Friday, March 9, 2012

"There's No Way She's NOT Pregnant"

Rogue's noticeable belly!
Hi everyone!

Welcome to the first pregnancy watch blog for Rogue!  Dave dropped Rogue off while I was at work today, and in the words of Dr. McArthur, the vet I work for, "There's no way she's NOT pregnant!" - this said after she saw Rogue's big belly.  We decided to forgo the pregnancy test, rather, deciding at the end of next week to get x-rays, which will give us more information.  Technically speaking, we could have tried x-rays today, but at somewhere between 42-46 days along, Rogue is just barely at the minimum timepoint required to start detecting fetal skeletons by x-ray.  Based on her size, Dave and I are predicting at least 4-6 puppies, which is an average litter size for a beagle and based on the dates of breeding, we anticipate puppies arriving sometime between March 25th to March 29th.  I am posting some information below to explain how we determine pregnancy in dogs and, of course, will let you know the outcome of next week's x-rays!


The following information is a re-post from a previous blog entry, but should provide you with some useful information.  Once we have updates, I'll share them with all of you here on this blog.

The options for determining pregnancy in dogs are as follows:
  1. Wait for all of the obvious signs, such as weight gain & lactation. However, some dogs may go through false pregnancies where they show abdominal distension and even produce milk! This is definitely not the most reliable way to tell!
  2. At ~22 days post-breeding, ultrasound can be used to detect fetal heartbeats. It may be difficult to tell exactly how many hearts are beating, but this method can still be used to help estimate litter size.
  3. At ~21 to 31 days post-breeding, abdominal palpation may be used to try to feel the walnut-sized fetuses. Ideal timing is to palpate at approximately 28-30 days. This requires skill and experience and is not the best way to estimate the number of puppies present.
  4. After ~21-30 days post-breeding, blood may be drawn to run an early pregnancy test for the hormone relaxin. Ideal timing to test is 28 days post-breeding.  This is a negative or positive test, and does not give us any additional information about the puppies.
  5. At ~45-48 days post-breeding, puppy skeletons have begun to calcify and can begin to be picked up on x-ray.  Ideal timing is closer to 50 days.  This can be used to help estimate the number and size of puppies. As for any safety concerns, x-rays are commonly done in this later stage of pregnancy and are considered to be relatively safe. Early pregnancy is when x-rays pose the most significant risk to unborn puppies.
We typically wait to do x-rays to confirm pregnancy because this allows us to estimate the number and size of the puppies. This information helps us to make critical decisions during the labor.

Rogue sprawls on our couch, making herself at home!  I gave her a bath and a pedicure after her vet visit tonight.

Rogue's beagle smile :)

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