ASK THE VET
QOur eight year old Labrador has just had another heat about a fortnight ago. She usually is “on” for three weeks regular like clockwork every six months. Today she started bleeding again, and she is a bit swollen down there. Why should she come on so soon again?
AI agree with you Catherine that this is far from normal, even for a bitch not as regular as yours. Obviously, if she had been mated there would be the outside possibility this is a miscarriage. I am assuming she was not mated however as you don’t say she was.
Bleeding per vagina can of course be a normal heat/season, but there are other causes far more worrisome in an older entire bitch. I would suggest you see your vet urgently, as he/she will want to examine her firstly for any bleeding disorder, and then for signs that the bleeding is potentially from a diseased/abnormal womb or vagina.
Pyometra is a common and life-threatening infection of the womb which occurs often following a heat. In most bitches who are not spayed, the lining of the womb becomes thicker with age, and can develop cysts which fill with mucus naturally. If these cysts become infected, then a horrible womb infection can develop.
Many bitches with a pyometra develop a mild fever and malaise, and start to drink ferociously. This thirst can be the reason owners seek veterinary attention because sometimes the infection does not even drain at all and there is no external clue, until the wee dog collapses vomiting.
There is also a rare possibility of a cancer affecting the reproductive system which can bleed following a heat, after the surge of oestrogens causes the tumour to engorge and swell. Vaginal masses in particular are susceptible to this exacerbation by hormones. Many bitches also get a false pregnancy after a heat, but they do not usually bleed with that, although the vulva can be dramatically swollen.
Please don’t delay having a veterinary examination as an emergency hysterectomy will cure the problem if it is a pyometra, which must be the most likely of all I have discussed!