Do you ever wonder the signs that your pet is exhibiting is not natural? Like your female doggo starts showing signs of increased mammary gland size and lactation on physical check-up at your VET? Or they start behaving oddly, protecting toys and being aggressive, and even start nesting (preparing for birth) even though they have not being bred? Does your pet undergo a series of hormonal and behavioral changes that become very evident?
Then, your pet might be suffering from a condition called pseudo-pregnancy, and your vet might even suggest the same.
Tanvi Shendye, Final Year Student, Bombay Veterinary College.
But what exactly is this pseudo pregnancy condition? How does it unfold? What exactly happens?
We’ve got you covered in this blog. All your doubts and questions are answered in this blog as this blog extensively covers pseudo-pregnancy symptoms, treatment and reasons why it occurs. Read more right below –
WHAT IS PSEUDOPREGNANCY?
Pseudo pregnancy is the development of signs of pregnancy without the presence of an implanted embryo or foetus.
It’s a common condition in female dogs as compared to female cats. This condition is rather common in 50% of the non-spayed female population.
False pregnancy is also called –
- phantom pregnancy
The female dogs exhibit a display of maternal (mothering) behaviour which is combined with the physical signs of pregnancy following oestrus or heat in a female dog that is not actually pregnant. Also, some females may behave as if parturition has occurred and may start nesting inanimate objects and refusing to eat.
WHEN DOES THIS OCCUR?
Pseudo-pregnancy occurs at the end of diestrus (a phase in oestrus cycle or monthly cycle in female dogs) and is characterized by hyperplasia (increase in size) of the mammary glands, lactation, and behavioural changes even when mating has not occurred (and thus, non-pregnant condition)
WHY DOES PSEUDO-PREGNANCY OCCUR? WHAT HAPPENS EXACTLY?
Hormones are produced by ovaries regardless of pregnancy. In fact, ovaries have a major role in pregnancy (stimulation, maintenance and end of pregnancy) also, in non-pregnant dogs, the regular oestrous cycle is under influence of ovaries! So we know, ovary here is the major reason. Now, these hormones prepare the uterus to receive the foetuses and maintain pregnancy and hence continually produce hormones to maintain this pregnancy until parturition (or the birth of puppies) and then a new set of hormones take over for lactation (milking the young ones)
And when the dog is not pregnant, these hormones will subside after a few weeks to resume the cycle once again. The hormones begin to decline after 4-6 weeks.
However, In pseudo-pregnancy condition, increased levels of circulating hormones cause changes that start mimicking a real pregnancy even though there is no conception and no foetus (pregnancy)
WATCH OUT FOR SYMPTOMS!
Symptoms of false pregnancy usually begin at around four to eight weeks after the previous heat period and it mimics the symptoms of true pregnancy.
The most common signs of pseudo-pregnancy include :
Hyperplasia of Mammary gland (Enlargement of Mammary Glands)
During pregnancy, the mammary glands increase in size to accommodate and produce milk which will be generally produced for nursing young pups. However, even in pseudo-pregnancy, there is an increase in Mammary Glands’ size. The body undergoes some series of Hormonal Changes which leads to this condition.
The progesterone level falls while prolactin levels increase in concentrations and thus, is associated with this condition.
Production of milk from Mammary Glands.
Like mentioned before, there is an increase in the size of the mammary gland. These glands however may /may not produce milk. And yes, in pseudo-pregnancy both possibilities can occur.
Due to the hormonal changes happening in the body, there is an increase in the weight of your pet which is very obvious and it’s not related to the amount of intake of food.
Although there might be an increase in appetite or there could be anorexia.
Your furry friend could start eating a lot or, not -a-lot (Anorexia in Pets).
Is your pet is always tired, and appear different? Time to get them checked up! It could be because of many reasons, yes pseudo-pregnancy being one of it.
Now, this condition is all because of hormonal changes and imbalance, there obviously are certain behavioural signs which you can evidently observe –
- Mothering behaviour and activity
- lethargy and Decreased interest in physical activity
- Aggressive behaviour
- Protecting toys or other small objects.
HOW DO WE TREAT THIS CONDITION?
Mild conditions generally don’t need treatment as they resolve after a certain time on their own.
To prevent future cases of hormonal conditions, if the female is not going to be bred or used for breeding purposes and if the owner chooses, the dog should be spayed.
Ovariohysterectomy is recommended to prevent future episodes of Pseudo-Pregnancy and ideally, this condition should never re-occur.
Management of Pseudo-pregnancy.
Now, if your pet is showing signs of pseudo-pregnancy, we can always medically manage this condition –
- Homeopathic Veterinary Medicine for Pets
Our product FERTIGO for PET is a homeopathic medicine that works on the principle of “similia similibus curanter” which means “like cures like”
Quality, efficacy, and safety are the utmost priorities of FERTIGO for PET formulation. Such formulations that cause symptoms like a diseased animal in a healthy one are used to prepare this wonder drug formula to be able to treat pseudo-pregnancy or related complaints of varied reasons.
Dosage: 20 drops three times a day or as directed by the doctor.
- Visit a Veterinarian: Visiting a Veterinarian may be considered to calm the dog if they’re very restless anxious or aggressive and for conventional treatment.
- Symptomatic relief
As the condition unfolds, the management protocol is similarly offered to depend upon the needs of your pet based upon the signs and symptoms.
Pseudo-pregnancy as a condition is a hormonal one, and thus the management is a little bit tricky, but definitely not impossible. We can always be vigilant as a pet owner and choose what’s best for them. Medical management by homeopathic medicine such as FERTIGO for PET is possible along with the conventional allopathic route.
The best way is for you and your Vet to decide if you want to go for spaying or managing with medicines or breeding your furry friend.
It’s always a choice, that we make for the best of our pets!