Canine Reproduction

The veterinarians and staff at Animal Health Services of Cave Creek are committed to working with conscientious breeders to help produce healthy, happy puppies. Our staff has both personal and professional experience with breeding, raising and exhibiting dogs in conformation and performance events. We understand the special needs of these special dogs (and their owners!).

Our canine reproduction center’s surgical and laboratory capabilities allow us to assist you from the conception to the delivery of your next litter.

Breeding Screening Services

What to do before you breed your pet:

  • Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) Orthopedic Evaluations:
    These tests diagnose inherited orthopedic issues, like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, osteochondrosis (OCD), patella luxation and Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. They help owners figure out which dogs are best for breeding.
  • AKC DNA Tests:
    Animal Health Services is able to collect samples to submit for DNA testing by the American Kennel Club.
  • Pre-Breeding Examinations:
    We recommend pre-breeding examinations so you can ensure your dogs are healthy enough for breeding. This initial exam also establishes the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). Without a VCPR, the veterinarian is unable to make recommendations or prescribe medications.

Reproduction Services

  • Infertility Consultations:
    Healthy, well-bred puppies are the result of research, planning, love and hard work. But infertility issues can affect even breeders who do everything “right.” At Animal Health Services, we will work with you to diagnose infertility problems in both stud dogs and brood bitches, and we will do everything we can to help your dogs deliver happy, healthy puppies.
  • Semen Collection, Evaluation and Shipping:
    We collect semen for evaluation and diagnostic purposes. We also collect for “fresh” artificial insemination and for chilled semen shipping via FedEx or UPS (continental United States only). We collect for diagnostic purposes, like to identify reasons for previously failed pregnancies and to identify viability for first-time breeders and any dogs that haven’t been used in six months or more. We can also complete more detailed testing, like a sperm morphology and motility check. This testing is typically done during reproductive exams when attempting to diagnose sterility or other reproductive problems.“Fresh” artificial insemination occurs when the bitch is present in the office for insemination immediately after we collect the semen. Some breeders have better luck this way, particularly if the bitch is aggressive or if there is a significant size difference between her and the stud.
  • Progesterone Testing:
    Progesterone is a hormone that helps prepare and maintain the uterus for pregnancy. It begins to rise during the estrus cycle and is a key indicator (along with the luteinizing hormone, or LH) of when ovulation occurs. Progesterone testing allows you to determine when ovulation occurs and when it is the best time to breed.

Pregnancy Services

  • Ultrasound Pregnancy Diagnosis:
    Animal Health Services offers pregnancy confirmation via ultrasound as early as 30 days after the first breeding. As the puppies get larger, it becomes increasingly difficult to get an accurate count. However, diagnosing pregnancy by ultrasound offers several advantages over a pregnancy blood test.First and foremost, puppy viability can be ascertained via ultrasound. We can note heart rates and any sac abnormalities. We can also determine a rough number of puppies. Ultrasounds are noninvasive and are completed without sedation. For best visualization, we recommend the bitch to have an empty stomach and a full bladder.
  • Whelping Assistance:
    Some bitches have easy deliveries with puppies sliding out every hour. If only they were all like that! If a bitch is experiencing dystocia or needs extra help getting puppies out, we can provide experienced whelping assistance in a quiet delivery room. If problems develop, the option of immediate medical intervention can be a great relief.
  • Caesarean Sections:
    With some breeds, particularly brachycephalic breeds like Bulldogs, C-sections are commonly expected and are sometimes even scheduled. There are other situations when a C-section may be planned as well, like with a very large litter. To safely and accurately determine the best day for a planned C-section, we go by the date of ovulation, not the breeding dates.Sometimes, a C-section is not planned but becomes necessary. If a bitch has been in labor for more than two hours without delivering a puppy or in hard labor for more than an hour, or if green vaginal discharge is noted before the delivery of the first pup, a C-section is necessary. Difficult deliveries of large or mal-positioned pups may also require surgical intervention.

Neonate Services

  • Claw Removal and Tail Docking:
    Schedule an appointment to arrange to have your puppy’s claws removed or tail docked. Please call as soon as you can, as these procedures must take place within 48 to 72 hours after birth.