Meet the woman who can tell if your dog is pregnant | TeamDogs
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Meet the woman who can tell if your dog is pregnant

Julie has been an ultrasound scanner for dogs for a number of years

Charlotte Regen

Posted 17d ago

One woman has explained to dog owners how she can help tell them if their beloved canine is pregnant and how many puppies they should expect.

Trying to find out when your dog is expecting can be tough as well as preparing for the size of the litter.

Most owners would think to go straight to the vets but you can actually take your dog for an ultrasound scan.

The experience is just like when humans are pregnant with a probe using a water-based gel.

It is then placed on the dog's abdomen which emits an ultrasound wave in order to detect a pregnancy.

Julie scanning an expectant dog

The scan can determine how many pups your dog may be carrying - however, any indications of numbers is an estimate as reabsorption can occur and not all foetuses may be seen.

Julie Growcott at Canine Pregnancy Scanning West Midlands, based in Kingswinford, spoke to TeamDogs about how she got into the business.

She said: "I went into scanning as I couldn't find anyone reliable when I needed my own pet checked, there are a lot of layman scanners around now, with varying levels of experience so it pays to check the credentials of who you use.

"I am an ultrasound scanner who has been trained to detect pregnancy, and refer animals to the vet if I notice something abnormal ie: pyometra womb infection."

Julie, who also breeds and shows Rough Collies, claims a lot of people always want to know how many pups they are expecting, however, this isn't as straightforward as it sounds.

"The whole purpose of a scan is to determine whether or not a dog is pregnant, but everyone wants to know' how many'? I will always give an estimate of exactly what I see on the scan, but this can never be 100 per cent accurate," she said.

"It is completely normal for more or less puppies to be born than are counted at a scan. This isn't the fault of the machine or the operator.

"My machine gives very clear images of the gestational sacs, and as such I will always point them out and you can come to your own conclusion as to how many you can see.

"After about day 35 the puppies have grown to a size where they start to overlap each other on the scan, and telling one puppy from another becomes increasingly difficult. Any one puppy may be counted twice.

Julie also breeds and shows Rough Collies

"I generally recommend a rescan if the first indicates a single puppy, has a discharge during pregnancy or she has had problems during pregnancy before."

However, Julie says owners should be aware that even an entire litter can be reabsorbed for a number of reasons.

"She could have hormonal or physical reasons that mean she can't maintain a pregnancy, she may be stressed or carrying an underlying health problem or an infection," she said.

"There could also be a problem with the foetuses themselves and some breeds are more prone to reabsorb than others. You should consult with your vet to rule out any underlying medical issues."

Although puppies have a long and sometimes tricky way to go in the short 63 days a dog's pregnancy lasts for, generally Julie's job is full of joy.

She continued: “The best part of the job is giving owners the good news that their dog is pregnant, and I especially enjoy doing follow up on six to seven week scans where clients are amazed that they can see the foetus resembling a puppy, see an active heartbeat and see the pups moving."

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