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My puppy has a recessed vulva, meaning there is extra skin around her vulva and it "sinks" into the skin and traps urine/bacteria. Because of it, she's had 2 UTIs within a month and we have to wipe her down once a day, it's worked.

She's 4 months, and we've planned to spay her at 5 months. Last week at the vet, I talked to the Dr and she said we could either let Nugget go through her first heat to "pop out" the vulva, or go ahead and spay her, with the risk of UTIs throughout Nugget's life.
The third option is to get Nugget spayed at the vet @ 5 mos and pay an extra $100 to have them remove the excess skin, because the spay/neuter clinic won't do that.

I really don't want to spend $400-500 for a spay at the vet, so I plan to take her to the spay/neuter clinic. But I haven't decided if I want to let her through her first heat cycle or not... mostly because I have NO idea about dog menstruation.

How does the dog act? How much blood is there? What about intact males that live in my neighborhood or are out in public? Every street in my neighborhood, there's at least 2 intact males that live outside.
 

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Peanut is my first female dog ever and I decided to allow her to go through one heat cycle to let her vulva pop out and to let her grow for as long as she could because she's a working dog.

It's wasn't as bad as I though it would be.

You just have to be careful with her while she's in heat. Leashed potty breaks or you are out there with her at all times, keep her well contained even in a crate inside the house, and just don't allow her to roam while she's in heat.

Now their blood isn't like a humans flow, but there's quite a bit more blood then I expected. I used light panty liners in boy's underwear and I didn't make her wear them while she was in her crate. She kept herself really clean, so outside of once in a while dripping on the floor while we ran outside, it wasn't horrible. If you know in advance I do suggest ordering a diaper made for your dog because it was a pain in the behind keeping her undies on her. They kept slipping down. http://www.fidogear.com/store/seasonal-panties-fancy-pants-p-9.html?zenid=70mhdvkahr9ltt4m22pdfgvvf2 or you can look on places like Etsy as well.

If you have any doubt in your mind that you can't keep her safe from intact males (No walks during that time, only yard play, always supervised while outside) then get it done now. If you can keep her safe, then let her go through once cycle, and then plan your spay for 3 months after she's done.
 

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You'll have to keep her away from the males for about a month. As in, don't leave her in the yard (even if it's fenced) alone, don't bring her to the dog park, never let her off leash, don't bring her visit intact males. They aren't fertile that whole time, but guessing at when she's fertile or not wouldn't be a good idea!

How she'd act and how much she bleeds depend on the individual dog. Some dogs don't change a bit, some get clingy, some get cranky, etc. Some bleed a lot, some not at all, etc. There are diapers you can get to catch the blood, or just use boys' undies (put her tail through the fly) with a maxi pad stuck in the right place.

Do the intact males in your neighborhood run loose? If so, it can be a pain to keep them away. You might have to pop her in the car to take her somewhere with fewer roaming males. If they're kept tied or kenneled, you'd still have to watch for escapees, and the poor males might be frustrated, but it shouldn't be too bad.

One inconvenient/annoying month is worth a lifetime of not having constant UTIs, IMO. I had a foster dog that went into heat before she could be spayed, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. It just takes some extra effort.
 

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Oh no... we have puppy playtime & basic puppy training at PetCo so I couldn't be in control of the dogs that come.

The males roam free in their fences, and there's a group of 3 males in one fence that jump theirs to charge at my dog and I when we walk past their house... and Nugget isn't even in heat! However, there are no dogs that run loose in the neighborhood.

The vet also told us we can come back later (after Nugget is spayed) and have them remove the skin if the UTIs become a problem again.

@Darkmoon - what service do your dogs do? Nugget is part Pit (or full... I don't know, picture attached), she'll be about 50-60 lbs and just up to my knee. She'll be my hiking and camping buddy. This summer we'll be hiking (less than 7 days of hiking/camping) part of the Appalachian Trail, as well as a local mountain trail that's 10 miles... I don't want to ruin her body, but I certainly can't keep her intact for very long. She'll mostly be my couch potato and pillow, though :)
 

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If you dont want to wait for her heat.

