Bitch In Season
Article Copyright © 2004 - Russell Savige
You have a greyhound bitch in season, and you want to know if you can continue to race her.
"Can I still give my female greyhound trials and slips while in season, basically can I exercise her?How soon should we race a female greyhound after she has a season?’’
A bitch in season will bleed (menstruate) for about 14 days or so. In Australia we are not allowed to race a bitch in season, but are allowed to race as soon as she stops bleeding. Every country has their own rules, so it may or may not be allowed in your country.
My personal thoughts are to not race until after their milk (or breast thickening) has dried up. However I know that plenty of trainers in Australia will race their females through this period, with varying degrees of success. The main reason is a financial one. Standing a bitch down from racing for 4 months is quite costly. Peter Giles raced his champion females through this period, though they did not perform as well as they did before coming into season.
Your bitch should stop bleeding after about 2 weeks, though some young bitches may go longer. If she's a race bitch, you can keep her in work and race her if you wish. It will do her no harm, but she will not run as fast as she did before the season.
You will have to stop trialing or racing her when she comes into milk, whether she has milk or not. That sounds like a contradiction, but you'll notice a thickening of her breast area, even if there's no milk. When this happens (at about 8 weeks after the start of the season) you must stop working her behind a lure. It's OK for her to exercise herself in a paddock or a run, but do not let her try to chase a lure.
The reason for this is that when a bitch comes into milk, the muscles in her back legs go soft, and over extending herself can damage them badly.
You can resume her work or racing career as soon as the milk, or thickening, dries up (about 12 to 13 weeks from the start of the season).
You may find it difficult to get her back to her old racing weight, and she won't perform as well as before coming into season, but all of a sudden at 16 weeks from when she came in season, the weight will miraculously disappear, she will find 5 - 6 lengths, and be back to her old racing self.