“I think I might Be Seeing You Cry”, spoken by Dr. Greer at Veterinary Village the reproduction clinic I use for all my reproduction work.
The day was finally here. 4 long weeks of waiting since we bred Glory to Silas to find out if there would be little puppies in another 4 weeks. Glory and I arrive at the clinic. We are put in the ultrasound room, Dr. Greer comes in and palpates Glory and asks me how it is going and what I think. “I think she is pregnant, she doesn’t eat very well, she is clingy, she is doing stupid stuff”. Time to find out. We put her up on the table on her back to do the ultrasound. before we start I tell Dr. Greer “don’t make me cry, we want happy news”.
A short clip of Glory’s ultrasound (at the beginning you can hear the Dr. tell me she is going to see me cry).
Those were the words I was hoping not to hear, the words that my puppy buyers were hoping not to hear.
Dr. Greer said ultrasound at this stage of the pregnancy is 96% accurate. That only leave 4% hope. Miracles happen but sadly in this case I’m sure Dr. Greer is right. When you hear that your breeding didn’t take you wonder why. It’s only human nature to run through everything in your head and try and figure out what happened. Dr. Greer and I talked and she reassured me that we did everything correct. Glory is a young healthy dog, I did pre breeding bloodwork on her that was normal, we did the progesterone tests at the required time. Implanted her at the right time, semen quality was good for the TCI we chose to do. We only did one breeding because the numbers were all right there and we were implanting at the right time. All it boils down to is that the stars were not aligned and it wasn’t meant to be. Things happen for a reason and at times it is not up to us to know why, understand why or explain why. It is a time to say “it is what it is” and move on as hard at that might be.
I did a little research as to why breeding’s don’t take. This is what I found on Veterinarypartner.com.
This is a transcript from a Canine Reproduction Seminar done by Dr. Hutch.
For us to understand canine reproduction, we must realize that the canine, and especially the bitch, is a unique individual when compared to all other domestic species. While most animals ovulate into an estrogen bath, the bitch ovulates into a progesterone environment. This fact is why we cannot use estrogen testing, vaginal smears or breeding guns for other than general timing of the bitch’s estrous cycle.
The use of frozen semen and fresh-cooled semen showed us the true facts of canine breeding. Many testing methods that seemed to work only appeared so due to the extreme long life of fresh semen in the bitch.
I always pictured Mother Nature looking at us dog breeders and saying “those poor, poor fools. They don’t have a clue what they are doing!” Progesterone testing has allowed us to anticipate ovulation, determine whelping dates and to schedule planned c-sections months in advance.
Interpreting progesterone levels, unfortunately is still a mystery to many veterinarians and breeders. With these facts in place let’s talk about your problems, concerns and interests!
Question: When you say “The use of frozen semen and fresh-cooled semen showed us the true facts of canine breeding. Many testing methods that seemed to work only appeared so due to the extreme long life of fresh semen in the bitch,” what do you mean?
DrHutch: Basically, fresh semen lasts 5-6 days. Colorado state has found live semen ELEVEN days after breeding. This made up for a lot of our mistakes. Once we started using fresh cooled and semen, which last only a few days or hours, suddenly things that seemed to work in the past no longer seemed to work. Now with prosterone testing, we can get 83 percent conception rates with FROZEN semen….
Question: Bitches who keep missing.
Several people asked a variation of this question:
I have tried a number of times to breed my bitch, both with natural breedings and with AIs. She has missed repeatedly. Where do you start when trying to understand and resolve this problem?
DrHutch: Basically there are only SIX reasons a bitch misses, and we run around testing thyroid and doing cultures, which are really only minimal reasons for failure.
- First, is the male sperm good.
- Second, did she ovlulate.
- Three, was semen put in at the right time.
- Four, did semen get to egg.
- Five, did fertilized egg implant.
- Six, did placenta develop enough to maintain (the pregnancy).
We have to work our way through the list to determine what the cause was. What we do is, first of all, have the male semen evaluated. That is NOT saying there is a drop of sperm on the slide, there is sperm or no sperm.
Normal sperm evaluations consist of 10 million sperm per pound of body weight, 80 percent motility, less than 20 percent abnormal, and if your male sperm meets those criteria, probably it’s not the problem.
The other five problems have to do with the bitch herself, and progesterone testing the DAY of ovulation is the day her progesterone goes above 5 nanograms. Even though she has this three week-plus heat cycle, there is a three to four day window we have to hit that varies from bitch to bitch. With progesterone testing, we can be sure the semen is put in at the proper time no matter what type of insemination method we are using.
In the bitch, the semen is pumped up into the uterus….so outside ties… poorly done AIs… that don’t deposit the semen in the cervix, which is located in the abdomen above the bladder, prevent sement from being drawn up into the uterus.
As bitches age, they get cysts within their uterus which can obstruct the pathway – a good reason in an older bitch for considering a surgical insemination.
Conception takes place in the Fallopian Tubes regardless of the method of insemination.
An older bitch is any bitch over 5, by the way; several of you asked.
The fertilized eggs are then released into the uterus, but don’t implant until day 17-18 after ovulation. So if there are uterine lining problems, we either don’t have implantation OR…the placenta, which actually grows into the lining of the uterus, can’t grow or be maintained, and the puppies are reabsorbed. It will develop as the night goes on, how to detect some of these problems.
When a bitch ovulates, whether we breed her, don’t breed her, or pretend she’s not in season, the progesterone HAMMERS the uterine lining for sixty-plus days.
The progesterone level is NOT affected by pregnancy. In the cow for example, if the uterus does not get communication from the fertilized egg by day 16, the whole process starts over again. In the bitch, you don’t have that luxury.
Even though the bitch’s body produces the progesterone, the progesterone is inflammatory to the uterine lining, so that after a heat cycle, the bitch’s uterus is never as healthy as it was before the heat cycle. So we go from a normal uterus… and this start’s with the first cycle of her life…to an endometritis to endometrial hyperplasia, which some of you have been asking about – this is when the uterus starts to thicken and we start to get bubbles in the lining of the uterus – these changes affect the uterine lining so much so that eventually the uterus cannot control the bacteria, and the ultimate end stage is pyometritis. You can read the whole transcript here.
Glory had signs of a pregnancy. She wasn’t eating, clingy, weight gain. She is in a false pregnancy.
After the ultrasound I had to do one of the most humbling things I ever had to do. I had to make the phone calls and let the 4 puppy buyers know that the ultrasound showed no puppies so there will be no Glory/Silas puppies in the future for them. For some buyers this has been a process that has been in the making for over a year. When you wait over a year for something special and then there is none it is very heartbreaking, heartbreaking for a breeder to have to say those words. All I could say was that I was sorry. There really isn’t anything else that can be said except we will try again and we don’t expect anyone to wait for something that may never be. The puppy buyers have been amazing, they all understood and they were most concerned for Glory’s health, that is was ok. Glory is ok and is non the wiser as to what is going on. I think this is what made it hard to tell the buyers, that they were not getting a puppy and I still have Glory so I still have my special gal to hang with. I cried, hugged Glory, cried some more and by the end of the night I felt like someone had died. I felt that some special dreams were gone, but I now realize that those special dreams are not gone, they are still there to appear when they are needed most. Now was the the time.
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But then instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How could you be so slow”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never did let go.”
– written by Robert J. Burdette
Thanks to everyone for there great support during this time. Sorry this post was so wordy, I just didn’t know how to make it less wordy. On a happier note here is the gang checking out their great Christmas cards from their blogging buddies.
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