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Illustrated Articles

Reproductive Care

  • Depending on the size and breed of the dog, heats (estrus) can begin as early as four months old and can occur as frequently as every four months. Spaying a dog either through ovariohysterectomy or ovariectomy is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. Spaying also negates false pregnancies and pyometra and reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Drugs that regulate the heat cycle are not approved for use in the US or Canada.

  • This handout summarizes breeding and queening (giving birth) in cats and the normal estrus (heat cycle). Pregnancy care and labor care are outlined, along with signs to watch for to determine if your cat is experiencing delivery complications.

  • Having a litter of puppies is an exciting event, but not without its responsibilities. At appropriate ages, puppies should be dewormed and start their vaccine series. They can start making their way to new homes by eight to ten weeks of age.

  • This handout summarizes the care of the pregnant dog and the puppies following birth. Topics include eye care, diet, and instructions for weaning the pups at the appropriate time.

  • Although most dogs will give birth without the need for human or veterinary assistance, certain problems can arise which require veterinary attention. It is essential to closely monitor your pet during birthing and seek veterinary care if you have any concerns.

  • For the next two months, even if everything went smoothly with the birth, you have a lot of work to do! This includes keeping the whelping area clean and dry, closely monitoring the health of the mom and pups, and assisting with feeding and care of the pups as necessary. It is important to have the mother and puppies examined by your veterinarian within 48 hours of birth. The pups should be weighed regularly to make sure they are gaining weight. The mother can experience serious health problems including mastitis and eclampsia, needing emergency veterinary treatment.

  • This handout is a basic care guide for pregnant dogs, outlining changes in nutritional requirements and physical activity, and pregnancy testing.

  • This handout summarizes whelping (giving birth) in dogs. Instructions for preparing your pregnant dog for delivery and how to assist her if necessary are outlined. Situations requiring veterinary assistance are also described.

  • Breeding dogs is a great responsibility that should not be done just because an owner wants puppies from their beloved dog. Important considerations are discussed. Many puppies are abandoned at dog shelters because of inappropriate breeding practices. There are usually many dogs looking for homes and an owner can find the dog they are looking for through shelters or rescue organizations.

  • A caesarean section is a major surgery usually performed in an emergency to help deliver puppies. As with any anesthesia, the dog may be sleepy but should be able to eat a high quality diet and nurse puppies within a few hours. The dog should be monitored for fever, abnormal vulvar discharge, and abnormalities at her incision. It is important to ensure that puppies are able to nurse well. If not, or if the dog can not produce enough milk, then commercial milk replacer is recommended. Colostrum ingestion is important for immune protection. If puppies are not nursing within the first 24 hours, then they will need additional veterinary care. Ambient temperature is important in the first 2-4 weeks after birth as puppies cannot regulate their temperature well.