Benefits of having your bitch scanned

. It enables you to prepare and plan for your litter

. If you show your dogs you can plan your shows

. It enables you to look forward in finding suitable homes for your impending puppies

Phantom Pregnancy in Dogs

(Scanning will confirm if your bitch is having a phantom)

A phantom (false) pregnancy is the term used when a bitch is not pregnant but shows signs of pregnancy, lactation,nursing and nesting. Phantom pregnancies are not uncommon. Some figures show that up to 60% of bitches experiencethem to some extent during their lifetime. It develops 6-14 weeks after a season, at which time the bitch has a normalrise in the hormone prolactin. In some individuals, this level is excessive and clinical signs of false pregnancy occur.Prolactin in one of the normal hormones of pregnancy and so the clinical signs seen are typical of a pregnant bitch. Themammary glands develop and milk may be produced. Affected animals often make nests and may collect objects, suchas toys and shoes, within the bed as though they are puppies.

 They may be dull and inappetant. Sometimes aggressionwill be seen, even in a normally placid bitch. Engorged mammary glands are more susceptible to infection. However,not all signs will be present in any one individual.Phantom pregnancy is commonly thought to be a natural phenomenon, dating from the days of when dogs lived inpacks. All bitches in the pack would come into season together even though only the alpha (dominant) bitch wouldmate. The alpha female’s pups would be cared for and suckled by the rest of the females in the pack. Pseudopregnancy(phantom pregnancy) made this possible, as all the other bitches would have milk to give to the alpha female’s offspringand to allow the true mother respite or time to hunt.Some owners wonder if mating their bitch will stop the occurrence of phantom pregnancies but the opposite has beenshown to be true. Bitches who have whelped may in fact be more likely to have phantom pregnancies.Some vets will delay a spaying if a bitch is suffering a false pregnancy as the ovarian hormones play an important rolein stopping the false pregnancy and, therefore, they would not wish to remove them surgically.

Treatment· Often the passage of time is all that may be needed, as the bitch’s level of prolactin will usually fall naturally by about 12-14 weeks post season.· Lactation can be reduced by a moderate restriction of food and water intake, which means there is less calories and water available for milk production. This must not be so excessive as to make the bitch ill or dehydrated.Furthermore, it is important not to stroke the bitch’s tummy as this may mim ic the presence of puppies andencourage her to lactate.· Nesting and other abnormal behaviours can be deterred by distraction - increase the level of exercise and remove beds and toys that the animal may be nesting with.

Pyometra in Dogs

( An increase in abdomen can occur and resemble pregnancy )

Pyometra is a uterine infection where the uterus fills with pus. Pyometra is common in unspayed dogs. Pyometra is a serious uterine infection that is potentially fatal and can occur in unspayed animals. During the animal's heat cycle, or estrus cycle, her cervix relaxes and opens a little, this can allow bacteria to enter her uterus. When the cervix closes the bacteria is trapped.The body is usually able to fight off infections but if the immune system is somehow compromised then a pyometra can develop.

The bacteria usually seen in pyometra is E. Coli although other bacterias have been to blame. Usually dogs presented with pyometras are within 60 days of their last heat cycle.Symptoms of Pyometra: Pyometras can present as either open or closed. In the open form the cervix is open and there is a foul smelling discharge from the vagina. In the closed form the cervix is closed so there will be no discharge. The closed pyometra is harder to diagnose and the patient will become unwell because the body is retaining the infection in the uterus.