Towards the end of pregnancy announces the imminence of birth:
- the uterus becomes larger
- beginning milk secretion
- the vulva swells
- slight vaginal discharge resulting from the liquefaction of the cervical mucus
- the pelvic ligaments become softer
The imminent birth, however, can be best explained by Regular temperature control (measurement in the anus) detect. Already 8 – 10 days before birth the body temperature drops to 38°, and about 12 – 24 hours directly before birth there is a noticeable further drop of 1° or more.
As the opening phase begins, the temperature rises again.
This phase lasts 6 – 12 hours; the bitches become noticeable by a change in behavior such as z.B. Restlessness, anxiety, refusal of food, seeking a quiet place, nesting, sometimes vomiting, diarrhea…
The internal changes are not noticeable, but indispensable for a smooth birth process:
- Dilatation of the cervix
- Discharge of cervical mucus
- Onset of labor
- widening of the birth canal due to the amniotic sac of the first puppy
When the puppy slips into the cervical canal, the abdominal squeeze starts automatically.
The little puppy is surrounded by two amniotic sacs – allantois and amnion. The fluid of these blisters is colorless.
However, after the first afterbirth is expelled, the amniotic fluid becomes rather greenish; caused by the blood decomposition substances.
The allantois usually ruptures as soon as the puppy emerges through the vulva, the little one is then expelled with some strong contractions.
Normally the bitch bites the amniotic sac with her incisors, licks the puppy free and bites the umbilical cord.
If this does not happen, the puppy must be released from the amniotic sac immediately.
The afterbirth comes in the next 5 minutes and is eaten by the bitch. Sometimes there are two or three puppies in a row and then the afterbirths.
Intervals between pups are generally 30 min, but can be several hours.
About 60% of the puppies come head first, but a hind end presentation can also occur without complications.
Three lush little guys
On average the bitch carries 63 days.
With undisturbed general condition exists with longer gestation up to the 69th week. Day no need for surgery.
CAVEThe dog does not have the possibility to induce labor as humans do. The administration of Oxytocin in a bitch not in labor is malpractice!
Checking the body temperature is a good indicator, if the temperature rises above 39° or if the general condition is disturbed, a detailed obstetric examination is indicated. Our diagnostic possibilities (ultrasound / X-ray) are excellent nowadays.
Often a cesarean section is necessary.
Waiting under antibiotic protection does not improve the prospects for a complication-free birth, but rather increases the risk of surgery.
Birth complications (dystocia):
Not every birth goes smoothly; there may be disturbances in the process caused by dysfunctions on the part of the mother (weakness in labor, vaginal stenosis, uterine torsion, uterine rupture (not infrequently after incorrectly administered oxytoxin)!) …or are caused by the puppies themselves (too large fruit, incorrect storage, dead fruit…).
The choice of veterinary measures depends on the condition of the mother animal. Manual obstetrics can be performed, but the general condition is already disturbed, resp. a quick solution cannot be achieved by manual help, an incision has to be made in any case.
Caesarean section can be life-saving for both bitch and puppy.
In normal parturition, after the expulsion of the last puppy and the departure of the afterbirth, the uterus contracts again. If the bitch’s abdomen is palpated, the uterine horns can be felt as coarse strands.
The normal discharge (lochia) is black-green, odorless and interspersed with blood clots. The uterus continues to shrink in the days following birth, the quantity of discharge decreases and after 2 weeks only a very small, slightly reddish secretion is discharged.
The lochia are hardly noticed, because they are always licked by the bitch. After 4 weeks the uterus has completely regressed.
Furthermore the bitch has to be observed well post partum, because even then difficulties can occur, which endanger the life of mother and puppies:
- Uterine rupture
- Vaginal injury (if not recognized, it can lead to a breakthrough to the intestine due to a purulent inflammation)
- Lochiometra (if the uterus does not contract sufficiently after birth, the lochia will remain in the uterus and it can lead to a life-threatening intoxication of the bitch). As the toxins pass into the milk, puppies are also threatened.)
- Placental anecrosis (in bitches younger than 2.5 years: the persistence of a bloody, watery vaginal discharge is conspicuous _ an ovariohysterectomy must be performed)
- Hemorrhage (persistent bloody discharge: intermittent discharge of fresh, partially clotted blood from the vagina _ usually requires surgery)
- Tetany = Eclampsia (a metabolic disorder, the main feature of which is hypocalcemia, which leads to severe cramps. It usually occurs 2-5 weeks after birth and mainly affects small breeds with good lactation _ life-saving is immediate intravenous administration of calcium)
We advise you to have a consultation with us before the birth so that you are prepared in case the birth does not go properly.