If the stud is still alive and producing good quality sperm, fresh or fresh/chilled (overnight shipped) semen will always have better motility and fertility than frozen/thawed semen. Frozen semen is best saved for when the stud dog is no longer available for breeding due to age or death, or international locations.
Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers!)
If you did not plan on breeding your bitch, then spaying is probably the best answer. But if she has a breeding plan in her future, there are medical protocols we can use to terminate a pregnancy. The first step is to determine if she is pregnant by scheduling an ultrasound examination with us for 3-4 weeks after the accidental breeding. If she is confirmed pregnant, then we have a couple of medical options which reliably cause the pregnancy to resorb and preserve the bitch’s fertility for future litters.
If your bitch has a high risk of problems during natural whelping, then yes. This would include brachycephalic breeds, individuals who have a history of past whelping problems (or come from a line with a history of problems), or bitches who have very large or very small litters for their size. Otherwise, elective C-section can still be a very safe and reasonable option even for a bitch who otherwise would probably whelp naturally. This is worth further discussion about your individual case and concerns.
Minimally, you should be feeding a diet that meets AAFCO requirements. You should never feed grain-free diets unless your dog has been diagnosed with a grain-sensitivity by your veterinarian. Raw diets should be fed with caution and awareness of the increased risk of food-borne disease and should never be fed to a pregnant bitch. High-quality, trustworthy diets that have actually been tested in feed trials are made by Hill’s Science Diet, Purina, and Royal Canin.
No commercially made supplement marketed for increasing fertility in dogs or bitches has ever been tested and proven effective in increasing fertility. Individual ingredients that have been shown to support sperm function include fish oil, Vitamin E, Zinc, L-carnitine, and Perna mussel. For both bitch and dog, your best strategy is to feed an appropriate, well-balanced diet, such as those made by Hill’s, Purina, or Royal Canin. Each of these companies conducts research into their diets, including feed trials.
TCI is a better choice in nearly every aspect, with one possible exception. TCI is less invasive, less expensive, faster, usually requires no sedation, allows two inseminations in a cycle, and has HIGHER pregnancy rates and litter sizes than surgical insemination. The only time we recommend surgical insemination is if we know that the bitch has endometrial (uterine) cysts, which we can reduce at the time of surgery. In this circumstance, surgical insemination has the advantage over TCI.
First, you must be clear on what constitutes a “dose.” Whether straws or pellets, the thawed dose should have a minimum of 75 million (small breed), 100 million (medium breed), 150 million (large breed), or 200 million (giant breed) motile sperm. In most cases, it will take more than one straw (or multiple pellets) to reach these minimums. And unfortunately, most times, when the dose is thawed and evaluated, we find that the number of motile sperm is below the recommended minimums. We recommend ordering multiple “doses” of frozen semen so that you have enough to actually constitute an actual, full dose at the time of breeding.
Maybe not. It depends on how early you catch it, whether it is open or closed, and how sick she is. If the bitch is feeling relatively well and the cervix is open (draining discharge), then medical treatment can be effective. Medical treatment usually involves hospitalization with intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and treatments that aim to decrease progesterone and empty the uterus. Medical treatment costs more than spaying, but can preserve fertility. We have treated many bitches who have gone on to have successful litters.
An ovary-sparing spay is only indicated in certain breeds that have been shown to have significantly increased rates of cancer after having their ovaries removed. These breeds include Golden Retrievers, Vizslas, and Rottweilers. A bitch that has an ovary-sparing spay must be kept away from intact males as she will still cycle (though she may not bleed) and will therefore be attractive to intact males. If she is accidentally bred, she could get a sperm-induced peritonitis, which would be a serious complication and require emergency treatment and surgery.
There are few actual health benefits of neutering a male dog. It is true that testicular cancer is eliminated, but testicular cancer in dogs is uncommon and benign. It is also true that prostatic enlargement and infection are also eliminated by neutering, but these conditions are relatively easily treated medically if they do occur. Behavioral changes with neutering are unpredictable. Prostate cancer is actually INCREASED in neutered males. So, if your male dog is well-behaved, does not live with intact females, and you do not allow him to wander off-leash, there is little justification for neutering.
A general guideline is for you to consider how many litters of puppies you would like to produce with the frozen semen and have at least twice that number of insemination doses stored.
We offer time-sensitive services on the weekend (C-sections, semen collections, and inseminations) to established clients. An after-hours fee applies to cover our costs of bringing in our staff on the weekend.
Heartbeats can be detected as early as three weeks after ovulation. We generally recommend waiting around four weeks from the breeding since there will be more to see and evaluate at this time.
Ultrasound is the only method that allows us to evaluate the health of the pregnancy. We are able to see if each embryo or fetus is developing appropriately and detect early signs of pregnancy losses or disease. We are also able to get a pretty good idea of the number of fetuses, although radiographs are more accurate for counting.
Radiographs should be done a few days before the first anticipated whelping date. This will allow us to accurately count the fetuses and gauge the size of the fetal heads against the size of the maternal pelvis to estimate the ease of whelping.
No, the amount of radiation exposure from this exam is equivalent to the amount you would experience on a cross-country flight.
In most cases, we recommend calling us the day you notice the first signs of your bitch coming into heat, and we will schedule your first appointment for 4-6 days later.
We require brucellosis testing every six months in actively breeding males and females.
We are not open evenings, nights, or weekends for emergencies. For an emergency C-section during working hours, we are happy to accommodate you if we can. For emergency C-sections after hours, you should contact the closest trusted emergency clinic to your home. We do offer elective C-sections on the weekends to established clients.
You should wait until your dog is fully grown and has had whatever health clearance tests are recommended for your breed. For most breeds, this is two years old at a minimum.
Depending on the size of the breed, puberty may start anywhere from 6 months to 24 months, but semen quality will be poor at first and take many months to improve. It is also worthwhile to wait until your dog is mature enough to have his health clearances and see how he performs as a mature individual before you decide to collect and freeze his semen.
Every breed has different disease predispositions. You should contact your national or local breed club to find out which tests are recommended for your dog. Your local vet can also help you answer this question. We are also happy to help you on an individual basis during your breeding consultation.