See my Blog HERE

I am still getting people call for an appointment, usually for the same day, I do my utmost to find a mutually convenient time, then they don't turn up. My 90 year old father lives with me, and I have a disabled husband, I also have to put my dogs away before I see clients and set my scan room up, it is really frustrating when people don't have the decency to let me know.

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If you have had problems with an ultrasound scanner, or a fertility clinic, please complain to the appropriate channels, I am getting complaints and asked for advice and it would not be ethical for me to comment when I have no personal experience. Thank you

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I am often asked how long I spend scanning a dog or a cat. I take as long as is necessary to obtain an accurate result, and I set aside 30 minutes to see each client.

If you have no intention keeping your appointment, and are just ringing round to find the person closest to you, please let me know. When working from home I have my own dogs to consider and to keep them out of the way for any visiting dogs, and if you can't keep your appointment, I would really appreciate a phone call or text. I am getting to the stage now where I am going to have to ask everyone to pay at the time of booking as I regularly put clients first before my own personal commitments.

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One thing I want to stress is to please do your homework before visiting an ultrasound scanner. With lockdown came a high demand for puppies, people out of work and more and more people buying ultrasound machines. Some prefer to call themselves fertility clinics offering a range of services, including Progesterone testing and AI. For the ones that offer progesterone testing, ensure they are not drawing blood themself, bloods MUST be taken by a vet, or a vet nurse where there is a vet on the premises. So whatever they tell you, even if they get you to sign a disclaimer, walk away if this is the case.

Anyone can buy an ultrasound machine, either second hand, or new from Ebay or various other sources. Ultrasound equipment should only be used by people who are fully trained in its safe and proper operation. This requires an appreciation of the potential thermal and mechanical bio-effects of ultrasound, a full awareness of equipment settings, and an understanding of the effects of machine settings on power levels. Not all machines available in the UK comply with our standards.

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Had a sad case last month, a lady bought her bitch to me to be scanned twice, first to confirm pregnancy and a second time to check all was well. There is never any guarantee on the number of puppies we see on a scan, but each time we scanned this bitch we both saw five puppies. Owner was particularly anxious as being a bull breed she wanted her to have a natural whelping if possible. Bitch had four puppies, owner was convinced she could still feel another puppy in her, and called the vets for advice. Vet said to take the bitch in and because she had not seen the last placenta come away the vet gave her an oxytocin shot. Nothing happened and the vet was confident there was nothing else. The bitch wasn't scanned as the vet said she rarely scanned and was more confident in her own findings rather than a scan machine. Two days later the bitch goes into labour, long story short she was scanned at the vets where they found a dead pup and the poor girl had to have a c section for this to be removed. If you are in any doubt, ring me, I can do a scan to determine if there is any remaining membrane/placenta or even puppies and more than happy to send these images to your vet.


I have scanned numerous bitches having a singleton puppy and apart from a couple who managed to whelp naturally, they have had problems with the vets not wanting to intervene. I scheduled an elective section when I had my singleton puppy with no problems, but now, unless you have had a progesterone test, and know exactly when your bitch ovulated, vets would rather see how the bitch progresses. You really do need to be on the ball as there is a 90% chance you will encounter problems.

 
Ultrasound scan of singleton puppy above

One case was a Yorkie, the owner was so excited that her dog was having a puppy as she wanted to keep it
for herself. She bought her back to be scanned several times, and on day 70 contacted me to say she had
not gone into labour, and could I check up to see if the puppy was ok. We both breathed a sigh of relief
when we saw the puppy's heartbeat and how active it was. Owner took her to a different vets who carried out
a reverse progesterone test, but still said she wasn't ready and scheduled a section three days later. The
bitch went into labour on the day the section was due, owner called the vet who said to leave her and see
how she progressed, and very sadly the puppy was born sleeping.

The following week I had another very similar case, this time with a Labrador. The owner had been told
that she would be fine, as Labrador's delivered puppies easily. She didn't, she had been having contractions
most of the day, the owners vet said she was pushing the puppy into the birth canal and it could be another
5 - 7 days! Long story short I recommended another vet, who said to rush her in immediately. Puppy
was distressed and so was the mum and it was touch and go if both of them would survive.
Thankfully they did, and both mum and puppy are now doing really well.

