What type of breeding being used is extremely important and varies tremendously in timing and resulting conception rates: will the breeding be a natural mating, artificial insemination with fresh semen, insemination with extended cooled semen or insemination with frozen semen? Although fresh semen can remain alive in the bitch’s reproductive tract up to 11 days, semen from sub-fertile dogs or semen that has been altered or extended to permit transport may not survive this long. In fact frozen semen will only remain viable for a few hours. This makes timing of ovulation and knowledge of the most fertile period of the bitch’s cycle crucial to achieve optimal results. Most breeding failure are the result of breeding the bitch outside of optimal time for mature fertile eggs. Additionally, aberrant estrous cycles like split heats and non-ovulatory cycles can make timing of breeding more challenging. Advance knowledge of the limitations and goals for breeding can make all the difference to a successful outcome.
The bitch’s estrous cycle can be split up into 4 components: proestrus, estrus, diestrus and anestrus. She must complete all 4 stages before moving onto the next cycle before going on to the next cycle i.e. non-seasonal monoestrous. Where monoestrous means completion of all 4 stages in a single reproductive cycle, not one reproductive cycle per year.
We can perform vaginal cytology on female dogs to calculate the stage of estrus. This method involves taking a swab of the vaginal cells and analyzing them under a microscope. Usually more than one swab is required. Another method we can use is to perform a simple blood test to determine the progesterone hormone levels and pinpoint the dog’s fertile period.
Additional tests, including a thyroid analysis, should be performed on your dog before estrus. These tests can rule out any potential problems or alert you to issues that need to be a
ddressed before breeding.
Please call us at 780-352-7006 and set up an appointment with one of our veterinarians to discuss how we can further assist you with your dog or cat breeding program.