Early heat

My B started spotting at 4.5 months.

At first we (my g/f and I, "co-owners") were skeptical about the blood being from her first heat. We took her into the vet who swabbed her and tested for "a change in the cells that would indicate she's in heat" which none was discovered, though she cautioned that the test was just a confirmation and it could be negative all while she's still in heat…as if she's in a sort of "pre-heat" where she has the symptoms but isn't full into heat yet. This test was done 3 days after the first spotting. A urinalysis came back clear, too. She has otherwise been very healthy, she was Fanconi tested, so were her parents who also had hip tests. She suddenly got very picky about food and a little lethargic as soon as the spotting started, which the vet said would be expected for a heat. It's been 3 weeks now, and our wood floors look like a paper cut battlefield and every blanket she's ever used looks like a person with a bloody nose has been sleeping on it routinely. She's still picky about dry food but wet food and raw freeze dried food gets her appetite going (originally feeding her dry Orijen puppy and red-meat food). On the original visit for the spotting with the testing, the vet said call her in a week if the spotting is still happening. We did and she just said it must be her heat. That was kind of disappointing, we were hoping to get her in again for re-testing (to try and get a positive on the cell change that indicates maturity) but the vet seemed more easily convinced than us and as new pet owners we tend to want to side with her (highly respected vet). We figure if the bleeding last beyond 30 days, then we'd definitely take her back in.

Now for the questions:
Is there anything this could possible be other than a first heat?
Is a heat this early highly unusual? Are there any negatives to such an early heat that we need to know about? Is there anything in general we need to know about this situation/these circumstances? How will this effect her development if, to be spayed after her first heat (an early heat, if that matters)?

We were going to get her spayed at 6 months (just before expected first heat) per our vets recommendations....well obviously that's off the table for a few weeks, correct!? The vet said she'll spay her when she's done with this first heat. Does this sound right?

Thanks for any input!

have you asked your breeder if this is normal for dogs from her line?

Unfortunately my girlfriend is the one who has dealt with the breeder, and my girlfriend isn't quite a thorough as I'd like. But yes, she asked the breeder about it and she replied that "Basenjis all over are going into heat early". I'm not sure what she even meant by that but my girlfriend is a somewhat naive, overly trusting person so she was content with that explanation. Our breeder has otherwise been awesome and my g/f has spoken with her via phone about once a month for the 2.5 months we'd had her and more often via e-mail. Next time she calls I'm going to have her ask if Juniper's lone sister or any other family also had early heats…and to explain what the heck she meant by her original comment. But I have a feeling the answer will be yes, that this is not a lone event so to speak. Otherwise I can't imagine what she meant of her original comments.

Juniper seems to be "marking" but only outside where male dogs have urinated presumably. When she catches the scent she likes she'll refuse to keep walking (even though we have her pretty well leashed trained, she knows she can just lay down and I won't drag her, she'll even treat treats like they don't exist or smell at all) so she can sniff the ground way more than she normally would and after 5-10 seconds she'll either take the shortest pee ever then back to sniffing, OR she'll do this sort of walking pee that looks terribly goofy. She only does these sorts of pees on walks, not in the yard where there is a definite absence of male canine urine.

I'm guessing this all points to her being in heat!? That is, beyond her spotting on everything she's sat on for the last three weeks!!! I just wouldn't know sexual maturity behavior beyond what I'm reading online…this is my first real pet as a (young) adult, hence why I'm here seeking counsel. It's the fact that it's all happening so early that scares me. Jeeze I sound like a parent!

Thanks again for any input/advice!

Sounds like she is in season(heat). You can buy doggy diapers at a pet store then use a disposable liner so there isn't blood drops everywhere in your house. They get funny when they go into heat, their temperaments change, they get moody and fussy. She should almost be out of season if she has been like this for three weeks already. She'll be back to er old self in no time!

We were actually just introducing her to the dog park and had taken her about a half-dozen times before this started up, so it's been sad to have to stop that. We already got her a diaper because when we visit our parents we take her and while we have only hardwood they have some carpet. We don't use it at home because our couch which we allow her on is leather and we can wash everything else including the hardwood floors, blankets, etc. Also, my g/f's parents have a neutered male Basenji but we didn't want him to get any ideas so the diaper kept him from sniffing her hindquarters as much as I bet he would have liked and more interested in playing back at her, boy can two Basenjis play like a tornado spins!

