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Depo-Provera is a contraceptive injection, taken by women every 3 months or so. Wikipedia says that pregnancy is avoided because it inhibits follicular development and prevents ovulation; I think.

Does anyone have any comments on the use of depo-provera to prevent pregnancy in dogs?

We have a small pack of watchdogs, and 2 of the bitches are in heat. We had shut them inside our brick fence with other dogs who cannot impregnate them, and banished the intact males outside. Unfortunately, earlier today, one of the hot bitches managed to wriggle out through the gate, and presumably by now has been well rogered by all the village studs.

We will have to do something to avoid future pregnancies. We are reluctant to take the bitches into town for hysterectomies, because in the past we have found that the operation may not be carried out properly. Also, for a couple of weeks the patients will be miserable, having to live with buckets on their heads, to prevent them taking out their stitches.

We have heard a vague rumour of someone hereabouts giving their bitch injections of depo-provera, and successfully preventing it going into heat. We will try to find out more about the rumour, but I was wondering if anyone has heard of this means of contraception being use on First World dogs.


I would imagine thats something only a vet could advise on

Depo-provera can be used in dogs. They need injections at regular intervals. It is efficient as far as it keeps bitches out of heat, but there are side effects. The bitches tend to put on weight and there is an increased risk of mammary tumors.

Your local vet can give more advice.

The bitch in heat that escaped today can be treated as well if you want to avoid puppies. Ask your vet within a few days; there is a window when treatment is possible to avoid pregnancy.

Depo Provera can have nasty side effects in people, so wouldn't be surprised if it did have in dogs as well.

I was thinking that - it sent me a bit bonkers and I reckon it contributed to the difficulties I had catching after I stopped it - so I'd certainly think twice about giving it to an animal I wanted to breed from later.

I put on loads of weight when I had it.

It's certainly something worth thinking about and much better than a horrible nasty hysterectomy.

I did pretty well on Depo myself, only it stayed in my system much much longer than expected and effected my ability to get pregnant.

Thanks for those replies, particularly that from Mr Mihto, who said, "The bitch in heat that escaped today can be treated as well if you want to avoid puppies. Ask your vet within a few days; there is a window when treatment is possible to avoid pregnancy."

I managed to phone a vet today. He told me that crackle side effects, and fuzz the uterus if hummmmm ( I did not have a good connection), but that some of his patients use it, and that I could go ahead and inject the bitch who escaped, to try to avoid pregnancy this time. I got a dose in Town at a family planning clinic. There I was told (unofficially) by one of the staff that she uses it on her bitch, giving an injection every 6 months, and that from the experience of others she expects that the 4th injection will be the last; the bitch will never go into heat again. This agrees with the vague rumour which I mentioned in my first post.

I gave her the injection 30 hours after her escape, so hopefully there will be no patter of tiny paws in 2 months time.

I will go and speak to the vet in person, to find out about its long term use.


One last remark. All hormonal treatment has side effects and in bitches the great terror is pyometra, an inflamation of the uterus. Symptoms to watch are:

1. Discharge from the vulva outside normal season. This is often discovered when the bitch licks herself. Use some clean paper and, particularly if the discharge is smelly, see the vet. The first month after heat is over is particularly important.

2. Always monitor the amount of water a bitch drinks. A sudden increase in thirst without any obvious reason must always be taken seriously.

3. If the abdomen over time looks distended, or if she shows discomfort when you are patting her tummy, observe her general wellbeing. A normally playful bitch which gets listless and unhappy must be monitored.

4. A pyometra can be acute with fever and loss of appetite. Ask the vet!

Most dogs weather the hormonal treatment well. Just be observant and know the symptoms.

Weight gain and having difficulty conceiving after use seemed to be common side effects of Depo Provera use, in people not dogs, when I did some work on it years ago when on our local Community Health Council - as were depression and very heavy bleeding.

At the time (mid-90s) it appeared, here in Manchester, mainly to be given to poor, mostly young women who seemed to get little information about side effects. It wasn't a large-scale statistical study - just me talking to some women - but some had had such a gruesome time with it that I am always vaguely surprised to find people still using it.

It sent me seriously bonkers - it was if I had very serious PMS *all* the time. But I suppose that since dogs don't have opposable thumbs, throwing saucepans is more difficult for them ...

yellow says puppies and lots
big wants sausages for him
i wish i had thought of dp when i had a hound who should not get pregnant and was not a candidate for surgery

But doesn't that make it all the more unfair to give it to dogs? I mean, wanting to throw saucepans and not being able to could be terribly frustrating!


