We started discussing pseudo gestation in canines in our previous blog (read Part I here). We discussed what causes it and why, in canines, it is not really something abnormal. Now time for Part II : let’s discuss prevention and treatment !
How to prevent ?
#8 Can we prevent it ?
We sure can. As you now understand, it is a hormonal mechanism.
Best way to fix this is to prevent this progesterone hormonal secretion…
It comes from the ovaries… Removing them will then do the trick…
You want to prevent pseudo gestation in the bitch ? You need to consider spaying.
#9 Obviously if we are talking about a valuable breeding bitch here, that might not be an option.
Unfortunately, that is kind of the only thing we have so far in terms of prevention.
#10 So is it ok then if the bitch is lactating while she has no nursing puppies ?
Well, not necessarily. if the lactation is very intense (which can be the case during the first 3 weeks after the progesterone effect waned off), this can lead to mammary gland distension.
That could be a predisposing factor for the development of mastitis (=inflammation/infection of the mammary gland).
Obviously not something you’d want to deal with.
#11 But that is not what would worry me the most : studies have shown that pseudo gestation might increase the risk of mammary tumor development in the bitch.
That is something to keep in mind since depending on the studies, mammary tumors are considered #1 or #2 cause of tumors in intact bitches.
… and how to treat !
#12 So what do we do to stop this ?
Should we spay the bitch ? Again, remember canine pseudo gestation is not really an abnormal phenomenon so to speak.
So spaying a bitch that did once a pseudopregnancy might be a little bit excessive…
Especially if you consider her to be a valuable breeding bitch.
#13 I would only consider spaying if the bitch does this repeatedly, after every season, because of the mammary tumor risk.
That would be the only situation when I would consider spaying as a solution to prevent this from happening.
#14 And if spaying has to be considered or done, it should not be done while the bitch is lactating.
From a surgical standpoint, it is never piece of cake to do a surgery with a lactating mammary tissue.
Don’t get me wrong, we could spay during lactation (it is not like spaying during diestrus, read here what I mean )
I just prefer to stop the lactation before considering the surgery.
It makes more sense to me.
#15 So before spaying, lactation must be stopped.
And in this regard, there are TONS of what I would call « grandmother recipes ».
Many of them were even used in the ancient days of veterinary medicine.
They all went out of fashion…
Because they were not as efficient as the current medical alternatives we have available to do this.
This is what I would recommend anytime we deal with a pseudopregnancy.
#16 So if you ever deal with a bitch with pseudo gestation and are not sure what to do, ask your veterinarian about it.
And if they have never heard of it, well they can still reach out to me.
This is a protocol I share with the veterinarians of our breeder partners on a regular basis.
Again, if you breed dogs, I am sure you have seen cases of pseudo gestation. Those are the things I believe you MUST know about it.
And as usual if you have stories, don’t hesitate to share them with me !
I’d love to hear about your experience with canine pseudopregnancy !