Uterine Prolapse in Dogs

Uterine prolapse in the female dog occurs when a portion of the uterus protrudes through the cervix. It occurs most commonly during delivery or shortly after delivery, and it can produce a life-threatening situation if severe bleeding occurs. Whereas uterine prolapse is not extremely common in dogs, it is something that all breeders and dog owners should be aware of.

Causes of Uterine Prolapse

The causes of uterine prolapse are all directly related to giving birth. It is not a condition that appears at birth or even one that develops later in life, but rather it is a side effect of delivering a litter. An excessive amount of force has to be present in order for the uterus to actually protrude beyond the opening of the cervix. For that reason, a difficult birthing situation, where the mother is under a great amount of stressing and failing to deliver the pups, is the most common reason for uterine prolapse. Some of the other causes of uterine prolapse include:

  • Severe straining during delivery
  • Forced delivery of the pups by manually removing them
  • Excessive bleeding during delivery


The best way to avoid a fatal occurrence of uterine prolapse is to be aware of the signs and to know how to handle them. Because the condition can occur during actual delivery, it may be hard at that time to decipher between symptoms of uterine prolapse and delivery. Especially in the moments immediately after delivery, it is important to watch for the following signs:

  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Unusual straining after delivery
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessively licking the vaginal area
  • Appearance of tissue at the vaginal site

Uterine prolapse usually causes mild-to-moderate pain in the female dog, which is why the symptoms of uterine prolapse may be easier to identify after the female has given birth.

Making a Diagnosis

Most veterinarians can detect uterine prolapse from the appearance of a tissue mass at the site of the vagina; however, not all cases of uterine prolapse can be seen in this manner. If that symptom is missing, a veterinarian will typically begin routine blood testing, which will likely be normal, to rule out any other causes for the onset of symptoms. Moving on to finger examination and vaginoscopy, it is fairly easy to diagnose a prolapsed uterus.

Administering Treatment

Once uterine prolapse has been identified, the main goal is essentially to return the prolapsed portion of the uterus to its normal state, as well as to prevent the possibility of uterine infection, since the tissue is exposed. Because of the severity of the condition, hospitalization is always necessary in order for treatment to begin.

The determining factor in choosing a method of treatment is whether or not the female is intended for breeding purposes in the future. When prolapsed tissue is exposed, it can die off, making it impossible to return it to the uterus. If the uterine tissue is still viable, surgery can be done to place the prolapsed tissue back with the uterus. In cases where the female dog is not going to be bred in the future, the only corrective measure is a complete removal of all reproductive organs.