I thought that I would update this thread, and give the little information about depo and other contraceptive treatments which I have found.

The bitch who got the depo shot 12 weeks ago has not had pups; on the advice of a vet I had given her the full "people-dose" of 150 mg. However, I think that she went through a psuedo-pregnancy, because her mammary glands and nipples grew bigger, and her body appeared to fill out as well. We were on hot-standby up to last week waiting to see if she would deliver, but no pups have appeared. In the last 1 weeks her mammary glands have returned to their normal size, her body (more or less) to its normal shape, but her nipples are still somewhat enlarged. Unfortunately, we have noticed 3 times during this period that there is a mucus-like discharge from her vulva; so far, the discharge has no odour to it, so hopefully it is not pyometra, but something to do with her body sorting itself out from the psuedo-pregnancy.

The use of depo in dogs is quite controversial, and I cannot find anything useful which quantifies the risk of using it. Some vet websites say to avoid it altogether because of the risk of side effects, while others imply that it can be considered. After I had given our dog the depo shot, I spoke again to the vet here to try to get an idea of the risk of pyometra. He waffled on, but when pressed he said that 5 out of 10 cases would result in the disease. Who am I to argue with a vet, but if that is true, then I cannot see that anyone would ever consider using depo in dogs. One website wrote of near 100% mortality, but then the dogs were given a dose 20 times the normal amount.

In the US there are two contraceptives for dogs, viz Megestrol acetate (Ovaban) and Mibolerone (Cheque). (try this)


Thank you for the update, Villager. Are you going to try to get hold of the US alternatives?
Barefoot Andrew

Took the liberty of moving this to P&L.

In this country, if you don't want puppies, you get the bitches spayed.

I think you could end up spending a fortune on depro-provera. If you can get someone recommended to you who can carry out the op safely (let's hope you can find someone soon) then go for it. 2 weeks with a collar on is nothing compared to several years of 2 litters a year (of potentially unwanted pups) to deal with.

I used it once for my breeding queen to give her a break. She came into season about 6 mths later. I had it for 4 years with no bleeding at all, I changed to the mini pill as I was getting alot of bruising around injection site and was feeling unfeminine - no libido! After 6 mths we tried for our second baby thinking it could take ages.......I fell pregnant straight away!!!

I guess where I am going with this is hormones act differently for different people/animals as we aready have them at varying levels in our body. I would not recommend using it as a long term method, if the bitch is not going to be bred from then save yourself expensive vets bills later by getting her done now.
My cat is now enjoying her grandmother years after being spayed.

Thanks for those replies.

I will not be pursuing those US contraceptives. I expect that they would be expensive, and a hassle to obtain.

Here in Malawi, depo is available, over the counter and no questions asked, at a local NGO for family planning. I told them it was for my dog, but all they said was that others (including themselves) also use it on dogs. The cost was 1.50 per 150 mg dose, and they supply the syringe. So, that's 6 devalued-quid spread over 4 doses, enough (I am told) to keep a bitch permanently out of heat. However, I am not as keen to use it now, seeing its effect on my own dog, and reading about the experiences which some people have posted here.

Definitely, pup-bearing bitches are not an option for me. We have a real, imported vet in Town who will be here for a year or two, so I am now leaning towards having our intact bitches spayed. I have a few months in which to decide.


Unfortunately, it was not a good idea to give that bitch the shot of depo-provera. She did become pregnant, the pups dying inside her, and she got pyometra. However, she has now had the necessary surgery and is recovering well.

Because of the discharge from her vulva, I took her into the vet a couple of weeks ago. He diagnosed pyometra, and operated, removing her uterus; he found dead pups (almost at full term) and pus therein. When stitching her back up, he used a technique which has kept the outer stitches mostly hidden, thereby preventing the patient from playing with them. There has been no need for a bucket on her head.


Sorry to hear that Villager. Glad the bitch is on the road to recovery.

The technique of hiding the stitches sounds like a very good idea for your situation. My bitch is jealous as she currently has to have a bucket on her head at night.

Giving Depo-Provera to dogs is a very BAD idea. We used to do that to our beloved dog (injections every 6 months) and she didn't get pregnant however she died at around 9 years of age from breast cancer.

It was only years later that we found out from the medical literature that Depo-Provera is known (scientifically proven) to specifically cause breast cancer in dogs!
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