pregnancy termination in dogs

Pregnancy Termination for Undesired Matings in Dogs

Overview of Canine Pregnancy Termination for Undesired Matings

Unless strictly supervised, dogs mate when the mood strikes and the time is right. Unfortunately, some breedings are not intended and unwanted pregnancies can occur. In veterinary medicine, dealing with undesired matings and resultant unwanted litters have resulted in various methods of early pregnancy termination.

The easiest, safest and most reliable treatment for unwanted litters is to spay the dog. This removes the ovaries and uterus, thereby not allowing the pregnancy to develop. This method is a permanent solution and is obviously only to be used in dogs not intended for breeding.

If a future planned pregnancy is desired, surgery is not an acceptable option. Other medical ways of terminating a pregnancy must be considered.

Diagnosis of Pregnancy Termination for Undesired Matings in Dogs

The most important aspect of terminating a pregnancy is to confirm that there actually is a pregnancy to terminate. With one breeding, the dog has only a 40 percent chance of actually being pregnant. The drugs used to terminate a pregnancy can have significant side effects so confirming a pregnancy is important. Giving a drug unnecessarily can result in serious illness.

Pregnancy can be confirmed after about 20-22 days after breeding. Abdominal palpation and abdominal ultrasound can diagnose the presence of fetuses. At this point, termination can be done appropriately. It is important to confirm pregnancy as early as possible because if the pregnancy is over 40 days along, termination is not recommended due to the potential trauma of expelling live premature babies.

Unfortunately, due to differences in reproduction between humans and dogs, the “morning after” pill has yet to be thoroughly tested and found to be effective in pets.

Treatment of Undesired Matings with Pregnancy Termination in Dogs

Several medications have been used to terminate unwanted pregnancies, although no one drug has been found to work in all cases. Your pet may receive medication to terminate a pregnancy and still deliver a litter. Even though many dogs have successfully received these drugs and have had no complications, there is the potential for significant side effects. You may want to discuss allowing the dog to carry the pregnancy to term and deliver the babies in order to avoid the side effects of the medication.

Three primary classes of drugs have been used in pregnancy termination: estrogens, prostaglandins and glucocorticoids.

Estrogens for Pregnancy Termination in Dogs

These drugs work by preventing fertilized eggs from migrating and implanting in the uterus. The only way these drugs work is to give them soon after the unplanned breeding. Pregnancy cannot be confirmed at this stage and by giving this drug, your pet may be susceptible to dangerous side effects unnecessarily. These include:

Prostaglandins for Pregnancy Termination in Dogs

Glucocorticoids for Pregnancy Termination in Dogs

Home Care and Prevention

There is no home care for undesired matings. Douching after breeding is not effective. The best way to prevent unwanted litters is to have your pet spayed early. If you plan to use the dog for breeding, make sure she is strictly confined when in heat and is not accessible to males.