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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Breeder,Behaviorist, formerVet Asst
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19543
Experience:  Former vol Vet Assistant.Breeder 18+ years Dog trainer / behaviorist
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My dog has been panting alot the last few days and

Customer Question

Hi my dog has been panting alot the last few days and lactating. She is also nesting and has a ball she treats like a baby. Is she pregnant or false pregnancy
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. We need to be extra careful with pregnancies, so we'll need to connect you with the Veterinarian ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your dog?
Customer: I don't have money to pay for a vet visit
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I am not set up to do phone calls but would be happy to answer any questions you do have online. If you get a request for a phone call, it is from the website and not myself. Just ignore it. In order to give an informative and concise answer, it may take a few minutes before I respond back to you, so don't be alarmed if you don't hear back immediately. If you have not responded back in 10 minutes, it may be a longer before I can get back to you. I do have a couple more questions, though, to see if I can better assess your situation.

How long ago was her last heat cycle?

Do you know if she tied up with a male dog during her last heat cycle?

Does her abdomen look enlarged like she may be pregnant?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I believe her last heat cycle was 2 or 3 months ago. We have a male dog but he a Boston terrier mix and she is a border collie mix so he is alot smaller than her. They may have tied up when we were sleep or not home. And no her abdomen is not enlarged but her nipples r big and she has milk coming out.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Thanks for the information. If her abdomen is not enlarged, chances are that she is having a false pregnancy. Even with the size difference, though, they are more than able to mate. All she has to do is lay down. If it is a false pregnancy, there really isn't anything you can do about it. It just has to run its course. It may take 2-3 days, though. If she is still acting like this in 4-5 days, or if she seems to be getting ill in any way, it would be a very good idea to have a vet check her out. Chances are this is a false pregnancy if she doesn't look like she has gained any weight. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you, and we can still continue our conversation. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Asking more specific questions usually helps a lot. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Well she has gained weight but her stomach is not enlarged
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She also had some discharge that was dark colored
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Discharge from the vulva or mammary gland?

About how much weight gain do you think she has had?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She had discharge from her vagina. And she has gained about 10 pounds
Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Well, the discharge from the vulva is not really a common symptom of a false pregnancy. With the hormonal changes, technically it is possible to see some mild discharge, but there is also concern that she may be pregnant or actually have a life threatening uterine infection called a pyometra (can happen anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months after a heat cycle). You may get a mild amount of abdominal distension with a false pregnancy, but 10 lbs seems like a lot if it has been all in the past 2 months. I think it would be a good idea to have a vet check her out to be on the safe side. You can even try calling around to see if any vets take payment plans or offer a free office visit to a first time client. If not possible, it should still be okay to monitor her the next couple days, but if she seems to be getting worse or more ill; then she really needs to be seen ASAP. It could still be a false pregnancy, but that discharge and amount of weight gain throws a question into it. Hope this helps.

My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, PLEASE RATE IT. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you, and we can still continue our conversation. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Asking more specific questions usually helps a lot. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Didn't help much at all actually. Not worth the money
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 months ago.

Sorry. I can always opt out and see if another expert has something else to add.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Ya will that cost me more money
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. I've been breeding for over 20 years as well so I have a lot of experience with pregnancy and whelping.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

How long ago did your girl mate?

Did you witness the male locked to the female in a tie?

Did you feel any puppies moving inside her during the last week?

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

I do want you to have an answer so I don't want you to wait anymore.

A dog’s gestational period (pregnancy) is approximately 63 days from breeding. If you actually saw your dog mate with another dog and achieve a tie(stuck together) then the odds are she is pregnant. A tie can last as little as 5 minutes but usually the tie lasts closer to 15 minutes. Now after 21 days or so, pregnancy can be confirmed by your vet with an ultrasound. Blood tests can be run to determine pregnancy after about a month pregnant. Closer to the end of pregnancy an x-ray can determine pregnancy. Without going to the vet, you might notice a mucousy clear o whitish discharge as the end of the pregnancy. During the last week of pregnancy you should be able to feel the puppies rolling inside and kicking though you have to position your hand between the rib cage and her thigh above the belly area. That is the most likely place you will feel the pups movement.

Since there might be a chance she is pregnant let me give you information on labor then I'll discuss false pregnancy and other issues that might be pertinent so you can make an informed decision based on what you are seeing.

There are three stages to labor. During the first stage the cervix dilates and contractions begin. Your female will be uncomfortable, restless, pace and pant. This lasts 6-18 hours. During the second part of labor, your female's contractions begin in ernest. Her water breaks and puppies are delivered usually after 10-30 minutes of pushing. All puppies are born during this stage.

