While the prospect of welcoming a litter of puppies into the world can be very exciting, the birthing process for dogs has many possible pitfalls. From difficulty with conception, to problems in delivery and after birth, a dog owner should be aware of the potential problems before considering the breeding process for their dogs.
Infertility in Dogs
Poor timing is the main culprit in the failure of a female dog to become pregnant. This can be misconstrued as infertility on either the male or female dog’s part. Understanding the female dog's reproductive cycle crucial to succesfully breeding a dog.
In some cases, health problems can lead to infertility on the part of either gender. A sexually transmitted infection known as brucellosis can cause sterility in the male dog or even lead to an abortion if contracted by the female dog. Males can be affected by a low sperm count or poor sperm motility, both of which could make conception difficult.
Abortion and Miscarriage
Abortion does occur, although it is often unknown. Sometimes the fetuses are resorbed early enough in pregnancy that it isn’t even noticeable. In some cases, signs of an abortion may be seen in vaginal discharge or the fetuses may even be discharged. Partial abortions are also possible, in which part of the litter survives and part is aborted. Causes for abortions are numerous and run from fetal defects, to problems with the ovaries or uterus, to problems induced by too strenuous exercise by the mother.
Cimplications During the Birth Process
Difficulties during the course of delivery are also possible. Various infections are usually the culprits in cases such as these, and these infections often attack the uterus. Other problems include an infection of the mammary glands known as mastitis, and a condition known as eclampsia, which could be life-threatening and is caused by a decrease in calcium in the bloodstream.
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