The Cottage Smallholder

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Min Pin phantom pregnancy

Photo: Inca in the snow

Photo: Inca in the snow

The Contessa, our senior Min Pin bitch, was prone to phantom pregnancies. As she didn’t fancy Dr Q it was pretty clear what was going on. Although we always hoped that she had finally snuggled up and might be carrying a litter of pups.

In the end we went down the AI route with the mismatched couple, which was a surprisingly down to earth experience. The key result was that Dr Q fell instantly in love with the female vet and any visit to any veterinary establishment since then is an expectant joy for Q. He actually pulls on the lead to go in when he sniffs that particular Veterinary Establishment scent. Poor Contessa finally had to be spayed to end the torment of phantom pregnancies.

Life has been hard and stressful recently but we had the bright possibility of pups to focus on. As early in December, Inca, our youngest Min Pin, showed all signs of being pregnant.

Quito and Inca have a healthy joie de vivre when Inca comes into season. They have always got on well. Quito played with her for hours when she was a pup and protected her from The Contessa’s jealous snarls.  Quito’s crippled back legs severely hinder the possibility of pups. But under the kitchen table the two enjoyed themselves enormously for a good two weeks. The Contessa was thin lipped on the sofa in the room next door.

Perhaps this time something had actually happened?

We were so excited. Inca is just they right age for looking after pups. At three years old she still has a puppyish charm but is mature enough to raise her own family. We planned to keep a pup so that she’d have a dog nearer her own age for company. Danny was keen to keep the lot.
“How will we be able to choose?”

 A dog experiencing a phantom pregnancy exhibits exactly the same signs as a pregnant dog. Swelling of the mammary glands and teats, a quiet clinginess, picky eating particularly in the morning and her body changes. The scan can’t be done immediately because you need a few weeks for the foetuses to develop. So we enjoyed the prospect, preparing tempting doggie meals and planning for a pup filled future.

I didn’t even consider the phantom pregnancy possibility when I telephoned the vet to book the scan. Just felt so pleased that Dr Q’s gentle genes were going to be passed on to another generation.

Mary Rose, the pretty young vet asked all the pertinent questions as she examined Inca.
“I’m so sorry but I can’t feel anything. I’d like to do a scan but it’ll have to be later today.”

We were on tenterhooks. When the call came I knew from the quick intake of breath before Mary Rose spoke that there were no pups.

We are determined to find Inca a new handsome husband that she likes before May when she will come into heat again.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pet Xpert

    Thanks for this useful information.

  2. Pet Xpert

    Although abdominal palpation is the most subjective method of pregnancy diagnosis, it is a reliable method for those skilled in palpation. The ease with which the abdomen can be accurately palpated is influenced by such factors as the amount of body fat, the body conformation, and the temperament of the animal, whereas these factors have little influence on the accuracy of other methods of pregnancy diagnosis. However, uterine enlargement caused by pregnancy cannot be accurately differentiated from uterine enlargement caused by some other process, such as pyometra, based on abdominal palpation findings alone.

    In Beagle bitches, uterine swellings that represent uterine edema, embryonic membranes, and early placental development are about 1 cm in diameter at 20 days after breeding. By 30 days after breeding the uterine swellings are about 3 cm in diameter. By 35 days, the gestational sacs are becoming elongated and the uterus is more diffusely enlarged, making it more difficult to detect pregnancy by palpation at that time.

    Real-time ultrasonography is an excellent method of pregnancy detection in bitches and queens. It is usually necessary to shave the abdominal hair to obtain good image quality. Scanning is easy to perform and requires minimal animal restraint. Pregnancy can be diagnosed if the gestational sac or fetal structures are identified. The gestational sac appears as a spheric, anechoic structure, surrounded by a hyperechoic wall comprised of the uterus and placenta. Hyperechoic fetal structures are seen within the getational sac. Although it has been reported that the gestational sac can be identified as early as 10 days after the last breeding in the bitch, pregnancy is not reliably detected until 24 to 28 days after breeding in bitches.

