Tuesday, October 01, 2013

My Dog has a Phantom Pregnancy?

Lola just turned 4 last week (she has the same birthday as I do... Sept 26th). She was in heat a couple of months ago. But just a few days ago.. her behaviour changed.
She has this horse soft toy I got her from Kohepets a long time ago. And she's never really paid much attention to it. But now, she takes it everywhere. And she finds little hiding places for horsie around the house.. like in the corner of the bombshelter, in the sliding cupboard under the guestroom bed.... places she never bothered to go to before.

It's almost like, she thinks Horsie is her baby and she's protecting it all the time. When we take horsie away from her (like to wash in the washing machine and then hang it out to dry)... she gets very agitated... pacing around the house, whimpering. Good thing is, she doesn't growl or get aggressive with us when we touch/take horsie.

She hardly eats her dog food. But other than that she looks okay, and is active throughout the day. 

In bed at night, while we are sleeping, I sometimes wake up just to check on Lola who sleeps next to me most of the night... and I often find her panting. Like breathing very hard. I've googled all these symptoms, and I think it's a false pregnancy! It should pass in a week or so.

David thinks it's so cute, the way she thinks horsie is her baby. But it's really very obsessive the way she is around horsie and also she's never been like this before. I'm worried that she is not well (in the head).

False pregnancies happen to dogs who are not spayed... usually occurs about 12 weeks after heat (I read). It's a hormonal imbalance. I've been considering getting Lola spayed for a couple of years now... but never really got down to it because.... she never had any problems with being in heat, in fact, sometimes we can't even tell she's in heat because she doesn't bleed much, she cleans up after herself so well and she's just an all-round well behaved and sweet dog.

I also worry that spaying her at 4yrs of age... is too late, and that it's more pain for her than benefit? I'm afraid that the trauma from the procedure will change her personality too... she's really just the sweetest dog.
Here's a pic my husband snapped with my phone, last night. LOL. Super unflattering pic of me in glasses, no make up and hair never comb... and chewing a mistrel choc in my mouth. And Lola by my side cuddling both horsie and teddy.

Have you had female dogs go through this false pregnancy thing before? Is it true that once it happens, it will happen every heat cycle? Should I spay her at 4 yrs? Are there really benefits to spaying (like a longer and cancer free life)? What do you think?

8 comments:

  1. Fay Lim3:51 pm

    No Holly, don't spay Lola. There's no concrete proof that spaying can lead to free cancer life for our furkids. I regretted spaying Kaikai when he was 1. After he was spayed, his character changed to be more aggressive than before and likes to throw tantrums.

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  2. Anonymous4:14 pm

    Hi holly I think you should. Speying decreases the risk of cancers and diseases such as pyometra. If you are not intending to breed from her then this is a very routine procedure that will cost you less than treating those diseases down the line. HOWEVER it will not decrease the chance of mammary cancer as that window needs to be used before Lola has her first heat (usually at six months of age). Now that she is four, despite a Spey, she will be at an equal risk of mammary cancer despite surgery.

    Other things to note is that: speying will decrease the risk of unwanted behaviors such as wandering, but will also slow down her metabolism so obesity is something to avoid. Seeing however as she is not a particularly fat dog, this may not be a worry and careful feeding and regular exercise should help this.
    Sorry I am a veterinarian and could not avoid he spiel!

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  3. Anonymous9:09 pm

    Hi Holly, you should get her spayed. My seven year old dog was unspayed. I thought the same way you did despite my vet constantly warning me about the risk of pyometra. We had to find out the hard way that it does affect quite a number of unspayed females. She was whimpering, lethargic and drank a lot of water. Brought her into the vet at first and was sent home with other meds for some other ailment but the symptoms persisted so when we brought her back again, the other vet correctly diagnosed that it was pyometra. We had to have emergency surgery on her as her uterus was really swollen with infection. Cost us a few thousand dollars. So yes, prevention is always better than cure. She's her usual self again and we no longer have to worry about the threat of pyometra which can go undetected till it's too late.

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  4. Anon 9.09 what your dog has gone through is exactly my fear! Thank you for sharing that with me.

    @ Fay lim - that's a worry too.. tht the behaviour will change :(

    @anon4.14- as of now, I'm more inclined to spay. Will wait a couple of weeks for her phantom pregnancy to clear first. And also need to convince husband.

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  5. So cute to see Lola with her toys! But do get Lola spayed. My sis' Jack Russell died when she was only aged 9. Before her painful death, her tummy area was bloated (we all thought she was getting fat), she lost her appetite and drank a lot of water instead. Putrid-smelling liquid was oozing out of her privates and she kept licking it away. My sis quickly brought her to the vet and the vet diagnosed it as pyometra. He commented that her womb was so infected that it was surprising it had not 'exploded' and killed her. My sis had her JR's womb removed although the chances of survival was small. Skippy (her JR) survived the surgery but after a brief week, she walked around my sis one noon, laid her face down on her feet then passed away.

    We have had dogs all our lives (and now I have bunnies and I got them sterilised too) and it's very painful when they pass away. It was extremely heart-wrenching to hear my sister sobbing over the phone when she called me from the vet's clinic. As a fellow dog-lover, I hope that you won't have to go through such a distressing experience.

    My sis had gotten a new JR and got her spayed; all seems normal with her - no strange or naughty behaviour! For bunnies - they become much more docile and have good litter habits after sterilisation because their hormonal rages are curbed. Prior to that, they were aggressive and peed everywhere!

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  6. So cute to see Lola with her toys! But do get Lola spayed. My sis' Jack Russell died when she was only aged 9. Before her painful death, her tummy area was bloated (we all thought she was getting fat), she lost her appetite and drank a lot of water instead. Putrid-smelling liquid was oozing out of her privates and she kept licking it away. My sis quickly brought her to the vet and the vet diagnosed it as pyometra. He commented that her womb was so infected that it was surprising it had not 'exploded' and killed her. My sis had her JR's womb removed although the chances of survival was small. Skippy (her JR) survived the surgery but after a brief week, she walked around my sis one noon, laid her face down on her feet then passed away.

    We have had dogs all our lives (and now I have bunnies and I got them sterilised too) and it's very painful when they pass away. It was extremely heart-wrenching to hear my sister sobbing over the phone when she called me from the vet's clinic. As a fellow dog-lover, I hope that you won't have to go through such a distressing experience.

    My sis had gotten a new JR and got her spayed; all seems normal with her - no strange or naughty behaviour! For bunnies - they become much more docile and have good litter habits after sterilisation because their hormonal rages are curbed. Prior to that, they were aggressive and peed everywhere!

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  7. Anonymous10:51 pm

    I'm a veterinarian as well and I don't see that many reproductive cancers but pyometras are a dime a dozen.
    Yes please get her fixed.

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  8. You have a feminine dog within the house and she or he isn't however castrated . Suddenly she starts acting lackadaisical and noisome. She has gained weight, is exhibiting duct gland enlargement and even started manufacturing milk. See more http://dogsaholic.com/care/identifying-false-pregnancy-in-dogs.html

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