VOSD Vet

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Estrus Symptoms after Spaying in Dogs

Ovarian Remnant Syndrome in Dogs

The surgical procedure involving the removal of the uterus and ovaries in female dogs is known as ovariohysterectomy. This surgery effectively stops subsequent estrus (heat) symptoms in the female. However, in some cases following an ovariohysterectomy, certain female dogs persist in displaying behavioral and/or physical signs associated with estrus. This typically occurs due to remnants of ovarian tissue left behind after surgery. If this residual tissue remains functional and continues hormone secretion, it leads to the manifestation of behavioral and/or physical estrus symptoms in the female dog. Such symptoms usually emerge shortly after the surgery and are not uncommon occurrences following an ovariohysterectomy.

Symptoms and Types

  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Attraction of male dogs
  • Passive interaction with male dogs
  • May permit sexual intercourse to occur

Causes

  • Incomplete removal of both ovaries during surgery
  • Presence of abnormal ovarian tissue
  • Supernumerary ovary (excessive number of ovaries – rare)

Diagnosis

To diagnose ovarian remnant syndrome in your dog, you will need to provide a detailed medical history including your dog’s overall health, the onset of symptoms, and the timing of the ovariohysterectomy. This history typically encompasses behavioral changes and signs of estrus that persist despite the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. Following a comprehensive history, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination. Standard laboratory tests such as complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis may be conducted, with results often falling within normal ranges.

More specific hormone tests may reveal elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone in your dog, indicating a hormonal imbalance post-surgery. Cytological examination of vaginal samples can assist in assessing the estrus status. Additionally, ultrasound may be employed to detect any residual ovarian tissue. However, in certain instances, abdominal surgery may be necessary to confirm the presence of ovarian remnants. If such remnants are identified, surgical removal can be performed during this procedure.

Treatment

Following a confirmed diagnosis, your veterinarian will discuss with you the option of a secondary surgical procedure to remove any remaining functional ovarian tissue.

Living and Management

The prognosis is typically very positive following the removal of residual ovarian tissue. Abnormal symptoms should resolve shortly after surgery.

Patients who undergo an ovariohysterectomy or subsequent surgery to eliminate remaining tissue will require pain relief for several days post-operation. In some cases, preventive antibiotics may be administered to reduce the risk of infection. Administer medications as directed and adhere to guidelines regarding nutrition and medication. Refrain from giving your dog any additional medications or supplements without consulting your veterinarian first.

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