Breeding dogs that produce quality pets has never been more important in the dog breeding profession. Crossing a healthy, high-quality sire and dam is a good place to start, though there are many other considerations along the way.
Practicing good nutrition, having a quality water supply, adhering to vaccination schedules, staying on top of parasite and flea and tick prevention, and conducting health and brucellosis testing of breeding stock are high on the checklist.
“I find it amazing the positive impact that comes from practicing good basic pregnancy management, feeding a healthy diet and monitoring body condition, allowing moderate exercise throughout pregnancy, and adhering to deworming regimens,” says Andrea Hesser, DVM, Dact, a board-certified veterinary reproduction specialist who practices at Josey Ranch Pet Hospital in Carrollton, Texas.
“In general, it’s best to update vaccines ahead of time if you know your bitch will be due for vaccination around her estrus cycle, pregnancy or even into lactation,” Dr. Hesser says. “Rabies is a non-negotiable vaccine, and as a killed vaccine, we don’t tend to see a negative impact using this category of vaccine even given at the last minute. Being overdue for distemper, adenovirus, and parvovirus combination vaccines may not result in any detriment; however, the veterinarian could check titers to ensure a bitch is protected for an upcoming pregnancy.”
Maintaining preventive medications for heartworms, fleas, and ticks also is important. “Pregnancy should not change your normal preventive care management,” says Dr. Hesser. “several oral heartworm preventives and topical and oral flea and tick medications have been rigorously studied for safety in pregnant dogs and their fetuses and puppies. Not all products are risk-free. those that are safe for pregnancy should state so on the product label or insert.
“It is important to consider that a pregnant dog may exceed the weight range of her original preventive prescription. should she fall outside this range, most veterinarians will provide single doses for the stages in which she will exceed her original weight range.”
Health and brucellosis testing of brood bitches and stud dogs is imperative before breeding. taking advantage of the orthopedic foundation for animals (OFA) health clinics when they are offered in your area makes it handy to test dogs for hip and elbow dysplasia, eye conditions, cardiac disease, Legg-Calve-Perthes, an inherited disease causing hindlimb lameness, and dental health-related to having a full dentition or correct bite. although brucellosis testing is not performed at the OFA health clinics, this test ensures that dogs do not have the highly contagious disease that can lead to infertility, abortions, and stillbirths caused by the Brucella canis bacterium.
“Ovulation timing through progesterone testing is used to know the optimal time to breed a female,” Dr. Hesser says. “We advise breeding 48 to 72 hours post-ovulation, as after ovulation the released eggs continue to mature, reaching maturation two to three days later. once the maturation process is completed, the eggs are ready for fertilization.”
A great deal of pride is associated with producing puppies that become loving members of a family.