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INFERTILITY IN CARNIVORES:  DOGS

Barbara Andrews, TheDogPlace.org Publisher and SAAB member

 

No infection but no puppies. The veterinarian blames it on genetics, a competing breeder whispers bloodline but no one mentions diet, among the most common causes of infertility in all animals.

 

Your dog is spayed or neutered so you're not worried about fertility? I get it but surely you care just as much about "canine health" as does any top dog breeder. So in about 45 seconds learn what few veterinarians will tell you and what your doctor doesn't think about...  

 

As a breeder you've been around long enough to have seen infertility escalate over the last 10 years. For you young readers, note this includes human fertility and for older dog owners it gives you perspective on your own health.

 

 

Fertility is affected by external effects such as water, meds, or pollution and successful dog breeders feed as close to a natural diet as is possible.  Avoiding commercially produced dog food is now almost a religion among conscientious cat and dog owners but meat may be a major contributor to fertility problems!

 

Why? Because unless labeled most meats today may contain growth-stimulating hormones! Not every slaughter animal is tested and hormones that promote weight-gain are commonly used.

 

FDA product safety (see ref 1 below) states "...steroid hormone implants are available for over-the-counter purchase in the U.S. and are generally given by the livestock producer at specific stages of the animals’ growth." The high levels of anabolic steroids in feed-lot animals upsets the balance of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. "No steroid hormone implants are approved for growth purposes in dairy cows, veal calves, pigs, or poultry." Those hormonal chemicals pass through in the meat we eat, exacerbating human health problems. They can be fed to animals or sprayed on plants.

 

 

The country with the most normal sperm is, I believe, Greenland which has low levels of pollution. Both humans and carnivorous animals rely on high fat, fresh-caught ocean-related diets including whale and seal meat. Hold that thought because the least polluted oceans are a “world away from” America and Europe.

 

What does that have to do with infertility? Just about everything!!! Now comes an interesting study! Scientists compared sperm concentration and motility of men whose mothers ate high levels of beef to men whose mothers did not.

 

The sperm concentration was 24.3% higher in men born of low-beef consumption mothers whereas almost 18% of men born to women in the high beef group had sperm levels below what the World Health Organization deems the threshold of fertility.

 

So if your beef-eating stud dog approaches the female with typical gusto but no puppies result, consider that what applies to humans usually applies to other animals. Like chemicals and toxins, hormones pass through the food chain. If your dog is eating a lot of “healthy” beef he or she could be ingesting high levels of harmful hormones!

 

 

I know, I know - fish risks mercury, poultry is polluted. Lamb is expensive, pork is fatty. There isn’t space here to do more than present you with the problem and advise that you continue to feed beef BUT try to locate a local, pasture-fed source. If you have land or can rent pasture space, buy that scrub calf, feed it properly and then have it slaughtered.

 

You will come out way ahead on cost, quality and especially health. Buy a freezer or go in partnership with another breeder. Preferably one in the country who has free-range chickens or a feeder calf or is raising a lamb to butcher.

 

And having piqued your mind into high gear, remember that steroids have deleterious effects on fertility. Consider the growing retail availability of organic meats for your family table as well as in retail dog foods.  After all, you want to be a grandparent, right? At some point in our development, we became meat eaters. Protein feeds the brain but it should be natural meat from a healthy source. So yes, DO feed your dog table scraps, meat and veggies.

 

If you have a large breed dog and plan to breed a litter, spend a little more to insure a healthy MEAT and digestible (cooked) green veggie diet for your dog. If your dog is elderly or has a health problem, it is especially important to provide MEAT protein and if he is a "northern" breed be aware that FISH is part of his natural diet. Whether you plan to breed your dog or not, you want him or her to be healthy and happy.

 

ref #1 www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/product-safety-information/steroid-hormone-implants-used-growth-food-producing-animals

 

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