Benefits of measuring progesterone when breeding dogs

BETTER DOG BREEDING : welcome to the 21st century.

Did you know that the single most common cause of infertility in bitches is not medical but simply mistiming of mating.

Traditionally we have relied on number of days since first being noticed in season eg days 11 - 13 or the bitch standing for the dog or the bloody vaginal discharge going clear etc., etc.

These methods are effective in about 70% of cases but we can do better.

All these signs are related to oestrogen which is an important hormone of reproduction and behaviour but in 30% of cases there is not a timeline correlation between this hormone and when is ideal to mate. Progesterone is the hormone which is produced from the ovary of the bitch when she is ovulating that we can measure that tells us exactly when is ideal to mate to maximise our chances of a pregnancy.

A simple blood test is taken from about day 7 of being in season and then every second day until mating. This method of deciding when to mate should improve our pregnancy rates from around 70% to 95%. This represents a huge saving in lost time of empty bitches and generally maximising litter size as well.

What we are looking for is a progesterone level of 20nmol/l. We then recommend mating that day and in 48 hours. We strongly recommend one final blood test to confirm that the progesterone is over 40nmol/l to confirm your bitch has finished ovulating. A small percentage of bitches can have a split oestrus where the progesterone reaches twenty but can stay there for up to 14 days or so and do not ovulate until the progesterone reaches 30. If you mate these bitches when they finally do ovulate as determined but the progesterone tests they conceive normally and have normal litter sizes.

The blood tests can be collected in the morning and results are available within a few hours allowing optimal time to organise the stud. Finally it is important to ensure the sire is fertile otherwise all the rest is pointless. We can provide a semen assessment for fertility of the stud dog and would strongly recommend all sires are assessed at least annually.

Progesterone testing is critical for frozen semen inseminations and now highly recommended for chilled and natural AI's and  natural matings.

Remember progesterone testing means more first time success!