With You Every Step Of The Way

Reproduction & Breeding

North Penn Animal Hospital is here to help you with every aspect of breeding your dog, from when you first decide to breed until seeing a litter off to their new homes.

Our Services:

  • Caesarean Sections
  • Semen Collection and Evaluation: including processing and shipment of chilled semen, semen freezing, and long-term storage.
  • Artificial Insemination (fresh, chilled, and frozen semen)
  • Transcervical Insemination (TCI)
  • Surgical Insemination
  • Ovulation Timing
  • Phone Consultations for ovulation timing and whelping.
  • Nomograph testing of pregnant bitches to determine ideal vaccination windows for puppies.
  • Infertility Evaluation
  • Ultrasonography for Pregnancy Diagnosis

Breeding Soundness Exams and Health Screenings

We value responsible breeding that emphasizes the health and safety of your pet and that of the breed standard. Before breeding your male or female dog, you need to ensure they are physically healthy, the correct age, and nutritionally fit. It is imperative to consider personality and temperament as well. You also want to ensure that breeding will add value to the gene pool for your dog’s breed.

That is why we perform a Breeding Soundness Exam on all dogs in our breeding program. We need to assess males and females for health and fertility. For both, we do a complete physical examination, including assessing dental health, respiratory and cardiac function, lymph node and abdominal palpation, and the part of an orthopedic evaluation determined by physical examination. For the males, we assess testicle size, shape, character, penile, and prostate health. For the females, we assess mammary glands, vaginal size, position, shape, and characteristics and check for umbilical or inguinal hernias. By doing this evaluation, we have a better idea of the overall health of the dog as well as catching problems that may play a role in fertility, breeding, and the ability to produce and deliver healthy puppies.

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) created the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC), establishing recommended protocols for breed-specific health screenings.

Please visit their website here to see what screening tests you must consider for your dog’s breed. If your dog is a mixed breed, like a Labradoodle, you should look at both breeds involved. Some screening tests can be done here at NPAH, while others may need to be done by a specialist like a cardiologist or an ophthalmologist. You can perform DNA tests at home with cheek swabs and send them directly to the lab.

Semen Collection, Evaluations, Freezing, Storage, and Shipping

Semen Collection, Evaluations, Freezing, Storage, and Shipping

Using a teaser bitch (female dog in heat) to entice the male dramatically improves the total amount of semen collected. If you can bring a teaser to your male’s collection, please do so. If you do not have a teaser available, we provide pheromone samples as a substitute (but the real thing is best!)

During Semen Evaluation, we assess the motility (the swimming action), morphology (the structure), and sperm count (total number and concentration). This evaluation ensures the quality of the sample before breeding.

Once a sample is evaluated, it can be used fresh for immediate breeding during the same visit, chilled and shipped the next day for breeding at another location, or frozen and stored for use later. At NPAH, we can freeze and store semen samples on-site so they can be easily accessed and ready for your service in the future. We freeze the samples in straws (other facilities may use pellets). A typical breeding dose is about four straws, which varies depending on semen quality. The total number of straws obtained from a collection also varies depending on semen quality.

If you want to transfer frozen samples from another facility to store and/or use at NPAH, please get in touch with us for details.

Ovulation Timing

We recommend testing Progesterone levels and monitoring vaginal cytology in bitches around 5-7 days after they start their heat (marked by a bloody vaginal discharge and/or swollen vulva). If unsure when her cycle began, we recommend testing as soon as possible. By monitoring these parameters, we can more accurately determine when a bitch ovulates and thus time the breeding for their most fertile window. We use in-house Progesterone testing so we can get accurate same-day results.

Breeding

There are three kinds of semen and four methods of insemination. There are different benefits to each.

Semen
  • Fresh – best longevity
    • Male and female must be at the same location
  • Chilled – moderate longevity
    • Semen can be shipped overnight if the male and female are at different locations
  • Frozen – short longevity once thawed, but can be stored indefinitely
    • Can be shipped worldwide
Insemination
  • Natural – when a male and female tie together
    • can increase the risk of contracting STI (sexually transmitted infections) or injury
  • Vaginal AI – fresh or chilled semen is inserted into the vaginal vault via the use of a catheter.
  • TCI – Transcervical Insemination
    • Fresh, chilled, or frozen semen is inserted directly into the uterus via an endoscope and small catheter to pass through the cervical canal.
    • This procedure is minimally invasive and does not require any anesthesia.
  • Surgical AI – under general anesthesia, chilled or frozen semen is injected into the uterus via laparotomy (abdominal surgery)
    • This procedure is invasive and generally not recommended.

Pregnancy Monitoring

Ultrasounds can be performed at 30 days to confirm a pregnancy.

Radiographs can be performed after 50 days to confirm the number of puppies.

Whelping and C-Sections

Dogs are pregnant for 9 weeks or 63 days, give or take a few days.

Most dogs can give birth naturally at home if provided with an adequate setup for whelping and a few simple tools to help with the puppies after they are born. We can also provide Oxytocin injections to help with stalled labor and milk letdown.

If your dog needs a C-Section, we will determine the best time for the procedure based on Progesterone levels and by checking fetal heart rates with an ultrasound. After a C-Section, puppies will be cared for in an incubator until the bitch is recovered from surgery and is ready to go home with her puppies.

Infertility Consultations

Sometimes breedings or inseminations do not result in a pregnancy. If you have been having trouble successfully breeding your dog, our doctors can work with you to review their reproductive history and assess the fertility of both male and female dogs.

Puppy Care

We provide newborn litter examinations during their first few days of life so we can check for cleft palates, remove dewclaws if desired, and dock tails depending on breed standards. We also provide guidance regarding nursing and milk production for the bitch, and supplemental feeding for the litter if needed. Dewormers are prescribed as needed for the bitch and her litter. Between 6-8 weeks of age, we offer litter exams and first puppy vaccinations. We also provide puppy health certificates to accompany puppies to their new forever home.

If you have any questions, please contact us at Repro@Npah.com and we will get back to you within 48-72 hours.