Retained Afterbirth in Dogs

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Retained Placenta in Dogs

A retained placenta, or retained afterbirth, occurs when the placenta (the sac surrounding an unborn puppy) is not passed out of the mother’s uterus along with the puppy.

Symptoms and Types

  • Green discharge from vulva that continues
  • Fever (in some cases)
  • Systemic disease (in some cases)


The placenta is retained in the uterus rather than being expelled with or shortly after the birth of the puppy.


History of a recent birth with a physical examination finding of a green discharge from the vulva is supportive of a diagnosis of retained placenta. Your veterinarian may recommend routine blood testing, though these results may be normal. Vaginal cytology may also be recommended. Your veterinarian may need to take X-rays and/or perform an ultrasound of the uterus. In some cases, exploratory surgery may be necessary.

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