Martha Dull on Canine Reproduction
Copyright 2001 Dr. Martha Dull
I wonder if any of you would be interested in watching a pregnancy progress in a young bitch on ultrasound. Of course both the sire and the bitch are apricots. I picked one of the photos that I thought you might find interesting but there are several sacs in each horn.The bitch is 23 days from the last breeding but I did not do any tests to see what day she ovulated.You can see only the beginning of a fetus between the 2 x's measuring 4 mm. The sac measures 10 mm, just the beginning of a puppy. If any of you are interested I will reultrasound her about every 10 days to 2 weeks. I hope the photos will come thru for you.
Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.
Roger, you wrote me that in some bitches you had ultrasounded there were more puppies a 4 wks than were whelped. I have ultrasounded a number of bitches for myself and friends. Frequently there are more sacs early that late in pregnancy. Sometimes I see a sac without a fetus or in later weeks a fetus without a heart beat. This is not surprising to me since in the human the miscarriage rate is 1 in 4 to 5 pregnancies. Melton, your eyes are fine. I took 5 photos including both horns but selected this one because I could see the fetal pole just 4 mm in length. It is still fascinating to me to be able to see life at such an early stage. Ultrasound takes a photo of a very narrow line of tissue under the transducer . At this point with the sac only 1 cm if the is the next sac is just a little curved away you can't see it in the same photo. Later it will be easy to see more than one sac in a photo. I enlarged the sac to show the fetus better but it will not be as clear.
I remember when I first looked at ultrasound that it was difficult to imagine a picture from what appeared to be shadows. In a Vet book I found a drawing of a puppy fetus inside a uterine horn.I thought it might help explain what you see on the ultrasound. Remember in each photo we are seeing a small part of the puppy that happens to be under the ultrasound beam at that moment. On the actual ultrasound now there is much movement and the heart is not only seen beating but the 4 chambers can be seen now. The legs are very active. I am sorry that I don't know how to send video to show you. These will be sent in 4 emails so you don't have to download so much at one time. First will be the drawing from the Vet book. Please note--puppy is apricot.....
Looking like a Halloween mask this is the bony part of the puppy skull. Soft tissue is also seen on ultrasound but this photo shows mostly bone. When this photo was made the puppy was moving briskly back and forth and appeared to be looking from side to side, perhaps wondering why she (I hope) is feeling pressure from the ultrasound instrument. She is just under the abdominal wall as you can see by he bright crescent at the top, the position of the ultrasound transducer.
Again you can see the bony parrts more clearly but soft tissue is also visable if you look closely. The puppy fetus is lying on her back. Thee bones of the spine are so clear you can count the vertebra. At the bottom is the shadow of the pelvic bones and a clear back leg. I think I can see a tail. Toward the upper fetus you can see the outline ao the tummy and 2 chambers of the heart. The head is not seen.
On the 3rd ultrasound I forgot to point out the edges of 3 more sacs. Can you find them?... This ultrasound is a cross section of the rightt and leftt horns of the uterus. The beam was focused on the left horn so it is the clearest. The round circle in the left sac is a cross section of a puppy abdomen as though it was cut thru the center.... this is the last ultrasound because near the end the fluid that looks black and surrounds the puppy greatly diminishes and without video the photos are not clear. My bitch is due between the 1st and 3rd of April. I still estimate 5 puppies. We will see soon.
All Materials and Photographs copyright 2001 Martha Dull
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