Whether you are a first-time dog-owner or have recently had your female dog spayed, you may have wondered if your dog will still have her period after the procedure. Not a nice question but an important one nonetheless. After researching the topic extensively, here is what you need to know.
So, do spayed dogs have periods? Spayed dogs do not have periods but may bleed post-operation as blood from the procedure works its way out. This should stop after a few weeks. However, prolonged bleeding may result due to surgical complications, or conditions left untreated such as vaginitis or infection.
However, excessive blood or that continues long after the surgery typically means something wrong, and veterinary intervention will be required.
And while a period is completely normal for a non-neutered dog, it’s important to be aware of different reasons why your dog may still bleed despite being spayed.
Some of which can be completely normal while others are much more of a cause for concern.
This article will cover why your spayed dog may be bleeding and when you should contact your local veterinarian.
Without going into heat cycles twice each year, your dog won’t undergo all of the hormonal behaviors and physical changes that are part of it. Spaying essentially cuts all of those things out. Spayed female dogs bleed normally when they have wounds and so forth — they just won’t bleed due to heat.
How common is bleeding after being spayed?
In 1973, a study found that ovarian remnant syndrome was found in 17% of dogs studied who had undergone spaying. It goes without saying that veterinary surgery will have advanced a lot since the 1970s, so this statistic is bound to have dramatically fallen.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find any recent statistical data on how common ovarian remnant syndrome is, so cannot compare.
Another point to consider also is that even in dogs who have ovarian remnant syndrome, not all of them will bleed after being spayed. Sometimes the blooding can be due to hemorrhaging due to the condition, rather than period blood produced during the heat cycle.
So, the bottom line is, yes, female dogs can still bleed after being spayed, but most of the time it could be due to post-operative bleeding. It could even possibly be ovarian remnant syndrome.
Either way, if you see any bloody discharge after your dog has been spayed, you should immediately call your vet.
The ovarian remnant syndrome can be tested for by taking a swab from the vagina, taking hormone level tests, or by taking an ultrasound to look for tissue remains.
If your dog has been spayed, and you notice what appear to be periods and blood spots, contact your vet. In addition to this concern, there are also some other things to look out for below.
Will spayed dogs still attract male dogs?
Contrary to popular belief, just because your dog has been spayed, it doesn’t mean that male still won’t be attracted to her.
The main reason this can happen is due to hormones still being produced when some tissue is left over after the spaying surgery. There are 3 other reasons too though, all of which I’ve detailed in my guide to why spayed females still attract male dogs.
Why Do Fixed Female Dogs Bleed?
There are many issues that may cause a fixed female dog to bleed such as ovarian remnant syndrome, urinary tract diseases, vaginitis, stump pyometra, stump granuloma, cancer, or simply a foreign body.
As discussed, sometimes ovarian tissue is left behind after spay surgery.
This most often occurs when the surgeon has failed to remove all of the ovarian tissue.
Bleeding will be accompanied by other signs of heat such as a change in mood and a swollen vulva.
Females will think they are fertile and may try to attract males and mate with them.
The diagnosis of this condition is not always straightforward.
It typically involves imaging studies, blood tests, and vaginal cytology.
It’s crucial that the tissue that was left behind is completely removed.
This is because the estrogen present can contribute to the development of certain cancers and there is an increased risk of a reproductive tract infection.
Also, until all the tissue has been removed, your dog will continue to have ‘fake’ seasons.
A urinary tract infection or bladder stones will regularly lead to blood in the urine.
We may also see drops of blood around the vaginal area and in the fur.
Additional signs to be on the watch for include: Peeing more frequently, drinking more, and having accidents within the home.
Inflammation of the vagina can cause localized discomfort, swelling, and bleeding.
Adult-onset vaginitis is mostly seen in spayed females.
You might notice a foul smell and see a small amount of blood mixed with a clear or purulent discharge.
Affected females are usually uncomfortable and might lick their vaginal area obsessively.
Some dogs will pass urine more frequently and in drips and drops rather than large streams.
Vaginal cytology and vaginoscopy usually confirm the diagnosis.
After the surgery to remove the uterus and the ovaries (a spay surgery), on rare occasions, there will still be a small amount of reproductive tissue left within the female.
This can secrete a hormone called progesterone. Uncommonly, this tissue can become infected.
You may see a bloody, foul-smelling discharge.
Additional signs can include excessive thirst, panting, fever, and lethargy.
Surgery is often needed to remove the infected tissue and dogs will usually be stabilized with intravenous fluids, pain relief and antibiotics.
Inflammation of the remaining uterine tissue is generally caused by a suture reaction.
Some dogs will have a concurrent local bacterial infection.
Using absorbable suture material can minimize the risk of a stump granuloma developing.
Cancer can occur anywhere along the remaining reproductive tract and may or may not be visible to an owner.
As well as a bloody discharge, we might notice signs such as weight loss.
Why does my dog still have a period after being spayed?
Why is my female dog bleeding when she is spayed?