Q. We have a 1-year-old female cocker spaniel we would like to breed when she gets older, but not now. I've heard that there is a pill that she can be given that will stop her from coming into season until we are ready to breed her. What is the medication and does it really work? We want to wait until she is 2 years old.
A. The medication that you heard about is a drug called megestrol acetate which goes under the name of Ovaban or Megace and is used to delay the onset of estrus in dogs. The protocol recommends that the owner start the medication when the female first shows signs of coming into heat. It is a tablet that is given daily for the first 8 days. The signs of heat should stop within that week and your pet should remain out of heat for 4 to 6 months on the average. She should then resume her normal heat cycles unless you decide to repeat the medication. It is not generally recommended to continually use the drug to stop each cycle in lieu of having your pet spayed. You should always have your pet examined by your veterinarian before starting this program, because she will need to be free of any uterine infections. This medication cannot be used on dogs before or during their first heat cycle.