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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 05:41 AM Thread Starter
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False Pregnancy questions

Khana (chow bitch, nearly 5 years old) was in heat in early July. Two days ago I was rubbing her belly and noticed a tad bit of swelling around her lower nipples. On further exploration I found that she is producing milk.

So off to the internet I go ... researching false pregnancy. In my years as a vet tech and dog owner, this is my first experience with false pregnancy! I KNOW she's not pregnant as she is never outdoors without me being there and I have no male dogs. Besides the milk production and slight swelling of the mammary glands, she is a nester and tends to dig at her bedding - and mine too .. *L*. Since she has always done that, I didn't see that as a symptom until the milk production started. Now that I'm paying more attention, she seems to be nesting a bit more than normal.

She loves to have her belly rubbed and I found out (a few years ago) that she would tend to nest after having her belly rubbed. I figured there was a connection that was hormonal but now I'm learning (through sites online) that rubbing her belly at this point stimulates milk production so we've stopped that behavior (to her great disappointment .. she jumps on the bed and rolls onto her back and looks at me as if to say "hey! you're slacking here!").

So my question is: has anyone had experience with false pregnancy and do you have any cautions for me to consider? I understand it can take a few weeks to subside, but are there any red flags I should be aware of that means "take her to the vet!"? I know to watch for pyometra and I've been through that with another bitch, so I always am on the alert for excess licking, discharge, etc. especially during the month or two following estrus.

This is my Service Dog and I don't want to take any chances with her. Spaying is on the "to do" list but due to complications in my life and finances I've had to wait. I don't mind dealing with heat cycles so it's basically been a non-issue overall until now.

Thanks in advance!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 08:43 AM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

My girly has had a false pregnancy.. The only other thing I would look out for is aggression. Cherry had a toy that was her 'baby' and whilst I was allowed to touch it, if Phoebe (our Border Collie) so much as looked at it, she would get growled at. Phoebe accidentally stepped on it once and they did fight. We broke it up quickly, but this is so unlike Cherry normally as she loves Phoebe to death.

Does Khana seem overly attached to a toy? If she does I'd keep an eye on that especially around the other dogs. Cherry also seemed rather depressed. She wasn't her bouncy, goofy self at all, so I spent a lot of time trying to distract her from her toys because she just wanted to mother them all. She would wash them constantly, walk around with them crying and even put them by her side and lift her leg as if she was feeding them.

I believe the vet can give her something to stop the milk production, if that was becoming an issue.. Hope she's feeling back to herself soon

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 09:30 AM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

Melanie, I went through this with Cheyenne. What I found a little helpful other than letting it just run it's course was to up her excercise. I do swear if there would have been an orphaned litter of puppies or kittens (she loves kittens) I would have taken them or take her to them. I think some females are just really hard wired for being a momma, not saying they are breed worthy just my opinion. Even spayed she wants to mother any thing little.

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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 09:55 AM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

Never experienced a false pregnancy, but have a friend who did. Her dog got overly soft and emotional during that time (way more than during a normal heat cycle).

And she also took to hoarding and guarding all the stuffy toys in the house. Apparently they were her "babies". The only thing they had to be careful of is that she would go after the 2 other dogs in the house if they came too close to her and her "babies" or dared to try to play with any of the household stuffy toys. Normally the 3 dogs get along fine and there's no toy jealousy or resource guarding between them, and it went away when she was done with the false pregnancy, so it was definitely hormonal related.


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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 12:00 PM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

Chris

Little Ray has too, like her sister.
She was also digging dens in the backyard & in our bed.
Her baby is the little stuff duck that you sent her home with,
& we would have to get it from her before she would go outside.

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~A Well-Balanced Dog has Titles at Both Ends~

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 04:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

Thanks, guys! I knew that there had to be others who had gone through this with their girls.

Khana is not a dog that is interested in toys at all, so there hasn't been any collection of "puppies" for her. Mostly she's interested in me and mothering me .. *L* .. so my feet and legs are getting throroughly washed when I'm laying on the bed watching TV. She really gets after my toes, braces her top teeth against my foot and licks hard. I've always considered her to be a bitch that would enjoy being a mother, because she tends toward the "mothering mode" so easily.

I haven't seen any aggression yet, but will watch for it. Khana is extremely good-natured so I wouldn't expect it, but when you're dealing with an overload of hormones you never know what might happen! And we just lost Trick last week so the whole "pack" is in limbo a bit until they settle down and re-establish who's who. With Tazer at just two years old, there may be a bit of challenging although Tazer and Khana love to play too, and Tazer is still very puppyish. You never know how it will turn out until they show you.

Khana is a bit more clingy than normal, that's for sure. Laying behind me while I'm on the computer isn't enough right now - she has to crawl through the legs of the chair and find a way to lay down so that she's touching one of my feet. It doesn't seem like it would be comfortable for her ...

The milk production is not a problem. She's not dripping milk, but I can easily express a tiny bit. I was surprised to see that the milk comes out from numerous tiny holes in the top of the nipple and not from one main hole. When I used to milk goats (I stayed with some goat people back in the 80's) it seemed that there was a single hole that the milk flowed through as you squeezed the teat. But with Khana, there may be 3, 4, 5, 6 droplets in different areas on the top of the nipple. I suppose if she were in full milk it wouldn't be so apparent as it would all flow together. And maybe the numerous holes are so that the milk WILL come out easier.

The "holey nipples" is not a worry or concern, just a curiousity to me! *L* Just about when you think you know all about your dog, something new shows up!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska
... little Miss Khana would LOVE to have puppies, I think ... but that's not in her future.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 04:39 PM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

Yes, they have several tiny holes on their nipples. Even when in full milk and nursing pups it comes out of the several holes, not one big stream that flows together. I do remember also thinking that odd and not as expected (compared to having seen cows, goats, etc...) when we had our first dam nursing her first litter.


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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 05:46 PM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

Babs has had false pregnancies, and yes, she would be a great foster mother. I let it run its course, she gains weight and loses the hair around her nipples, but has never had contactions, false labor or the mild coming down.

She does get a little softer and I just accept that, and try to keep the handy man away and she doesn't like him at all. (He teased her as a pup, constantly putting his hand in her area and pulling it back to see if she would bite him. Now he is not there unless I am there. And at times, I keep Babs/Handy Man interface to a minimum.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 06:04 PM
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Re: False Pregnancy questions

My Beagle went through a false pregnancy, a day or two after being spayed. I took her right back to the vet, I thought she had a reaction to the surgery. They were amazed it was a false pregnancy.

She had milk come in and was nesting in my laundry basket full of clothes. She was very protective of the basket. It ran it's course, and she was fine.

I read that they may have not waited long enough after her heat. She was a stray that I picked up, figured out she was not spayed, then she went into heat before I could get it done, so we had to wait. Doggie female cycles are pretty complicated, or so I figured out reading up about it.

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