Our female setter Tess, had her first heat at 12 months. She was totally adorable during this time, the hormones making her even more affectionate and sweet than normal. But that's a side note. My question involves what happens next. Since her heat, her nipples and mammary glands have remained somewhat swollen. I'm quite certain she is not pregnant as we were extremely careful in keeping her and Josey, our intact male physically separated at all times. We put them both in crates if we were not home, and if we were home, one was always in a crate and both were under our direct supervision. (we had read they can even mate through a crate)
Anyway, I'm just wondering...
- how common are false pregnancies?
- how long after the heat would one see signs of a false pregnancy?
- anything else anyone can tell us that we don't even know to ask!
I've had dogs all my life, but never before have had intact animals. I grew up with the "spay-neuter" mantra and still believe in it for all the good reasons. The reason our male is intact is that he was potentially a valuable breeding dog. We never set out to have a stud dog, but sort ended up getting him from a good breeder and the Llewellin setter being a fairly rare breed, we were counseled by his breeder to keep options open. Its a long story, but suffice it to say that he was making the cut as far as hips and such, up until I had his thyroid checked and he came up positive for the auto-antibodies. Its a heritable condition so he's out of the running as far as I'm concerned. We may at this point neuter him.
As far as the female goes, we have never planned to let her have puppies, (leaving the breeding decisions to those who really know what they are doing) but we decided to let her mature fully before spaying, ie have one heat. There is a certain amount of information out there regarding skeletal development and so forth that counters the traditional benefits on reducing mammary cancer risk. Maybe we just wanted the challenge of handling a female in heat with an intact male in the house! LOL! It WAS an adventure for sure.
All this is to explain why I am clueless about intact females and what to expect after a heat. My understanding is we should wait a couple of months after the heat then get her spayed. So far about 3 weeks have elapsed.