**The following post was written by Myra Savant Harris, and she has provided permission to cross-post. She is the author of some great breeding/whelping/puppy rearing handbooks! Her email address is email@example.com for any follow-up questions.
I thought it was quite informative and wanted to share. If you have any stories about whelping experiences, including decisions to section or not, or if you don’t agree with what she says it would be great to share so others can learn!**
GREEN DISCHARGE IN A PREGNANT BITCH
I’ve been noticing some posts lately about the green discharge that is common with whelping. I know I’ve written other documents about it and covered it in a book as far back as 2003 but still the rumors about what it is….and what it isn’t persist. So, I’ll put this down in writing and I’m going to hope that you’ll be able to print it off and keep it with your other whelping information.
Your puppies are each encased in little individual sacs of amniotic fluid. Each of them has a placenta that they wear around their mid section like a tight, wide belt. It looks like a donut once you dissect it but surprisingly tight around their mid sections, over their umbilical cord site. The interior of that placenta is a murky shade of dark green. The exterior is quite red. We rarely see the interior of the placenta; the part that is right next to the puppy because when the placentas come out they are encased in the tissues from the amniotic tissue and are kind of like an inside out latex glove that you have stripped off from your hand.
That little amniotic sac has two layers. The first layer breaks first and releases a green tinged fluid that is kind of liquid and also kind of mucus like. At this point, you would see a little green tinged fluid or a green tinged bubble of fluid at the vulva. Not a big deal. Your puppy is still encased in the second amniotic sac and safe and sound. The green color is only from the interior portion of the placenta. As labor progresses, the puppies, who are ready now to be born will come out of that outer sacks and the green discharge will be there. Green is not meconium. Green is not a sign of fetal distress. Green is nothing but the color of the portion of the placenta that is next to the puppy’s skin. IT MEANS NOTHING. It can be dark enough to dye a white puppy green for several days.
In the human, meconium (contents of the large intestine) is green and it signals potential problems for the human baby because it means that at some point in the gestation…maybe frequently during the gestation, that baby has gone in to a coma-like state; not fallen asleep but much more ominous than that. So in a HUMAN delivery, we have to worry about two things when we see green: 1) Will the baby inhale it immediately after birth when it cries (it is filled with bacteria and solid matter) and 2) What the heck has been going on with that baby’s brain/neurological system to make it lapse into coma?
In a canine delivery, the color you would need to make note of is MUSTARD YELLOW, usually in the amniotic fluid itself and thick. This is meconium. This is a very good and reliable sign that the puppy may well not make it. When you see thick mustard yellow in the amniotic fluid the chance that this puppy will live past a few days is small and there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. A section would certainly do nothing. The problem is of long standing. Green is normal in the canine delivery and means…. your bitch is whelping, and mustard yellow is meconium but by the time you see the yellow, you are already weeks late in helping that baby.
It is really, really important that you realize that a decreased heart rate in a puppy….actually has no real meaning unless it is very low and very sustained. Lowered fetal heart rates are actually a part of the delivery process and, unless you know exactly how to coordinate the decreased heart rate in conjunction with the timing of the contraction….in other words, you know when the heart rate lowers in conjunction with the contraction…the information is useless to you. You would never, ever want to do a section on a mom based solely on a temp drop, a decreased heart rate or green discharge. NEVER EVER. Why? Because those signs (particularly the temp drop which is worse than useless) do not by themselves have any particularly meaning. Ever. Many things cause decreased heart rate in a neonate. Head compression, cord compression, placenta compression….none of which spells Emergency.
If you can once and for all accept that green discharge is nothing but a sign of whelping you will be more relaxed. If you learn that there is no need to run to the vet because you saw green discharge you will avoid a lot of sections. AND if those of you who start recommending running off in a panic to see a vet because of a green bubble or green discharge will encourage instead a systematic assessment of the bitch, we’ll all rest easier.
Edited to add: If you see discharge even up to 5-6 days prior to the delivery, the chances are very good that you have a dead puppy, or an impending premature delivery of the litter. Sometimes with the dead puppy, moms just dilates enough to pass the dead puppy and then goes on to hold on to the rest of her litter until closer to due date and other times, mom will proceed to delivery the entire litter because her body dictated that it was time for her to deliver the dead puppy and once she starts… she keeps on delivering the rest even if they are premature.
ty my toy poodle still birthed 1 dead pup and shesnot due till next week or so. so the dead pup came 3 weeks early but she is spottiing clear bloody discharge thats normal to me my wife is concerned
A client of mine had 1 pup delivered a week before due. Pup lived for 3 days mum even fed it. Ignored vet who wanted to do csection. 5 healthy self whelped pups born on due date
Hi my dog has been having green ish black discharge but no puppies its been over 24hrs. She seems fine tho, appetite and water intake still good, not lethargic but shes anxious and panting a little.
