Pre-whelping Puppy Counts Via Radiographs (X-rays)
There are lots of moments of anticipation when your dam is pregnant. One of those big moments is confirming the pregnancy with an ultrasound. Likely the biggest moment of anticipation is finding out how many puppies you’re expecting. An accurate puppy count makes the whelping process easier for the breeder- since you should know when you’re finished.
At Highland Pet Hospital, we recommend performing x-rays as opposed to ultrasound or palpation to get accurate puppy counts. There are many pros and cons to each, but one of the advantages of X-rays is accuracy of the litter count, and lower costs for the owner.
Some of the other advantages of X-rays is we can compare fetus size to the size of the pelvic canal, and the fetus positions. If the puppies (usually their heads) are too large, the dam will have a hard time whelping. If so, we can discuss the options for an elective c-section.
X-rays most often give us an exact count of the litter, but even with the best images, some puppies could be ‘hiding’ behind another puppy or the dam’s spine. Rarely are x-ray counts off by more than one puppy. We recommend performing a radiograph puppy count after 47-49 days of gestation.