What Is Infertility?
Just as for humans, infertility is when a dog cannot conceive or deliver living puppies even after multiple mating with a fertile male.
There are various reasons why a female dog can be infertile; it can be broken into 4 main categories; abnormal estrous cycling, failure to copulate (breed), failure to conceive and pregnancy loss.
Abnormal Estrous Cycling
Estrous, commonly known as ‘heat’, is a cycle that each normal female goes through as soon as they are 24 months age. The estrous cycle has multiple stages; the estrus stage is when the female is in heat or sexually receptive. The dog should experience estrus at regular intervals after these cycles begin. However, there are exceptions, most female dogs cycle every four to ten months. Some dogs may only cycle once a year.
The term “abnormal cycling” refers to a female dog who does not go through normal heat cycles. Cycles that are delayed, missing, or irregular is all considered ‘abnormal’.
Failure To Copulate
Every female dog has a period through which she will be fertile, but if that time has been incorrectly predicted, the female will not copulate. But there are also a lot of other factors that lead to reluctance to copulate; behavioural factors such as a dominant female, sexually immature, or being in a stressful and unpleasant environment. It can also be due to physical consequences such as vaginal abnormalities, trauma, or vaginal growth.
Failure To Conceive
Different factors can lead to a lower level of fertility. But mostly, failure to conceive is related to poor timing. However, if the female suffers from infection or inflammation from the uterus, it may also cause a decrease in fertility.
Some anomalies are due to genetics too. Some female dogs may have polyps or even tumors around their vaginal tract, interfering with the conception.
If a female has been able to conceive but it resulted in pregnancy loss, it can be due to many reasons that need to be looked upon. There should include enough hormones to sustain the pregnancy, and if the dog suffers from hormones imbalances, it could be one of the reasons.
Conditions such as hypothyroidism and diabetes also affect the reproductive hormone levels and may result in pregnancy loss.
How To Know Your Female Dog’s Fertility?
Several tests need to be run to know your dog’s fertility status. The vet will start by determining your dog’s overall health through blood cell count, chemistry, and urinalysis. This is followed by an infectious disease screening, hormone analysis, x-rays, ultrasound, and vaginal cytology.
All infertility treatments depend on the result obtained through the test. The result will allow the vet to diagnose, thus pairing it with the appropriate treatment. Some diagnoses such as ovarian cysts or tumors will need a surgical ablation, while hormonal imbalances and infection may necessitate medication to re-establish good functioning.
A dog owner needs to wait for the perfect timing for breeding. Crucial that they determine the right ovulation period through a hormones test. If natural breeding is possible, the dogs should be allowed to mate every other day as long as the female is willing. The best time for artificial insemination should be determined by the type of semen utilized and the manner of insemination.
All breeding females, regardless of their reproductive status, should be supplied with a sanitary, low-stress environment as well as adequate nourishment. Due to the risk of illnesses that might contribute to infertility, raw meals should be avoided in breeding dogs. Let us know in the comments if you know of any other treatment for female dog infertility…