Pervy pregnancy is a common term describing a pathology that appears in unsterilized pubescent dogs. It is manifested by the appearance of physical symptoms and behaviors. They may lead to the belief that the bitch is pregnant, when it is not. It is therefore also and more appropriately called “pseudogestation lactation” or “pseudolactation”. We tell you about nervous pregnancy in bitch.
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This nervous pregnancy is not nervous or neurological as its name might suggest. But it is the consequence of a hormonal imbalance. An abnormal change in the level of progesterone and prolactin which are hormones that come into play at the time of the birth and the rise of milk.
The bitch has all the behavior of a pregnant female, and that about 1.5 to 2 months after the heat, that is to say when she would have had babies if she had been full.
The symptoms are more or less numerous:
- enlargement and congestion of breast tissue, often resulting in severe licking
- excretion of more or less thick fluid in the udders, up to the appearance of really thick milk
- swelling of the vulva with sometimes a mucous discharge
- behavioral disorders: the bitch isolates herself, seeks to make a “nest”, she develops maternal behavior, tends to pick up her toys, objects, stuffed animals which she takes care of as if they were her own. small
- distension of the abdomen
- restlessness and continual search for contact, or depression and despondency
- lack of appetite or on the contrary bulimia
The diagnosis makes mainly on the observation of the aforemention disorders.
It is necessary to have the bitch examined by a veterinarian. Because it is essential to ensure that she is indeed not pregnant; accidents are always possible!
A complete clinical examination is therefore necessary, sometimes accompanied by additional examinations.
The veterinarian will first check that the bitch is not pregnant thanks to an abdominal palpation accompanied, most of the time, by an X-ray or an ultrasound.
It is then necessary to check that the bitch does not present infection. Indeed, when the udders are very engorged with milk, it can cause mastitis, that is to say an inflammation and infection of the breast tissue, which can, in the most serious cases, lead to a more generalized infection. A blood test may be necessary to confirm the effects on the body with biochemical workup and blood cell counting. Urinalysis may also order.
Treatment of nervous pregnancy in female dogs
Depending on the severity of the case, there are several treatment options.
If the symptoms are mild, no treatment is necessary. It is necessary to monitor the condition of the bitch and the evolution of clinical signs. If this does not worsen the disorders then disappear within a few days.
In the event of significant disturbances, it is necessary to give medical treatment based on hormones or prolactin inhibitors. Prolactin is, in fact, the hormone determining the secretion of milk: the treatments will administer aim to counteract its action.
When there will mark inflammation of the breasts that becomes painful, it may necessary to apply anti-inflammatory and decongestant ointments. However, care must take not to massage the udders too vigorously as this stimulates the flow of milk, in the same way as puppies would when suckling. For the same reason, it is not our recommendation to “milk” the bitch to empty the udders.
In some cases, a diuretic or even cortisone can add to limit a really important milk secretion.
The water diet (that is to say, leaving the bitch without eating but with to drink) for 24 to 48 hours, followed by a small diet of a week makes it possible to limit the protein intake and therefore the formation of milk.
In other cases, more serious but rarer, the treatments are ineffective or insufficient. Only sterilization, oophorectomy (surgical removal of the ovaries) or ovariohysterectomy (removal of the ovaries and uterus) can permanently resolve the problem.
In case of repeated nerve pregnancies and if the animal is not intended for breeding. It is strongly recommended to have the bitch sterilized. Indeed, these repeated hormonal imbalances can have more serious consequences. The hormonal impregnation of the tissues of the uterus causes the development of the endometrium (internal wall of the uterus in which the embryos settle) which becomes a medium. privileged for the growth of germs and which will promote the appearance of a uterine infection called pyometra. Treatment of this condition requires emergency ovariohysterectomy surgery.
Getting the bitch to breed is in no way a solution to avoiding nervous pregnancies. Indeed, a true gestation does not prevent the subsequent reappearance of symptoms of pseudogestation during the following cycles.
It should also note that neither the race, nor the age, nor the genetics explain the appearance of nerve pregnancies. The exact origin of this disease is, to this day, not known.
After the first heat of a young bitch, it is quite common to see a slight increase in breast tissue, without any other symptoms. This is not a nervous pregnancy. But a simple reaction of the mammary glands to the first hormonal impregnation of the organism; it should only be temporary and little marked.
The nervous pregnancy in the bitch is therefore not, in most cases, an emergency or a pathology presenting a real serious character but it constitutes a discomfort for the bitch and sometimes also for her owner. You should not take the problem lightly, think about the more serious side effects possible and consult your veterinarian.