Phantom Pregnancy in Pets

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Dr Chris Brown talked about phantom or false pregnancies, when a non-pregnant animal acts and looks as if it’s pregnant. When this happens a bitch may exhibit ‘nesting’ behaviour, looking for a place to have her puppies and mothering squeaky or fluffy toys. Even signs of labour have been reported. Other signs include vomiting, depression, loss of appetite, abdominal distension and enlarged mammary glands.

Why does this happen? The exact cause is not known. False pregnancies usually occur 2-3 months after the bitch has been on heat. It is a confusion of the hormonal balance, which tricks the animal into thinking it is pregnant.

What to do:  Treatment is not necessary. This is not an illness and doesn’t have dangerous consequences. It is completely safe, completely normal and given a few weeks it’ll take care of itself.

Note: desexed animals do not suffer from false pregnancies.