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Doctor H
Doctor H, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 299
Experience:  Have practiced small animal veterinary medicine in a large city for 5.5 years
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My of 4 years has suddenly started really going for my

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My bitch of 4 years has suddenly started really going for my mums dog - also a bitch. They have grown up together and never had a problem. This started on Sunday and its really nasty.

Doctor H :

Hi, this is Doctor H and I would be happy to assist you.

Doctor H :

Can you tell me what happens when they are together?

Customer: Hi. They don't live together but have been together everyday for years. There are 5 dogs in total. On Sinday evening Tilly went for Bella though I didn't see why. We had to separate them as they were really going mad. Thought it would all be forgotten but it was the same yesterday and even worse today.
Doctor H :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX please elaborate more on what happened between them? Tilly attacked? Attempted to bite? Were they observed during this time?

Customer: I'm not too sure but they were both n the living room and Tilly growled and snarled so I assumed she had a biscuit and then just attacked. They ended up drawing blood in the end. No food was involved though that's never been a problem before either. The only thing that has happened is that our cat died on Saturday. Surely this can't have been anything to do with it? Other than that nothing has changed at all. Very odd.
Doctor H :

What is Bella's age? Are either one of them in heat?

Customer: Bella has been spayed. She is 6. Tilly shouldn't be in heat as last one was in November. I have now booked her to be spayed on Thursday. She has been fine every other time she has been on heat though.
Doctor H :

Were they observed during any of this behavior Monday or Today?

Customer: Yes. They have been giving each other a wide berth and a bit of growling. This afternoon they were all in the garden with my mum and she just went for Bella again. Did the same this morning while they were getting ready to go out for their walk.
Doctor H :

What breed are Bella and Tilly? You said there were other dogs in the group, any of them similar in breed, sex, or appearance to Bella?

Customer: They are both Cairns this very different in size. Tilly much smaller. Then 2 Yorkie pups who are 8 months and 1 other mix of Westie and Maltese. These are all male. They aren't particularly similar.
Doctor H :

So bella is the largest?

Customer: She is
Doctor H :

Has Tilly shown any other aggression towards larger dogs or has she not been around any other ones?

Customer: She did live with a German Shepherd but n she isn't aggressive. Bella isn't huge compared to her - still a smallish dog and very laid back. They all walk twice a day and socialise with all sorts of other dogs.
Doctor H :

So she's been around other dogs that are larger within the time frame of the aggression towards bella

Customer: Yes
Customer: She is the second smallest in our pack and fine with others
Doctor H :


Doctor H :

It could be that she's going into heat pretty soon, but I wouldn't risk it.

Customer: Why would she be different this time round?
Doctor H :

This is likely behavioral but it could be medical, although that is less likely.

Customer: Ok so what now? Any suggestions
Doctor H :

There has to be a trigger to the aggression - it has to something that Bella is doing to trigger the aggression.

Customer: Yeah just can't understand what. She is obviously very wary and fights back but she doesn't start it.
Doctor H :

The place that you scheduled the spay - do they do pre anesthetic bloodwork beforehand?

Customer: Gosh no idea
Doctor H :

And your mom didn't observe any abnormal behavior prior to TIlly attacking her?

Doctor H :

Like you said, there was no food, Bella didn't appear to be guarding her, etc?

Customer: No we are both really upset by it and have been watching closely.
Customer: No nothing.
Doctor H :

Okay, normal behavioral triggers for aggression are going to be objects, food, people, and locations

Doctor H :

It could also be that since she's going into heat and Bella is female that Tilly is saying 'back off!' although less likely

Doctor H :

If she's going into heat*

Customer: They seem to be ok out walking. What ever it is can't be something new. Nothing has changed.
Doctor H :

Right but sometimes behavior issues start from subtle cues that are unapparent to us

Doctor H :

It's not uncommon for a dog to come in for a behavior issue at middle age.

Doctor H :

Basically I would recommend some bloodwork to include a thyroid level.

Doctor H :

They can tell you if she was on her way into heat or not after the surgery (or before, it the vulva appears enlarged)

Customer: Ok. Shall I chat to the vet and ask them to do that?
Doctor H :

I think it's a good idea. Tell him or her the same things you are telling me

Customer: I have had a look at she looks normal down there but I'm obviously not a vet
Doctor H :

Haha, I understand.

Customer: Ok will do thanks. Hoping this op may calm her down. Is that likely? Do dogs remember they are annoyed with each other or will it have to be triggered again?
Doctor H :

It depends, honestly. In the meantime keep them separated.

Doctor H :

Does this occur when your mom is giving one of them attention?

Customer: Haha yes tough if they kill each other that will solve the problem!!
Customer: No I don't think so.
Doctor H :

Okay. I mean really keep them separated. And after the spay invest in body harnesses (if you haven't already) and a 6' leash (I'm not sure what that is in meters, 1.5?) if you haven't done so already. Each one of you should have a good handle on them.

Doctor H :

Then slowly introduce and see how they do. If the aggression persists let me know.

Customer: Ok great thanks. How do I get hold of you?
Doctor H :

You can respond to this thread or start a new one and request me. I'll schedule a follow up e-mail.

Customer: That's lovely thank u.
Doctor H :

You're welcome, I hope it works out for all of you! Best of luck!

Customer: Great. Goodnight :-)
Doctor H :


Doctor H :

Also you need to close out the chat for me to send you a follow up, just let me know if you have any other questions.

Doctor H and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you