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Reverse progesterone testing for c-sections in canines

Reverse progesterone testing in canines is a method used to predict the onset of labor, especially when a Cesarean section (C-section) is planned. While initial progesterone testing helps determine the best time for breeding, reverse progesterone testing is focused on the latter part of a dog's pregnancy. Here's how it works and why it's essential for C-section planning:

Canine progesterone chart
Canine Progesterone Basics

  1. Drop in Progesterone Indicates Onset of Labor: Throughout most of the gestation period, progesterone levels remain elevated. As the dog approaches labor, there's a significant drop in progesterone levels. This decrease is a physiological signal that prepares the body to start the birthing process.

  2. Timing of the Drop: When progesterone levels fall to 2 ng/mL or lower, labor usually starts within 24-48 hours. By monitoring this decline, breeders and veterinarians can precisely anticipate when labor will commence.

  3. Planning C-Sections: Knowing when labor will begin is crucial when a C-section is planned. For breeds or specific dogs where C-sections are more common due to anatomical concerns, potential complications, or previous birthing issues, predicting the precise onset of labor is essential. The surgery can be timed appropriately to ensure the safety and health of both the mother and the puppies.

  4. Minimizing Risk: C-sections are major surgeries and carry risks, like any surgical procedure. By accurately predicting when labor will start, veterinarians can prepare in advance, thereby minimizing potential complications. This readiness ensures that both surgical staff and equipment are available and that the dog doesn't go into distress.

  5. Reducing Emergency C-Sections: Without a clear idea of when labor will start, C-sections might end up being emergency procedures if complications arise suddenly. Emergency surgeries often carry more risks than planned procedures. Reverse progesterone testing helps in converting many potential emergency C-sections into planned ones.

  6. Optimal Puppy Outcomes: Properly timed C-sections based on reverse progesterone testing ensure that puppies are delivered when they are mature and ready for birth. This timing reduces the risk of premature delivery, which might pose health challenges for the puppies.

In conclusion, reverse progesterone testing provides an essential tool for breeders and veterinarians. It allows for proactive planning, ensuring the well-being of both the mother and her puppies, especially when a C-section is necessary.


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