Canine Pregnancy Diagnosis

Canine Pregnancy Diagnosis


Palpation: from days 21 – 31 the embryonic vesicles may be palpated

  • After day 31 the vesicles change shape and become very difficult to feel
  • After day 50 the puppies may be palpated directly
  • Some large dogs or dogs with a tight abdomen may cause palpation to be extremely difficult
  • The number of fetuses and viability usually cannot be determined using palpation alone.

Ultrasound: gestational sacs may be visible as early as 18 – 20 days

  • Heartbeat is seen after days 23 – 25
  • Fetal movement may be seen days 34 – 36
  • Gestational age can be accurately determined using ultrasound, this accuracy decreases when closer to parturition especially in large (>55 lb) or small (<20) lb dogs.
  • Counting the number of fetuses can be very difficult
  • Very small litter sizes may be difficult, occasionally fetuses like to hide.
  • Viability may be determined using ultrasound looking for fetal movement and heart beat, which is usually around 200 beats per minute.

Radiology (x-rays): liter size is best determined after day 50

  • The fetal skeleton becomes visible around days 43 – 46, different bones become visible at different times.
  • Litter numbers are best determined using radiographs

This makes it possible to know when the female is done whelping
Easier to determine when assistance is needed

Relaxin: ReproChek or Witness Relaxin

  • Relaxin is first observed 20 -30 days gestation
  • Simple blood test to detect the presents of relaxin
  • Cost is comparable to ultrasound and ultrasound gives more information

 Planning to raise some puppies?  We can Help so give us a call and learn more about how we assist you through your dogs pregnancy and beyond.

Whelping (Having Puppies)