How to Know if Your Dog had a Miscarriage
Sadly, a pregnant bitch may lose her pups, a situation known as spontaneous abortion. If this happens during the first weeks of pregnancy, their body may reabsorb the fetus. It is important to be aware of how these unwanted abortions occur. You will thus be able to detect them in time and find a solution for the welfare of your pet, whilst also detecting possible fertility problems. Keep on reading this OneHOWTO article to find out how to tell if your dog miscarried.
What is a spontaneous abortion?
In the case of a sudden miscarriage, it is named a spontaneous abortion. Pregnancy in dogs last, on average, between 63 and 67 days (for more information, see our OneHowTo article on how long does a dog's pregnancy last). The size of the dog will also have a bearing on the number of pups she will carry. A Chihuahua can carry up to two puppies and a female German Shepherd up to eight.
The womb of a pregnant bitch is a very delicate environment that can be compromised when an imbalance occurs.
Gestation in a female dog
Pregnancies are maintained by a complex system of chemical reactions and balances that allow fetuses to receive nutrition and optimal conditions in which to develop. It is important to know a little about gestation in a bitch:
During the first weeks of pregnancy, the embryos have not yet been attached to the uterine wall to complete their growth. These embryos depend entirely on maternal fluid and its perfect chemical and biological balance in order to develop with no problems. Any alteration in the womb makes the womb an uncomfortable space for the fetus to survive and grow.
It is during the second half of gestation when everything becomes more delicate. The growth of embryos in the womb is accelerated and, around day 30, the main organs grow and the heart starts beating.
This is a very important time during gestation and is the time at which the risk of spontaneous abortion is high. If the abortion occurs before the fifth week of pregnancy, the body may reabsorb the fetus, leaving some lumps that will be visible in your dog's abdomen.
Will my dog's miscarriage affect all her puppies?
In instances of such a premature miscarriage, it may go unnoticed and your bitch might well experience no pain or discomfort at all. Often, these miscarriages occur before you are aware that your dog is pregnant. These early fetal losses are normally caused by infertility problems. The pregnancy may continue despite abortion to some fetal tissues.
The death of some fetuses often do not spell the end of pregnancy. Embryos can continue to develop and, at the end of gestation, the mother might give birth to some puppies.
Signs to look out for
Spontaneous abortion is much more painful and visible when the dog suffers from the fifth week of gestation onwards. The most obvious sign that something is wrong is the appearance of heavy bleeding. The fluid may even have a greenish-brown tone, typical of maternal placenta. This bleeding may include fetuses expelled by the body of your dog.
Apart from the blood, a sudden contraction of the abdomen may occur. This narrowing causes much pain and discomfort. In addition to these external symptoms, a bitch that aborts in the last weeks of pregnancy normally feels quite unwell. She may have fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, depression, dehydration, diarrhea and vomiting, among other symptoms.
Common causes of miscarriage in dogs
The most common cause of spontaneous abortion in late pregnancy is hormonal imbalance inside the dog's womb. The presence of a bacterium called Brucella canis can trigger spontaneous abortions, especially in animal shelters. There is another parasite called Neospora caninum found in water, contaminated food and in some fungi that can cause miscarriages in our pet.
Keep an eye out for the presence of bacteria and parasites in your pet. See a vet for a blood test in order to detect them quickly. If your dog has suffered a miscarriage as a result of an infection, she will need to be treated by a vet immediately.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if Your Dog had a Miscarriage, we recommend you visit our Pets category.