• pregnancy;
  • ultrasound;
  • dog;
  • fetus;
  • gestational age

Different sonographic criteria have been developed to estimate canine fetal age, including fetal mensuration and assessment of fetal organ development. This retrospective study assessed the accuracy of gestational age and litter size predictions in 76 bitches using one of two techniques. The first method used the differential features of fetal organ development that occur in early and mid pregnancy, based on published tables for beagles. The second method used biparietal head and trunk diameters to predict gestational age based on tables published for late gestational Labrador Retrievers. The accuracy of the two methods was compared and the effect of maternal body weight and litter size evaluated. Litter size and maternal body weight did not affect the accuracy of gestational age prediction. Using a combination of both methods, the overall accuracy of predicting parturition date within 65 ± 1 day and ± 2 days was 70.8% and 86.1%, respectively. The correct litter size was predicted in 65% of cases, and in 89.5% of cases for ± 1 pup. Pearson's correlation between actual litter size and predicted litter size was high (R = 0.957, P < 0.001). The organ development method of predicting gestational age was more accurate than late gestational fetal mensuration (P = 0.019). The optimum time for sonographic estimation of fetal age and litter size is early and mid pregnancy.