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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19836
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My Shih Tzu, 5, has a slight estrus when she was 9 mos. For

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My Shih Tzu, 5, has a slight estrus when she was 9 mos. For 5 years she's had nothing. For the past month she's been spotting. I'm concerned
Hi Sir or Madam,.My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. .In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient. .When you say she hasn't had a heat cycle in 5 years are you basing that on not seeing any bloody discharge?Has she been around male dogs that might become interested in her if she did go into heat?Has she had excessive shedding at all during her life?Have you ever discussed her lack of heat cycle with the vet?Is she eating normally (for her)?Any vomiting or diarrhea?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry for the delay, computer acting up.

Abby is not vomiting nor does she have diarrhea. She eats only what she likes. For instance when I made chicken soup yesterday, she ate the meat and veggies.

Any other questions?

Yes. That was only only a couple of the questions I asked. If you could tell me about her lack of heat cycle.

When you say she hasn't had a heat cycle in 5 years are you basing that on not seeing any bloody discharge?
Has she been around male dogs that might become interested in her if she had gone into heat?
Has she had excessive shedding at all during her life?
Have you ever discussed her lack of heat cycle with the vet?
If so, what was his response?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No not around any male dogs. My question is why haven't I seen any kind of discharge for those years and now it has lasted a month or so?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No excess shedding at all.


Many times a dog will not have enough of a discharge to indicate a heat cycle. Additionally dogs frequently will lick themselves and keep the area clean so there is no blood. None of my females have a bloody discharge that is visible due to keeping themselves clean and I have 4 rottweilers. Typically when a dog is in heat, there will be swelling of the vulva though it might be slight. So basically what I'm saying is that your dog might have been having heat cycles if you were only going by the lack of blood show.
On to the question. Dogs can have abnormal heat cycles where they will have an extended proestrus which means there might be spotting for a longer period of time. You can read about abnormal heat cycles here:
Additional, hypothyroidism can cause a dog not to have heat cycles. You can read about this here:
However prolonged spotting can also indicate a uterine infection called pyometra. Pyometra generally occurs 60-70 days after a heat cycle. It is usually seen in older unspayed females but can be seen in any age. It is diagnosed by ultrasound showing fluid in the uterus. There are two types of Pyometra (open and closed cervix) Symptoms of open cervix Pyometra are a vaginal discharge that may be pus or bloody, lethargy, anorexia, increased thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhea, and abdominal swelling though the dog remains fairly healthy due to the infection draining from the body. Closed cervix Pyometra symptoms are the same without much of a discharge, they appear very ill, there is usually weight loss and abdominal swelling and is much more extreme. Dehydration, shock and death can occur if not treated aggressively. You can read more on this here:


Since open cervic pyometra allows the infection to drain from the body, your dog may not be experiencing all the symptoms of pyometra. Also if she has always been a picky eater, it might be difficult to determineif if there is a further lack of appetite.


Dogs can also bleed from the urethra, but if she was having blood from the urethra, I would have expected in increase in urination and thirst as well. You will need to go ahead and use a white tissue and blot the area to ensure it is coming from the vulva and not the urethra or rectal area. I do think it is from the vulva, but you should check to be positive.


If it is from the vulva, you will need to have her seen by your vet so he can determine if it is an abnormal heat cycle or if she is starting with pyometra. Pyometra is best caught early. Caught early, antibiotics might be effective at treating it, however, spaying is the recommended treatment since removing the infected uterus helps get the infection out quickly.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions about this, please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


Jane Lefler and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you so much. I've made an appt. with a vet. Although I've been leaning toward holistic approaches. I've never fed her anything other than that without additives or by products. Again, thank you.