THE true incidence of infertility in bitches is not known as not all normal bitches that are mated become pregnant. Usually, when fertile dogs are mated to fertile bitches, a whelping rate of approximately 80 per cent is achieved. Furthermore, in bitches that become pregnant, not all of the eggs that are ovulated are fertilised; in young bitches approximately 10 per cent of ovulations do not result in a pregnancy and the proportion may be greater in older animals. In certain working dog and show dog kennels, and in some breeding colonies, the proportion of bitches that do not whelp is greater than 20 per cent. To some extent this may be associated with the breed of dog or the average age of the animals in the colony. However, what is clear is that the role of the veterinary surgeon in investigating cases of alleged infertility is increasing. This article discusses how these cases tend to present clinically, and provides a logical basis for establishing whether, indeed, there is a fertility problem and, if so, what the cause might be.
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