Pregnancy can be confirmed in 3 ways at our practice: by palpation, ultrasound or radiographs.
Palpation (feeling of the abdomen) is reasonably accurate and inexpensive. It should be performed on day 24 after the last breeding. It is perfectly safe for the puppies.
Ultrasound for pregnancy should be performed on about day 30 after the last breeding. Pregnancy can be detected as early as day 19, but some early resorptions occur, and the heartbeats cannot be detected before day 28. Ultrasound does not determine an accurate count.
Radiographs are recommended for all pregnancies on day 55 from the last breeding. They provide the most accurate count of puppies. They also allow us to check several things to detect certain problems with a pregnancy, which could endanger the litter or the bitch. We recommend radiographs even when ultrasound has been performed for early pregnancy detection, as the two tests check the health of the pregnancy in different ways.
If you have any concerns or questions about any of these methods, please feel free to ask the doctors or the technicians.