Diagnostic recommendations

Diagnostic Ultrasound (uterus fetus)— Ultrasound of the reproductive tract can help determine number of fetuses as well as fetal viability. It can help us to predict if surgical intervention is necessary with this problem.

Radiographic Analysis— X-rays of the abdomen can detect fetuses that are fare enough along to have calcium in their bones. An x-ray can be used to determine the number of fetuses as well as some indication of viability.

Sick Dog Profile— This is an extensive laboratory analysis of the blood to determine internal organ function. Information regarding the status of infection, electrolyte balance and blood cell counts are needed to fully evaluate this severe case.

Thyroid Testing— Low thyroid function is a frequent cause of fetal loss in many breeds. Thyroid function should be tested and supplementation instituted before next pregnancy if indicated.

Brucella Canis Titer— Brucellosis is a bacterial cause of abortion in dogs that is transmitted during breeding. It si contagious to humans and abortion fluids should be handled with caution.

Vaginoscopy Endoscopy— This can be used to determine the source of the discharges and can examine the cervix as well as be used to collect samples for culture.

Culture and Sensitivity— Culturing of the tissues form aborted fetuses can help determine the cause of the abortion. The stomach contents of the fetus should be cultured as well as the placental membranes.

Therapeutic Plan

IV Fluid Therapy— An IV catheter is placed and fluids are given to correct for losses during this process and to help maintain blood pressure.

Antibiotics are given as well— Amoxicillin Trihydrate Injection (Amoxi Inject® [Pfizer]) 100mg/ml – 6-20 mg/kg SQ, IM q12h Amoxicillin is a potentiated penicillin that has a broad spectrum of activity and is a good first line antibiotic.

Prostaglandin F2-alpha (Lutalyse, Upjohn) (Dog)— .1 – .25 mg/kg SQ q8h – q24h for up to 5 days promotes opening of the cervix and evacuation of the uterus through local mechanisms that stimulate uterine contractions.

Additional Information

It is not possible to determine the likelihood of normal subsequent pregnancies. If this animal is not to be used for breeding, we recommend ovariohysterectomy. If this is a valuable breeding animal, we recommend prostaglandin therapy as well as serial ultrasound evaluations and possible hysterotomy and flushing. This condition frequently results in infections of the uterus or retained placentas and rechecks are important in early recognition of these potential problems. Infections of the uterus will usually result in a pet with a fever that will stop eating. Watch for discharges from the vulva. Watch the mammary glands for swelling and failure to regress.

Abortion – Termination of Pregnancy

The maintenance of pregnancy is a hormonal balance that once disturbed will result in termination of the pregnancy. The ovaries produce progesterone which is responsible for maintaining pregnancy. The ovaries are in-turn controlled by the pituitary hormones. Newer medications allow us to alter this balance and cause termination of pregnancy.

Diagnostic Recommendations

The first task is to make sure that your pet is pregnant and to find out how many fetuses are present. This may be done by vaginal swabs to check for sperm if the breeding just happened or by ultrasound if the pregnancy is over 20 days old or by radiographs if the pregnancy is over 40 days old.

Vaginal Swabs— A swab of the vagina is taken and the cells are placed on a microscopic slide and examined for the presence of sperm and to determine the stage of heat that the bitch is in. Timing of the first day of pregnancy can be estimated by daily examination of these slides.

Ultrasound— Evaluation of pregnancy can be determined after day 20 of pregnancy with ultrasound. Viability and number of fetuses can be determined and this tool can be used to monitor the abortion process.

Radiology X-rays of the abdomen can show fetal skeletons after day 40 of pregnancy.

Therapeutic Recommendations

Vaginal swabs are done to determine the stage of Diestrus:

Day 6-10 of Diestrus treatment is initiated.
Prostaglandin F2-alpha (Lutalyse, Upjohn) 250mcg/kg SC q12h for 5 days
Perform ultrasound examination at day 28-30 to confirm termination of pregnancy.

Day 31 – 35 of Pregnancy
Bromocriptine (Parlodel®) 30 – 100 mcg/kg PO for 5 to 6 days
Use the lower dosage twice daily and the higher dosage once daily.

After day 35 a combination of Prostaglandin and Bromocriptine has been used effectively in termination of pregnancy.

In animals that have an advanced pregnancy – after 35 days – the emotional impact on the pet as well as your family should be considered. Hospitalization may be recommended for the next five to seven days to avoid this problem. These medications have short but pronounced secondary sided effects which consist of panting, drooling, hypersalivation, vomiting and diarrhea as well as the uterine contractions. We recommend ovariohysterectomy in all pets not to be used for breeding. These medications will typically shorten the normal time between heat cycles. Therefore you can expect your pet to come back into heat within the next 60 to 90 days.

If not hospitalized during this process we will need you to return to the hospital to confirm that the pregnancy has terminated with ultrasound or radiographic evaluation. Discharge from the uterus, not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, high fever.


Reproduction Test



  1. Please describe how sperm gets from the testicles into the penis.
  2. Please describe what a “tie” is and what we tell our clients when their pet is “tied” to another animal?
  3. There is a recent test for the presence of progesterone in dogs – will it be used for pregnancy determination and why?
  4. A client’s cat will not go out of heat. Can you explain this?
  5. How can the male dog’s penis be used for both waste elimination and sperm deposition when urine is toxic to sperm?
  6. If a female dog in heat just stopped bleeding, is she still in heat?
  7. What can a vaginal swab show us?
  8. What is the therapeutic protocol for a cat that is aborting?