If you are dog lover and plan to pet one, you will have many questions before you adopt. More so, if you are keen to own a female dog and want to know what happens when they go in heat. Today we are answering one of the questions relevant to this topic, “do spayed dogs go into heat?”
Well, ideally no, spayed female dogs never go in heat. It is also one of the reasons why pet owners have them spayed. However, Ovarian Remnant Syndrome can be one of the reasons behind your female dog going into heat.
The syndrome happens to many dogs due to faulty operation. It is imperative to choose a good veterinarians to avoid such circumstances.
A dog going into heat doesn’t mean she can get pregnant. It just means that her body is exhibiting signs of heat due to the syndrome.
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Do Spayed Dogs Go in Heat
Now that it is ascertained that a spayed dog can show fertility symptoms by going into heat, it is important to understand why the dog can still not get pregnant.
Before we get there, it is important to understand what exactly Ovarian Remnant Syndrome is.
In simple words, during spaying or ovary removal surgery in bitches, a part of the ovarian tissue can often be neglected or overlooked. As a result, this part remains within the body even though most of the reproductive system is taken out.
The overlooked part often continues to release hormones. Consequently, despite being spayed, these dogs go into heat. So, now you can put two and two together and understand why these spayed dogs cannot conceive.
The hormones released by the ovarian remnant cause spayed dogs to go into heat. However, these dogs cannot have puppies without a full-fledged reproductive system.
Hence, the answer to the question, do spayed dogs go into heat, is yes. However, these dogs can never get pregnant.
Understanding Heat Cycles in Dogs
After having the preliminary knowledge that you have gathered from the above-mentioned, it is important to delve into the matter for better clarity.
Firstly, all female dogs go through heat. However, it is only when they attain puberty that they experience their first heat cycle.
Each heat cycle consists of various stages. One of these stages is called estrus. This is the stage at which the female dog can become pregnant due to sexual intercourse. In layman’s term, estrus is heat.
Usually, most dogs attain puberty at the age of six months. However, this age can vary from one breed to another.
For instance, breeds usually small in size tend to attain puberty earlier. Whereas, breeds of large dogs tend to attain puberty late. Often as late as 18 months as well.
Similarly, while the duration of estrus might vary across breeds, this stage lasts for about 10-14 days on average.
As is fathomable, this is long enough for any female dog to conceive. Hence, most dog parents usually choose to spay their female dogs if they are reluctant to allow their dogs to procreate.
What is Ovarian Remnant Syndrome?
In plain and simple terms, Ovarian Remnant Syndrome is a condition observed in female dogs when parts of ovarian tissues remain within the body even after the dog has undergone surgery.
Spaying is a commonly used term for ovariohysterectomy, usually performed on female dogs. This is done to ensure the dog doesn’t get pregnant. It is mostly done to female dogs, so that they cannot procreate.
Now, how and why this syndrome is confusing and why it happens at all. Well, the ovaries in female dogs, like us human females, secrete the hormone known as estrogen. This hormone is responsible for female dogs going into heat.
Post ovario-hysterctomy or spaying, the uterus, along with the ovaries, is taken out. Hence, there is no estrogen or signs of heat in the absence of ovaries.
However, in some unfortunate, odd scenarios, the vet performing the surgery might overlook some parts of the ovary or ovarian tissue.
As a result, even after spaying, your female dog still has remnants of the ovarian tissues left. No matter how minute, these tissues are still capable of producing or secreting estrogen.
Hence, in the presence of estrogen, your spayed female dog exhibits clear signs of heat. But, as mentioned earlier too, despite these symptoms, your dog cannot conceive.
This is why the answer to do spayed dogs go into heat is yes, a lot of time. But these scenarios have an anomaly involved.
Symptoms of Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
Now that you know why spayed dogs go into heat, let us discuss some commonly observed symptoms.
The most common and expected symptom is that your dog will start showing symptoms of being in heat. This is your first sign of knowing something is wrong, especially since your dog is spayed.
Now, your dog can go into heat at any point post-surgery. This can be within a month or even after 6-7 months of being spayed.
In some cases, female dogs have gone into heat even after almost a year of getting spayed.
Of course, it is also important to correctly recognize the signs of heat. Some of the commonly noticed signs are:
- Expansion of the vulva region
- Vaginal discharge that will seem like a tinge of blood around the area
Apart from the two specific signs mentioned above, there can also be more subtle signs.
For instance, your dog will be more accepting of male dogs. They will become more receptive to their male counterparts.
