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Overproduction of Estrogen in Dogs

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Hyperestrogenism in Dogs

 

Estrogen -- a type of hormone -- is naturally produced in female dogs. It is responsible for normal sexual behavior and development, and the customary biological function of the female reproductive tract. Overproduction of estrogen can result in what is known as estrogen toxicity (hyperestrogenism). This can happen without any outside interference or it can occur when estrogens are being introduced artificially.

 

Estrogens sometimes cause abnormal (cystic) cells to line the uterus and this permits the invasion of bacteria from the vagina. The cervix is open during "heat," but if it is closed it can lead to a serious infection (pyometra). In addition, a concentration of estrogen can result in infertility, as well as an imbalance in the blood.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Weakness (lethargy)
  • Pale gums
  • Bleeding—skin, urine, stool, vomit
  • Fever
  • Persistent infections
  • Thinning of the hair
  • Female characteristics in males
  • Infertility
  • Prolonged estrus
  • Enlarged vulva
  • Enlarged teats in female
  • Decreased attraction to opposite sex
  • Excess attraction to opposite sex in females (nymphomania)
  • Bleeding from the vulva
  • Hair loss (alopecia)
  • Tumor on tail in male (stud dog tail)
  • Testicular mass in male
  • Testicular atrophy

 

Causes

 

  • Excessive production of estrogen
  • Administration of estrogen supplements
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Ovarian tumor
  • Testicular tumor

 

 

 

Diagnosis

 

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Bone marrow biopsy (aspirate)
  • X-ray of the abdomen
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • Thorough examination of testicles in intact males
  • Needle biopsy (aspiration) of testicular masses
  • Ultrasound-guided aspiration of ovarian cysts
  • Biopsy of lymph nodes
  • Skin biopsy to determine cause of hair loss

 

 

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