Shes on her 63 days today. And her temperature ranges from 37.1 —37.4.
I want to thank you so much for this article. I had just rushed my Old English Bulldogge to the vet because she presented with the green fluid, her temperature has been fluctuating up and down for the past 48hrs thsus has not been reliable. She has been intermittently restltess but was still active, munching, took treats all the way up to 4-5am this morning. She is anywhere from 63-66 days gestation today depending on which day she took. Being a paramedic for 16 years, of course I thought human!!! In humans it’s Bad!!! Then everyone was telling me it was bad, and most of what I read was bad. I just freaked. This calmed be down. But she is at the vet since I am at work for the next 12-14hrs. Pray for healthy pups.
This was extremely helpful! I saw the green discharge and was panicked because I heard it was bad, so I truly appreciate you shedding light on this. Thank you a hundred times over!
Beverly Enoch says
I have been breeding toy and miniature poodles for 30 years. Suddenly 6 months ago I starting having several mom’s that had a dark greenish-black discharge as much as 10 days and as few as 1 day before their due date. I agree it is probably due to a dead puppy although I haven’t seen the dead puppies, but my mom’s are really diligent about cleaning up the whelping mess and would probably eat it thinking it was a placenta. However, will a dead puppy cause the rest of the pups in the litter to die? And is there anything you can do about that? The bitch that had the discharge 10 days before her due date carried the rest of the litter to the due date but they were all stillborn. They never moved or took a breath, all 5 of them, even though they looked perfectly normal and fully developed. My vet said probably a uterine infection and put the mom on antibiotics, but I’ve had 2 more moms develop a greenish-black discharge before whelping and want to try to prevent it from happening again.
HEIDI Merkli says
Beverly, did you ever get any answer to your excellent question? I would love to know what others have experienced. Heidi
Hi Heidi am having the same problems canto help
My mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
Nishaad Dick says
My dog has this light green discharge started 3 hours ago. Should i be worried.
I haven suffering the same thing
Patricia Ryan Penree says
Excellent post. Thank you!
Lena and Enos says
I have a female German Shepherd – she’s a year and a half old , she was bred the first time on October 7th, and was in season until the 23rd. She was bred 7 or 8 times. Around the 5th of November she started leaking this puss kind of looking fluid – it’s light green. I read the article, but I understand that it’s supposed to happen just before, and after welping?? Help!
Her background : I got her 7 months ago, she was in season then. The man I bought her from abused and neglected her. My vet said she would calm down if I bred her, but I waited a few months anyhow. She’s changed remarkably from when I gother her; she weighed (back then) 27 lbs, and now – pre breeding, 59lbs.
Help! I want her to be happy and healthy. She eats Blue Buffalo and Wild, 3x a day in addition to Raw.
That is the absolute WORST veterinary advice I’ve ever seen.
Jan Inglis says
Thank you for this post. I did panic as the green gunk was the one thing I hadn’t read up on when my girl whelped. I won’t panic next time.
Angela Butt says
Hi I have a 2 year old lab she is doing the green discharge she is not due until Jan 8 . Should I be worried . If she was to deliver tomorrow would that be ok or not.
how do the puppies come out healthy?
Jacqueline Zirbes says
Thank you so much! How long after the green discharge should a birth begin?
I’m not really getting a green discharge but smy girl Boxer has had a couple accident in the house and when I wipe up her pea it has a fluorescent light green yellow tint to it, her bowl movements look normal temp100. Steady she is preset big and due in 3 days. Vet says do yern catch and bring in for testing. What do you think?
I read this post precisely on Thursday 13/10/2022. Although my bitch was due but when her water broke, it was greenish. I contacted my vet and did some research too, all said it meant the presence of a dead puppy.
I was very worried and then I came across this. I choose to believe it and of course, I had 7 very healthy puppies from my cane corso. Two came out without their sack tho but they are both healthy.
