Infertility in dogs

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Infertility in dogs is not uncommon and it leads to a progressive financial damage to the canine (the dog, not the tooth) breeding industry. Particularly the infertility in the male dog is worrisome.

Individual assessment of a dog's fertility is essential and requires a thorough examination of its history with emphasis on general health and past reproductive performance. Prostate gland or testicular dysfunction can only be ascertained with a comprehensive breeding soundness evaluation (BSE). An important aspect of the BSE test is the collection and testing of the semen.


Cryptorchidism

The term cryptorchid means hidden testis and it is a common phenomenon among certain population in Western nations such as the USA and Australia. Also in dogs it occurs frequently.

The biggest question in cases of cryptorchidism is always; "how long do I have to wait before i can be sure the testis will not descend in its proper place". And indeed there are no easy answers to this question, although normally this process is accomplished after 10 days after birth. However, since the testes of puppies are small, soft to the touch and can still easily move it is suggested to wait at least 6 months before making a final diagnosis.

Small dog breeds suffer more from cryptorchidism than large breeds, probably due to the gravitational effect on testes descent.


Azoospermia

Azoospermia is an ejaculate, or semen, devoid of spermatozoa; only seminal plasma is present. Once can imagine it is difficult to fertilize an egg without any sperm cells present in the semen. The general public may laugh at this affliction, but the latest figures show that up to 35% (!!!!) of all dogs suffer from it. It is essential to keep in mind that only a proper diagnosis can be made by collecting semen in the presence of estrual bitch. Collections made under different circumstances do not give a reliable estimate.


Prostate disorders

Prostrate disorders are common in many Western nations, especially in nations such as the USA and Australia. Also in dog it is a frequent problem that can lower the fertility of the male dog. The prostrate is a walnut-shaped gland that is located caudal to the urinary bladder. Hypertrophy of the prostrate gland is quite common in dogs with more than 80% of dogs older than 5 years suffering from it to some degree.


Prostate inflammation and infection

Prostate inflammation is usually caused by a bacterial infection and very painful. It's more common in dogs that show hypertrophy of the prostrate gland. Antibiotics should be given for 4-6 weeks and if the prostrate is hypertrophic the dog should be castrated since it will probably come back again. It's not recommended to follow these guidelines for human patients.


References

Theriogenology Volume 68, Issue 3, August 2007, Pages 322-328[1]