After first heat... false pregnancy? Advice?

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After first heat... false pregnancy? Advice?

This is a discussion on After first heat... false pregnancy? Advice? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Our female setter Tess, had her first heat at 12 months. She was totally adorable during this time, the hormones making her even more affectionate ...

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Old 08-24-2010, 07:09 PM
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After first heat... false pregnancy? Advice?

Our female setter Tess, had her first heat at 12 months. She was totally adorable during this time, the hormones making her even more affectionate and sweet than normal. But that's a side note. My question involves what happens next. Since her heat, her nipples and mammary glands have remained somewhat swollen. I'm quite certain she is not pregnant as we were extremely careful in keeping her and Josey, our intact male physically separated at all times. We put them both in crates if we were not home, and if we were home, one was always in a crate and both were under our direct supervision. (we had read they can even mate through a crate)

Anyway, I'm just wondering...
- how common are false pregnancies?
- how long after the heat would one see signs of a false pregnancy?
- anything else anyone can tell us that we don't even know to ask!

I've had dogs all my life, but never before have had intact animals. I grew up with the "spay-neuter" mantra and still believe in it for all the good reasons. The reason our male is intact is that he was potentially a valuable breeding dog. We never set out to have a stud dog, but sort ended up getting him from a good breeder and the Llewellin setter being a fairly rare breed, we were counseled by his breeder to keep options open. Its a long story, but suffice it to say that he was making the cut as far as hips and such, up until I had his thyroid checked and he came up positive for the auto-antibodies. Its a heritable condition so he's out of the running as far as I'm concerned. We may at this point neuter him.

As far as the female goes, we have never planned to let her have puppies, (leaving the breeding decisions to those who really know what they are doing) but we decided to let her mature fully before spaying, ie have one heat. There is a certain amount of information out there regarding skeletal development and so forth that counters the traditional benefits on reducing mammary cancer risk. Maybe we just wanted the challenge of handling a female in heat with an intact male in the house! LOL! It WAS an adventure for sure.

All this is to explain why I am clueless about intact females and what to expect after a heat. My understanding is we should wait a couple of months after the heat then get her spayed. So far about 3 weeks have elapsed.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:18 PM
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I would take her to the vet as false pregnancies I have HEARD, I dont know for a fact tho, can be a bad thing...I would definitely neuter and spay both as you may think you are taking precaution but its happened before...dogs hooking up without the owner even knowing and dogs breaking through kennels.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:25 PM
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Thanks Pawz,
Yes, we definitely will be spaying Tess before a second heat, so there won't be any unplanned puppies from a teenage mom!
During her heat, we heard lots of stories about "accidents" with breedings, so we were incredibly careful! I think the only way she could be pregnant is through immaculate conception! LOL!
Anyway, it is indeed the false pregnancy I'm on the lookout for. We won't hesitate to take her to the vets if it seems to be happening. If anything, we Over-do the medical care thing. Our vet thinks we are sorta crazy because we ask for extra tests and such anytime I am the least bit concerned one of our dogs is not acting normal. I think we are funding our vet's children's college tuition! LOL!
Thanks
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:27 PM
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NP hopefully someone else who has had experience with females and heat cycles can tell you if the swollen nipple thing is normal. I would think so...as being women we experience breast tenderness and swelling during our cycles. Gee I hope that was ok to say.... LOL
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:41 PM
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NP hopefully someone else who has had experience with females and heat cycles can tell you if the swollen nipple thing is normal. I would think so...as being women we experience breast tenderness and swelling during our cycles. Gee I hope that was ok to say.... LOL
I hope it was OK... it was hilarious! Yes, one thing I read, which I cannot find again now, is that females are actually "hormonally pregnant" even if they have not been bred, which accounts for the false pregnancy phenomenon. So if that's the case, hormones floating around could account for what's happening, just at they do for us humans!

So far the swelling is very slight, just about what it was during the heat. I'm not sure folks would notice if they were not super paranoid like I am. She is her normal active self with no discomfort, no discharge (is that OK to say?!) and seems totally healthy. I guess I expected the nipples to return to normal after the heat, but they have not yet, so I'm just wondering if that is usual for a couple of months (the gestation period) or if it might be an early sign of false pregnancy.
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Old 08-24-2010, 08:37 PM
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LOL I think discharge from a doggy is ok to say
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Old 08-24-2010, 11:41 PM
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I don't know much about false pregnancies but I do know that after Kitty's heat she also has.. Aherm. Swollen nipples. For a while. She's getting spayed soon :] so exciting
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Old 08-25-2010, 02:51 AM
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As far as I know false pregnancies are not so rare in dogs...and can get out of control, lasting for weeks with the dog producing milk and sometimes mothering soft toys or pillows.
If the symptoms are mild the condition resolves within 3 weeks and probably don't need medications. Otherwise there are mild and strong meds depending on the condition...a vet would know better

*I had to go through that with Emmy before I got her fixed...lol! She was mothering a squicky toy and was crying all the time if I remove it! Sometimes she made me laugh so hard!! She had to get meds tho.
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:02 PM
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I was told by a breeder a few years ago that the way to tell the difference between an actual pregnancy and a false pregnancy was that the dogs vagina would remain swollen after the heat cycle if she was pregnant. Apparently false pregnancies are really common, they can produce milk and can get a bump.

I had a false pregnancy with a spayed girl once. She was a corgi about 8 years old and had been spayed since she was a pup. She started producing milk randomly for a few weeks. But she never had any heat cycles, and was never around a male. We took her the vets, but he said to just watch out for infections of the nipples and such, otherwise it should sort itself out... and it did. She never experienced it again in her life.
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by emaleigh View Post
I was told by a breeder a few years ago that the way to tell the difference between an actual pregnancy and a false pregnancy was that the dogs vagina would remain swollen after the heat cycle if she was pregnant.
I'm not sure that's right, my dogs vulva was swollen for a long time after her cycles, but she was deffinitly not pregnant.

It's normal for that a dogs nipples swell up after a heat cycle, nothing to worry about there. I also wouldn't worry about the false pregnancy, as said before most of the time it resolves itself. However if it last's more then 2 months (normal pregnecy length for a dog) I would bring her to the vet.
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