Recommendations before breeding

1) A complete physical examination is strongly recommended to ensure that the animal has no abnormalities ( heart murmur, umbilical or inguinal hernia, dislocated patella, malformation,....) which can be transmitted to the offspring.

2) A vaginal examination can be made if the dog weighs more than 7 kg to identify if there is the presence of a fibrous band, mass, tumor, foreign body or inflammation.

3) A radiograph of the pelvis is also strongly suggested for all breeds ( but especially large and giant breeds) at two years of age to eliminate the possibility of hip dysplasia.

4) Testing of the thyroid gland if it is a breed at risk and /or if there is suspicion of hypothyroidism (giant breeds between 2-3 years).

5) Testing of the liver for small breeds who may be at risk of having a portosystemic shunt.

6) Test for brucellosis: This disease is transmitted both by ingestion of the bacteria and by mating. It causes abortions, infertility in females and inflammation of the epididymis/atrophy of the testicals in males. The symptoms associated to the infection are vague. They may include lethargy, loss of libido, enlarged lymph nodes and back pain. Some cases only include abortions or sometimes there are no clinical signs at all.

Upon physical examination of the male, there may be presence of dermatitis on the scrotum and pain during palpation of this region. If the infection is chronic, there may be one or two atrophied ( smaller) testicals, the presence of uveitis ( inflammation of the inside of the eye, lowering the intraocular pressure), enlarged lymph nodes and rarely fever.

Upon examination of the female, there may be vaginal discharge that persists several weeks after the abortion.

Factors increasing the risk of contracting the bacteria are breeding kennels ( large number of dogs concentrated in the same building), mating between pack dogs and mating in regions at risk.

Serology (antibody detection) is the first test to be performed. If the test proves negative, the animal does not have brucellosis. However, if it comes back positive, another test (agglutination) must be performed to ensure that it is really positive.

7) A good de-worming protocol should be established with all adults before proceeding with mating to reduce the amount of parasites transmitted to the newborns.

8) Other tests specific to certain breeds may be done (examination and certification of the eyes for example). You may consult your veterinarian for more information on these tests.