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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I'm new to this site. I've had a look around to see if a question similar to mine has been dealt with but haven't come up with anything. If this question is a re-run, however, I do apologize.

Here's the situation. My husband and I got our new (3-year-old) dog two weeks ago from a rescue shelter. The shelter owner was unable to tell us whether or not our dog had been spayed. There was no visible scar, but as I now understand, apparently this is not a fool-proof indication of a dog not having been spayed. We took our dog to the vet during her first week with us and also asked our vet about the spaying issue - our vet gave us the same answer: without actually opening up our dog and looking inside, the vet was unable to say for certain if she was spayed or not. We were advised to watch and wait.

Meanwhile, I noticed some drops of blood here and there (but only two or three) on our dog's blanket. I had a look at her genital area as well, and though she was not showing signs of heavy bleeding, the area around her genitals was indeed a bit dark/reddish looking. However, she is a long-haired dog and it was difficult to get a good look, or tell if there was any swelling present. I decided to take her to the vet again, thinking surely the vet could confirm if she is in heat or not. However, the vet told me that although my dog does have some discharge, he cannot say for sure that this is a result of her being in heat, as it could be a number of other things. I was again advised to watch and wait to see if it became clear that she was definitely in heat. This I find frustrating because I thought surely I could get confirmation from the vet.

Twice in the past week off-leash dogs have bounded up to my dog in a way that I found quite frightening (in both cases the off-leash dog made a fast bee-line from a distance; the dogs were not able to be successfully recalled by their owners, and were not deterred by my attempts to block them or verbally scare them off). This, to me, could be another indication that my dog is in heat, but I don't know if there might be other reasons for a dog to make for my dog in this way? Unfortunately in the confusion of the moment in each of these cases, I was not clear-headed enough to have a good look to see if these dogs were in fact male. Neither dog tried to mount my dog, however - the first time, my dog sat down; the second time, I led my dog away from the other dog, successfully.

I want to be a responsible dog owner. Ideally I would like to have my dog spayed if she is not already. But I feel frustrated by not knowing if she is or not. I don't want her to have to go through surgery only to find out she has already been done. How do I deal with the fact that my vet can't even tell me if she is spayed or if she is in heat? And, in the meantime, assuming she is in heat, how can I keep her safe from dogs whose irresponsible owners allow them off-leash in leash-required areas? I should note that I do not have a yard, so not walking her through town, where other dogs will most certainly be present, is not an option. My dog needs to relieve herself, obviously, and she needs her exercise.

Confused and frustrated. Any help appreciated! Apologies for the length of the post.

Best,
mutt78
 

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I was told the same thing about dogs that have been altered. I was concerned if George had already been neutered before we adopted him because they scheduled surgery before I could take him home. They said there was no visible signs of a scar so the only way to be 100% sure is for him to have surgery.

Sophie went through her first heat and the differences I've seen was the noticible drops of blood here and there. She then had obviously swollen female parts. She marked everywhere so we had to have her contained.

I don't think all males react the same to a female in heat. One of my males treated her the same while the other looked like a cat that just got a sniff of cat nip and he wasn't quite himself for an entire month.

I don't think all female dogs will exhibit the same as Sophie and it would vary dog to dog. Sophie is the only intact female I have so maybe someone else will chime in.
 

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i think i would be looking for a new vet (in both cases).....my vet has often been checking the abdomen and has remarked about the uterus in my intact females or on one that i wasn't sure w/ said he felt nothing)...and if it's a male...well, duh!!! even in a pup that is not dropped yet, unless the testes are retained and high the vet is going to know if he's been neutered....

for the original OP, i would not be taking her anywhere that there may be other dogs that could possibly be a problem until i knew for sure....

jmo
 

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I would do my best to keep her away from other dogs until you're sure, but it sounds like shes in heat to me. You may want to see a different vet for another opinion, IMO.
 

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Sometimes you don't have much choice when the shelter's policy is to neuter all pets leaving their facility. The peculiar comment they told me was "If 'George' happends to have already been neutered, then they will stop going any further once they are in." How could they go any further?

I guess the 'quick' method is to look for stitches or scaring.
 

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Not knowing if a female is spayed I can understand.. neither of my girls have a mark on them. But how can a person, especially a vet, not know if a male is neutered?? I don't get that at all! He either has them, or he doesn't, lol.

To the OP.. a second opinion isn't a bad idea, but I would probably continue to wait and see if any more obvious signs develop. I'm curious though, what "other things" did the vet suggest the bleeding could be from? The only thing I can think of would be a UTI, which they could do a simple urinalysis to check for [and rule out].
 

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I have a little Shih Tzu that had a problem whelping so when they did the c-section, I had her spayed at the same time. That was a couple of years ago and there is no sign of a scar at all. The incision was certainly bigger than a spay opening yet it healed up completely. Unless the dog had been done fairly recently, you may not see any scar. If she is in season, you should get her spayed now instead of taking the chance that she will get bred. It is a little harder on them doing them when they are in season but easier on them than doing them after they have been bred.
 

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Isn't an ultrasound cheaper than surgery?
and wouldn't an ultra sound show the uterus there?

JustTess, i hope you don't think my 1st comment was directed at you....it was directed at the vet that couldn't tell you if he was neutered or not....that, to a vet, should be apparent
 

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and wouldn't an ultra sound show the uterus there?
That's my point. If they don't know whether or not the dog is spayed, wouldn't a responsible vet recommend an ultrasound before the dog became pregnant, especially if it's a shelter pup?

