It is normal for a bitch to come into season at around 6 months of age (although this can vary from 4-14 months depending on the breed). The season usually consists of 2 parts and lasts in total for about 3 weeks. The first part lasts around 10 days and will involve her vulva swelling up and also developing a bloody discharge. At the end of this, the bleeding stops and oestrus occurs. She is now ready for mating. This next part lasts again for around 10 days when she will stand for a dog and potentially get pregnant.
It is very important when you are walking your bitch when she is in season to keep her under very close control. She will only have one thing on her mind, as will any entire dogs in the area!
It is not uncommon for bitches to develop false pregnancies 6-8 weeks after their season when they may start nesting, or start to produce milk. Occasionally their temperament may change a little.
Some older bitches can develop a pyometra a few weeks after their season. This is a womb infection and they often develop the following signs, increased thirst, enlarged abdomen and lethargy. This is potentially a fatal condition and veterinary attention should be sought as soon as possible
Neutering is the removal of the womb and ovaries under a general anaesthetic. Some of the benefits include:
- prevents her coming into season for 3 weeks every 6 months
- prevents unwanted pregnancies
- prevents pyometa
If done before her 2nd season it gives a great protective effect against her developing mammary cancer.
We suggest neutering is done 2-3 months after a season. Full details and information can be obtained by phoning the surgery and having a chat with one of the vets or nurses.