Also, the heat frequency in spayed dogs with ovarian remnants is usually once every six months. So, the next time someone asks you do spayed dogs go into heat, ask about the symptoms first.
Different Ways of Diagnosing Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
Of course, if your dog shows any or multiple of the symptoms mentioned above, the first thing to do is contact the vet.
Take your dog for a consultation and ascertain the reason behind its odd symptoms and behavior.
After knowing the answer to can spayed dogs go into heat, you must also know how the vet can diagnose it.
A knowledge of these procedures will help you be prepared in advance. Also, if you know exactly what can your dog undergo, it will be easy for you to support her at the time of examination.
So, here are some ways of diagnosing the syndrome:
This is one of the most common processes in humans. However, in dogs, it can often prove to be ineffective. Hence, this is not one of the most frequently used methods in dogs.
Detection of the syndrome depends largely on the stage of the heat cycle your dog is, at and the size of the ovarian tissue or portion left behind. If only a minute part has been left behind, detecting the same using ultrasound is almost impossible.
Also, there are times when even the most minute ovarian tissues have been spotted this way. Still, the ultrasound specialist must be highly skilled in that case.
This test is most effective if your dog is in heat. Usually, a swab of the vagina is taken in this case. The vet then takes this swab and examines it in further detail.
Using a microscope, the vet ascertains whether there are any cornified cells in the swab. If cornified cells exist, estrogen is present in your dog’s body.
Hormone Stimulation Test
This is yet another test that is effective if done while your dog is in heat. It is also one of the most accurate tests for diagnosing this syndrome. Vets usually prefer administering this test while the dog is in heat.
The vet administers a synthetic hormone into your dog’s body. Two hours later, the vet samples your dog’s blood. Many vets prefer drawing blood samples only after 7 to 14 days of introducing the hormone.
Your pet has to go through a blood test. If there is a spike in the level of estradiol or progesterone in the dog, it directly goes to show the presence of ovarian tissue in your dog’s body.
Baseline Hormone Levels
In this case, the level of AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) is tested in your dog. Elevations in AMH and progesterone levels indicate the presence of ovarian tissue.
This test is also done preferably when your dog is in heat. However, there are rare situations when this test is not effective. This usually happens when the portion of ovarian tissue present is extremely tiny.
So, these are the various procedures that your vet might use. You must be aware of these processes in advance. This way, you can also participate in choosing the most effective diagnosis for your pet.
Treatment of Ovarian Remnant Syndrome
There is some bad news about the different ways of treating this condition. Once detected with the syndrome, the most common and obvious thing is to do another round of surgery.
Undoubtedly, this is physically and emotionally traumatizing for your dog. However, unfortunately, this is the only effective course of treatment.
Another round of surgery to remove the remnant ensures the complete elimination of ovarian remains.
As a result, your dog is automatically clear of any estrogen whatsoever. Thus, signs of heat will soon fade away.
It is best to do the surgery while the dog is in heat or immediately afterward for the surgery to be effective. This helps in spotting the remnants easily.
Unfortunately, despite ample research, no medication can remove the remaining ovarian tissues.
What happens if you don’t treat your dog’s condition?
If you think that Ovarian Remnant Syndrome is not very serious, think again. While it might seem easy-breezy because your dog won’t get pregnant, there can be many other issues if left untreated.
You might have a spayed female dog bleeding from private area regularly. Your dog can develop many other serious ailments without accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment.
For instance, your dog might develop tumors in the mammary gland because of the presence of unwanted tissues. Additionally, it can lead to ovarian tumors or even pyometra or infection of the uterus.
Each issue can be fatal and even lead to death. Hence, it important that you get your dog the treatment she requires.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Does a spayed dog go into heat?
Usually, a spayed dog doesn’t go into heat. But it can show signs of heat if it suffers from Ovarian Remnant Syndrome.
2. How soon does a dog usually attain puberty?
The age of puberty varies from one breed of dog to another. However, dogs usually attain puberty within 6-10 months of birth.
3. Can my dog become pregnant if it has Ovarian Remnant Syndrome?
No, your dog cannot get pregnant because of the syndrome. This is because your dog has estrogen because of ovarian remnants. Still, it doesn’t have its entire reproductive system, which is important for pregnancy.
Now that you know that spays dogs can go in heat, it is time to ensure you having a successful surgery. Please ask your vet about the probability of your dog having Ovarian Remnant post surgery, and what they would do to prevent. Try to take your dog to a reputed clinic with expert veterinarians and never forget to a get an insurance for your doggo.