Using X-Ray for Counting Puppies During Dog Pregnancy 101 | Better Than Ultrasound

By: Danielle Harris

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Using X-Ray for Counting Puppies During Dog Pregnancy

An alternative and often more accurate method for counting puppies during a dog’s pregnancy is the use of X-rays. X-ray imaging allows vets to see the skeletal structure of the puppies, which provides a more precise count than ultrasound.

What is an X-Ray?

An X-ray is a type of imaging technology that uses radiation to view the internal structures of an animal. In the case of pregnant dogs, it specifically allows visualization of the puppies’ skeletons. The X-ray procedure is safe for both the mother and the puppies.

When to Use X-Ray in Dog Pregnancy?

While an ultrasound can detect a dog’s pregnancy as early as 28 days, X-rays are most effective later in the pregnancy, usually around day 56-58. This is because the puppies’ skeletal systems have calcified and become visible on X-ray images. Ultrasounds can’t accurately count puppies. Using x-ray for counting puppies will help you determine when the female is done with labor and delivery.

Process of X-Ray in Dog Pregnancy

Much like an ultrasound, the process of getting an X-ray is fairly straightforward. Your dog will need to remain still, and the veterinary technician will position your dog safely on the X-ray table. In some cases, mild sedation may be needed to keep your dog calm.

The procedure itself is quick, with the radiograph images ready within a few minutes. The images can then be interpreted by a vet, who will count the puppies’ visible skeletal structures to provide an accurate puppy count.

Benefits of Using X-Ray for counting puppies and more

Besides providing an accurate puppy count, X-rays also offer other benefits. These include assessing the puppies’ size and position, identifying any skeletal abnormalities, and helping plan for possible complications during birth.

It’s worth noting, however, that X-rays don’t provide detailed soft tissue images, so it’s not the best method for assessing overall fetal health.

After the X-Ray

After the X-ray, your dog can resume her normal activities. It’s important to continue monitoring her for any changes in behavior and to maintain her nutrition as advised by the vet. The anticipation continues as you now have a clearer picture of how many new fur babies to expect!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an X-ray safe for my pregnant dog?

Yes, X-rays are generally safe for your pregnant dog and her puppies, especially when done later in the pregnancy.

Why are X-rays done later in pregnancy?

X-rays are done later in the pregnancy because this is when the puppies’ skeletons have calcified and become visible on the X-ray images.

Can an X-ray determine the health of the puppies?

While X-rays can identify skeletal abnormalities, they don’t provide detailed soft tissue images. Therefore, they can’t assess overall fetal health as well as ultrasounds can.

How accurate is the puppy count from an X-ray?

X-ray provides a more accurate count of puppies compared to ultrasound due to clear visibility of the puppies’ skeletal structure.

What should I do after the X-ray?

After the X-ray, your dog can go back to her normal activities. Continue to monitor her for any changes and ensure she’s eating a nutritious diet.

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2 thoughts on “Using X-Ray for Counting Puppies During Dog Pregnancy 101 | Better Than Ultrasound”

  1. It’s a good thing you mentioned that digital xrays produce results quickly because images emerge right away. As you indicated, this can ensure that the therapy for your pet doesn’t become delayed. Since her pet was a bit chubbier than normal, my cousin was concerned that her dog might be pregnant. I’ll be sure to let her know about this and look up vets who can assist with pet radiology.

    • I actually just did ultrasounds on 2 very thick dogs. They’re at around 30 days. I couldn’t see ANYTHING. Timing was perfect, Semen quality was also perfect. I told her not to rule it out but I was neither confirming nor denying pregnancy and to wait a little bit longer to do another ultrasound or X-ray. One of my girls in the past was extremely hard to read even for the vets. Also one of the females I just did ultrasound on, last time showed nothing on the scan and a week later 7 puppies were seen on the scan.

      Good luck to your cousin!

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