I perform ultrasound on dogs to detect pregnancy from 30 days from the first mating. There are scanners out there that will say they can scan from 20 odd days, but this can totally inaccurate and can lead to an incorrect diagnosis as the puppies may well be not visible at this time. I trained with Vet Image Solutions, but there are scanners who learnt to scan from another source who will try and do cheap scans and microchipping, using equipment that is not up to the job. My machine a Kaixin 5600, gives clear images of the puppy sacs and in scans performed later in pregnancy, the bone structure can clearly be seen.
The puppies are lined up on two Uterine Horns, one on the left and one on the right side of the dogs body. Performing Ultrasound between 30 and 35 days allows us to determine not only pregnancy but also approximate number of puppies.This is why it is useful to have this procedure carried out on your bitch as when it comes to whelping you have a good idea of the number of puppies to expect.
By using a mobile scanner, there is no stress to your girl as its all done in your own home, and no risk of picking up infection, such as Kennel cough , as there would be going to your vets. Having performed thousands of pregnancy scans, i am aware that not only are vets charges considerably dearer, but they quite often don’t perform the procedure in front of you, taking your girl out the back to scan and then only confirming pregnancy and giving no idea of numbers. I have heard of cases where the dog has even been muzzled, which clearly stresses your girl at a time where stress needs to be at a minimum. I will spend time with your girl, allowing her to get to know me before we perform the procedure, and its all done in a calm manner, spending as much time as is necessary. I will also discuss what your girl is experiencing during pregnancy, and what to expect at whelping time, which can be a stressful time for a first time breeder. Happy to answer any questions you may have either at the appointment time, or any you have anytime after.
Some breeders like to have a second scan performed around the 7th to 8th week of pregnancy, this is a more interesting scan, as at this stage, the back bone and rib cage can clearly be seen, as can the heart, and the puppies can clearly be seen moving inside mum. At this stage the only way of determining numbers is by counting the number of heart beats. At whelping time we can be available for you, should you need us, and this can either be in person at the time of whelping, or alternatively advice one the telephone.
Ultrasound ideally should be performed on your girl after every season, as this is a venerable time for her to get an infection in her Uterine horns, this is called Pyometra. This very nasty infection, needs treatment immediately, and depending on how bad it is can be treated by medication, or in severe cases your girl may need to be speyed. If left undetected it can prove to be fatal.
I hope this piece proves to be helpful to anyone in doubt of having an ultrasound performed on their girl.