Is topical HRT hurting your pet?

Posted by on Jun 14, 2010 in HRT | 2 comments

File this one under “OMG.” I ran across a piece this past weekend that discussed the effect that topical hormones, particularly HRT, might be having on your pets. Although experts from the North American Menopause Association (NAMS) are quoted as saying that they’ve not heard of this before, the reporter ¬†uncovered five years worth of discussion on veterinary internet boards. Evidently, vets are seeing female animal patients with swollen vulvas and male patients with enlarged mammary glands and smaller than normal penises.

It appears that exposure occurs when owners apply topical hormone gels, lotions and sprays to the arms (i.e. elbows, wrists) and legs and then handle or snuggle with their pets. The problem has also been associated with pets unwittingly licking the areas where owners have applied the drugs.

Evidently, the Food and Drug Administration is looking into this as is the NAMS. In the interim, if you are using topical hormones, you might want to be more careful where you apply them (e.g. inner thigh or abdomen) and be sure to wash your hands before handling your pets.

And if your animal is exhibiting unusual signs? Bring them into the vet immediately.

Has anyone encountered this before? I’d love for readers to weigh in.


  1. 8-15-2010

    My dog (2 years old) had been spayed when she was about 6 months old. When she was about 1 1/2 yars old, I began using a topical HRT on my forearm. Just a couple of months AFTER I began HRT, my dog’s vulva became enlarged and she went into full heat! The vet concluded that my dog had either a third ovary (rare), or an ovarian remnant that was missed during the procedure. My dog also started losing her hair. After a second spay, no ovarian tissue was found. My dog went into heat again, but in a shorter time frame than a normal heat cycle (twice a year). After many hundreds (and probably thousands) of dollars of testing, etc., research on HRT side effects on pets became published. I change the location of the HRT application to my stomach, and signs are positive this was the problem. Her vulva is returning to normal size, and it appears her hair loss has abated.

    • 8-16-2010

      Thanks for this account Kelly. Hope you followed the link to the previous post on HRT and pets.


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