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Okanagan Veterinary Hospital

Reproduction FAQ

Why do I need to bring my dog in for a Breeding exam?

As part of the CVBC Bylaws, Part 4 – Ethics and Standards, in order for us to advise an owner or treat a patient, we need to establish a Veterinarian-Client-Patient-Relationship (VCPR). The only way for us to do this is to have a consultation with the owner/breeder and to examine the patient at least once a year.

Without this relationship, we are unable to comment on Progesterone results, timing of breeding, or even assist with breeding, so it is vitally important and well worth it for a Breeding exam to be done.

Why should I test my dog for Brucella?

What is Brucellosis?

  • Canine brucellosis is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by Brucella canis. Infected dogs develop an infection in the reproductive system.

What are the symptoms?

  • Infertility, abortions.

  • Males develop epididymitis (infection of part of the testicle)

  • Females become infertile, abort, vaginal discharge (persistent)

  • Occasionally Brucellosis will affect the intervertebral discs (spine), eyes, kidneys or brain.

How is it spread?

  • Semen or vaginal discharges

  • Small amounts in the urine or saliva

  • Dogs are exposed via contact with infected bodily fluids (licking or sniffing contaminated urine or discharges from the reproductive tract)

How do we test for Brucella?

  • Blood test

  • Can we treat for Brucella?

  • Initially, a patient can be treated, but will be considered infected for life.

Am I at risk for developing brucellosis from an infected dog?

  • People who come into contact with the blood or secretions of infected animals are at risk of developing the infection.

  • People with compromised immune systems should avoid contact with infected animals

  • People who come in contact with breeding dogs, newborn puppies, or aborted fetuses should use caution and practice good sanitation. Whenever possible, wear disposable gloves before handling newborn puppies or cleaning an area where a dog has whelped or aborted.

How can Brucellosis be controlled?

  • Although it is rare in Canada, and more prevalent in areas of the United States, it is a major threat to the breeding capability of dogs. Therefore, all dogs used for breeding purposes should be tested regularly (eg, every 3-6 months, depending on exposure to other dogs), and new dogs should never be introduced into a kennel situation until they have been quarantined for 8-12 weeks and then tested for the disease.

What is progesterone testing?

Day 1 of proestrus is considered the first day that any signs of heat (estrus) are noted, such as vulvar swelling or vulvar discharge. Record this day on your calendar. Five days after the onset of proestrus (Day 6), progesterone testing is started.  Progesterone testing should be done every other day until ovulation occurs.  Serial testing is required as each individual is different and has a different ovulation curve/number. It is important to know when ovulation has taken place to determine the ideal time for insemination (side-by-side vs fresh semen vs frozen semen) and c-section if needed. When breeding, it is best to plan and budget for 3 or more progesterone tests.

What is the youngest age at which I can breed my bitch?

On average we recommend 2 years of age-but this can fluctuate between breeds. The intention is to wait until your female is physically and mentally mature for breeding. Pregnancy requires a lot of energy and nutrients which gets taken away from the growth process if bred too early.

Should I vaccinate my dog?

Yes, Parvovirus and Distemper can be devastating to a litter and a breeder.  All breeding animals should be fully vaccinated before any breeding is to take place.  At the time of vaccination, the patient should also be dewormed to prevent early worm burdens in puppies which can affect their health and growth.

Do I need to semen test my stud dog?

Yes, it is recommended. It is not uncommon to have multiple breeding attempts, only to find out that your stud is essentially producing “blanks”. In many cases, the cause can be determined and treated.  Others are not always so easy; however, in that case, you can at least consider another stud to breed with.

What if I am having semen shipped?

Shipping semen can be very stressful. It is very important that the specific shipping details are discussed in advance during your breeding exam. The goal is to ensure a successful shipping experience. We can ship or receive fresh chilled semen or frozen semen. There are specific requirements when sending or receiving shipped semen. Shipping domestically versus internationally also requires specific attention and details. The most successful shipments are done with advanced planning and plenty of open communication.