Ninety-eight reproductive tracts from dogs at different postpartum time periods were used to investigate stages of normal involution. Seventy-eight reproductive tracts were obtained from the field, and 20 obtained surgically for gross and microscopic examination. Plasma progesterone was measured in 22 dogs at various times postpartum.
The uterine horns during the first week postpartum were dilated and edematous. The placental sites were 1.5-3 cm in width, rough, granular and covered with mucus and a few blood clots. By the fourth week the placental sites were thick, grayish-tan and nodular with a few blood clots within nodules. The uterine horns during the seventh week were greatly contracted and the placental sites were narrow and light in color. A few nodules were still present on the surface. By the ninth week the uterine horns were uniform in shape and contracted with a narrow lumen. The placental sites appeared as a narrow brown band.
Histologically the placental sites during the first week postpartum were covered by an eosinophilic staining necrotic mass and a few intact epithelial cells scattered on the surface as an interrupted single layer. Under the necrotic mass, large eosinophilic staining cells in moderate number were scattered throughout the lamina propria of the placental site. These cells were considered to be decidual cells. By the fourth week the placental sites were covered by a large lobulated mass of collagen fibers. The uterine glands were greatly dilated and degenerate, and mononuclear cell infiltration in the lamina propria was pronounced. By the seventh week, large masses of collagen fibers were detached from the surface, and endometrial glands were normal in size and shape. By the ninth week surface sloughing was completed. However, regeneration and replacement of the endometrial lining from the mouth of the uterine glands continued until the end of the twelfth week when the involution process was completed.
The progesterone levels were very low for eight weeks postpartum.