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My dog has been spayed, but acts like she hasn't. Thoughts?


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Nov 21, 2011, 11:45pm   #1
lorihmatthews's Avatar
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Doberhuahua!
I adopted my Chi mix Zoe from my local Animal Control a little over 2 years ago. She was picked up as a stray. I was told that she had been spayed prior to being in the shelter. She is about 6 years old.

Zoe has always been a handful, but I love her to death, and would never, EVER take her back to the shelter. But I'm wondering if her behavioral issues have to do with a possible botched spay.

She goes through what one vet has told me is a "false heat." Her girl parts get enlarged, and although she doesn't have what I can see as a full cycle, she might emit a drop of blood here and there. This happens a few times a year.

She also lactates a little bit, marks indoors, and has always had an aggression problem with other dogs. I literally cannot walk on the same side of the street with any other dog as she will lunge, growl and bark at them. It does not make for fun walks for either of us. I have spent several thousand dollars on trainers and although she has improved a certain amount, it is still pretty bad.

The vet that I first took her to said that he would have to run a bunch of tests to determine if in fact there is still ovarian tissue that wasn't removed, and then he would have to do exploratory surgery, which would cost me about $3,000.

He said that she is not in any pain and her issues are not a detriment to her health. In all honesty I don't feel like I can drop $3,000 on her right now.

I'm thinking of getting a second opinion with another vet that I think I like better. I'm guessing that no matter what, it would involve surgery. However ... if I can eliminate all of her undesirable behaviors, that would be a total bonus.

Has anyone ever been in this situation? Can any vets out there provide some insight?
Nov 22, 2011, 1:09pm   #2
lizavet8's Avatar
"Ruffian"
Lori- No one in the household is using estrogen creams or taking estroen supplements the dog could have access to, are they? This can cause heat-like signs in dogs.

You MAY ant to see another vet- a cheap and effective way of tellng if this animal is in heat (actual heat!) is to wait for her to begin spotting, then do a simple swab of the vagina-the cells they examine from that swab should be very telling. Depending on where you live,an abdominal exploratory could get expensive....bu 3k does sem like a lot.
Nov 22, 2011, 1:23pm   #3
lorihmatthews's Avatar
Thread Starter
Doberhuahua!
Originally Posted by lizavet8
Lori- No one in the household is using estrogen creams or taking estroen supplements the dog could have access to, are they? This can cause heat-like signs in dogs.

You MAY ant to see another vet- a cheap and effective way of tellng if this animal is in heat (actual heat!) is to wait for her to begin spotting, then do a simple swab of the vagina-the cells they examine from that swab should be very telling. Depending on where you live,an abdominal exploratory could get expensive....bu 3k does sem like a lot.
Thanks for writing ... I live alone and I don't take anything with estrogen in it. In fact, I don't take any medication at all.

I like your swab idea -- I will try that next time I see her spotting (which will probably be at least a few months).

I live in San Francisco, so yes, it is expensive here, but I really don't want to pay $3K for her unless her health is in danger, which apparently it isn't. But like I said, if the problem can be remedied, and it improves her quality of life (and mine too!) then I will seriously consider exploratory surgery.
Nov 22, 2011, 1:29pm   #4
miss alice's Avatar
Dogs Rule!!
so sorry to hear this....can you contact the shelter you got her from, do they have her medical records? perhaps you can find out who did her spay and ask that doctor?

Or, is there a dog forum you can join? there are a wealth of information on dogs... 3K is ALOT IMO also....

you are such a great furmomy!! ((HUGS))
Nov 22, 2011, 1:47pm   #5
lizavet8's Avatar
"Ruffian"
Yikes, San Francisco....that does make sense!
Nov 22, 2011, 2:00pm   #6
lorihmatthews's Avatar
Thread Starter
Doberhuahua!
Originally Posted by miss alice
so sorry to hear this....can you contact the shelter you got her from, do they have her medical records? perhaps you can find out who did her spay and ask that doctor?

Or, is there a dog forum you can join? there are a wealth of information on dogs... 3K is ALOT IMO also....

you are such a great furmomy!! ((HUGS))
Sadly, there are no medical records on her as she was picked up as a stray. And she's not comfortable talking about her past.

A dog forum is a good idea!
Nov 22, 2011, 2:01pm   #7
lorihmatthews's Avatar
Thread Starter
Doberhuahua!
Originally Posted by lizavet8
Yikes, San Francisco....that does make sense!
Yep, it's not cheap here ... although I do have pet insurance, I should call them and ask if something like this would be covered.
Nov 22, 2011, 2:07pm   #8
lizavet8's Avatar
"Ruffian"
They will probably call it a pre-exist, but absolutely worth a try. Which insurance do you have/ Are you pleased with it?
Nov 22, 2011, 3:41pm   #9
lorihmatthews's Avatar
Thread Starter
Doberhuahua!
Originally Posted by lizavet8
They will probably call it a pre-exist, but absolutely worth a try. Which insurance do you have/ Are you pleased with it?
You're right, I didn't think of that. I have VPI. They're kind of lame for routine stuff (exams/shots), but for illness/surgery/catastrophic things I think they're great. I wish I had them when my previous cat was alive and she developed cancer ... that was over $8K in vet bills and in the end I had to put her down anyway.
Nov 22, 2011, 8:03pm   #10
buzzytoes's Avatar
Dog Chauffeur
Why is it so much more to do exploratory surgery than to do an actual spay? I mean it's opening up the same parts is it not?? Can you tell if she actually has a spay scar??
Nov 22, 2011, 8:48pm   #11
lorihmatthews's Avatar
Thread Starter
Doberhuahua!
Originally Posted by buzzytoes
Why is it so much more to do exploratory surgery than to do an actual spay? I mean it's opening up the same parts is it not?? Can you tell if she actually has a spay scar??
The exploratory surgery can be tricky because they will be looking for ovarian tissue that wasn't removed properly with her initial spay. Also, she might have scar tissue which would make it more complicated. I can't tell if she has a spay scar, but apparently that's common.
Nov 23, 2011, 12:53pm   #12
lizavet8's Avatar
"Ruffian"
I think Buzzytoes has a good question. I think people underestimate what a spay is...it's major abdominal surgery with organ removal! It's such a routine procedure, we tend to think of it as just a spay.......but an exploratory could certainly take longer, looking for that bit of left-behind tissue. However.....I don't think it's justified at 10x the price!

And yes, lots of times we can se a scar.....but it could be some other abdominal surgery (a c-section?!?)
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