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Canine Reproduction


How EMF, cystitis or canine anatomical abnormalities such as strictures or hymens can affect mating, reproductive ability, or prevent conception.





Barbara "BJ" Andrews, Publisher, SAAB Member


Every breeder should be familiar with breeding obstacles such as vaginal strictures and stubborn hymens, which, when bypassed by artificial insemination (AI) can result in a Cesarean (C-section).


Vaginal strictures can be troublesome.  Any good reproduction veterinarian can diagnose common problems but there are other frequently overlooked factors that adversely affect canine reproduction.  Even the pet-vet should be well versed in canine reproductive anatomy but in 2019 they seem way more comfortable with the removal of reproductive organs!



Female Dog Reproduction OrgansCystitis is not uncommon in female puppies and later, in estrus bitches.  Urinary tract infection can occur when bitches come into heat (excessive licking) or due to "germs" acquired in the vaginal-urinary tract during mating.


Frequent urination caused by cystitis can be confused with the onset of estrus which often masks a urinary tract infection (UTI).  The infection is easily and successfully treated with vinegar and honey which acidifies the bladder and urinary tract, killing the bacteria.


To avoid mating problems, learn to spot symptoms of cystitis and begin immediate treatment. A female with cystitis or UTI is not going to be "in the mood." If you plan to breed her, be alert because by the time the male is mounting and she is resisting, it is too late for bladder treatment to be effective in time to save the mating.


As an aside, Cystitis occurs so frequently in puppies, it is actually called "Puppy Cystitis". Fat little bottoms, frequent urination, and well, puppies sometimes sit in the puddle.... remember, it is ascending bacterial infection. Easy to treat.


First, whether puppy or adult, male or female; trim hair from vulva or sheath, especially that little tuft on the end. Then trim away adjacent hair that might contact the urinary orifice. Wash the genital area twice daily and treat systemically with apple cider vinegar in the dog's drinking water, about a teaspoon to a pint. Some people say cranberry juice but it is better to avoid the sugars in the juice. Old-fashioned unfiltered apple cider vinegar, preferably with the "mother" intact, is always a better choice and cures simple cystitis. Make sure there's nowhere else she can get untreated water - like the commode.


Give vitamin "C" which also acidifies the urine. Tablets easily administered in cream cheese or peanut butter, about 2 mg per pound Treat for about five days during which time you can skip a vet trip for acidifiers, antibiotics, and not being told to clean up the genital area which is where an ascending bladder infection begins!  Ideally the cystitis will resolve well before she is ready to breed. If she continues to strain to urinate or show other signs of urinary irritation, then do take her to your vet.



Afghan Hounds in love but will the breeding be successful?Call it what you want but if the stud dog is trying and the bitch is willing but a tie isn't happening, a stubborn hymen may be the problem. If you're assisting and the penis actually seems to "bend" as though hitting a brick wall, the problem is almost sure to be a tough hymen or vaginal stricture.


A digital exam should enable you to feel the restriction but take her to the vet just to be sure there's no vaginal deformity. You don't need a a Reproductive Veterinarian, any vet should be able to quickly and accurately diagnose the problem. A thick hymen is common in some breeds and it is not a big deal if you have a competent vet who doesn't try to turn it into major surgery. Do not leave her. This is a ten minute procedure - a vaginal exam, a quick snip and it's done.


She does NOT need anesthesia, not even a tranquilizer unless she's nuts in which case, she shouldn't be bred anyway.


The good vet will put her on the table, go in there and incise the hymen. The in-heat bitch won't mind, in fact, an estrus bitch usually responds to a little pain back there by tilting her pelvis and flagging. Reassure and steady her and she will stand while he performs the 60 second surgery. Take her immediately back to the stud dog so he can effect a tie before soreness sets in. She'll be a little tender the next day but the day after she should welcome another mating.



Understanding the above, you will understand why I consider AI a potential problem that novice breeders and even some veterinarians fail to take into consideration. If you have a willing bitch but an aggressive stud dog can't penetrate enough to tie, the whelps could have difficulty getting past the stricture.


You may have noticed a pattern between C-sections and artificial inseminations. The cervix opens and relaxes during labor but may not allow the fetus to rupture the hymen or pass through a vaginal stricture. If the stud has a problem penetrating, take her to the vet. You need to know what the breeding problem is (and fix it) before considering an artificial insemination that could lead to whelping disaster.


Nowadays, AI is common practice. It may be the busy stud owner's choice which is understandable although I believe that artificial insemination perpetuates reproductive problems. Does he lack virility? That can be hereditary.  Shipped semen can hide a multitude of behavioral problems that can be medicated during exhibition.  Sorry, but stable temperament is the most important consideration in any breeding.


Bitches are rarely shipped nowadays but if you ship or drive her to the stud owner, ask the owner's veterinarian to do a vaginal exam while she is in full estrus just to make sure that a natural tie is easily accomplished. Don't risk being surprised by a maiden bitch that runs into whelping difficulties. It's a matter of priorities - literally "first things first." Solve a mating problem and the whelping should go smoothly.



Electromagnetic fields (EMF) can be "natural" or caused by high voltage power lines and either way, they can interfere with milk production and cause other hard-to-diagnose problems. In a highly publicized 1980s lawsuit in Wisconsin, the power company ran new high voltage lines across grazing land in order to serve a burgeoning subdivision. The exposed dairy herd suffered among other things, hooves so grossly deformed that many cows had to be destroyed.


Underground water veins and Ley Lines: There are other environmental elements which can adversely affect dogs. Underground water veins can cause cellular vibration not unlike the way a microwave "cooks." Symptoms range from irritability or restlessness to deadly serious fertility, orthopedic, neurological, and behavioral abnormalities. Personality aberrations become more noticeable a breeding bitch and/or the stud dog are environmentally stressed.


High-tension power lines can affect health and reproductionHigh-tension power lines: was the first to document the detrimental effects of constant exposure to such power lines and since 2000, they have increased ten-fold.  If your stud dog isn't doing well, move him to the opposite end of the kennel and locate a good dowser. Some dogs are more sensitive than others. There is now a great deal of medical literature on the effects of EMF exposure in humans so if your bitch has flakey seasons or you suddenly have a dud for a stud, consider the possibility of electromagnetic fields and look it up. Also look UP and AROUND your property!


Fluorescent Lighting: As an aside, I once bred Bengal cats and we built an elaborate cattery but a breeder friend warned that my stud cat would become "crazy" and infertile under our fluorescent lights.  It was as though a light bulb came on! I realized that our plumbing company dispatcher, who had been with us for years, had begun to have "nerves" and odd ailments including irregular menstrual cycles. I looked at the newly decorated dispatch station which had two huge fluorescent lights overhead. We removed them that week, had incandescent track lighting installed, and her symptoms gradually disappeared.


Hopefully someone reading this will put two and two together and a dog (or horse) will be spared. Modern Science has many partners but unfortunately we seldom make use of them or worse yet, science sometimes gets in the way of common sense.  For your own health and that of your dogs, learn about ley lines and the Effects of Magnetic Fields and do check out the display-links below.


Excerpts from the author's "On The Line" columns, Canine Chronicle 1991, ShowSight Magazine, October 1999 EST 1998 © 0911164r1911



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