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Breeder Services

Achieving a successful pregnancy

We are experienced with all sorts of breeds – not all bitches conceive easily, and not all pregnancies go full term. Sadly a number of apparently healthy litters can very easily succumb to “Fading Puppy Syndrome” and simply fade away and die. We can help – careful planning will increase your success. Please call us for a chat before the planned mating, if possible.

  • Progesterone testing
  • Whelping – when is she due?
  • Infertility investigation
  • Canine Herpes Vaccination
  • Pregnancy Diagnosis in The Bitch
  • After the event

Progesterone testing

We can now offer in-house quantitative progesterone levels, and continue also to offer Premate estimation. Please ask us for advice choosing the best option for your bitch.

Premate is a test performed in our practice laboratory to measure the hormone progesterone in the blood of your bitch when she is in oestrus (heat or season).The level of progesterone is important in predicting the best time to mate to achieve optimum litter size.

This can be especially helpful in bitches who failed to hold to a previous mating, and for ones which have to travel a significant distance to the stud dog. The level of progesterone drops below a certain level 24 to 48 hours before whelping and so also gives us an idea when to expect the bitch to give birth.

The following is the detailed application/interpretation of this test – don`t worry about the detail – the vet will help with all of this!! ​

  • Premate – accurately predicts ovulation, so it`s use: Aims to get more than 90% fertility aims to consistently increase litter size because they predict ovulation, the progesterone levels are superior to vaginal smears (which are still very valuable as they can predict standing oestrus (at 66% cornification). If your bitch is genuinely on heat, and smears/timing suggest standing oestrus is imminent, then Premate testing can help: 
  • Mating – remember 1/3 rd of bitches don`t ovulate when you expect them to!! 

Premate Testings Results

  • Prog < 3ng/ml – ovulation NOT imminent – retest 2-3 days later 
  • Prog between 3 and 10 ng/ml – Ovulation imminent – retest 1 day later 
  • Prog >10 ng/ml Bitch has probably ovulated – mate/inseminate immediately 
  • Prog = 10 ng/ml – probably just ovulated – mate/inseminate in 1-2 days

Please ask for pricing structure – these vary between breed and clinical situation

Whelping – when is she due?

Sometimes it is desirable to know exactly when a bitch is due eg. in Bulldogs when we almost expect to perform a Caesarian section.

Premate testing can assist

  • Prog < 3ng/ml – Ready to whelp 24-48hrs 
  • Prog between 3 and 10 ng/ml – Retest 1 day later 
  • Prog >10 ng/ml Not yet ready – retest 2 days??

Infertility investigation

Results - what do they mean? 

  • Premate Prog < 3ng/ml – no recent ovulation – try to induce heat artificially eg cabergoline 
  • Prog above 3 - heats have occurred OR ovarian pathology exists

Canine Herpes Vaccination

An important cause of apparent infertility or of “Fading Puppy Syndrome”

Breeder Services Maximising litter viability Canine Herpes Vaccination

This vaccine can effectively prevent these problems, and can dramatically increase litter size and viability – we strongly recommend this to all our breeders. The first injection is given soon after mating, and a second 6-7 weeks later.

Pregnancy Diagnosis in The Bitch

  • The vet can examine the abdomen by careful manual palpation – this is easiest from day 21-24 – the biggest source of error in this technique is associated with small litter sizes, and/or tense abdominal muscles.
  • We can also perform a pregnancy ultrasound scan using our dedicated sector scanner – this is best done between day 28 and 32. We will not predict exact litter size for you – sound bounces around and false echoes can be misleading!!
  • In rare cases when doubt still remains, a blood test based on serum relaxin can be performed to confirm a pregnancy (best from day 28).
  • Intrauterine parasite control – all pups get worms from mum, even before they are born and in the first few days of life – we strongly recommend pre-treating mum during the last third of her pregnancy – ideally from day 42 post-mating.

Please ask for advice on the latest product recommendation.

After the event

  • Mum - There are times when it is difficult to be sure all pups are delivered. We recommend a routine visit after you believe the whelping is over, just to be sure! The next available appointment is usually time enough. Remember – telephone advice is free – please call us if you are worried about any aspect of the delivery, or management of the new mum. 
  • Pups - We offer free puppy checks at first vaccination which we recommend at 7 weeks of age – this includes checks for hernias, cleft palate, parasites and heart murmurs – it helps you avoid nasty surprises when new owners take their pup to the vet. We are happy to discuss discounts for litters of puppies. Please ask us!

Having pups can be great fun – careful planning and good support are vital in maximising success. Good luck!

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