Exercising the option to breed rests largely in the hands of the owner of the brood bitch and should be guided by the decision of which dogs to include in the breeding program and which to eliminate. this requires careful research of the pedigrees of the dam and sire and the knowledge that even the most superior dogs may have breed-specific genetic anomalies in their genotype. Any condition, abnormality or disease that may prove detrimental to the offspring and/or the line should automatically eliminate a dog or bitch from a breeding program.
Some of these conditions include cataracts, cleft palate, hip dysplasia, seizure disorders, deafness and retained testicles. There are 350 know genetic problems in dogs with more being discovered all the time. Although the mode of inheritance is still poorly understood in many of these conditions, there are screening tests for some which can be done. this requires finding and establishing a relationship with a local veterinarian thoroughly versed in canine reproduction, who will be available at any hour for collection, insemination, and whelping assistance if needed.
A breeding soundness exam for the bitch will rule out infections and includes an examination of the genitals and the removal of strictures that will hinder penetration. Routine vaginal cultures are not done unless there is a history of infertility. Mammary glands should be palpated for lumps.
In the male, breeding soundness includes a digital exam to determine the size and shape of the prostate. Genital infections are ruled out and the testicles are palpated for growths. Semen is collected and evaluated for concentration, motility and normal shape. The accepted normal concentration is 50 x 10 6 live, motile, normally formed sperm per ml. Motility is considered normal if 80% of the sperm in the sample show forward movement.
The normal number and shape are determined by examining 200 sperm and calculating the per cent of defective sperm (those that are broken or have parts missing). This figure and the total count will give the number of live, normal sperm/ml.
ANTIC, December 1997
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