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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10922
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I have a female jack russel 14 years old this is her second

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I have a female jack russel 14 years old this is her second heat season had one in late feb and now for the last 3 weeks. This weekend has had discharge watery, discolored and leaving a pale light/ brown watery stain, no strong smell. i am concerned as although shes obviously on heat the discharge this time seems excessive to her normal heat and has lasted much longer. is this due to her age? Can i have her spayed at her age only I was told had to wait for 3 months after I am betting she she will be on heat before the 3 months is up. Also my dog is not happy at all being on heat, really miserable. Appreciate your time to answer me. Regards Lynne
Hello, Lynne. I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern about Molly but I can understand why you might be worried about her.

I do have a few additional questions to ask about her first, if you don't mind:

1. How often does she normally come into heat each year?
2. How long do her heats usually last?
3. Any change in thirst or urination habits?
4. Any vomiting or disinterest in food?

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.

Thanks for reply sorry laptop froze has to log off and back on.

usually on heat twice a year but the second one is not usually til september.

Molly has just gone off her regular food last night, but id bet she would eat steak!

Does not seem to to be drinking excess water rather she is drinking slightly less.

Last time she vomited was 1 week ago i put it down to hot day as we traveled 40 mins in car.

Not incontinent at all, but when shes in season does lots of little ones when on her walk which i thought was normal.

Doesn't seem to be in pain at all even when i touch her to see if any lumps anywhere.

Her vulva is still fairly enlarged.

Regards Lynne

Thanks for the additional informatoin about Molly.

I would be a little concerned that she's come into heat sooner than is normal for her (and for most dogs).

I have several thoughts about what could be causing this irregularity in her cycle as well as the increased duration:

1. She could have an ovarian cyst or even cancer, I'm sorry to say. This particular condition may be difficult to diagnose without an ultrasound but since you want to spay her anyway, a biopsy of the ovary would determine if this is the problem.

2. Pyometra (infection of the uterus) typically occurs after a heat cycle and the discharge is more cream colored. This condition can affect the kidneys which is why I asked about her thirst and urination. But I've seen some dogs develop this problem during estrus so they don't all read the text books and behave as expected.

3. Contact with estrogen creams, gels, sprays (human Hormone Replacement Therapy medications) etc. can cause a prolonged estrus in female dogs.

You could have a fair number of diagnostic tests done on her (x-rays, ultrasound, progesterone and estrogen levels) but if you know you want to spay her, then I'd discuss this with your vet. I'd want to run bloodwork first to evaluate her kidneys and liver and anemia status; I'd make sure she had an IV catheter in place with fluids during surgery; I'd want to attach an EKG and monitor her oxygen levels (fairly standard in most practices these days) .

She might be at a slightly increased risk if she has an ovarian tumor or cyst but we anesthetize older dogs in my practice all the time. While there are no guarantees, of course, if she's otherwise in good shape and healthy, then there's not a problem in most cases.

But, basically, I wouldn't consider this change in her pattern to be secondary to her age. Usually older females have fewer heat cycles, not more of them.

I hope this helps. Deb
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for reply, should i wait another week to see if this discharge stops? before taking her to the vets? or should i take her straight away and can i have her spayed asap or would we have to wait for the 3 months after heat cycle? if this is all it is. Although from your comments it seems there maybe more wrong with her and at her age i wouldn't want her to suffer more than need.

Regards Lynne

That's a tough question to answer.

If she continues to show disinterest in food or starts to develop other signs (such as increased thirst, urination, lethargy), then I wouldn't wait to have her seen.

I'm not sure how your vet will approach this situation since every vet is different: if they'll agree to spay her now, want to work her up for her unusual estrus or suggest you wait.
Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable waiting for three months, though.

If she's been fairly regular in her estrus cycles (twice a year like clockwork), it would be considered abnormal for her to come into heat again so soon and for it last longer than normal. There are only going to be a few possible explanations for this. Could she just be having an irregular cycle and it not be something a little more serious? Of course, that's always possible but the odds are that this isn't the case since she's 14.

Dr. Deb and 2 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Thanks for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

I hope you'll keep me posted about Molly; I'd like to know what happens with her.

Even though you've rated, we can still continue to communicate at no additional charge to you.

Best of luck with her. Regards, Deb

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