Signs of a dog that has lost her litter of puppies

Updated July 19, 2017

Canine veterinarians call miscarriages spontaneous abortions. Dogs miscarry a litter because of Brucella Canis, Mycotic abortion, hypothyroidism, fetal death and neospora caninum. Three out of the above five causes are a bacteria or parasite. A severe pre-existing disease can also cause a miscarriage. If your dog displays the symptoms of a spontaneous abortion, confirm the loss of the litter and the cause with your veterinarian.

Flat Stomach

Early in pregnancy, a dog can reabsorb her puppies. This usually occurs before the 44th day of pregnancy. Her stomach will shrink and appear similar to pre-pregnancy. It might result from a hormonal imbalance, the canine herpes virus or E. coli. In some cases, the belly might just halt its progression instead of reducing in size.

Vaginal Discharge

Vaginal discharge, usually blood, signifies a potential loss of the litter and the possibility of Brucella canis as the cause. Bacteria, such as E. coli or S. aureus, may cause miscarriages with vaginal discharge symptoms. Testing the discharge may reveal the reason behind the miscarriage.

Abdominal Contractions/Fetus

Mid to late spontaneous abortions may progress to abdominal contractions. These contractions may result in the premature birth of the foetus. Depending on the length of the pregnancy before the premature release of the foetus, the puppies may be stillborn or living.


An expecting canine can develop symptoms, such as fever, discomfort and lethargy, easily confused with other minor forms of sickness. Canines often get these symptoms in conjunction with one of the other signs that a dog has lost her puppies.

No Puppies

In some cases, none of the above symptoms occurs. You may not have noticed them. If the expected birthing day passes and the dog show no sign of whelping, then she could have lost her puppies.


A vet can tell whether a dog is pregnant after the 16th day of pregnancy. He cannot diagnose a miscarriage before then. The vet will use an ultrasound machine to look for the puppies in the dog's womb. To determine the cause of the abortion, the vet will run several tests. A large number of miscarriages occur because of infectious diseases such as distemper.

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