Abortion (Loss of Pregnancy) in Dogs

Abortion is an ending or termination of pregnancy so that it does not result in birth. This can be a result of a hormonal imbalance, medicine or drug reactions, fetal causes and maternal causes.
It is common for pet owners to consider options to terminate unwanted or planned pregnancies. It is advisable to consult a veterinarian in-case you are considering such options to check if its viable and safe for your pet. Since confirmation of pregnancy takes 16 days, it is quite common for the mother to expel one of the fetus and still continue with the pregnancy.
Fetal development abnormalities, infections which can cause pregnancy complications such as brucellosis, herpes virus, maternal causes such as vaginal bleeding, injury, vaginal discharges, hormonal imbalances, reactions to known drugs and medicines, reabsorbtion of fetus or expelled fetus are known to cause spontaneous abortion.


There are various caused which can lead to abortion.

Infectious causes:
› Distemper
› Bacterial infections such as Brucellosis, Chlamydiosis, Escherichia coli (E.Coli), Q Fever (Coxiellosis), Salmonellosis, Toxoplasmosis, Mycoplasmosis, Streptococcus

Non-infectious causes:
› Poisoning and toxicity
› Genetic defects
› Diseases such as Diabetes mellitus, Hypokalemic Polymyopathy, Endometrial Hyperplasia, Hypoluteoidism, Vitamin A Deficiency, Stress, Trauma, Environmental causes, Physiologic and psychological causes
› Hormonal imbalances
› Reactions to known drugs and medicines

› Fetal causes such as Dystocia, deformity, large fetal size, small litter, prolonged gestation, disproportions

› Maternal causes such as Dystocia, congenital abnormality, small pelvic diameter, fibrosis, birth canal malformations, uterine inertia, uterine prolapse, insufficient dilation of soft tissue of birth canal

Clinical Signs and Symptoms

Pregnancy is confirmed 16 days post fertilization. Common symptoms seen are:
› Discomfort
› Depression
› Dehydration
› Pyrexia (Fever)
› Vaginal discharge
› Vaginal bleeding
› Expelled fetus


Veterinarians will require a complete medical history of your dog. This includes any previous illnesses, medicines used, alternate therapies & procedures and your dogs vaccination records. It is always recommended to describe the onset of symptoms, your dogs current diet, behavioral changes (if any), exercise / play routine and any other information which is necessary.

Confirmation of pregnancy is done only 16 days post fertilization. Abortion before confirmation can be difficult to diagnose.

Diagnosis is done by:
› Complete Blood Count (CBC)
› Physical examination
› Bacterial culture test for Brucellosis. This infection results in abortion between 45 to 55 days of pregnancy
› Uterine Biopsy
› IFA Test (Immunofluorescent assay)
› ELISA test (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay)
› Post Morten (Necropsy) examination
› Abdominal Radiograph (X-rays)
› Abdominal Ultrasound


There is no treatment available to completely stop abortion. Treatment plans suggested is for treating the underlying cause of abortion. Future pregnancies can either be normal or may result in abortion. All dogs should be tested for bacterial infections such as Brucellosis and Chlamydiosis before used for breeding.
If pet parents are concerned of unwanted, unplanned pregnancies, Spaying is the best option.

Home Care

Home care should aim at improving the condition. Treatments can take a few days. Most pets show signs of recovery within 3 to 5 days. Vaginal bleeding may continue for a few days, pets may feel discomfort, behavioral changes such as being submissive, or aggressive are very common. If you observe any behavioral changes, or if the condition does not improve, please contact your veterinarian.

› It is mandatory to provide a stress-free environment for your dog. Keep water and food bowls within reach. Avoid physical activity. Keep your dogs away from any noise and commotions.
› You have to administer and monitor all prescribed medicine as directed by your veterinarian.
› Do NOT travel with your dog.
› Do NOT allow your dog to roam freely, outside. This increases the risk of exposure to other infections.
› Use of environmental disinfectants is recommended. Prompt disposal of any and all materials after use is suggested.
› Elizabethan collar is strongly recommended so that your dog does not lick the area.

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