Summary: Deciding to breed your dog is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. Before breeding your dog be sure to research and read as much material as possible. We review 4 Vet tests before breeding your dog.
What Vet Tests Before Breeding Your Dog?
Now that you have studied, you will have learned many important things. One being that the potential bitch should be about two years old BEFORE mating for the first time. You will have noticed that some experts disagree on this count, allow me a moment to share why I believe it is important to wait before breeding your dog.
By the time your puppy has reached the age of two, she will, it is to be hoped, have had a couple heat cycles. She will be full-grown, allowing her to focus on her pregnancy instead of trying to grow (herself) during gestation of her puppies. Her size, weight, health, and temperament will be more sure. It is important to have your dog tested for genetic diseases and overall health. Doing so can save both you, and a puppys new owners headache and heartache. Please note that it is important to have both the potential bitch AND sire vet checked before breeding.
There are several tests you can have your veterinarian perform. Please plan to take your dog in for tests at least one to two months ahead of time because some of the tests and x-rays can take 4-6 weeks to get results. Here are some that I would recommend*.
4 Vet Tests Before Breeding Your Dog
Hips and Elbows Test: Your dog should have his/her hips tested and certified. This is important since hip dysplasia is a genetic condition. In the U.S. your dog can be tested and OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, Inc.) certified when he/she reaches at least 2 years of age. Other countries have similar programs. Your veterinarian can check your dog’s elbows at the same time. If you notice your dog limping regularly, or if his/her leg seems to be locked straight (a symptom of patellar luxation), please do not breed your dog.
Eye Test: The bad news – There are many genetic eye problems. The good news – most of these can be checked in ONE exam. A few things your dog’s veterinary ophthalmologist will check for are cataracts, progressive degenerative retinas, ectropion, entropion, distichiasis, and other eye abnormalities. Some veterinarians recommend this test be performed annually as long as the dog is being used for breeding. Then its up to you and your vet to decide how often to perform the CERF exam.
- Heart Test: Like the eye exam, it is recommended to have this test done yearly.
- Brucellosis Test: This is a VERY NECESSARY test, even if you are having your female dog artificially inseminated. This is a very nasty disease. It can cause sterility, and in some cases can cause a litter of puppies to be aborted or die shortly after birth. An infected dog can pass the disease through intercourse, urine and feces. It is transmissible to humans and can infect an entire kennel. Please require this test before mating. The signs of this disease are not prominent or easily noticed.
Other Considerations Before Breeding Your Dog
A couple other things to consider testing for before breeding include, but are not limited to, cryptorchidism, hernias, deafness, allergies and other chronic skin conditions, copper storage disease, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrands disease, heartworm and other worms. While all these are not passed genetically, its important to make sure your dog is healthy enough to carry a litter. As I stated earlier, be sure the potential sire is also tested and healthy. Be sure if the sire is used for mating with other females that you have him re-tested for Brucellosis before mating with your dam.
Once this is done, you can be assured that you are taking every step and precaution to bettering the breed and not putting your pet in a potentially harmful situation. Now, you can relax and wait for your dog’s next heat cycle.
*These are opinions and should not be taken as professional advice. Please discuss tests with your vet as he/she will know more about your dog and the region in which you live.
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