Oxytocin And Calcium During Dog Whelping
You’ve heard different stories about how to help your pregnant dog if whelping stalls. You’ve been told Oxytocin is available or that you should use extra Calcium instead. What’s the right answer?
Below I will explain what each of these is and what each of them does during a dog’s labor.
Oxytocin is produced in the part of the animals brain called the hypothalamus. It is a naturally occurring hormone in the dog during whelping. Oxytocin induces uterine contractions. It also controls the rate of oxygen and calcium that is allowed to enter the cells of the uterus via the blood stream.
Oxytocin also makes the mother’s milk flow to the teats. Puppies nursing on their mother helps to stimulates the release of more Oxytocin. This is one reason why immediately allowing a newborn puppy to nurse is important. It’s encouraged to allow each newborn puppy to immediately nurse while labor continues to help with contractions.
Oxytocin injections are available but should only be given my a vet or very experienced breeder. Why? Oxytocin forces unnaturally strong contractions in the bitch. One reason is that it can dislocate the placenta and “shink wrap” other puppies waiting to be born. A simple phone call to your vet before making a decision could be a life saving decision.
A vet can palpitate or x-ray to insure all puppies have been born and provide Oxytocin after whelping has finished. This is done to help clean out the uterus of any remaining placentas and fluids.
We all recognize calcium as something that is great for our teeth and bones but when it comes to whelping, there is another big benefit. Extra calcium during whelping helps strengthen the contractions when the bitch is taking longer between puppies or is just worn out. This is different than Oxytocin which forces unnaturally strong contractions that could cause damange to any remaining fetus.
Calcium is stored in the bones and is regulated by the parathyroid gland. When the need for calcium in the blood stream is high (such as during whelping) the parathyroid gland pulls it from the bone in to the blood stream. If normal labor slows, giving an oral calcium supplement can help to strengthen the mother dog’s contractions.
If calcium is given orally, the dog`s body will get rid of what she does not need. This is why it is safe for your dog.
It’s important to remember that calcium should only be given after labor has started. A pregnant bitch should not be given extra calcium prior to labor because it can negatively effect the natural processes of the parathyroid gland.
Note: Calcium supplements can be found at your local pet or feed store. In a pinch, vanilla ice cream can also be used to increase calcium and sugar which will give the dog a boost of energy for continuing labor. I never go without Nutrical in my whelping kit to provide extra nutrients to my dog during labor as well as incrase her energy.
Article Provided By: Monica Beall of DFWGreatDanes.com