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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Changing with the seasons


My name is Louise I have four dogs of different breeds, German Shepherd bitch 10 years, Patterdale male 8 years, mini Jack Russell bitch 3 years, Parsons Jack Russell bitch 2.5 years.

I run a boarding kennels, and over Christmas had the Parsons Jack Russell in for boarding. On the owners' return they told me they were going to just take her to a rehoming centre. They had got her from some sort of puppy farm, where she was kept in a stable, for the son who had left school and wasn't going out. They thought they would their son a dog to give him something to do and get him out of the house. That was fine until he started college and got a girlfriend; he then wasn't bothered with the dog, who suffers from separation anxiety, so once everyone was out she was barking non-stop and weeing and pooing everywhere so they decided to get rid.

When she was in my kennels she was a nervous, under-nourished, under-fed dog of under 6 kilos. I agreed to find her a home as I knew she would be hard to place in a rescue centre and would be in danger of being destroyed as people do not understand the time and commitment of separation anxiety.

She wasn't coping with the kennel life and was self-harming, so my partner and I decided as I had been socialising her with my three dogs at work she could come home as a foster dog. Well, she fitted in like she had always been there! The two Jack Russells cuddled up like cats, all of them best of friends.

Once she had been fed properly, nourished and put on some weight, she came into season. The owner said she had been spayed but we had our reservations, and we now know she had not been spayed. Well, it's like a switch had been flicked. She has turned into a monster to the other Jack Russell she was such good friends with before. She has now been in season seven weeks, and we have taken precautions to keep them separated with cages for the short time I have to do things. Then, when she is out, I keep her on a lead and muzzled, as at sight of my other Jack Russell she is going for the kill - she would rip her apart if she got hold of her. She did attack the other one twice when she first came into season.

The vet has now said we should spay her early this Friday 3rd May, but I have been reading up so much on this, and in the book I read it is best to avoid spaying bitches for two months after estrus. It says spaying during this time can result in a precipitous drop in progesterone levels with possible accompanying emotional disturbances, irritability aggression and depression. So I am now concerned as to whether this is going so solve the problem, or as to whether we will have to let her go, as this is not an option we want to do we really want to give her every chance as before this happened she was the most loving beautiful soft girl to all.

Hope you can help I'm at my wits end, with what is the best decision.


Louise Bramhall, by email

Karen Wild, behaviourist, advises...

Hi Louise, 

Whilst this is a veterinary question, from a behavioural point of view there is concern that to spay a dog during this period may prolong the problem. Each case must be looked at individually and perhaps there are temporary measures that can help whilst things are settling down. I would recommend asking for referral to a Veterinary Behaviourist without delay, who specializes in these problems. Please either email me on or contact the APBC ( ) for someone in your area.

1 comment:

  1. Christine Bailey30 April 2013 at 08:17

    What I find most concerning here is the fact that the dog has been in season for seven weeks; that is surely not normal. I think you do need a second opinion, and if the vets suggest spaying now as the best option, I reckon I would go with that, as there may be good reason. BTW have you thought about a keyhole spay, if that is possible in her case; apparently much less stressful and quicker healing.