Has the mating of the dog or cat been successful?
After mating, many are curious as to whether it has been a success and whether the female is pregnant – and with good reason. Perhaps the female shows symptoms of pregnancy, getting bigger around the waist and has a strong milk production. Pregnancy is diagnosed using a pregnancy test.
At Dyrlægegruppen Dania, we have three methods for diagnosing pregnancy. The choice of method depends, among other things, on the timing and purpose of the investigation.
Ultrasound scan to determine pregnancy.
18 days after ovulation, we can use an ultrasound scan to determine whether the mating has been successful. However, the best images are obtained 24 days after ovulation. At this point, we can see the heartbeat, just as we can get a relatively good impression of whether there is a large or small litter. A precise number of puppies cannot be given with this method.
Ultrasound scanning is not painful for the dog, and the examination is not harmful – neither to the dog or the puppies. The female is placed on her back on a soft pillow that supports her back and makes her comfortable during the entire examination. While we scan, you can follow along on the screen, and we’ll be happy to guide you through everything we see.
Blood test to determine pregnancy.
30 days after ovulation, relaxin can be detected in the female’s blood. Relaxin is the only pregnancy-specific hormone in dogs, which is why it can tell us whether the female is pregnant or not. However, the method does not tell you anything about how large the litter is, nor does it tell you whether there is life, since relaxin can be elevated in the female’s blood several days after any loss of pregnancy.
X-ray examination to determine pregnancy.
40 days after ovulation, pregnancy can be determined using an X-ray examination. The best picture is obtained 1 week from the due date, as the puppies’ skulls are so calcified by this time that they clearly stand out.
X-ray examination is justified in cases where a scan has shown a small litter of 1-2 puppies. In these cases, there is a risk that the female will not have effective contractions and that the birth will not start on time, which is why extra monitoring around the time of birth is necessary.
How many puppies are there?
There can be many reasons why you, as an owner, would like to know how many puppies are hiding in the female’s abdomen. Maybe the curiosity is too much to bear? But there are also several practical reasons why it may be useful to know how many puppies are coming. It can provide peace of mind during the birth when you know whether there will be 1 or 10 puppies, just as in the case of small or large litters, special birth assistance may be necessary.