Today, we will have a closer look at one of the main actors in the drama of reproduction – the brood bitch (the potential mother). Next week, we’ll discuss the norms associated with a good stud dog (the potential father).

The brood bitch

Before you decide to breed your female, give careful consideration to the effort and expense which go into producing a litter of healthy and active puppies.  It can be both time consuming and expensive.  If you own a purebred dam, you should give consideration to her overall conformation, disposition, and the qualities she may pass along to her puppies.

Another factor to consider is that many purebred puppies, in order to prevent easy incest, should not be sold in the general area where they originate.  This means advertising and the added cost and effort of finding the right sort of home in which to place them, say Essequibo or Upper Corentyne, if the pups are being bred in Georgetown.  Transports costs have also to be taken into consideration.

In contrast to a popular belief, the female does not need to have a litter in order to be psychologically fulfilled.  In fact, a neutered female makes an outstanding house pet.  She is able to devote herself exclusively to her human family.

Most breeders mate a bitch on her second or third season, at which time she is emotionally and physically mature, and able to adjust well to the role of a brood matron.

A prospective brood matron should be kept in top physical condition.  An overweight bitch, lacking in exercise tolerance, is difficult to mate and many times will not come into season regularly and may have difficulty when the time to give birth to her pups (whelping) arrives.

A neutered male dog sits hopefully in the GSPCA waiting for a kind person to adopt him.

Once you decide to mate your female, take her to your veterinarian for a physical check-up.  A maiden bitch should be examined to make sure that her vaginal orifice is normal in size.  There should be no constricting ring, which could prevent normal entry of the stud’s penis.

Her physical check-up includes a test for heartworms especially in areas where this is a real problem.  In fact, I will argue that it is better to make the heartworm test compulsory before breeding and before any surgical intervention.

If you own a bitch of one of the larger breeds (eg, German Shepherd, Rottweiler), ask your veterinarian to arrange for her pelvis (hip) to be X-rayed.  This could be done after one year of age.  If the X-rays show really pathological bone changes, eg, hip dysplasia, do not breed her.

Also, before mating, the bitch should be checked for worms, ticks, fleas, lice, mange mites, etc.  Roundworms can actually move from the mother dog to the puppies (Transplacental migration), even while the latter are in the mother’s womb.  Other parasites, if found, should be vigorously treated.  A bitch with an active worm infestation is less likely to whelp healthy active puppies.  It is compulsory that she be vaccinated at least two weeks prior to the mating.  (NB Do not vaccinate during her pregnancy.)

Further, vaginal infections must be ruled out before allowing the mating to take place.  The vet could also check for other deformities or structural deficiencies which do not conform to the breed standards, and which may be handed down to the puppies.

Next week we will offer comments on the stud dog.

Happy Emancipation Day.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

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