Pseudopregnancy In Dogs Essay

1512 words - 6 pages

Pseudopregnancy is a common phenomenon that occurs in the intact female dog that is not pregnant during the diestrus or anestrus time of their estrous cycle. Pseudopregnancy can be characterized by swelling of the mammary glands, swelling of the abdomen, milk production and a change in the female’s behavior such as mothering of objects or other animals, restlessness, aggression, nesting and anorexia, (Hermo, 631). For the subordinate female gray wolf this phenomenon is a typical behavior to take care of the young pups while the alpha female, and only female to mate and give birth to young, is out hunting for food for the pack. This process has been evolved through the gray wolf being a very social animal with a monogamous alpha male and female that will be the only mating pair in the pack to produce offspring; they are also the leaders of the pack that lead all hunting expeditions, (ASA, 251-259). The domestic dog that a majority of the citizens living in the United States of America now have as house pets and that many people consider to be a part of the family are descendants of the wolf. Though there are many different breeds of dogs in the world all of them share the wolf as a common ancestor, but they live a very different life style than that of their ancestors (Ehresman, 1). What kind of effects might their shared phenomenon of pseudo pregnancy have on the dogs we all know and love that undergo this syndrome without the need to care for any pups?
Domestic dogs are not like gray wolves in many ways. A major difference between domestic dogs that live as peoples’ pets and wolves that live in packs is that dogs are not on a restricted diet like their distant relative the wolf. Wolves do not always have enough food and are forced to hunt for their meals in order to eat; they also live in a pack setting where there is an alpha male and an alpha female that are in charge of the entire pack’s activity and are the only mating pair in the group of up to thirty animals where the subordinate wolves are in charge of care and feeding of the pups while the alpha pair are out hunting for the rest of the pack. The domestic dog tends to live in a household with their owners and maybe one or a few other animals such as other domestic dogs, cats, birds, or sometimes livestock nearby. They are never on a limited diet and are constantly being fed high quantities of food and foods that are often high fatty acids, glucose, and leptin which their hypothalamus can detect and convert in neural activities that can lead to higher instances of pseudopregnancies in intact females that have not been bred or did not conceive in a breeding. One study was conducted in 2009 where sixteen privately owned pure and cross bred dogs that were showing signs of mammary enlargement and could have milk secretion but not all did were randomly assigned to be one of two groups of eight dogs. One group was fed a limited diet 50% for two days, 40% for three days, and 30% for two days...

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