Contributors: Autumn P Davidson, Carlos Pinto

 Species: Canine   |   Classification: Miscellaneous

Induction of parturition

  • Practitioners are occasionally asked to induce whelping in bitches:
    • Induction of parturition in bitches should not be attempted only for convenience.
    • Pregnancy toxemia is one example of medical conditions that compromise maternal health; affected bitches will benefit from termination of pregnancy via induction of parturition Pregnancy termination.
  • Although this is a common technique in farm animals, it is not practiced in companion animals for two reasons:
    • The endocrinology of whelping is poorly understood and very few protocols have been shown to be safe and efficacious.
    • Puppies from induced parturition may be at risk of developing neonatal respiratory distress syndrome (former hyaline membrane disease) and thus, resulting in increased incidence of neonatal death.
  • Drugs and protocols used to electively terminate pregnancy in dogs may be used to induce parturition but not all are safe in preserving neonatal viability.


  • There are some protocols recently published in the peer-reviewed literature that were shown to be efficacious and relatively safe in inducing parturition in bitches. The percentage of neonatal losses was not different from control bitches undergoing spontaneous whelping. Typically, parturition was successfully induced 2-4 days before due date (60-63 days after the LH surge):
    • Most bitches whelp at 64-66 days post LH surge.
  • Aglepristone alone Aglepristone : two injections (15 mg/kg) administered 9 hours apart subcutaneously. Whelping occurring 30-60 hours after the first injection.
  • Aglepristone + ecbolic administration (oxytocin or PGF2 alpha): 15 mg/kg aglepristone at day 59-61 post-estimated ovulation day, followed 24 hours later by oxytocin 0.15 IU/kg subcutaneously every 2 hours to effect. Whelping expected to occur and complete within 24-30 hours from treatment.