Most dogs will breed when ready, and continue to breed every second or third day and until they refuse. Within a few days of vaginal discharge, the bitch should be brought to an intact male, both leashed. In early proestrus, most bitches growl, sit or lie down when approached. Whenever she appears to be willing to be mounted, she should be brought to the male. If this approach fails, more sophisticated ovulation timing can be done for precise breeding times. Most bitches conceive when bred by a fertile male.
After breeding the bitch will enter diestrus and become less attractive to male dogs. Her vaginal discharge will diminish while vulvar edema diminishes. Noncornified epithelial cells and often white blood cells will appear in the vaginal cytology. The bitch will then enter anestrus after digests, a period of reproduction inactivity with hypothalamic, pituitary and ovarian hormone fluctuations. The interestrus interval consists of diestrus and anestrus form 4.5 to 10 months induration, with 7 the average. The uterus will undergo repair following a false or true pregnancy. She is not attracted nor attractive to male dogs. Little discharge is present and the vulva is smaller. Vaginal cytology during anestrus finds small parabasal cells and occasional white blood cells and mixed bacteria. Anestrus last approximately 1 to 6 months, then she enters proestrus again.
Bitches should have an examination from a veterinarian to establish good health before breeding. The veterinarian will also look for inverted nipples, vaginal strictures. The examination also gives the veterinarian the ability to discuss the estrous cycle, timing, and overall breeding information. Screening tests should be used to identify genetic diseases common to specific breeds. The veterinarian will test for Brucella canis on stud dogs before each breeding and annually. Healthy bitches do not need vaginal cultures. Dystocia should be discussed in case it occurs.
Dogs can be bred using ovulation timing with both serial vaginal cytologic exams and ideally progesterone concentrations. Testing can be performed for LH can be performed for infertility and frozen breedings. When using LH testing, it provides the most precise ovulation timing. However, daily serum samples will be acquired for testing once the vaginal cytology contains more than 70% cornified epithelial cells. An additional progesterone test will confirm the rise in progesterone or the occurrence of the LH surge. Daily serum samples can be saved by refrigeration or frozen and selected for LH testing later. It will be based on the estimated initial rise of progesterone.
Vaginal cytology exams will be performed over 2 to 3 days during the first few days of proestrus. After 70% of the epithelial cells are cornified, then every 48 hours serum progesterone concentrations are obtained. This detects the day of the initial progesterone rise correlating with the LH surge triggering ovulation. Two to seven days later, the bitch can be bred with good conception rates. The specific day and number of times bred depends on the type of semen, fresh, chilled or frozen.
Artificial insemination done properly can be highly successful. It is needed with fresh-chilled or frozen semen. It can be used for inexperienced stud dogs and aggressive bitches. Vaginal inseminations are best when using a clean mare uterine infusion pipette. It allows placement of the semen near the cervical opening. It is important not to contaminate the semen with water, lubricants or disinfectants. Frozen semen requires intrauterine depositing with a rigid endoscopy through the cervix reducing the need for surgery.
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