A closer look: Subinvolution of Placental Sites in Dogs
Future fertility is not affected if symptoms resolve on their own. Up to twenty percent of reproductively active female dogs are affected with SIPS at some point during their lives. Both mom and puppies are usually otherwise healthy.
SIPS may be suspected any time vaginal discharge continues for more than 6-12 weeks post whelping. Presumptive diagnosis is usually straightforward and prognosis is excellent.
In rare instances bleeding can be severe enough to be life threatening. Any dog with pale mucous membranes, lethargy, or signs of weakness needs prompt veterinary care.
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SIPS occurs most frequently in young, first time mothers. There is no breed disposition.
Dogs are typically otherwise healthy.
In rare cases dogs may experience life threatening bleeding.
The cause of SIPS is not known but the condition occurs most frequently in young, first time mothers. Chances of developing SIPS decreases with each litter.
Premature or prolonged active birth may contribute to SIPS but the causation is not well understood. Research on these topics in canine medicine is scant and information gained is mostly from other species.
Premature parturition can have many causes with uterine infection being the most common cause.
A diagnosis of SIPS is suggested when vaginal bleeding continues for more than 6-12 weeks after whelping. Both the mother and puppies are usually otherwise healthy.
Normal postpartum vaginal discharge usually varies from having a watered-down bloody red/brown appearance to looking like thick, regular blood. Dogs with SIPS are predisposed to developing vaginal or uterine infections and this may cause the vaginal discharge to change and appear to include pus.
Testing and diagnosis
Presumptive diagnosis of SIPS is based on clinical symptoms and history, vaginal cytology, abdominal ultrasound, and uterine culture.
Definitive diagnosis requires biopsy of the uterus, but this is rarely necessary.
Steps to Recovery
No treatment is typically needed.
Medications may be utilized in an effort to hasten recovery for dogs with more significant bleeding, that develop anemia, or when owners request treatment, but there is little evidence to support their use.
Rarely SIPS can be severe enough to require blood transfusions.
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is immediately curative.
SIPS can last for several weeks to months.
Prognosis for life and future fertility is excellent for most cases of SIPS. Prognosis is guarded if the dog experiences life threatening hemorrhage or a uterine infection.
Preventing pregnancy prevents SIPS.
SIPS is not contagious.
Is Subinvolution of Placental Sites in Dogs common?
SIPS is common and occurs in up to twenty percent of births.
No treatment is typically needed. If bleeding is severe treatment can consist of:
- Blood transfusion
- IV fluid therapy