Did you just spay your dog and she’s still bleeding? We remember a female dog owner coming to our veterinary clinic and asking why her dog is in heat, even though she was spayed a couple of months ago.
The dog was not bleeding, but other symptoms of the heat, like restlessness and calling for male dogs, did occur. The owner was in disbelief because the dog was fixed already. However, tests confirmed, the dog was in heat again. How is that possible?
Spaying is a common surgical procedure performed on female dogs to remove their ovaries and uterus. This procedure is done to prevent unwanted pregnancy, reduce the risk of certain cancers (such as mammary cancer), reduce the incident of urinary tract infection (uterine infection) and improve behavioral issues. While the benefits of spaying surgery are clear, many pet owners with pets we care for in our veterinary clinic have questions and concerns about the possible side effects of the procedure. One of the most common concerns is whether dogs bleed after being spayed.
In this article, you’ll learn the possible reasons why dogs might bleed after being spayed, the conditions that can cause a heat cycle after being spayed, the symptoms to look for, and what you should do.
Table of Contents
- Post Surgery Bleeding
- Going into Heat after Spaying
- False Pregnancy
- Other Possible Causes
Post Surgery Bleeding
It’s normal for a dog to experience some amount of bleeding after spay surgery. This bleeding typically occurs at the surgical site and is caused by the incision made to remove the ovaries and uterus. The bleeding is typically minimal and stops within a few days after surgery. However, excessive bleeding or bleeding that lasts longer than a few days can be a sign of a complication.
Complications that can occur after spaying include:
- Hemorrhage: This occurs when there is excessive bleeding from the incision site. Hemorrhage can occur due to improper surgical technique or if the blood vessels in the area are not properly sealed. Hemorrhage can be life-threatening if not addressed immediately.
- Infection: Infections can occur when bacteria enter the incision site. Signs of bacterial infections include redness, swelling, warmth, discharge, and fever. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, they can lead to more serious complications.
- Seroma: A seroma is a collection of fluid that builds up at the surgical site. Seromas can occur due to the accumulation of blood or lymphatic fluid. They typically resolve on their own, but if they persist or become infected, they may need to be drained by a veterinarian.
If you notice excessive bleeding, any signs of infection, or suspect internal bleeding after your dog has been spayed, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. Early intervention can help prevent serious complications.
Going into Heat after Spaying
It is possible for a dog to go into heat after being spayed. This can occur when a small piece of ovarian tissue is left behind during the spay procedure. This tissue can continue to produce hormones, causing your dog to go into heat. This condition is called ovarian remnant syndrome.
Symptoms of ovarian remnant syndrome include:
- Vaginal bleeding: This is the most common symptom of ovarian remnant syndrome. The bleeding can range from light spots of blood to a heavy bloody discharge.
- Swelling of the vulva: The vulva may become swollen and sensitive to the touch.
- Behavior changes: Dogs with ovarian remnant syndrome may exhibit changes in behavior, such as restlessness, increased vocalization, or aggression. This is due to hormones production. For all the details on how hormones affect your dog, please see our article Do dogs have estrogen? How hormones affect a dogs heat.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog after she’s been spayed, please contact your veterinarian right away. A blood test can be performed to confirm the diagnosis of ovarian remnant syndrome. Treatment usually involves a second surgery to remove the remaining ovarian tissue.
Another condition that can cause your dog to go into heat after being spayed is a false pregnancy. This occurs when your dog’s body thinks it’s pregnant and begins to produce hormones as if it were. False pregnancies typically occur within a few months of a dog being spayed.
Symptoms of a false pregnancy include:
- Lactation: Your dog may start producing milk even though she’s not pregnant.
- Nesting behavior: Your dog may start gathering toys or blankets to create a nest, as if she’s preparing for a litter.
- Behavioral changes: Your dog may become more protective or possessive of her toys or food, or may become more affectionate with you her pet parents.
While false pregnancies are generally harmless and resolve on their own, some dogs may experience complications, such as mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland) or pseudopregnancy (a prolonged and severe form of false pregnancy). If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please contact your veterinarian for advice on how to manage the condition.
Other Possible Causes
There are other, less common conditions that can cause a dog to go into heat after being spayed. These include:
- Adrenal tumors: Adrenal tumors can produce hormones that cause a dog to go into heat, even after she’s been spayed. Symptoms of adrenal tumors include excessive thirst and urination, panting, and weight gain.
- Pituitary gland tumors: Pituitary gland tumors can cause a dog to produce excessive amounts of hormones, leading to heat like symptoms. Symptoms of pituitary gland tumors include lethargy, loss of appetite, and changes in behavior.
- Thyroid disorders: Thyroid disorders can cause a wide range of symptoms. These include changes in behavior, energy levels, weight gain, and hair loss. In rare cases, thyroid disorders can cause signs of heat.
If you notice any unusual symptoms in your dog after she has been spayed, please contact your veterinarian for an evaluation. A blood test or other diagnostic tests may be needed to identify the underlying cause of the symptoms.
Spaying is a common surgical procedure that offers numerous benefits to female dogs. While it is normal for a dog to experience some degree of bleeding after being spayed, excessive bleeding or bleeding that lasts longer than a few days can be a sign of a surgical complication. It is also possible for a dog to go into heat after being spayed, which can be caused by ovarian remnant syndrome or a false pregnancy. If you notice any unusual symptoms in your dog after she has been spayed, it is important to contact your veterinarian for an evaluation. Early intervention can help prevent serious complications and ensure that your dog receives appropriate treatment for any underlying conditions.
Remember, spaying surgery is not reversible. Once it’s completely done, it’s done, and your dog will not be able to get pregnant or come in heat. Unless you have experienced something described above. If so, please consult with your veterinarian.
You have learned the possible reasons why dogs might bleed after being spayed, the conditions that can cause a heat cycle after being spayed, the symptoms to look for, and what you should do. This will go a long way towards a healthy and happy life with your pet dog. And keeping your Pet Happy is what we all want.
Question: Is it normal for my dog to bleed after being spayed?
Answer: It’s normal for a dog to experience some degree of bleeding after being spayed. However, if the bleeding is excessive or lasts longer than a few days, it may be a sign of a complication and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.
Question: Can a dog still go into heat after being spayed?
Answer: Yes. It’s possible for a dog to go into heat after being spayed, although it’s rare. This can be caused by ovarian remnant syndrome or a false pregnancy.
Question: What is ovarian remnant syndrome?
Answer: Ovarian remnant syndrome occurs when a small piece of ovarian tissue is left behind after a spay surgery. This tissue can continue to produce hormones, which can cause a dog to go into heat.
Question: What is a false pregnancy?
Answer: A false pregnancy, also known as pseudopregnancy, is a condition in which a female dog exhibits symptoms of pregnancy even though she isn’t pregnant. This can include nesting behavior, lactation, and behavioral changes.
Question: What should I do if my dog goes into heat after being spayed?
Answer: If you suspect that your dog is experiencing heat like symptoms after being spayed, it’s important to contact your veterinarian. They may recommend diagnostic tests to identify the underlying cause of the symptoms and may recommend treatment to manage the condition.
Question: How can I prevent complications after my dog is spayed?
Answer: To help prevent complications after a spay surgery, it’s important to follow your veterinarian’s post operative instructions carefully. This may include limiting activity, keeping the incision site clean and dry, and monitoring your dog closely for any signs of complications.
This article is a part of a series about female dogs in heat.