?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations
Not coming into heat isn’t a big concern, sometimes a dog will have a silent heat where the signs of being in heat are so slight that they are not noticed by the owner; other times there may be some medical reason for a dog not being in heat which may include hormonal disorders, ovarian cysts among other causes. If you have concerns, have your Veterinarian check Paulie over to be on the safe side; otherwise keep a close eye on her and her vulva for any changes. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Zoe
Golden Retriever
4 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

None. Diagnosed during regular check
None

Hello. I have an English Cream Golden who had a successful litter of 11 pups at the age of 2 1/2. We kept one of her pups from this litter. She had another heat cycle roughly 8 months later (which was normal) but unfortunately has not had another cycle since then. We were hoping to breed her again and were waiting at least a full year after her first litter. Her heat cycles were very evident while occurring. Swollen, blood etc. etc. I am with my dogs all day everyday and I check her for signs almost daily. She has no health problems, sees our vet routinely for vaccinations and eats a very high quality food. I have lost faith in our vet due to misdiagnosis of our pup from that litter. One pup had a simple uti and he insisted she had ectopic ureter issues and we spent thousands of dollars and had many sleepless nights, all for nothing. He just wouldn't listen and focused on her ireters for no reason. Just an explanation of why I don't trust my vet. In process of finding another vet I can trust. Anyway, could you please advise as to what direction we should head? Thank you so very much for taking the time to answer.

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations

There are a few reasons why a dog may not be coming in heat which may be due to hormone condition, tumours (ovarian), nutritional deficiency or the heat cycle may not be noticed (but you mentioned that you check her regularly; whilst I understand that you have some concerns about your current Veterinarian, a breeding soundness examination should be carried out to see if there are any underlying conditions which may cause anestrus. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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riley
German Shepherd
1 Year
Mild condition
1 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

none

my female German shepherd has not come in heat, she had her first cycle and i had her injected to prevent unwanted pregnancies but now she has not cycled again am worried the injection may have something to do with it

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations

The active ingredient in the injection may have a bearing on future heat cycles; if Riley hasn’t come into heat again, you should speak with your Veterinarian about the type of injection given to Riley and an examination, blood test and ultrasound may be required to determine the underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Penny
Vizsla
3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

No

My 3 years old vizsla had first heat at age of a year, second heat 10 months later, but now is already 11 months from the last time she was in heat and she shows no signs. should I start worrying? I also plan to breed her and worry if this could be a sign of some medical condition? Alao are there any supplements can help to induce heat?

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations

If you are planning on breeding Penny, it would be best to have a breeding soundness examination performed by your Veterinarian to determine whether or not Penny is suitable for breeding. Common causes for a dog not commoning into heat are malnutrition, hormonal conditions, tumours or ‘silent heat’. Your Veterinarian will check for the usual causes for a dog not going into heat; there are some supplements (as well as prescription products) that are anecdotal to bring dogs into heat, but I would recommend a breeding soundness examination first so that you are aware of any problems and wouldn’t waste a mating if chances of success are minimal. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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betsy
shitzu
4.5yrs
Serious condition
1 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

tummy

my shitzu is 4ys 6mths didnt get her period til now .gave her medicines whch didnt help.got usg done that shows a lump.doctor cnt say wether the lump is in the uterus or ovaries as ovaries are not visible in the usg .urine is normal.please sugest what to do .im very woried

Callum Turner
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
1808 Recommendations

In this situation if there is a mass, it would be best to have an exploratory laparotomy so your Veterinarian can see the mass visually and remove the mass along with the uterus and ovaries. If Betsy hasn’t been in heat, a successful pregnancy isn’t likely and would be best to have her fixed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Our female went into heat and we thought she was pregnant , a month later my male will not leave her alone

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