Tuesday, December 07, 2010

False Pregnancy: No Pups for Kenya (this time)

No pups for Kenya.  :o (

No crow for me (I was right).  :o )

Today is Day 50 counted from the date of Kenya's tie with Tuc, and if she were carrying puppies, their spines and skulls would be visible on an x-ray by now.

I looked at her x-rays tonight (her vet appointment was about 2 hours ago). Dr. Wagner even put the current x-ray side-by-side with the x-ray from her last litter up for me to compare.

Trust me: there are no puppies showing in the x-ray. Her abdominal cavity looks just as it should (no expansion anywhere; no evidence of pups anywhere).


It appears Kenya is going through a "false pregnancy" (a very real condition in canines, and cows, and other mammals). In dogs its technical term is "canine pseudocyesis" (for a brief summary of the clinical condition, click here to view an abstract at the NIH  or this article written by a vet at petmed).

A false pregnancy quite explains both Kenya's psychological and physiological changes as well as my suspicion that she wasn't "with puppy."

Basically, the best way I can describe it is this: Kenya's body and mind are tricking her into thinking she's pregnant. She's already gained weight, she's losing hair around her nipples, and she's acting like she did when she was pregnant last time (psychologically). She may even lactate (develop milk in her mammary glands), develop engorged teats, nest, and try to mother toys or rolled socks (I hope she doesn't do this; that would be really sad to watch).

But she is not pregnant.

Apparently the condition is quite common in in-tact female dogs (though we've never gone through it with one of our girls before). And symptoms should only last a few weeks (might be inconvenient for us, but won't harm her). No worries.

We still have every reason to believe Kenya will be able to have puppies again as we'd planned (in about six months). It's all good.

Am I disappointed. Of course!  How could I not be ? (Puppies are puppies and always a gift, no matter the timing.)

But I have to admit I'm relieved, too.

I get to keep my kitchen for the holidays (whelping and puppy raising take over our kitchen for over two months with each litter).  I get to rest completely when I have to recover from my oral surgery next week (no puppy demands).  I get to sleep every night for the couple of weeks around Christmas (I would normally be doing night-shift on puppy watch if we had a litter).

So it's all good.

Kenya gets to think she's pregnant and pretend she's pregnant without any of the work or mess. And I get to stay human for the holiday season!

Chalk it up to another learning experience compliments of our canine crew.

And instead of chronicling another litter, now I can devote a bit more time to writing about the other doggies and our lives spent with them

That, too, can be quite fun (and quite silly). Just wait and see. Another of  Chessie's antics is up next (this one is sure to make you smile).  You can look for that entry in a day or two.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy Kenya's extra snuggles and our momentary reprieve.

And I'll try really hard to resist saying "I told you so."  Thpppppt!

'Til next time,


Heather said...


JackPDB said...

That's either the worst good news or the best bad news I've ever heard. Hard to sort it out. In any case, best of luck going forward.
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Anonymous said...

When I was in high school, we decided it'd be great for my palomino horse to have a colt and went through all the preparations. She had a larger belly and I stopped riding her. Then things didn't move along, and my dad called the vet who declared there was no colt, it was a "false pregnancy" and to get on her and ride her. So we both turned all right!!!! It is sad when you want a little one, but sometimes this happens, and you know your animal wanted little ones too, so you both get through it!!!!