The third stage of labor is after all pups have been delivered and is when a dog still has small contractions to expell fluids and/or placentas from the uterus. You can read more about this here:

http://www.2ndchance.info/caninelaborstages.htm

One way of knowing when your dog with have her puppies is to take her temperature twice daily at the same time each day as her due date gets close. Keep a record of this. A dog’s normal temperature is between 101-102.5F degrees. Her temperature may rise and fall during this time, but once her temperature falls below 99 degrees, she should go into labor in the next 24 hours. The temperature drop is due to a reduction in serum progesterone levels and signals that the dog will start labor within 24 hours. You can read about this at:

http://www.labbies.com/reproduction1.htm

You may also notice her breasts swelling during this last week of pregnancy and some milk leakage. Dogs will usually become restless and increase their digging and nesting behavior during the last week. You will notice an increase in her panting as well as a mucous discharge. You may also notice some abdominal contractions or rippling as her time grows closer. Do not be surprised if your dog is very restless and vomits as few times during this last week. Once your dog's temperature has dropped, please do not leave her alone in case of complications. As she enters actual labor you should be able to see her contractions and most dogs will begin looking at their hindquarters. An increase of licking of the genitals is normal before and during labor. Be sure and have an emergency Vet’s phone number readily available just in case of an emergency during the birthing of the puppies. Here is an excellent site about whelping.

http://www.k9web.com/dog-faqs/medical/whelping.html

Some other signs that my dogs always seem to exhibit are lack of appetite, frequent urination and frequent small, runny bowel movements in the day before labor starts. Frequently my dogs will start looking at their rears when the first real contractions start.

Now dogs who have not been bred will often have a little weight gain, breast development and milk production. They may adopt a toy or stuffed animals as babies. This is more common than you would think. This behavior generally only lasts a few weeks before your girl will go back to normal. A vet can help by administering medications that would help dry up the milk. Limiting water to only one cup per 8 pounds of body weight will help as well.

Now the previous expert mentioned pyometra. It is a uterine infection. Pyometra generally occurs 60-70 days after a heat cycle. It is usually seen in older unspayed females but can be seen in any age. It is diagnosed by ultrasound showing fluid in the uterus. There are two types of Pyometra (open and closed cervix) Symptoms of open cervix Pyometra are a vaginal discharge that may be pus or bloody, lethargy, anorexia, increased thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhea, and abdominal swelling though the dog remains fairly healthy due to the infection draining from the body. Closed cervix Pyometra symptoms are the same without much of a discharge, they appear very ill, there is usually weight loss and abdominal swelling and is much more extreme. Dehydration, shock and death can occur if not treated aggressively.

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/pyometra-in-dogs/915

So I hope I have given you enough information to determine if she is pregnant, going through a false pregnancy or something different. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
She still has discharge and is still lactating. No signs of puppies or labor I'm not sure what is happening
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

I don't think you ever responded to my question on how long ago she actually mated and whether you witnessed the mating?

That would help me determine if there is cause to worry or not?

Have you felt any movement in her abdomen? easiest to lay palm on side of dog between thigh and ribs and see if you feel any kicks or rolls.

Is the discharge clearish white or some other color?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
I never actually witnessed her mate. The discharge is a dark brown color. And haven't felt any movement
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

Ok. Since she does have a dark brown discharge that could indicate a couple of things. If she was in heat not long ago, it could indicate old blood being discharged from the heat cycle. I think you would have mentioned if her heat cycle was only a few weeks ago.

It could also indicate a miscarriage if she was indeed pregnant and lost some or all of her litter. It is also a possibility that she was pregnant, went into labor delivered a pup or two and they were not viable and she disposed of them. Dogs will ingest non viable pups. If that happened she would have a discharge for a few weeks after the delivery.

Now the other possibility that we don't want to see is a uterine infection called pyometra. Pyometra generally occurs 60-70 days after a heat cycle. It is usually seen in older unspayed females but can be seen in any age. It is diagnosed by ultrasound showing fluid in the uterus. There are two types of Pyometra (open and closed cervix) Symptoms of open cervix Pyometra are a vaginal discharge that may be pus or bloody, lethargy, anorexia, increased thirst and urination, vomiting and diarrhea, and abdominal swelling though the dog remains fairly healthy due to the infection draining from the body. Closed cervix Pyometra symptoms are the same without much of a discharge, they appear very ill, there is usually weight loss and abdominal swelling and is much more extreme. Dehydration, shock and death can occur if not treated aggressively.

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/pet-health-information/article/animal-health/pyometra-in-dogs/915

I know that you do not have funds for expensive vet bills but there are some vets that will give a free first visit. They do charge for tests but you are in charge of what procedures a vet does and can tell them up front how much if any funds you have available for that. They might choose to do a vaginal culture instead of an ultrasound, etc to help keep costs low.

Veterinary Bill Assistance Programs:
1. The Big Hearts Fund: http://bigheartsfund.org/
2. Cats in Crisis: http://www.catsincrisis.org/
3. Diabetic Cats In Need: http://fdmb-cin.blogspot.com/
4. The Dog And Cat Cancer Fund: http://www.dccfund.org/
5. Frankie's Friends: http://www.frankiesfriends.com/
6. Handicapped Pets Foundation: http://hpets.org/
9. The Mosby Foundation: http://themosbyfoundation.org/
10. The Onyx and Breezy Foundation: http://www.onyxandbreezy.org/
11. Paws 4 A Cure: http://www.paws4acure.org/
12. The Pet Fund: http://thepetfund.com/
13. Pets-DC: http://www.petsdc.org/
14. Shakespeare Animal Fund: http://www.shakespeareanimalfund.org/

This site may have additional resources as well.

http://www.speakingforspot.com/helppayingforveterinarycare.html

http://maddiesinstitute.typepad.com/chewonthis/2014/12/helping-people-find-money-to-pay-for-veterinary-care.html

These vets may offer a free initial visit though you may have to pay for extra procedures and medications. See the next one for the coupons.

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/directory.html?utm_content=link.corp.ffe.locator.

http://www.vcahospitals.com/main/offer

It won't hurt to at least let them look at her even if you can not afford any additional testing.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 5 months ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.