A false pregnancy in a dog is a special physiological condition in which all the signs of a real pregnancy appear in an untied or unfertilized female. This phenomenon occurs in various animals, but it is most pronounced in dogs.
Causes of false pregnancy in dogs
To understand the reasons why a false pregnancy occurs, you need to consider the features of the estrous cycle in dogs. It is not always regular and occurs throughout the life of the animal.
Dogs have 3 periods of the estrous cycle.
During proestrus, the vulva swells up, causing a bloody vaginal discharge that can be mistaken for menstruation by dog owners. In reality, blood is secreted from the walls of the vagina, not from the uterus (as it does with menstruation). The bitch becomes quite attractive to males, she can flirt with them, not allowing the "gentlemen" to sit.
The period of estrus is characterized by a change in the color of vaginal discharge, it goes from dark red to yellow or pink. Ovulation sets in, making the dog fertile. Estrus is an ideal period for mating, because the bitch emotionally and physically "matures" and allows the dog to mate.
During diestrus, a "hormonal" pregnancy occurs. During this period, the dog, regardless of whether she was mated or not, feels pregnant. The corpus luteum, which occurs in the ovaries during ovulation, begins to produce the hormone progesterone. If a dog becomes pregnant, hormones begin to be produced that are able to preserve the corpus luteum until childbirth, and if not, the corpus luteum will dissolve.
This is a fairly slow process that can last more than 70 days, while in the postpartum period everything happens much faster. It should be borne in mind that all this time the dog's body is "confident" that conception has occurred, since its hormonal background is fully consistent with this state. In addition, by the time of the alleged birth, the hormone that is responsible for lactation, prolactin, is released.
Causes that can cause a false pregnancy in a dog
Experts identify several different reasons that can provoke a false pregnancy in a dog:
- hormonal disruptions, in which there is a sharp increase in the content of prolactin in the blood and a decrease in the level of progesterone;
- mating that occurred during the diestrus period;
- hyperemotionality of the dog, especially if it lacks emotional and physical stress;
- disturbances in the functioning of the thyroid gland, which can cause a sharp release of prolactin into the blood.
The consequences of false pregnancy in dogs
The most common condition that can cause false pregnancies is mastitis. It is advisable to lubricate the nipples of the animal (you can use camphor oil) or make compresses.
Relapses often appear. They are associated with the fact that the reduction in the ovaries occurs within 70 days. In some dogs, this phenomenon is pronounced, while others tolerate it quite calmly and without particular consequences. Also, owners of bitches often complain about mental disorders of their pets. Animals during this period are overly excited. In such cases, it is best to consult a veterinarian.