Then I would pay the extra money and have it all done at once. why do the cheap route, and then relize she still needs it fixed and have her put under again for a simpler procedure that can be done all at once.
 

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You would have to skip puppy playtime and training classes when she's in heat. Most girls that size don't go into heat until 8-9 months old, though, so maybe classes would be over by then.
 

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ask your vet about cranberry pills my doxie is on them and it has worked my concern is your pup is only 4mos old so she might be to young for them
 

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@Darkmoon - what service do your dogs do? Nugget is part Pit (or full... I don't know, picture attached), she'll be about 50-60 lbs and just up to my knee. She'll be my hiking and camping buddy. This summer we'll be hiking (less than 7 days of hiking/camping) part of the Appalachian Trail, as well as a local mountain trail that's 10 miles... I don't want to ruin her body, but I certainly can't keep her intact for very long. She'll mostly be my couch potato and pillow, though :)
Peanut is a Search and Rescue dog :) She just tracking and is starting to learn how to air scent. Might even try her out on rubble work which I think she'll do good on. Peanut got spayed yesterday at 1 year 2 months old, she would have had her second heat next month. After talking to a few people and a few vets, I felt that one cycle to let her grow up more before taking those hormones away was the way to go. I knew I was responsible enough (even with my escaper) that she was in no danger of becoming pregnant. Do some research on their cycles though. They will (normally) only breed during one week, and that's the week they will get pregnant. Peanut was even able to get my neutered male to mount her (caught him before anything happened) and he's never even reacted to a female in heat before (he's been around a few of them thanks to dog shows).

All in all it's your call. Having a female in heat isn't as bad as it seems. Its annoying and they smell a lot more, but with daily bedding changing, and a bath here and there, it wasn't too bad.
 

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I have a bitch here now with an inverted (recessed) vulva. She's actually in season now, and it has not corrected itself. HOWEVER, repro docs have told me it can take 2-3 seasons for the issue to correct. If it doesn't correct by the third season (most just say the second), the bitch should be spayed and an episioplasty performed, so UTIs and skin infections can be prevented.

I know I wouldn't want frequent UTI's (which can lead to bladder infections) throughout my life.

I say try and let her go through a heat first. Not that hard to deal with.
 

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I wanna emphasize from the other side. A female dog in heat can be a tease and an escape artist. You may not know if your dog fits this category, until it's too late. Also, as Willowy said, you have to keep her out of classes and interactions with other dogs for a month to 6 weeks. Males may be interested, even when it appears that she is out of heat.

Finally, males are opportunists! Under the right conditions, a loose male can track a female in heat for a mile.

My male was fixed when he was 6 mos... but at 11 yo, he's still alert and very interested when he gets the slightest scent.
 

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thank you, trainingjunkie! that picture is from a few weeks ago, before her ear flipped over. here are 2 from today :)
IMG_3288.jpg IMG_3286.jpg

Thanks you guys. She's happier outdoors and I'd feel bad keeping her stuck inside for at least 1 month. And that one dog that jumps the fence... ick, I don't even want to think about him coming into the yard with Nugget.

I'll go ahead and get Nugget spayed and fixed at the vet before her first heat.
 

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This actually happened to people in my neighborhood last year. Neighbor 1 has an intact male GSD, 1 year old. Keeping him intact to help prevent hip dysplasia. He is behind an 8' tall wooden privacy fence. Neighbor 2, 4 blocks away, has an intact female black lab in her first heat cycle, so 6 months or so. She is behind a 6' tall chain link fence.

One night, Neighbor 1 has his GSD out in the yard to play fetch at the same time Neighbor 2 has his lab off leash out in the yard to go to the bathroom. GSD goes nuts for no apparent reason, repeatedly slams himself into the wooden fence, will not listen to his owner, breaks a board on the fence, wiggles out, runs 4 blocks, jumps the chain link fence and mates with the lab right in front of Neighbor 2.

The next day, the vet had one emergency spay to do and one neutering to do.

I'd do something to get her vulva fixed (UTIs are SO uncomfortable!), but if you choose the heat option, be very, very careful.
 
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