Fabulous article I have a girl due is 8 days and tonight she has lost some dark green discharge . I presumed it was A placenta and probably a dead puppy but all my friends are telling me to rush her to the vets . She’s happily sleeping and eating and I’ve put her on synulox antibiotics just incase she gets a infection . Thank you very much for easing my mind
Please help my dog is 6 weeks pregnant and I have just noticed a dark green fluid comeine from her vulner it’s not a lot just a show what dose this mean this is her 2nd litter..
Rita Weeks says
Hi Jane, my girl is a minipincher she’s 7 weeks and this aft began discharge of green fluid (meconium possibly). I’m worried sick being ‘good Friday’ hospital many miles away, Covid on top.
What was your experience and result.
Jan Cranmer says
Love the article have shared to a shelling group
It’s good to know that green doesn’t mean fly to the vet for a c-section. You have explained it very well.
Jan Cranmer says
Oops whelping group
My bitch is 20 days until due date I just saw some green discharge and she bit unsettled, no contractions and can’t see any more? Does that mean she has stopped? And will be ok?
april winters says
I was wondering what was the outcome to your dog. Did her puppies survived? Same thing is happening to my dog. I woke up around 2am to my dog restless, panting and licking her female part, she’s 55days pregnant.. i noticed that she’s leaking dark green fluid. I am really worried, luckily i found this post. Helped calm me down. Two hours later she stopped panting and the leakage has also stopped… she’s now sleeping……
How long after this green discharge was the first pup delivered?
I was looking for information regarding how long to wait after the green stuff before going to vets..
Can it be days or just hours
This is my dog right now! Since Saturday it started of light and then got darker and last for a day.
She’s happy in herself having bursts of energy, sleeping loads, eats but then is sick later on. What was the outcome of your puppies?
Omg mines too I’m worried please let me know if this is normal she passed tissue green black my email is email@example.com
what was the outcome?
My female was bred on April 29th and 30th, we are now 26 days and she has a yellowish-green snot like discharge that came out this morning. Just one strand of it, wiped her since and nothing. Take her to the vet? Or normal?
What was the yellowish green discharge? Have a toy poodle puppy who’s 28 days pregnant and she had a little greenish mucus color with her urine the other day should I be worried or not?
Normal at that stage
Hello and thank you for the information, my dog is 7 weeks pregnant and last night she discharge something like black, and I know you mentioned about the green fluid not my case so this got me so worry cause she’s not do intill 2 weeks from now and her temperature drop to 98.8 and she’s showing signs of nesting ,should I take her to the vet pls help thank u
Regina Mehr says
I disagree. If you have a greenish black discharge. There has been separation of the placenta and you will have a dead pup. Best to see your vet ASAP if greenish black discharge present. I just lost the whole litter because I waited.
debbie oflaherty says
my dog is at stage one labour an has green black dischage not mch of it will this be dead pup there no smell to it
Wow very interesting i had a puppy just born with yellow poo in her sack and on her she was so little i knew she pooed in her sack ut thankfully she is 2 weeks and a few days old and doing great
I just seen where you had a puppy born back in July 2017 with yellow poo in her sack.Was the sack yellowish and did the puppy ‘s coat yellowish? Iam asking because I just had two born this way and my vet said to leave them alone.Ive been reading where these puppies usually die and I am worried. Did you start the puppy on Clavamox or amoxi? Any info would be appreciated.
I’m wondering about the timing if the greenish discharge. We lost most of the puppies from 2 litters when the green discharge happened before any puppies were born. From what I have read other places, it means the placental sac has separated prematurely and the presence of a dead puppy. I can testify to this causing other pups to be stillborn. I have also seen the greenish discharge during a normal whelping and was told that the discharge can happen right after a healthy puppy is born. If you see the green before any pups have arrived, and if it happens before the due date, I would definitely get help.
Marianne Marshall says
My dachshund bitch is giving birth right now and just had #3 an hour and a half ago. I just noticed a sack hanging out with green liquid in it, no puppy yet. My bitch broke the sack and ate it and drank the greenish-black fluid. Should I be worried? She still has a few pups to go if her distended stomach is any indication.
I was so relief when reading this article because i am already in panic mode and ready to go to the vet because of the green discharge but i’ve waited for a couple of hours upon reading this and my dog just delivered 5 healthy puppies
Was it on day 63? Did your dog’s water break?
Jill Jester says
The dark green discharge did not show up on my female dog until after all of the babies were born, and she is still emitting a heavy green fluid on the second day after delivery. Is this normal or could she have a dead baby still inside her?
I have the same thing happening and feel concerned. Was everything ok?
Thank you so much for this article. We were so worried when we saw so much green fluid during her delivery.
