Can you stop a dog’s heat cycle? Here’s What to Do Next

Medicine to stop a dog’s heat cycle

You can stop the heat cycle of a dog with a medicine megestrol acetate (commercial name: Ovaban).

Above all, you must use any medication under veterinarian supervision only. In most countries, the use of megestrol acetate requires a veterinary prescription. And it’s not without reason.

Megestrol acetate is a synthetic derivative of the hormone progesterone. Naturally, the level of this progesterone starts to climb as the ovulation approaches; that is, near the ninth day of the heat.

The main consequence of progesterone is the lining of the uterus becomes receptive to implantation. However, the hormone also suppresses estrogen — a hormone that causes is indirectly responsible for ovulation.

If the dog receives progesterone during the beginning of the heat, it supresses the output of estrogen early. In such a case, ovulation does not occur. The dog also enters the next phase and eventually ends the heat cycle earlier than expected.

When does a female dog first come into heat?

Puberty, or sexual maturity, in the female dog usually occurs around six months of age. The smaller breeds tend to go into estrus, or “heat,” earlier, and some females can have their first “heat” cycle as early as four months of age. On the other hand, large and giant breed dogs can be up to two years old before they come into heat for the first time.

How can I prevent my female dog from coming into heat and having puppies?

There are two methods to prevent estrus, or heat, in a female dog:

1. Surgery – ovariohysterectomy (spay): Recommended. Ovariohysterectomy, or a spay surgery, involves the surgical removal of the entire female reproductive tract, including the uterus and both ovaries. It is a permanent and irreversible procedure. Although this is a major abdominal surgery involving general anesthesia, there is little risk associated with the procedure when it is performed by a veterinarian.

Recently, some veterinarians have begun to offer and recommend an ovariectomy; in this procedure, only the ovaries are removed, leaving the uterus. Ask your veterinarian what they recommend for your dog.

2. Medical management using hormonal drugs: Not typically recommended, due to risks.

How to Prevent Your Dog’s Heat Cycle | Wag!

Q. We have a 1-year-old female cocker spaniel we would like to breed when she gets older, but not now. I’ve heard that there is a pill that she can be given that will stop her from coming into season until we are ready to breed her. What is the medication and does it really work? We want to wait until she is 2 years old.

A. The medication that you heard about is a drug called megestrol acetate which goes under the name of Ovaban or Megace and is used to delay the onset of estrus in dogs. The protocol recommends that the owner start the medication when the female first shows signs of coming into heat. It is a tablet that is given daily for the first 8 days. The signs of heat should stop within that week and your pet should remain out of heat for 4 to 6 months on the average. She should then resume her normal heat cycles unless you decide to repeat the medication. It is not generally recommended to continually use the drug to stop each cycle in lieu of having your pet spayed. You should always have your pet examined by your veterinarian before starting this program, because she will need to be free of any uterine infections. This medication cannot be used on dogs before or during their first heat cycle.

Q. I have a 3-year-old short-haired cat which seems to be healthy except that a recent blood test showed that she was positive for leukemia virus. I am concerned that because it’s a virus it could be a hazard to my family.Advertisement

A. I have not been aware of any confirmed incidences of human leukemia from cats infected with FeLV. There have been historical studies done that do not indicate any potential infection. If your cat is asymptomatic, keep her.