Is Your Dog in Season? Expert Tips to Tell

Dog lying down

Is this bitch in season? Her owner has some questions and doubts.

Visitor Asks: Is This Bitch in Season?

Hey, I think my bitch is in season. Her vulva has been swollen for the last week, but there still seems to be no bleeding. She had her first season at nine months old with no problems.

I took her to a vet in March 2007 because she was sick. When he phoned me a day later, he said that there may be something in her stomach. He asked if he could operate on her, and I said yes. I took her home two days after. She had stitches in her stomach, and they took a slice out of her arm.

Since then, this has been her first season. I may be paranoid, but I'm not sure about what's happening, and this why I'm asking for some help. I need to know whether it is normal for my bitch's vulva to swell, but see no blood? For that matter, if a bitch is spayed, does her vulva even swell or bleed?

Thanks~~ Hai

Expert Reply

Hello Hai,

There seems to be multiple issues going on here. Let me begin with your question about your dog's season. It is possible for a dog to appear swollen in advance of coming into full season. It is also possible to have what's commonly called a "white heat" where there is no visible bleeding. A third possibility is that your dog is keeping herself so clean you aren't able to see blood. This happens quite frequently.

Right now, my advice on this particular issue is to give it some more time and remain observant. As long as she's not showing any other signs of a problem, I wouldn't worry too much. The surgery may have simply interrupted her normal cycle. If the area also looks red or irritated, and she's peeing frequently in small amounts, she should be taken in for an examination as she may have an infection.

Now, on to the surgery your pet had. Was your vet specific about the kind of surgery he wanted to perform, and did he give you specific information about the results of that surgery? If not, he should have. Did you ask specific questions about what he wanted to do and what he was looking for? If not, you should have. No surgery should be undertaken prior to a full discussion between vet and owner unless it is an emergency situation.

The slice on her arm that you mention is probably where her IV drip was inserted.

Do you believe your dog was spayed without your knowledge and consent? If so, and you weren't given information about the exact nature of the surgery, it's time to ask your vet exactly what he did to your dog. I personally have not had a bitch show symptoms of going into season once a full hysterectomy had been performed, so I have some doubt that your bitch was actually spayed.

My advice in a nutshell: call your vet and get some answers about that surgery. It should give you a better idea of what may be going on with her heat cycle.

Thanks for your question~~ Kelly

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Is Your Dog in Season? Expert Tips to Tell