Hi my bitch had green lquid from her vagina yesterday but still hasnt shown any signs of labour yet i am getting worried now can you help my bitch is a bischon
What happened with your pet ? Did she have a normal delivery ?
I would like to know also
Those puppies who’s placenta separated and didn’t make an appearance for all those hours would must certainly be dead.
Donna Vartanian, RN says
In human pregnancies, when the fetus is stressed, the vagus nerve is stimulated and the bowels are evacuated. The vagus nerve controls the anal sphincter. Babies don’t go into a “coma.”
Leslie bowman says
Thanks that relieves me a little. I have a long hair miniature chihuahua. And the dad was a short haired miniature chihuahua. She had 5 all together. But 3 died. And I saw the green stuff asked somebody. And they had me scared to death she had a infection and was dying. I’m still worried about her because she’s so little. And I only figured she would have one or two. Not five. But I do think they was premature.
My Zoey unfortunately gave a birth to two beautiful full-term stillborn pups in about 9 hours apart labor then green colored fluid came out afterwards, does it mean she is done whelming? She has been resting and grooming herself. No fever was detected yet. Drinks water from time to time.
Thank you, I needed this tonight, my Sugar is in labor she started panting hard last night and nothing happened. I had to work till 6 today. Have been googling everything because she is so small even fought with my husband because I was going to take her to vet in the morning. Will give update, staying up with her to make sure she is comfortable. Thank you again now I realize it’s normal.
I breed companion dogs and February 2021 i noticed 2 on my pregnant poodlea had a green discharge one was on day 55 and other on day 49 ,march of 2021 another female pregnant poodle on day 60 started having green discharge and oxytocin was administered but later the green discharge turn to brown thick discharge, this is becoming a norm in my kennel pls any help??
This past 2 months 4 of my poodles have had green discharge normaly 10 days before delivery is due can someone help me??
This is not true about seeing green, having a dead puppy born and then successfully waiting to have a healthy litter. Once the uterus opens to expel the first puppy, it is open enough to allow more infection to enter. You not only risk the life of the rest of the litter but you could lose the mom as well. She could become septic.
My dog (Pomeranian) is on day 63 and she had that greenish mucusy discharge at 8:45 am and I started searching and just got more worried but I’m so glad I found this article! Thank you so much! I’ve been keeping an eye on her and feeling for her babies movements and there still active, it’s is now 12:44 pm and still no puppies, she vomited once and has started to scratch my couch but is currently resting easy and sleeping. Hopefully tonight we have some babies:)
Although this is a very informative article, it has holes. It fails to mention that the break down and release of a placenta is a ticking clock for the pups life. The longer the pup is in the uterus the less time it has to survive. It is a completely normal colour after a first pup is delivered but before then, the times ticking.
Everyone who is reading, if your bitch displays green or dark discharge before the first pup is born, do not leave it more than two hours without a pup delivered before getting vet help
Nishaad Dick says
My dog has this light green discharge started 3 hours ago. Should i be worried.
Bernadette halliwell says
My dog has been in 1st stage labour since 11am this morning it’s now 11pm she has lost a greenish fluid half hour ago when she had her first litter she lost this and first pup was stillborn but others were fine on her last litter pup was born 45 minutes after discharge and was fine I don’t know whether to panic or not now to be honest
Keely Whitley says
Please please don’t listen to this advice it’s wrong my girl had green discharge and after reading posts like this I thought she would be ok but no green means fetal distress and means that the blood and oxygen supply are failing please if you experience this get your babys to a vet ASAP sadly my girl lost her puppy’s and had to have everything taken away go with your gut instinct no matter what the cost only wish I’d gone with mine
First, thsnk you. This was vety helpful. I have a shih tzu bitch who whelped 5 healthy pups today with dark green discharge after. No scent to it. She had 4 placentas with the birth so I’m guessing the green after the birth is the last placenta and afterbirth. However, years ago I had another shih tzu develop a green discharge with a foul odor. She had panting and contractions but no birth. The vet did a C and they were all stillborn, she was septic. They were stiff, hence could not pass through the canal. That was a brighter green and foul smelling. The vet was able to save her and spay. None of this is for the weak of heart!
When you see a green discharge before her due date, take your dog to the vet immediately. Mine died last week because I believed in what this article said. Both the mother and the puppies did not survive. She had to go for a cesarean section because all the puppies has died and she could push them out. Don’t believe everything these people type on the internet, I regret it now.