That being said, this has happened to me before and it's one of the reasons that I am so cautious about shelters. In my case it was a cat, and by the time we knew she wasn't spayed, it was too late.
 

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It is very obvious that Dex is neutered, there is nothing there. You have to actually touch Nuts(cat) back there to see he's empty, his sack is still shaped like he has 2 balls in there to a layman, but it's obvious to a vet and I can tell since I know what he looked like back there prior to the neuter.

I also think a responsible vet would so everything to try and find out of there is a uterus in the dog before she went into heat and got bred or had a following of dogs wanting to get at her.

Abby was done at 6 months old so she never went into heat but I did have my female cat Attitude go into heat at 5 months old. I found out when I found Nuts(her brother) on top of her. I separated them and I have never heard 2 cats yowl that loudly in my life.

Taryn
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi,

Thanks to everyone who responded to my original post. I'm reassured by the fact that at least I'm not alone in finding it weird that my vet could not tell me if my dog was spayed and suggested no tests to determine this. I get the feeling that there is a cultural issue here (I'm Canadian but I live in the Netherlands); the attitude when I went to the vet to find out if my dog was spayed seemed to be "why do you want to know?", as if the reasons for choosing to spay were not entirely obvious. So I agree that a second opinion is probably best here. My husband and I have decided to talk to another vet, one who is trained in laparoscopy, just in case we do need to have our dog spayed, so that we can at least go for a less invasive procedure.

Again, thanks everyone for the useful advice.

Best,
mutt78
 

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Unless the bitch is about 25 days at least prego that can't see the uterus via ultrasound. However the vet that couldn't tell whether or not a male was neutered (find another vet fast).

To the OP: the vulva will become larger, some bitches don't bleed as much as others (just like us). Watch her for licking the vaginal area (she'll clean herself more in heat), take a tissue or toilet paper and wipe or blot the area and see if there is anything. You should also find another vet as well as they can do a fairly non-invasive check. Maybe clip the sanitary area so they/you can see it better. You could also get a doggy diaper (heat shield) which is like panties for bitches inwhich you place a sanitary napkin in it and velcro or snap the panties on the bitch (it has a hole for the tail).

She sat down because she isn't ready to accept the dog, so please keep her away from any other dogs...if by chance it does happen and she does hook up, just get her spayed right away or you'll be whelping a litter in 60 days after the hook up. Good luck with this.
 

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Hi again,

Thanks Horseshoe. Yes, I assumed she sat down because she was not yet allowing a dog to mount her. The vet did blot her to check discharge and there was discharge, so this has been done and this sign of heat confirmed. I did also read that ultrasounds are not effective to determine if she is intact or not, as you mentioned, so I wasn't terribly surprised when this was not proposed as an option by my vet; even with humans I know they don't always show what is expected (I once had an ultrasound during which the technician was unable to "find" my ovaries, so I can imagine a similar scenario in another mammal). We will visit the groomer on Wednesday so she'll be clipped which will give us a better look as per your advice.

Unfortunately, while I understand your advice to keep her away from other dogs, it is simply not possible to keep her away from other dogs altogether, since, as I explained in my original post, we do not have a yard, so she must be taken out on a leash for a walk, even if it is just a short elimination break. She is never off-leash outside, though, so I am able to monitor her at all times. However, the really maddening thing is that although I am careful to only take her to places where leashes are required by law, some dog owners think the law doesn't apply to them! I can't do much about this of course. I do try to take her to places where I know people do not tend to walk their dogs, to lessen the risk.

We're calling the other vet first thing tomorrow so I hope we can have her set up for an appointment very soon. Until then, we're being super careful. It's the best we can do for right now.

Best,
mutt78
 

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JustTess, i hope you don't think my 1st comment was directed at you....it was directed at the vet that couldn't tell you if he was neutered or not....that, to a vet, should be apparent
I'm learning a lot about neutered dogs. LOL. I don't think the shelter even examined George when they said that mainly because it was a very large, high-kill shelter that was already overloaded. I wouldn't know the difference. :)
 

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I wouldn't know the difference. :)
Really? In dogs, it's very obvious. After a few looks at an intact male vs. a neutered male, I'm sure you could get the hang of it real fast. An intact dog has testicles between his back legs. A neutered dog doesn't. There ain't nothin' there! No mistaking it.

I once picked up a stray dog, and when we took her to get her shots, we asked the vet to check to see if she was spayed. The vet palpated her abdomen for like 10 minutes, and then said she couldn't tell. As we were paying, the dog was socializing with the receptionist, and was leaving blood spots everywhere. Doh! I suppose it was all that poking around that made the blood come out faster. And the the vet offered to test her for kidney problems because of the blood. . .really? Do they not teach vets about dogs in heat anymore (she was just out of vet school doing an internship)? Anyway, it wasn't as hard to keep her contained as I thought it would be. Not like a cat in heat! Although there was this young Lab who kept hanging around and wouldn't go away.
 

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I can tell in about 3 second if a male has been neutered. As for bitches.... Bring them by. My dog Merlin can tell if they are in heat instantly.
 

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I can tell in about 3 second if a male has been neutered. As for bitches.... Bring them by. My dog Merlin can tell if they are in heat instantly.
Here's your chance (and Merlin's) to see the Netherlands!
 

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When we got Coco, the "shelter" (I use this word loosely now that I know what kind of place it truly is) couldn't tell me if she was spayed or not. My vet palpated her tummy, right under the belly button, and felt scarified tissues under the skin. She made me touch so I could feel it: it felt like a rubber band, that's the best I can describe it. There was no visible scar on the skin though.
 
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