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Nervous pregnancy in the bitch

Nervous pregnancy, contrary to what one can believe, is not a pathology. In a pack, it would even be a natural mechanism to breastfeed puppies that the real mother would not be able to feed (orphan puppies or too many in scope).

What is nervous pregnancy in the bitch?

Nervous pregnancy is the current name that is given to lactation of pseudo gestation. We sometimes talk sometimes of nervous lactation or pseudocyesis. It is characterized by breast development, the establishment of lactation even as the bitch does not expect any small as well as behavioural changes.

Nervous, this “pseudo gestation” only the name. In reality, pseudo gestation lactation has no nervous origin but hormonal causes. It is linked to the fall of progesterone by the yellow body at the end of Met┼ôstrus, the luteal phase of the sexual cycle of the bitch.

Nervous pregnancy is a fairly common phenomenon in non-sterilized bitches since it relates to 50 to 64% of them.

Did you know?

According to some authors, nervous pregnancy would be an ancestral physiological reaction of the bitch, bound at the time when wild dogs lived in groups. In a pack, nerve lactation was a natural mechanism that allowed bitches to help other females feed their little ones. In dogs living in a community, we always notice a synchronization of heat.

Nervous pregnancy: What are the signs?

Nervous pregnancy most often occurs between 1.5 and 3 months after the bitch’s heat.

During a nervous pregnancy, we can observe behavioural changes in the bitch. It seems more nervous, becomes sticky and claims a lot of affection with its masters or, on the contrary, isolate more and more. Often, his appetite may decrease until he refusal to feed (anorexia). The female can also lick his udders and/or vulva. Some are looking for objects like stuffed stuffing in their basket that serves them as a “nest” and nurse these objects as if they were their little ones.

From a physical point of view, there is a swelling of the udders, a rise of milk and a weight gain. More rarely, the bitch can also present abdominal distension, vomiting, diarrhoea, an increase in appetite or polyurea-polydipsia (the bitch drinks and urine a lot).

Nervous pregnancy: what is the risk?

Repeated nerve pregnancies could, however, increase the risk of mammary tumours, and this risk becomes significant beyond three episodes of pseudo gestation lactation.

Milk climbs can also promote the occurrence of mammitis.

For these reasons, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian when you suspect a nervous pregnancy with your dog.

Even if everything returns spontaneously to normal in 2 to 4 weeks, it is indeed advisable to put in place a treatment to avoid recurrence during the following cycles.

What treatment for pseudo-gestation lactation;?

It is advisable to the owners of the bitches

to prevent the bitch from making his toys or his stuffed animals by offering frequent walks and/or games and moving the objects that she tends to.”

not to touch his taut so as not to stimulate lactation further,

To bring a collar to the bitch to prevent it from licking its breasts (which stimulates lactation).

A 24-hour water diet can sometimes suffice to stop lactation. However, it is strongly discouraged to deprive your water bitch without gathering the advice of your veterinarian beforehand.

The best remains to consult a veterinarian when you suspect a nervous pregnancy with your bitch so that it puts in place a treatment that will quickly stop lactation. This treatment is based on the administration of hormonal treatment based on progestin or anti-prolactin.

In order to avoid recurrence, your veterinarian will be able to recommend sterilization by ovariectomy. The intervention can not, however, take place before the bitch is completely dry.


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