Dog pregnancy symptoms

Pregnancy in dogs - Dog pregnancy signs - Dog Pregnancy Stages

The average bodyweight gain of a pregnant dog from oestrus to parturition is 36% (range 20-55%), with the increase being most marked in the last third of the dog pregnancy stages. Pregnant dog signs are a change in body shape usually visible by about day 56 of pregnancy and foetal movements may also be noted around this time. The nipples enlarge and mammary development occurs during the second half of pregnancy and a serous secretion may be present shortly before parturition. Bitch owners frequently want to know whether their bitch is pregnant following a planned dog mating, principally out of curiosity, but also so that adequate plans can be made well in advance of the anticipated whelping date.

Abdominal palpation, usually 3-4 weeks post-mating, is used commonly for the diagnosis of pregnancy in dogs. This method is sensitive when executed by an experienced clinician. However, small litter size and lack of knowledge of the conception date can result in false negative diagnoses. Problems are frequently encountered in certain breeds, in fat bitches and in bitches that guard their abdomens.

Radiography can be used to confirm dog pregnancy but the foetal skeletons do not become apparent radio-opaque until day 45. Ultrasound can be used to visualize foetal vesicles from day 16-20 of pregnancy onwards. Foetal heart beats can be seen, using real time ultrasound from day 24-28 of pregnancy onwards.

It is well established that circulating concentrations of progesterone, oestrogen and PRL in pregnant bitches, unmated bitches, and bitches that have failed to become pregnant are very similar. Thus levels of conventional hormones cannot be used to detect pregnancy in dogs. However, it has been shown that acute phase protein levels are significantly elevated from day 28-37 post-mating in pregnant bitches in comparison with non-pregnant animals. Acute phase protein concentrations can be measured by most well-equipped laboratories and this method is remarkably reliable, especially given the fact that acute phase proteins are not dog pregnancy symptoms specific, they can be raised due to stress and in certain disease conditions.

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