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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10853
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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Hi there, I have an eight month old Westie and she is having

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Hi there,
I have an eight month old Westie and she is having her first season.
The bleeding seems excessive abs I'm worried about her.
Also not sure what to expect during a season

Hello Mhairi. I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I can understand your concern about Bracken if you've never had a female in heat before.
I do have a few questions to ask about her first if you don't mind:

1. How long has she been bleeding?
2. What color is the discharge?
3. I know it may be difficult to quantify, but how much discharge is she producing?
4. Is she otherwise acting fine?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, she has been bleeding since at least last night, very fresh looking blood and she has been off colour and not like herself for several days

Thanks for the additional information.

It's possible that she was in heat a few days before the discharge developed although it doesn't particularly matter if that's the case. A dog's cycle is broken into various phases:
Proestrus, estrus and then diestrus. She most likely would be in proestrus if you've just noticed her bleeding. Let me go through each phase so you'll know what to expect:

Usually this phase is associated with varying quantities of a bloody vaginal discharge...and the blood can look quite red and fresh (as you are seeing). The volume most definitely can vary from female to female; some produce a fair amount while others barely produce any blood or just a few drops of it. Since many females will also lick their vulvas in an attempt to keep themselves clean, it can often be difficult to quantify the amount of blood produced.

The vulva slowly increases in size throughout this phase of the cycle.

In terms of behavior, many females will become more playful (although this may be hard to determine since she's still so young). Some dogs will become grumpy and not want to interact with their families in quite the same way as they did before they were in heat. Again, there's a great deal of variability about this from one female to the next.

Proestrus can last anywhere from 6-11 days with an average of 9 days for most females.


In some, but not all dogs, the vaginal discharge fades or reduces significantly in volume. It may change in color to a more straw-colored or clear color.
The vulva remains swollen.
In terms of behavior, if there's a male around, then they may try to mount the female and she would be receptive to him (which would not be the case in proestrus).
Some females will go off their food during this phase and can remain out of sorts.
Estrus typically lasts about 5-9 days although it can vary quite a bit between females.

This is when females are out of heat. Vaginal discharge is no longer present and females are no longer interested in males.
The vulva will slowly decrease in size.
Behavioral changes (if present) usually return to normal.

It sounds as if the amount of blood that you're seeing is normal for a female in heat and that her behavioral changes could also be consistent with it.
But, having said that, dogs can have more than one issue going on at one time. I might take her temperature since a female in heat should not be running a fever. Normal is between 100 and 102.5. If it's elevated, then there may be something else going on with her which would explain her being "off".

I hope this helps. Deb

Dr. Deb and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thanks so much for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

And, best of luck with Bracken as she continues through her first heat cycle. Regards, Deb

Kindly ignore the information request.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks so much

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello again.

I wonder if you can continue to help me, Bracken is bleeidng really badly still, I would say as much as a human and given she is only a tiny little Westie, I am worried that there is someething more wrong

It's hard for me to know for sure if the amount of discharge you're seeing is worrisome or not since there is such a great deal of variability between dogs during the different phases of their cycle. I suppose it's possible that she has a cystic ovary which might cause her to produce more blood at this time but it would be fairly unusual in a dog this age.
And, other causes of bleeding might be decreased platelets or clotting issues but bloodwork would need to be done to detect such an issue.

But, things you can monitor are the following:

1. Gum color should be pale pink, not white; if the latter, then a vet visit may be prudent.
2. Gums should feel moist not dry or tacky.
3. Does she have her normal amount of energy or is she quite sluggish or lethargic? If the latter, then a vet visit might be a good idea.
4. Appetite may be difficult to assess since some dogs don't eat as much when they are in season.

If you do have her seen, then a CBC (complete blood count) would be advised to determine if she's anemic and her platelet value. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was delighted with the service, Just pressed the wrong button

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I was delighted work the answer, just pressed the wrong button

No worries:) I'll let the site know:) Deb