FAQ: Reproduction Medicine
Proestrus is when the intact female goes into heat. Signs for proestrus include swollen vulva, bloody discharge, and possible behavioral changes. Proestrus can last from 5 to 10 days depending on the individual dog. Estrus monitoring should start after 5 days from the time proestrus signs start. Initial estrus monitoring consists of a physical exam, vaginal cytologies and a series of Progesterone blood tests. A vaginal cytology is when we take a sample from the vaginal wall with a cotton swab and look at the cells under a microscope. A progesterone blood level shows the level of the hormone progesterone in the blood stream. Progesterone level helps determine when the female with ovulate.
A physical exam will look for possible issues that could hinder the female from carrying to term. Vaginal cytology and progesterone tests help us determine when the female will be most fertile and determine the best time for breeding. The best time to breed may vary depending on the breeding plan. Different options for breeding are artificial insemination (AI) or natural breeding. AI is performed when the male and female are unable to mate on their own. Artificial insemination is broken down to include Surgical Insemination and Vaginal insemination. Surgical insemination is recommended if the semen is lower quality, chilled or frozen. With both methods of AI, semen is collected, evaluated, and placed into the female.
An exam and ultrasound are performed 3 to 4 weeks after the breeding to confirm pregnancy and evaluate the mother. A recheck and radiographs (X-Ray) are performed 1 week before the due date to confirm the number of puppies. Knowing the number of puppies is particularly important for at home whelping (delivering) to know when whelping is truly complete versus dystocia (trouble giving birth). Some breeds have a higher risk of dystocia and may have a planned C-section to deliver the puppies surgically. This will help decrease the danger of losing the mother and the puppies. Most of the time after a C-section, the mother and puppies will go home a few hours after the surgery. This should help reduce stress to them.
Once the mother and puppies are ready after a C-section, the Doctor will go over after care instructions with the owner. We will discuss things to monitor such as milk production and making sure mom is stimulating the puppies to urinate and defecate. It is important to follow at home instructions and call the doctor anytime there is a question.
If you are planning an at home delivery, please, discuss this option with the doctor at any time when you visit. Please, let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Tulsa: (918) 492-2674, Broken Arrow: (918) 355-5662.
At Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital, we are dedicated to keeping your pet happy and healthy for a lifetime.