Despite the lack of safety evidence, many dog breeders use routine prenatal x-rays to get a count of how many puppies to expect. However, there are safer alternatives for counting puppies.
If you have been following this blog series, you know that in my first blog on this topic I questioned the safety of x-raying pregnant dogs. I wondered if this common practice might be contributing to the increasing rates of cancers in our dogs. I asked for research to support the claim that modern x-rays are safe for puppies since early research indicated that irradiating late-term puppies increases early and life-time cancer rates.
In the second blog, I presented our case study. After stopping prenatal x-rays, our early cancer rate dropped by half and the cancers that did show up in our dogs, did so 2 years later. In today’s blog, I’ll discuss alternatives to puppy-count x-rays and when prenatal x-rays are warranted.
Why do breeders do routine prenatal x-rays in dogs? Most do so to get an idea of how many puppies to expect. If accurate, this information enables breeders to go into a whelping with more confidence, to know when their bitches have whelped the last puppy, and to know when a pup might be stuck. These are all good things that reduce breeder worry. No one does x-rays with intent to harm puppies but there are safer alternatives. So how else can we determine the number of pups to expect until science has assured us of the safety of routine, prenatal x-rays in dogs.