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American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Topical Hormone Replacement Affecting Pets

Spayed dogs and young female puppies are showing up in veterinary exam rooms with markedly swollen vulvas as if they are in heat. Male dogs present with enlarged mammary glands and abnormally small penises. Animals of both genders experience fur loss.

The phenomenon frequently stumps veterinary practitioners; sometimes patients go undiagnosed for weeks or months because clinicians don’t recognize the connection. Medical doctors in the human realm likewise are unfamiliar with the situation, a Veterinary Information Network (VIN) News Service inquiry found.

The problem appears to stem from the use by pet owners of hormone replacement treatments in the form of lotions, gels or sprays that are applied to the arms — especially inner elbows and wrists — or legs. The users then handle and snuggle their animals, unwittingly transferring the drug to the pets.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance also may occur in pets that ingest the medications, either by licking where product was applied or eating an improperly stored or discarded transdermal patch or similar item. *VIN News

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