Can Puppies Be Missed In Ultrasound? (Explained!)

It’s normal to be excited when it comes to a litter that’s being born at home. You are going to want to learn more about the health of your pregnant dog and how the puppies are doing.

This can include wanting to know more about how many puppies are in the womb.

To do this, the vet is going to perform an ultrasound on a pregnant dog. When this happens, you are often going to ask, can puppies be missed on ultrasound?

Puppies can be missed on the ultrasound due to miscounted heartbeats, hidden puppies, and/or too many puppies. This is a common reality with larger litters as the womb becomes full and it is much harder to distinguish between the different puppies.

In a situation such as this, it is possible the vet will ask for you to come back later.

However, most ultrasounds do pick up on whether or not there are a specific number of puppies in the womb. It comes down to what you see in the womb and how large the litter is.

This article will take a look at some of the reasons puppies can be missed in the ultrasound.

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Reasons Puppies Can Be Missed In Ultrasound

1. Miscounted Heartbeats

The main problem has to do with the heartbeats.

When a specialist is taking a look at the ultrasound, they are going to be relying on movement using heartbeats. This is one of the main giveaways of how many pups are in a mom’s womb.

In general, when a vet will pay attention to these heartbeats, they are going to overlap. This is often the case with a larger litter of pups where all of the heartbeats become difficult to hear.

This is when the counting is off and you end up missing puppies.

To avoid a situation such as this, it is common for vets to state the best time to get the ultrasound done is after 28 days. This is when the puppies are much easier to spot in the womb and the chances of missing pups go down.

Of course, it can still happen but it is not as normal as other situations.

can puppies be missed on ultrasound

2. Hidden Puppies

This is a reason most people don’t realize when it comes to this process.

Yes, the puppies are going to be visible on the screen but that doesn’t mean they can’t hide. The reason for them hiding has to do with how many pups are in the womb at a time.

When a litter is larger, it is going to become much easier for a pup to start hiding behind the others. This is simply due to placement rather than the puppy hiding in a specific part of the womb.

It’s possible for some pups to get hidden in small parts of the womb due to a larger litter taking up space.

It’s important to note, the ultrasound technology is only going to provide one angle.

This means if a pup is positioned away from the front of the body, it is possible they will be hidden. This might be temporary but it is enough when you are only looking for a minute or two.

can puppies be missed on ultrasound

3. Lack of Visibility

This is another reason that a puppy might go missing during an ultrasound session.

The reason has to do with there not being enough visibility due to a lack of movement. When the litter is too large, it is possible there is reduced ability to spot the differences between puppies.

When a litter is larger, it will not be as easy to spot specific pups. A lot of them look like one and that is where miscounting takes place.

To avoid a situation such as this, it is common for vets to wait until later in the pregnancy.

This makes it much easier to spot each pup as they start growing.

Related Questions

1. How Accurate Are Puppy Ultrasounds?

Puppy ultrasounds are fairly accurate as long as they are completed after the 28 day mark. Anything before this will be more of a hit-or-miss scenario because the puppies are still developing.

2. Can Puppies Be Missed On Ultrasound At 28 Days?

Puppies can be missed on the ultrasound at 28 days. However, the chances go down at this point because the puppies have become fully formed inside the womb.

Final Thoughts

Can puppies be missed on ultrasound?

Puppies are commonly missed on ultrasounds because of how they are positioned in the womb. If the litter is large, it will cause the puppies to be missed.

Here is more on puppies – how to train puppy to hold pee at night, puppies with fleas, reasons to not let puppies eat pads, and puppies with their moms.