Placenta is the organ that unites the developing foetus to the mother during pregnancy. Placenta plays a vital role in oxygen and food supply to puppies and excretion of their waste products. When puppies are born the placenta is no longer needed, therefore it is expulsed from the mother dog's body. Generally, this occurs withing 15 minutes from the time each puppy is delivered.
A retained placenta or retained afterbirth is the condition where the placenta is not passed out of the mother's uterus along with the puppy. Usually, the placenta is expelled within 15 minutes of each puppy’s birth. The expelled vitamin rich parcel is eaten up by the dog. However, in some cases, the placenta does not come out of the dog’s body and can cause toxicity and infections in the uterus.
This condition is uncommon in dogs and generally seen in toy breeds.
Normally after birth, the mother will develop a greenish-black discharge that will gradually become an odorless reddish-brown within 48 hours.The main symptoms suggesting a retained placenta consists therefore, of the following:
Development of green, fetid vaginal discharge for more than 24 hours after giving birth
Loss of appetite
Sometimes a retained placenta may be felt as an abdominal mass