Gestational care is very important in maintaining the health and safety of both the female and her puppies. At Strafford Vet we offer digital ultrasounds and radiographs throughout the pregnancy to check fetal health as well as give you a more accurate prediction of how many puppies are in the litter.
With a digital ultrasound at 30 to 32 days in gestation, after breeding, we can confirm pregnancy. At this stage in gestation our doctors are looking for placentas within the uterine horn. They can also see heartbeats and tell if puppies are stressed. Depending on their findings they may recommend another progesterone test just to make sure that the female is producing enough to safely maintain a pregnancy. At this stage in gestation, out doctors can only give a rough estimation on the number of puppies since it is a moving image and puppies can change positions.
With a radiograph, or X-ray, at 55 to 56 days in gestation, after breeding, we can see the bone formations in the puppies. Since this is a flat image, a pause in time, our doctors are able to see each individual puppy and count how many skulls there are. If you are planning to let your female free whelp this is an especially important step to do. With an X-ray our doctors can compare the skull size of the puppies to the pelvic opening in the female. If the skulls are larger than the pelvis then the female will most likely not be able to pass them and we will recommend a caesarian section. If the skulls are smaller than the pelvic opening your female should not have any issues whelping on her own.