2003 Case: Nymphomania in
the female dog - Hyperestrogenism?
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Case written: 6 March 2003
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Heads turned when she walked into the veterinary surgery.
the four males gravitated towards her wanting to make friends
with her. Mr Chan held her
up high as he was worried about his constant companion.
males could not tear themselves away from her. They had big
rolling eyes and looked at her in a non-threatening way, a
romantic sort of interest.
She was nonchalant, unfazed by the attention of males, as if
she was the princess used to such adulation of the opposite
sex and the jealousies and envies of her gender.
"Why is your bitch panting?" I asked Mr Chan as the
Silkie put out her tongue and breathed very fast, as if she
had sprinted hard. "Is she always panting at home
too?" The middle-aged Silkie Terrier was brought in
for her annual vaccination and if she was panting, she might
be having a fever or was not well and therefore was not
fit to be vaccinated.
Mr Chan said. This was a good looking blonde Silkie. If four male dogs at the Surgery were interested in her, she
must be on heat and emitting an attractive smell which
make male dogs refusing to go away and their owners were
rather upset as well.
I quickly closed the consultation room
The bitch was never pregnant but her nipples were much longer
those of a maiden bitch. As if she had been pregnant and
had nursed puppies.
I continued the examination.
"Beware of her, she bites sometimes when she is
moody." Mr Chan cautioned me.
Never judge a book by the cover. She looked like a very nice
lovable cute Silkie terrier bitch. She was quiet during
examination. No ovarian tumours or cysts large enough to be
felt as I pressed my fingers against her slim abdomen.
I said: "The
vulval lips were too swollen, around twenty times
larger than normal. It is not normal and this was a sign of
an excessive production of the feminising hormones by the
ovaries. The medical name was hyperestrogenism and it is
more common in middle-aged to old dogs."
hair around the lower thighs and vulval area thins out, as a
result of hyperestrogenism.
"What will be the effects on her health?" Mr Chan
"She may have prolonged episodes of vaginal bleeding but
you may not notice this as she licks off the blood, being a
clean bitch. Continual bleeding will lead to loss of blood and
then anaemia. The bitch will feel tired and short of
breath on the slightest exertion. In addition, she produces
pheromones which are naturally occurring chemicals. These elicit sexual behaviors and
attract the opposite sex. Pheromones are detected by the Vomeronasal Organ
in the Nasal Pit directly under the nose. When the Organ receives a pheromone
scent, it sends a message to the brain that creates a subconscious increase in sexual desire."
"What is the solution?"
"One way is to remove the cystic
ovaries or functional ovarian tumour such as granulosa-theca
cell tumour. This will stop the excessive production of
the feminizing sex hormones such as estradiol, estriol and
estrone. These hormones are produced by the ovary,
testes (in the male dog), adrenal cortex and by the peripheral
conversion of precursor hormones and affect the skin (failure
of hair to grow after clipping, bilateral, symmetrical
alopecia beginning at the flank and perineum), urogenital
tract (enlarged vulva, blood in the urine) and the
haematopoietic system, causing bone marrow suppression and
"Does this mean that my bitch is a nymphomaniac? Do
male dogs suffer from hyperestrogenism and mounts all dogs all
the time too?" Mr Chan asked.
"Your bitch may or may not be a nymphomaniac, depending
on the amount of the endogenous hormones produced. Yes,
Male dogs with tumours in the testicles such as the Sertoli
cell tumour, a seminoma or interstitial cell tumour, small
atrophied testicles, cryptorchidism pendulous prepuce." I
said although I doubt Mr Chan understood all these medical
"Removal of the ovaries will lead to a reduction of
female hormone production. This was also not good for the
bitch. Would she then be in premature menopause?" Mr Chan
said. "There is another medical condition. She has a "cherry" eye
on the left eye. This is an enlarged protruding eyelid gland
at the inner corner of the eye blocking the flow of tears into
the nose. She may need an operation to
remove or tuck in the gland."
An annual veterinary examination at least told Mr Chan what's
was the health status of his companion.
Mr Chan just wanted to
vaccinate his dog and would wait for some time before deciding
on what to do. The bitch appeared normal and therefore
there was no urgency for surgery.
The Port of Singapore Authority had
retrenched hundreds of employees and the Housing Development
Board wants to retrench around 900 employees. Manufacturing firms had closed down and
relocated to China, Malaysia and Indonesia where the cost of
rentals and labour are at least ten times lower. It was gloom
and doom in many families in Singapore. Therefore, it was
important to preserve cash as he did not know when he would be
retrenched in the private company he was working.
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