View Full Version : Determining Age on a Young Rescue

14th September 2011, 12:47 AM
Our shelter has received a lovely stray Cavalier girl whom I very much hope to adopt if nobody comes to claim her. I'm a longtime Cavalier lover (have been lurking on this forum for a couple years, actually) who has been waiting for years for the right Cavalier to come into my life.

This little gal has all her adult teeth, although they're pearly-white, the hair on her ears hasn't fully grown in, and she's in heat in a major way. At what age do Cavalier pups typically have their first heat? Is it 6 months, or more like 9? (Based on her teeth, I'd personally guess her at about 9 months but wanted to check with the more Cav-savvy folks here.) Thanks!

14th September 2011, 12:52 AM
9-ish months or older would be far more likely than 6 for a first heat. If all adult teeth are in, she is at least 6 months old.Hair on ears may not indicate too much -- on some it grows quite slowly. If you have a pic we could give a better guess. A vet will likely be able to tell you whether she is under or older than a year but almost certainly she will be at least around 9 months. Best of luck in getting her!

14th September 2011, 02:17 AM
My females went into heat at 7 & 8 months

14th September 2011, 12:03 PM
I am not sure what the shelter's policies and approach is, but if you do get her, I would want to immediately get her to a vet to give the injection to prevent any potential pregnancy. She would be very young and thus at higher risk if she turns out to be pregnant, and given that there is no idea who the father might be–and it might be a much larger breed -- this could actually be a quite serious concern.

When I was helping out in general rescue and went into the pounds regularly, sadly far too often the females that came in were in heat (mirroring the fact that almost all the males that were in the pound were not neutered)–the drive for dogs that are intact to escape to find the opposite sex is very very strong and the dogs can travel miles from home and frequently are never reclaimed probably because they do not end up in a shelter or pound that is anywhere near the area the people who own the dog actually live in. Often females would be brought into the pound having been trailing a huge crowd of males of all different sizes and the females would be extremely stressed out and exhausted, having been more or less under attack by a large gang of dogs for hours or days. So any time that we would have a female in heat come in, we would get them to the vet to make sure they were given the appropriate injection to prevent them from being at any risk of a pregnancy. Sometimes rescues or shelters will spay a female in heat simply because otherwise they cannot ensure that a new home will do so, but in general if possible, it is better to wait until 3 months after she finishes her heat to spay and thus, it's better to take steps to prevent a possible pregnancy in the short term. :thmbsup:

14th September 2011, 05:13 PM
Coco had her adult teeth in by 6 or 7 months old, and went into heat around 7 to 8 months old. I would say that girl is anywhere from 6 - 10 months old.

14th September 2011, 07:45 PM
Thanks for the replies! I'm feeling more confident now about my initial assessment of ~9 months on this little gal thanks to your info.

She's as sweet as pie and too adorable for words. But her poor little vulva is so swollen due to her heat that she almost appears to have testicles. I'm sure that her in-heat status contributed greatly to her being found as a stray -- that motivation to breed is so strong. If she is reclaimed by an owner, our shelter will waive redemption and care fees if the person is willing to leave her with us to be spayed the next day, at no charge -- we operate a top-notch high-volume spay/neuter clinic and doing surgery on an in-heat female, while not desirable, is all too common, and a far better alternative than sending an intact, in-heat animal home.

If she is unclaimed and adopted by me, I'll be able to foster her until her heat cycle is complete so that she won't have to be spayed while in heat. Spay surgery would happen shortly thereafter, though, so as not to let a potential pregnancy progress.

I've worked in animal welfare for more than 14 years, and have longed for a Cavalier the entire time. As my username indicates, I'm a pug person -- I have one lovely little fawn pug, age 5, who was surrendered to the shelter with raging generalized demodex at the age of 5 months and required bilateral FHO surgery for her severe hip dysplasia after I adopted her. She's the love of my life and will hopefully welcome a Cavalier "sister" into the household. :) We lost my beloved senior pug last fall to cancer at age 13, and have been waiting for the right dog to come along to make us complete again.

I'm hoping very very much that this is the one! This is her intake photo with our animal services staff:

14th September 2011, 10:04 PM
I hope it works out for you, and that you are able to prevent a pregnancy. Let us know what happens. Are you already approved? How long do you have to wait?

15th September 2011, 10:43 PM
She was reclaimed by her owner yesterday and is being spayed this morning.