I have had three bitches within the last two months who have not only retained placentas (see image below) but also
retained puppies. One poor bitch had three retained puppies, unfortunately two were born later sleeping.
When your bitch has finished whelping, if she is distressed, still having contractions, or you have not
seen a placenta come away for each puppy, please get her checked out with an ultrasound.

I am still getting calls asking me to scan bitches at around 21 days gestation, honestly, it really
isn't worth it, and I don't believe in wasting people's time and money. 100% accuracy at 21 days is
impossible, especially if your bitch had not been progesterone tested and you know the exact date
of ovulation.

See one of my own bitch's scan journey here - obviously when I started scanning her I didn't
know if she was pregnant or not, she went on to have five puppies. She was progesterone
tested by Idexx, who I know are accurate.

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A couple of months ago I scanned a bitch for pregnancy, and I referred her to the vet as it looked to me like she had the start of a pyometra uterus infection (first image on left below).

The owner was herself a vet nurse and got her checked out. Vet said all was ok, and he thought the empty sacs presented on the ultrasound image I took were puppy sacs and she was reabsorbing.

Three days later the bitch was rushed into surgery, she had to have her uterus removed as he had a pyometra womb infection, this condition can be fatal if not treated - see image below right.

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Had an interesting scan last week on a bitch I scanned for a friend who had stuvite crystals in her bladder (above), unfortunately I could see no sign of puppy sacs, and she was referred to her vet for further treatment.

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I am having calls from breeders who have had their bitches scanned elsewhere and asking me for advice. One lady in particular sat up all night for four nights waiting for her bitch to deliver, what turned out to be non existent puppies. After showing me the scan that was carried out at 26 days, I confirmed that the sacs she was told were puppies, was indeed bowel.

I am sorry but I am only able to offer advice if I can scan your bitch myself, no one can confirm pregnancy on a single image.

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I had a call today from a lady over in Birmingham who's bitch I had scanned a few weeks ago. A first time litter for both owner and bitch, who was scanned for two puppies. Gave owner a list of what she would need and the signs to look out for when her bitch went into labour. First thing this morning I had a text to call as soon as I got up. Bitch had delivered one puppy and all was well, but there were no signs of another one. Now as the scan had only been done two weeks previously and was well onto into the pregnancy I was pretty sure on seeing more than one, which could not have been re-absorbed at this late stage. Told her to wait a few more hours, and sure enough an hour later puppy number two arrived - but no afterbirth. Told her to let the mum break the cord or do it for her, and if the afterbirth didn't follow soon after to call the vet. A quick visit to the vet and an oxyctocin injection soon expelled the afterbirth and bitch was soon back home with her puppies. Lovely to have some good news for a change.

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Like other businesses, even GP Surgeries, I am always getting clients who book for an ultrasound and don't have the courtesy to let me know they cannot keep the appointment, but this was a new one. If it had not have been my birthday, and I gave up the chance to go out to lunch, I may not have been so angry - I had a call to go over to Walsall to scan a bitch. I had already sent a text to the telephone number that booked the appointment first thing in the morning, as I always do with mobile scans - I set off with plenty of time to spare, but due to the traffic it took me almost an hour to get there. I had stopped en route to send another text to say I may be 10 minutes late - this is where alarm bells started ringing. I had a response to say they didn't know anything about an ultrasound scan for a dog. I confirmed the number I had was correct, but having no other telephone number to contact anyone, I had no choice but to carry on as someone may be expecting me. How wrong was I..........the lady at the house I had the address and post code for did not even have a dog......apparently. So with immediate effect, any new customers requiring a mobile scan will be required to pay a £20 deposit at the time of booking, to at least cover my fuel.

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Sad visit today to a bitch who had delivered a puppy which had got stuck in the birth canal and born sleeping. I have scanned this bitch on two previous occasions, and she was empty, but this time the owners felt sure she was pregnant, and with work commitments let the pregnancy run it's course. They called me this afternoon to ask if I would go out and check her as after two hours of delivering the first puppy, there were no signs of any more, and unfortunately the first puppy was indeed a singleton. The dam was still quite distressed and wouldn't let anyone take the puppy away from her, which was heartbreaking.