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.