After your female has been bred, you will be anxious to know if she is pregnant! The most common method used for pregnancy diagnosis is an ultrasound exam.
We typically recommend doing a pregnancy ultrasound 28 days after the first breeding. A small area of her lower abdomen in the middle under her umbilicus will be minimally shaved and she is placed comfortably on her back in a padded trough. There is no anesthetic used and you can be there to visualize the puppies! We can also give you a CD of your ultrasound so you can have the "first pictures"!
Another advantage of ultrasound evaluations is that we can assess the well-being and stability of the puppies in the uterus at that time by looking at puppy heart rates to evaluate fetal stress, evaluating the placentas, and determine developmental stage. Oftentimes, we can detect a problem early in the pregnancy and take measures to help sustain a pregnancy to term.
In small litters we like to take an x-ray about 2-4 days prior to the expected delivery date to assess the positions of the puppies, number, and general size. With large litters (greater than 6 puppies) we cannot give you a puppy count, so recommend taking an x-ray after whelping is complete to make sure everybody is out. We use digitalized radiography so we are able to give you a copy of the x-ray for your files either on a CD or by e-mail.