Breeding dogs can be a complicated procedure involving hormone monitoring and interpretation, vaginal cytology changes, vaginoscopy changes, and multiple methods of insemination. A thorough knowledge of the canine reproductive cycle is essential for successful breeding.
Progesterone testing is a common method of determining breeding timing. Progesterone worked best when the levels are followed throughout a heat cycle, thus helping to pinpoint the correct time to breed. Progesterone is usually measured at the beginning of the heat cycle and then every 2 to 3 days during the heat cycle. Most cycles require anywhere from 4 to 7 progesterone levels to accurately time the cycle.
Vaginal cytology and vaginoscopy are used in conjunction with the progesterone levels to try and better pinpoint the appropriate breeding protocol. As the cycle progresses, the vaginal cytology and vaginoscopy change as the hormone levels change and time for breeding approaches.
Lh testing is a second hormone that helps to pinpoint the optimum breeding time. Lh testing helps to identify the peak of the lh hormone and thus the dates for ovulation. By knowing the ovulation date, optimum breeding dates can be obtained. Lh is used in conjunction with progesterone levels for the best outcomes. Lh samples must be drawn daily, as the peak is only about 24 hours long.
Semen evaluation is also an important part of the breeding management. Semen quality is determined by a variety of factors including concentration, motility (both speed and progressive movement), morphology (normal size and shape), and presence of other cells (red blood cells, epithelial cells, etc...) in the sample. This is an image of a sample to evaluate motility.
At ECVH, we are able to utilize fresh, chilled and frozen semen for breeding purposes. Each of these different methods of breeding require a slightly different approach to successful breeding. Please feel free to call with any questions so that we can decide the best course to optimize breeding success.
Please check back periodically for updates. A semen freezing center is now available.