4.5 months is a bit early, but not unheard of. Who is her breeder, if you don't mind sharing. Many of us are related by our Basenjis. Also, I think what the breeder was referring to is that Basenjis usually all come in about the same time every year… and this year, seems that many are coming in way earlier than usual... Season lasts for 30 days, by the last week, the bleeding is much, much less.... but even after the 30 days, you can still see spotting every now and again for a week or two.

Also, since she is 4.5 months, she is teething along with being in season so not surprising that she is a bet fussy about food... and many times they seem to forget about house training when teething.

Interesting…her breeder is TarSha Basenjis/Tari Parish. Your explanation, tanza, of many B's heats coming early this year, sounds like what Tari was likely referring to...I know she's very much in touch with other breeders and the forever homes of her pups and she also has bitches for breeding so she would know about trends like this.

Speaking of teething, the only other health concern we've had is that Juniper recently started clicking and clacking her teeth at seemingly random times...it sounds like she' popping her jaw like humans do but I really doubt that and given the impressive set of chompers she's still growing I want to believe it's just something she's doing because of the teething. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks for the replies thus far, everyone!

Hi, just wanted to say hope your little girl gets through her heat soon, poor thing with teething as well. Pets are good practice for parenting. My Kaiser got through teething really well only had some fuss when his teeth were really loose and felt awkward or he got banged in the mouth at the dog park, just made sure he had plenty to chew, can't remember him popping his jaw(son does it so know what you mean). Sorry can't help further.

Jolanda and Kaiser

@Coloradical:

Interesting…her breeder is TarSha Basenjis/Tari Parish. Your explanation, tanza, of many B's heats coming early this year, sounds like what Tari was likely referring to...I know she's very much in touch with other breeders and the forever homes of her pups and she also has bitches for breeding so she would know about trends like this.

Speaking of teething, the only other health concern we've had is that Juniper recently started clicking and clacking her teeth at seemingly random times...it sounds like she' popping her jaw like humans do but I really doubt that and given the impressive set of chompers she's still growing I want to believe it's just something she's doing because of the teething. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks for the replies thus far, everyone!

Is this when she is or after smelling other pee on the gounds? If so, totally normal… if in or close to being in season or could be that she is one that "needs".. my Franie does this to blankets... like what many of us refer to as "de-fleeing"...... or could be just a teething thing

I had one who would come in every July, then again in Oct, do not be surprised if she has another heat in the fall.

There are pros and cons to early spaying, and more and more I am coming to believe that we should stop blanket neutering of young animals and do it only in homes that cannot manage intact animals. So please don't worry about not having her spayed before her first heat. I wouldn't rush in to spay her after… wait til closer to the fall if you can to give her time to mature, hormones time to do what they are supposed to.

I've just went through my 1st heat with Zsa Zsa, whom I adopted from a family, and she is my 1st female and the blood spotting was a first for me (don't want to go through with it again). It started a week after she came home with us (1st week of June) and before my vet could sterilize her. I've been told to wait until the end of August before scheduling the operation. I also though it was early to have a 1st heat (her whelp/b-day is 12/27/12 as per her CKC papers, her breeders are Aziza & Eldorado) …

All this to say that you have my moral support..

We had Juniper spayed about a month ago at 8 months old. Everything went well and her scar is almost healed…thankfully she doesn't seem to have lost any of her zeal! The vet said her sex organs looked as developed as a 3 y/o dog and it was they were the most mature looking sex organs he'd ever seen in 20 years of spaying and neutering. Believe it or not she went into a false labor after the spaying; about a week after the surgery her teats swelled up and when we took her to the vet he apparently squeezed out some milk! She was acting fairly normal but it was just as odd as it sounds! The vet said its rare but it can happen after a spaying because the hormone changes are similar to that of post-delivery. I did some research online and apparently false labors are common among wild wolves where the non-pregnant females will go into a false labor to provide milk and nurturing for offspring in the pack that are not their own.

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