    Dog pregnancy

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Pamela

    Danny was the first boyfriend that I had that would walk with my Min PIn , Fly, on a lead.

    Shitzus are great, gutsy little dogs.

    Hello Casalba

    DR Q is doing so well. He suddenly wants to play again and has a new lease of life. We are delighted.

    Hi Charlie

    We’d love Dr Q and Inca to have pups but I think that I’ll look out for a suitable husband as a standby, just in case.

    Choosing which to keep will be difficult.

    Hi Natasha

    Yes I’ve heard that about human phantom pregnancies.

    I reckon that Dr Q will think that they’re his pups.

  4. I believe human phantom pregnancies can even result in a pronounced bump. Its a sad phenomena….and must be fairly common for two dogs of the same hosuehold to go through it. I hope Little Inca finds herself a husband soon…won’t this upset DrQ?

  5. I wonder if Inca and Dr Q were just practising last time around, to get the perfect technique…perhaps in May, Dr Q will turn out to be the perfect puppy maker 🙂

    They certainly seem to love each other, it would be a real shame if they couldn’t have a little family of their own. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for next time.

    But as Danny said, how will you choose which to keep…

  6. casalba

    “Dr Q is a once in a lifetime dog”. That made me sad. Hope he’s doing well, Sally

  7. I know how Danny feels. In my family we are all besotted with Shitzus since my Mum chose Max. He is just the best combination of a cat and a dog. He plays and follows you around like a dog but likes to sit on your lap like a cat. My 15 year old nephew G just loves him and is permanently either sitting with the dog on his lap or walking around with him tucked under his arm at the moment. They also spend hours in the garden playing football together. Lying on the floor in the kitchen playing with the dog the other night, G was speculating as to which part of Max he would eat first?! He then thought it was a shame that Max’s ribs didn’t make a sound like a xylophone. I asked him if he would have a dog of his own later in life and what breed would he choose. “Oh one of these” he said, “only I wouldn’t say it was mine”. I’d have one too.

  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hello S.O.L.,

    Humans have been known to have phantom pregnancies. I had never heard of this until I went on to Google last night to check my facts.

    So beware!

    BTW some young clients of mine chose Dulux Nutmeg White for their new oak kitchen (slate floor). It worked and looked stunning. Very chic and fresh.

    Hi Lindsay

    We are so sad too. Poor Inca.

    Hello Pamela

    Inca seems to be OK but who knows? We will find a fruitful husband for her that she is attracted to.

    Hi Gemma

    Inca hasn’t done this yet but our hearts go out to her. She now sleeps in the ed and has lots of cuddles. She did before, on and off, but now is guaranteed extra strokes.

    Hello Melanie

    The Contessa used to produce real milk. We had to fashion a jacket out of an old jumper sleeve so that she wouldn’t drink it herself as it makes dogs very sick.

    Suckling a cat is incredible.

    Dear kate (UK)

    Your tale is so poignant. And that says it all. Poor, dear, mad cat.

    Hi S.O.L.,

    Delighted that you enjoyed the card. I love them too. She’s a great animator.

    Hi Amanda

    We were really down about this. But next time we might strike gold for Inca!

    Hello Wendy

    The under the kitchen table sessions went on and on and made me feel a bit bereft! It’s a big shame for us as we really wanted Dr Q to have pups. But perhaps we just have to accept that Dr Q is a once in a lifetime dog.

    Hi Linda

    The Min Pins are the size of an average cat. I will post some pictures beside an egg box within a week.

    Danny, a big dog man, always says that he wouldn’t chose anything except a Min Pin from now on. They are fearless and independent. Cat like, they only come to you when they chose. If you are not careful they can rule the roost.

    I love this breed of dog. Affectionate and independent they are a very special addition to any household.

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