Many of the causes of infertility in male dogs are potentially reversible. Treatment options will be discussed only generally here, because a detailed examination of all treatment protocols for each possible cause of canine infertility is beyond the scope of this article. For example, dogs with infertility caused by diabetes may need to have their diabetes treated with insulin and dietary management. Owners of diabetic dogs with fertility problems can review treatment options under the Diabetes Mellitus heading in the Pet Wave Dog Health Library.
A long period of rest, without sexual activity or exposure to temperature extremes, can restore moderate to normal sperm production if infertility was caused by prolonged exposure to heat, testicular trauma, stress or sexual overuse. Bacterial infection of the testicles or prostate can be treated with appropriate antibiotics, preferably following culture of the semen to identify the exact organisms involved. Hormone replacement therapy, and administration of certain medications, can be helpful for dogs whose fertility failures are caused by immune-mediated conditions, hypothyroidism, diabetes, hypgonadism or retrograde ejaculation.
In some cases, a retained testicle can be dropped into the scrotum surgically, although depending on its initial abdominal location it may or may not produce live sperm. Many breeders and veterinarians consider this procedure to be unethical if the owner intends to use the dog for breeding, because cryptorchidism is considered to have a genetic component. Surgery can also be used to correct a persistent penile frenulum and phimosis, so that the dog can have a normal erection. Sometimes, treating the underlying cause of infertility requires castration (neutering).
The semen of dogs with normal sperm counts that are reluctant to breed for whatever reason can be collected manually. The collected semen can be used or fresh, chilled or frozen to impregnate a bitch via artificial insemination. There are a number of techniques for these procedures and a number of ways to handle and store the semen, which stud dog owners can discuss with their reproductive veterinary specialist.
Dogs with congenital infertility, and also those that do not produce appropriate numbers of sperm or otherwise respond to medical therapy after 6 months of treatment, probably will never become fertile. On the other hand, when a successful pregnancy was prevented by poor breeding management and mistimed matings, the prognosis is generally quite good – once proper protocol is followed. Dogs with infertility caused by infection also have a good prognosis, if appropriate diagnostics and treatment are pursued.