Want to be featured in next month’s newsletter? Email our very own Dr. Chip at [email protected] and make sure you reference ‘Ask Dr. Chip’ in the subject line.

About Dr. Chip

Dr. Chip Coombs is Pets Plus Us’ Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), and has practiced veterinary medicine since 1976, initially in the United Kingdom, then in Western Canada and, finally, in Toronto, where he owned a multi-veterinarian practice for 33 years.


Hi Dr. Chip,

My spayed female Standard Poodle Cross is having mucus discharge every day for the last three weeks from her vagina.  She has been to her regular veterinarian and we were told hair is growing just inside the opening, which could be causing this.  We were told to try and get the hair out, not easy to do.

I am wondering what else we can do in this case or could it be something else?


Frustrated and concerned!


Hi F+C,

Assuming that your dog was spayed quite a while ago and assuming that all of both ovaries were removed, then the only likely cause of the discharge is vaginitis / vulvitis. This means inflammation and not necessarily infection. The most common cause is an involuted vulva and this can be made quite a bit worse by being overweight. If the vulva is significantly involuted, then likely the only solution is to have vulvoplasty surgery done to keep the vulva slightly exerted and free of excessive hair and moisture build-up (urine, humidity, etc.). If a culture of the discharge has not been done, this would be worthwhile to see if antibiotics are required. 

When she is groomed, keeping the hair short in this area may help, but asking you to pluck the hair doesn’t sound practical… and possibly painful! I would suggest getting additional input with respect to a permanent solution from either your own veterinarian or another veterinarian or a specialist.


Dr. Chip


My dog Oliver is 8.5 years old.  At the age of 6 he suddenly began to get aggressive out of the blue.  He can be lying next me sleeping, and will suddenly snap awake, snarling and growling and bite me. This happens almost daily.  What can be causing this and what can I do about it?




Hi Kim,

I am somewhat amazed you have accepted this behaviour for 2 1/2 years. You must be black and blue! The first aspect is to rule out the possible presence of a medical problem that might be causing this abnormal behaviour - either neurological or otherwise. This would likely involve a complete neurological exam, blood tests and either a CT scan or MRI to rule out any kind of problem inside the brain.

If all of these results are normal, then you would need to discuss behavioural modification and avoidance techniques with your veterinarian which may or may not involve the use of drugs.

Good luck,

Dr. Chip


Dear Dr. Chip

My 5-year-old female Black Lab Iris is fastidious about cleaning her privates. She had her first successful litter of pups two years ago. However, since then she is leaving no blood or discharge evidence and I have missed the opportunity to have her bred again. Should I consider an unusual amount of licking as a sign of being in season again, or are there other behaviours I could look for as well?


Murray A.


Hi Murray,

Certainly, licking the vulvar area is one of the typical signs of coming into heat, but it can also be a sign of other issues like an inflammation or infection. Other signs that you are likely familiar with would be bloody discharge (which she has not manifested), swollen vulvar lips, mounting behaviour, nesting behaviour, urinating more frequently, general increase in anxiety.

It is not uncommon for a bitch to have a silent heat or even skip a heat cycle. The best way to better know what’s going on is to discuss the timing of hormonal blood tests with your veterinarian.


Dr. Chip