Help, I think my bitch might have been “caught” by a dog!

Posted by on Oct 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

This is a really common problem – so much so it even has its own name: misalliance or sometimes a mismating. In this blog we’ll discuss misalliances, and the possible solutions!

What are the chances she would have been fertile when the mismating occurred?

When a bitch is coming into season (in the “pro-oestrus” phase), she’ll be very attractive to male dogs. However, although she’ll be keen to play with them, she won’t actually let them mount her – a bitch cannot be mated against her will. If she allows the dog to mate, it’s because she’s in the “oestrus” stage, during which she will reach peak fertility. As a result, the chances of conception are pretty high.

What if the dog didn’t tie? Surely that means she won’t conceive?

Over millions of years, dogs have evolved a very clever strategy to maximise the chances that any puppies conceived are theirs, and not fathered by the next male that comes along. This is called a copulatory lock or a mating tie – essentially, immediately after mating, the dog becomes trapped in the bitch and cannot uncouple for 30-60 minutes (thereby giving the first dog’s sperm a head start!). During this period the dogs will stand tail to tail, and often appear to largely ignore each other. However, although most fertile matings do result in a tie, it doesn’t always happen, especially if the happy couple are interrupted half-way through. In these cases, however, the dog may still have impregnated the bitch with enough sperm to get her pregnant.

Should I just wait and see?

There are thousands of unwanted dogs in rescue centres across the UK. There’s no reason to add another unwanted litter – and all the care and expense that taking care of them would involve.

How early can you check to see if she is in pup?

The best test is an ultrasound scan – however, it isn’t reliable before 21 days, and ideally 28 days after the mating.

Well is there anything that can be done?

Yes of course! There is a medication called aglepristone which we routinely give to any bitch who may be expecting an unwanted litter. This drug blocks the action of the “pregnancy hormone” progesterone, resulting in an abortion or, if given early enough, the bitch simply reabsorbing the embryos. It will work at any time up to 45 days after the mating; however, the later it is left, the
more likely it is that some puppies may survive, so it is better to give it about 10 days to 2 weeks after the mating. The course of treatment simply requires 2 injections 24 hours apart.

If you think your bitch might have been caught, give us a ring here at Easter Ross Vets and talk to one of our team!