Is the Morning After Pill Available for Dogs?
The Morning After
Well, yes and no. It really depends on your veterinarian. In humans, “the morning-after pill” varies by country—it is the same thing with dogs. In humans a progestin-only tablet that works up to 72 hours is available in most countries, and a abortion pill (mifepristone) called Mifeprex or RU486 is available in a few.
When you take your dog into your vet, the first thing he should determine is whether the female is really bred. If she was only gone for 5 minutes there is not much to worry about, since it takes about 30 minutes for a successful mating. He will do a vaginal cytology to find out if she is still in heat—if she is there but you tell him that she ran off several days ago, there is not much chance she was bred. If he sees sperm cells when looking at the cytology she has obviously bred.
If the female is no longer in heat, if sperm is found on the slide, a successful breeding was seen, or she was gone long enough to be bred, your vet will discuss options:
- If you take her in immediately, she can be treated with diethystilbesterol (DES) tablets for 5 days. This is the “morning after pill” for dogs.
- RU486 has been used but it is not labeled for dogs and is also expensive.
- If it is several days later, probably more than 5, DES will only work if it is given after an ECP (estradiol cypionate), the estrogen mismate injection. “Mismate” injections are not available everywhere.
- Dexamethasone tablets can cause abortion in dogs later in pregnancy. Side effects—excessive thirst and urination during treatment. No known permanent side effects.
- Other drugs are available in some countries.
No drug works 100% of the time. The vet needs to check your dog over the next few weeks to make sure she is not pregnant, and if the drugs have not worked she may need to be given something else.
Side effects vary depending on which drug is used—most of them are serious! DES can cause blood problems, ECP can cause pyometra and bone marrow suppression, and dexamethasone may cause skin or GI problems.
When I was still in High School, one of my Siberian Huskies was bred by a stray dog and I took her in for a mismate injection. Months later I stood next to the cage and held her in my arms as she died of severe anemia and organ failure secondary to bone marrow suppression.
At that time, the mismate injection was a lot more common. No one spoke to me about the alternatives.
Does your dog really need a mismate injection or morning-after pill? If you want the dog to get pregnant later on to make a few bucks, you need to realize that selling puppies is not really a good way to make money. Besides the costs of excess food and medications (like dewormers), a female may have problems whelping and require expensive veterinary care, such as a c-section. Some females do not produce enough milk and you will spend a lot of money bottle feeding the new puppies.
If you want to breed her so that the kids can see the “miracle of life”, you also need to know that according to the humane society of the US about every 11 seconds a dog or cat dies in the US because of pet overpopulation. Getting your dog spayed now is the only way to prevent her from having a litter of puppies down the road, and adding to the problem.
Unless you are willing to take back and rehome every puppy you put out there, do not breed your dog.
If you think you need to keep her intact and produce a litter of puppies because she is purebred, you should be aware that about 25% of all dogs in the shelter are purebreds. Having papers does not mean a whole lot to a dog on his way to death row.
If you think your dog has been bred, and you really have no vital need to breed her in the future, take her in for a spay about two to three weeks after she goes out of heat. Dogs just coming out of heat bleed excessively and have problems during the spay. If it has been two weeks, even if she is bred her uterus should be small and the vet should not charge any extra. If you wait longer than this her uterus will be large and the surgery will be more difficult.
It will still be less traumatic than whelping!
Think about it.
More About Your Dogs Health...
- How to Tell If And When Your Dog is in Heat
This article will describe what the signs are of a female dog coming into heat, when best to breed or when not to breed!
- How to Breed Your Female Dog Successfully
Do you know how to breed your dog? This article will tell you the signs to watch for, what you need to do in preparation, and how to handle the breeding procedure.
- How to Help a Dog Whelp or Deliver Puppies
Are you expecting a litter of puppies anytime soon? This article will give you some tips on how you can to help.
© 2013 Dr Mark