Here is the second part of our blog on what I learnt during the 2014 SFT meeting that is of great interest for shelters (if you missed Part I, just click here). As I told you on the first post, there are always great presentations on canine and feline reproduction that are relevant for shelters as well during this congress. This was true on the first day’s sessions, and same thing on the second one! Here are 11 facts that are worth sharing in the shelter world!
About genital disorders in spayed bitches
#1: Genital disorders can occur in spayed bitches. One of the most common one is vaginitis, very often because of anatomical modifications of the vulvar area following spaying.
#2: Even if the bitch is spayed, if dealing with a chronic inflammation of the vagina for instance, don’t hesitate to perform a Brucella canis serology (disease which often leads to fertility-neonatal mortality issue in breeding bitches). Being spayed does not mean she could not contract the disease.
#3: Keep in mind that obesity can modify the perinea’s conformation, which can indeed favor the development of vaginitis. In case of persistent vaginitis, an overweight bitch will always benefit from weight loss for sure.
Ovarian remnants: always tricky!
#4: Ovarian remnants are not that uncommon in bitches. The presence of an ovarian remnant means that the spaying surgery did not remove all the ovarian tissue and there is still some of it inside the bitch. Typical clinical expression: the bitch is supposed to be spayed but she comes back into season at a given moment. In these bitches, heats can be observed weeks to years after the spaying has occurred.
#5: Ovarian remnants are usually more frequent in the feline species, because what we call “accessory ovarian tissue” (= tissues which act like a part of the ovaries and are able to produce the same kind of sex hormones). When this tissue is present, it is often found on the ovaries’ adjacent anatomical structures.
#6: Accessory ovarian tissue has however never been demonstrated in dogs to date.
#7: Removing ovarian tissues lead to hormonal modifications in the individual. If there is a remnant, this one is then predisposed to turn into tumor because of these modifications. Taking it out is therefore necessary.
#8: Not always easy to confirm the presence of an ovarian remnant in certain individuals, a very strict diagnostic work-up is required in these cases.
#9: Ultrasounds are great to use to detect remnant, but they are successful to reach a diagnosis in 50-75% of the cases.
#10: LH test (LH is a hormone produced by the brain which blood concentration is directly related to the presence of the ovaries) is a great tool to confirm if a bitch is spayed or not (see our previous post on this here).
#11: AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) is a test that is available to detect if there is still presence of ovarian tissue in a given individual. It is said to be “94% sensitive and specific” (in our language this means pretty good). Great tool then, but might turn out negative in case of small remnants.
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